If you were one of the 29 million people who watched the royal wedding this weekend, you saw Meghan Markle walk down the aisle looking incredibly beautiful. Gorgeous dress, check; the best wispy bun-tiara combo you’ve ever seen, check; and nail polish approved by the Queen, check. But one part of Meghan’s look in particular caught the internet’s attention, and that was the smattering of freckles that shined through her foundation, which was applied by celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin. Fast-forward 48 hours, and the Markle effect is at work: on social media, the sight of Meghan’s freckles has people enthusiastically posting about embracing their own—or, conversely, faking their own.
Freckles have flitted in and out of the spotlight over the past few years, but the unanimous praise for them that followed the royal wedding was endearing. In some ways, it’s of a piece with the body and acne positivity movements: Something that used to be considered “undesirable” is taken back and deemed worth celebrating. In doing so, down go shame and stigma. Freckles, stretch marks, frizz—it’s easier said than done. But representing freckles as beautiful, and fit for a literal duchess, marks a change from the full-coverage foundation we’re used to seeing on the red carpet.
While faux freckles have popped up here and there in the beauty world, prior to the royal wedding, there’d been debate over how kosher it was to fake them when some people were bullied for their freckles as children (see headline: “Selena Gomez “Fetish” Freckles Lead to Social Media Fight“). Feel how you might about that, but on Pinterest, a spokesperson says they saw an immediate increase in freckle-specific search traffic after the royal wedding. The phrase “freckle friendly makeup ideas” is up 117 percent from this time last year—and on Instagram, results for “#fauxfreckles” number at 43,267.
The products on the market indicate freckles’ increased popularity. While people have previously relied on dark brown eyeliner to dot on “freckles” if they don’t have any, there’s now a sheerly-tinted liquid liner-type product that goes by Freck, and dubs itself “the original faux freckle cosmetic.”
And on those posts about the so-called Meghan Markle effect, we leave you with this comment from Instagram user heenz7: “Yayyyy I don’t have to hide my freckles anymore.”
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