'Lobotomy Chic': The Controversial Trend All About The Eyes

As much as the beloved duckface has served us well, it seems people have begun adopting a much different pouty face to pose with on social media. That's right: The time has come to move on to bigger and better things than making kissy faces in front of the camera. Instead, imitating the deep ennui and empty stares of pop culture icons like Billie Eilish and Chloe Cherry is the way to go. The trend's name? Lobotomy chic, of course.

To be clear, the "lobotomy chic" trend doesn't promote the ill-advised, outdated medical procedure. On the contrary, it's merely a controversial term for a not-so-problematic social media trend — the lifeless, boredom-filled stare and subtle pouty poses young people have been striking in selfies. What's more, the trend is partially inspired by photographer Stolenbesos' work, which often portrays women dressed in feminine attire while posing with unfocused, dissociated stares. The style, which seeks to subvert the male gaze commonly found in photography, gets the name for its dissociative, dissatisfied feel — but Stolenbesos sees it differently. "I actually hate the idea that lobotomy-chic is nihilistic, because I think my work is optimistic and hopeful!" the photographer told Dazed.

Regardless, the trend's name seems to have stuck, and folks are loving the look for the unexpected contrast it brings to their otherwise dolled-up looks. So, let's explore how to rock the "lobotomy chic" trend in your own subversive social media posts.

A malcontented moue

If it isn't obvious by now, the lobotomy chic trend is all about the zombie-like, dead-behind-the-eyes look. The steps are simple, too, featuring a slight pout and a blank stare — a pose with undeniable attitude and eyes that look as if they're always on the edge of rolling into the back of your head. In other words, look as bored as you're willing to snap a picture of. Yes, it's counterintuitive — capturing the moment often only applies to happy moments — but it's how the trend goes. But what does one pair with such a look?

Wine-stained lips

First things first, you need the right makeup. While you can pair pretty much any fashion aesthetic with the lobotomy chic stare, you might prefer to keep things as edgy as the look itself — gaunt and gloomy. Think dark, cool-toned eyes and berry lips.

The key? Keep the makeup simple, à la clean girl, and add darker touches to suit the trend. Go for clear brow gel, for example, and a few dots of concealer. Then, details like a wine-red lip stain and dark brown eyeshadow with black liner make the look exactly what it needs to be.

Glitter and groovy frames

Something to consider while sporting your petulant, picture-perfect pout is that while you're aiming for low-effort photos, your look doesn't have to be low-key. You can still be vibrant and maximalist while jumping on this empty-eyes trend.

If you're one for colorful accessories and groovy frames, don't let this trend stop you. Do the most with your makeup (glitter bombing the camera lens with your eyes), and grab your favorite glasses to highlight the look. Just remember to look as if you couldn't care less — nothing is cooler than that.

Deadly dinner attire

It's true that this lobotomized photo trend goes well with anything. From casual looks to fancier getups, this careless death stare will get you from day-wear to dinner-ready in seconds if you don't count the hours you sometimes take deciding on an after-work outfit.

Keep the outfit as dark as the lobotomy chic stare for an easy, fuss-free ensemble. Wear your smallest little black dress with tights and a leather jacket for ultimate edgy vibes, and add minimal jewelry for a last-minute thought sort of feel. Missing color? Red pumps always add a sexy touch.

Shaded sunnies

As much as the lobotomy chic look is all about the unhappy and uninspired look, you don't always need your eyes to communicate that. If the implication is there, that's really all you need. Dark, uninviting sunglasses will do the trick, too.

Whenever you're trying to snap the perfect picture and failing to get the exact blank stare look you're looking for, there's no shame in resorting to pitch-black lenses — the kind you keep at the bottom of your bag for emergencies. Simply pair them with a slight pout and take your picture.