I tried the TikTok viral ‘clean girl’ makeup

I don’t know who ‘that girl’ is, but she better pay for my therapy

If you’ve been living anywhere other than beneath a rock recently, you’ll have seen TikTok’s obsession with the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic.

The Cut characterises the trend as:

‘Unlike no-makeup makeup looks of yore, the “Clean Look” goes a step further by extending past the face to become a whole vibe. The beauty look is framed by Gen Z’s face-baring middle part, accessorized with minimalist gold jewellery, paired with neutral monochrome clothing, and sometimes topped with sizable sunglasses with very dark lenses. Basically, the end result should look like paparazzi shots of Hailey Bieber out and about.’

The trend sprung from the ‘off-duty model’ and ‘old money’ aesthetics, placing importance on looking outwardly ‘clean’. It’s a very aspirational lifestyle radiating polished and sleek vibes.

However, a quick search on TikTok reveals that everyone participating in this trend are a) regulation hotties, b) have clear skin c) are using very expensive products. I understand that whole aesthetic revolves around privilege and money, but they could at least throw in an extra step for the more every(wo)man among us.

According to one viral TikTok video, the ‘clean girl’ essentials that everybody should own are:

  • Glowy natural makeup
  • Everyday perfume
  • Olaplex bun
  • Neutrual basics
  • Light wash denim
  • Matching sweats- dreamy roadman vibes
  • Gold dainty jewellery

The premise of the clean girl ‘glowy natural makeup’ is relatively simple, though is a lot more effort than a ‘no makeup, makeup routine’ should be.

The routine begins with applying concealer to your face in specific areas and blending upwards with a damp beauty blender to ‘lift the face’.

IMAGE: daniellemarcan on TikTok

Heavy cream blush is applied, highlighter is added to the top of the cheekbones and nose, and eye makeup involves only curling the lashes and applying mascara. A small amount of powder is pressed into areas where concealer naturally creases using a damp beauty blender.

For brows, clear mascara is used to brush the eyebrows horizontally instead of upwards. Lips are lined, smudged inwards, and lip gloss is applied.

Part of me wishes that this was the beauty standard when I was in secondary school. It would have saved me a lot of money and painful jabbings in the eye with an eyeliner pencil.

Overall, I really liked this makeup routine. It was simple, took about five minutes, and gave a very flesh, glowy finish. However, I still believe that this aesthetic involves a lot more than wearing minimal makeup and shopping in Zara. The lifestyle that this trend promotes is exclusive and relies on external factors such as having naturally clear skin.