The ‘succubus chic’ aesthetic takes fashion and beauty to the dark side

While some hail 'succubus chic' as a new trend, others say it is simply a rehashing of "Angelina Jolie's face and wearing 2000s Latina makeup."

Is the corpse look heading back into fashion in 2023? Since the beginning of last year, beauty and fashion trends have been shifting away from the clean, polished aesthetic of the Clean Girl to channel a darker feminine energy. In the wake of the runaway success of the Netflix series “Wednesday” and the explosion of gothic chic looks, the succubus chic trend continues to morph and reinvent.

In a nutshell, the succubus chic look is characterized by thin, barely there eyebrows, outrageously black smokey eyes or exaggerated eyeliner, pale skin with hollowed out features and gothic-inspired clothing. Many women who wear this look like to top it off with blood-red lipstick or lip liner.

Hair is jet black, straight, sometimes pulled back, highlighting this pale, almost deathly complexion. It’s no longer about looking sexy, but about exuding a mysterious and bewitching air. The succubus chic look is very specific, even down to the pose you have to strike — head tilted, pouting lips and a cadaverous look which is simultaneously a siren call and a deadly warning. 

A trend revived from the 2000s

The word succubus originates from the name given to a female demon who seduces men and has her way with them while they sleep. In the early 2000s, the look became popular thanks to the actress Angelina Jolie, considered the ultimate “bad girl” at the time.

Proof can be seen in her “Born to be Wild” photoshoot for Elle magazine, which features the “Tomb Raider” star staring at the camera, head tilted and sporting the look that went on to become the signature of succubus chic.

With her thin eyebrows, prominent cheekbones and pouty lips, dressed in leather and covered in tattoos, Angelina Jolie is hailed as the spiritual mother of today’s succubus chic girls. 

Years later, around 2019, an influencer/model/singer named Gabrielle Bechtel , whose handle is Gabbriette, revived the legacy of this aesthetic and democratized the look.

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Like other models embracing this aesthetic, including Cara Delevingne, she sports very thin eyebrows, hollowed features and a mullet. But it’s only since the end of last year that the “succubus chic” hashtag has really been booming on social networks, totaling 411.5 million views on TikTok.

Proof of the look’s popularity, Kylie Jenner — the instigator of many trends among the new generations — has taken on this underground vibe in one of her latest Instagram posts. Far from her usual polished looks, Kylie Jenner has gray eyebrows, a disheveled bun, dark-rimmed eyes, sunken cheeks, and peers into the lens with a dead-eyed stare.

Kylie Jenner
The succubus chic look is becoming more and more prevalent in the aesthetics of influencers, like Kylie Jenner | Photography kyliejenner / Instagram© via ETX Daily

The media has been quick to pick up on this new beauty aesthetic, and not without causing controversy.

A look viewed as unhealthy

In early January, the US magazine Dazed addressed the expansion of this aesthetic on social networks. The article was soon be picked up by thousands of social media users who criticize the harmful, unhealthy lifestyle evoked by the story.

From the first lines, it reads: “It’s Wednesday Addams if she grew up, got a job in Milan and picked up a coke habit.” The description follows with “cheeks are hollow and cheekbones are prominent.

There’s not an ounce of buccal fat in sight.” In response, TikToker Yves Saint Laurel denounces not only the lack of diversity in the images chosen by the article, but also the way the magazine flippantly promotes drug use and skinniness. Indeed, this notion of thinness seems to have come back to the forefront with cosmetic surgery procedures, such as buccal fat removal, highlighting the unhealthy side of the succubus chic look.

On Twitter, users mock this new aesthetic, pointing to the trend for thin eyebrows, which was originally attributed to Latina women. “Succubus chic? You mean copying Angelina Jolie’s face and wearing 2000s Latina makeup? Lol.”

Others, meanwhile, complain about the over-abundance of aesthetics on social networks: “Soft girl, Clean girl, Luxury girl, High level woman, and now Vanilla girl and Succubus chic?!??!! It was cute at first but now they’re overdoing it… it’s enough.”

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