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Get the TikTok-Viral “Clean Girl Aesthetic” in 5 Easy Steps

Photo by Theo Wargo / Staff / Getty Images

There are two sides to beauty on social media at the moment: over-the-top, maximalist makeup (think Euphoria-inspired) and no-makeup makeup looks, also known as the “Clean Girl Aesthetic”. Fueled heavily by TikTok creators, this “clean” trend (not to be confused with clean beauty) might seem like Gen Z’s repackaging of millennial Glossier-esque minimalism at first glance, but its viral status among all generations indicates deeper roots. The desire to mindfully consume products and the rise of sustainable beauty definitely add to its universal appeal. Plus, after two pandemic years of replacing our foundation with skincare, pared-back routines are the new norm. In short, the Clean Girl Aesthetic just makes sense.

So What *Is* the Clean Girl Aesthetic?

@mollerina_ I’ll put a list links to these products up on my IG: mollerina_ 🖤 #cleangirl #cleanaestetic #cleangirlmakeup #acnemakeup #adultacne ♬ spice girls x doja cat x adam wright - Adam Wright

It’s effortless, minimalist, and a total vibe. The clean girl look is kind of like beauty’s take on a capsule wardrobe, focusing on quality over quantity, and you’ve definitely seen it in action on your FYP. The markers are glowy, dewy skin, slicked-back hair, defined lashes, and fluffy brows—all topped off with a pair of gold hoops…and maybe a blazer, if you’re feeling fancy. If it were a person, it would be Hailey Bieber and her model-off-duty appearance.

Aside from all of its qualifications (which are not requirements BTW), clean girl makeup is designed to let the real you shine through. Oh, and it’s extremely easy to pull off.

The Clean Girl Aesthetic Tutorial

1. Skincare prep is crucial.

If we haven’t made it obvious enough by now, skincare is hugely important in achieving this look—both day-of and cumulatively. After all, it takes time for those products to work.

However, there are a few key steps you’ll want to do before applying makeup.

Exfoliate: After cleansing, a fresh slough of dead skin cells and debris can impart an instant glow. You can use an exfoliating toner or treatment like the FIRST AID BEAUTY Facial Radiance Pads, which contain a blend of lactic and glycolic acids to sweep the dull away.

Hydrate in layers: Now’s the time to bust out those peptide-rich essences, hyaluronic serums (MURAD Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum is great after exfoliating), and lightweight moisturizers. Apply each product in order from thinnest to thickest and give each layer ample time to absorb and settle. This will help avoid the dreaded “pilling” effect and allow for a smoother makeup application.

Finish with sunscreen: As always, top with an SPF of your choice—because sun protection is a bestie for a more even skin tone and healthy complexion. For a nourishing boost, KINSHIP’s SELF REFLECT - Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen Zinc Oxide Broad Spectrum SPF 32 is loaded with probiotics and skin-loving ingredients.

2. Keep hair simple and shiny.

Healthy-looking hair is the name of the game here. If it’s a wash day, this would be the perfect time to add in a hair mask at the end and try air drying your hair for a change with the R+CO COOL WIND pH Perfect Air Dry Crème. Then, tame flyaways and amp up the shine by smoothing a hair serum or oil over dry hair.

As far as styling goes, a pulled-back low pony and side part are the pinnacle of this TikTok trend, but they’re not a hard and fast rule. That being said, an intricate hairstyle would look out of place, so it’s best to keep things effortless—or at least looking effortless.

3. Aim for skin that looks like skin.

The foundation step ultimately depends on the level of coverage you feel most comfortable with, but the goal is a skin-like finish and even tone. And remember: Texture is normal. Stick to hydrating foundation formulas and BB creams (we love PURLISSE BEAUTY Ageless Glow Serum BB Cream SPF 40), which will help keep your finish dewy and are less likely to cling to dry patches. Then, add a touch of concealer to cover any discoloration and use setting powder sparingly to set under eyes.

4. Get your glow on.

Full, flushed cheeks and a sun-kissed glow are peak Clean Girl Aesthetic. Get the effect with blush and bronzer, making sure to reach for cream or liquid-based formulas—like TRESLÚCE BEAUTY Ready To Bounce Cream Blush. For blush placement, focus on the center of the apples of your cheeks, slightly blending up toward temples, for that just-ran-through-the-garden look.

Bronzer can help to gently sculpt cheekbones and jaw (key word: gentle, no contouring here) and give the face a halo of warmth when applied to the hairline, temples, and bridge of the nose—the spots the sun naturally hits.

5. Add the finishing touches.

Brows, lashes, gloss. Comb unruly brows into place and fill in any sparse spots with a brow pencil, then generously apply a brow gel (tinted or untinted) for a laminated look. BELLE EN ARGENT’s Reframing Tinted Brow Gel features a narrow spoolie to give you precise shaping.

Curl eyelashes and apply two coats of a lengthening mascara, then finish with a slick of lip gloss for a glassy shine. Not into gloss? The GIRLACTIK Jello Gloss Balm in Au Naturel is the perfect alternative with a hint of shine and an ultra-sheer tint.

Find the perfect Clean Girl-approved products in your Glam Bag—take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Hannah Cassidy
Hannah is a beauty editor at IPSY and has been creating content for fashion, beauty, and wellness in Los Angeles for over five years. Outside of the beauty world, she’s an avid vintage collector and dog mom to Pumpkin and Turtle.
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Article Last Updated November 28, 2022 12:00 AM