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What Is Soft Girl Makeup? How to DIY the It Internet Makeup Trend

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“Soft girls” have taken over your social media feed—and you might not have even known it. Defined by its hyper-feminine, pastel color palette and often paired with girly hair accessories, the soft girl aesthetic has become ultra popular via the #softgirlchallenge on Instagram and TikTok. Like the eGirl trend before it, soft girl makeup represents a certain look, but the palette is decidedly lighter, more wearable for every day, and, yes, softer.

“It’s sweet, easy to do and wear, and really just about enhancing what you have using a specific color family,” explains celebrity makeup artist Mary Irwin. In other words, the look plays up natural features, but amped up with quirky twists that play up the wearer’s individuality. “Think of it as using makeup as an additional accessory, or trying on a personality for a day,” says Irwin. Keep reading below to find out just what soft girl makeup is, and to get Irwin’s step-by-step tutorial for recreating the latest beauty trend.

About the Expert:

Mary Irwin is New York City-based celebrity makeup artist.

What defines the soft girl look?

Like eGirl makeup, there’s something slightly whimsical about the soft girl aesthetic, which makes sense for a look that gained its following almost entirely via the internet. “The aesthetic is defined by glowing skin, peachy-pink blush, super bright eyes, fluffy lashes, groomed brows, and lots of gloss,” explains Irwin. Most of the time, the look also has a signature “accessory,” according to the makeup artist. “It could be fake freckles, it could be a tattoo stamp, or it could be a sticker,” she says.

Soft girl makeup video tutorial

How to do soft girl makeup

1. Start with skin prep.

“And lots of it,” says Irwin. “You want to glow.” Begin with your regular skincare routine, or if your skin is feeling dry, layer on a moisturizing hyaluronic acid serum or face mist. And don’t forget to “make sure you hydrate your lips really well,” Irwin adds.

Next, apply both a primer for your face, like SMASHBOX COSMETICS Photo Finish Foundation Primer, as well as an eye primer. For the eyes, Irwin recommends VISEART Seamless Eye Primer. “It makes a huge difference in the wear of the shadow.”

2. Create your canvas.

Start with foundation in the coverage of your choice—we love UOMA Say What?! Foundation, which comes in 51 gorgeous shades. (You can also create the look sans foundation, as YouTuber Ashley Roque demonstrates in her makeup tutorial here—you do you!) Concealer, Irwin says, is crucial. “Since the look is [about appearing] well-rested and bright-eyed, don’t be afraid to color-correct and conceal,” says the makeup artist, who recommends IT COSMETICS Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer “for full coverage that isn’t heavy feeling.”

3. Move on to your eyes.

“You don’t have to wear shadow with this look,” explains Irwin, who says that if you do, to use peachy-pink tones. “You can apply it the same way you normally would, but make sure you really brighten up the eye area.

ILLAMASQUA Unveiled Artistry Palette has 12 shades, both matte and shimmery, that can be used for this look (and countless others—so feel free to get creative!). “Use the light shimmers to highlight the inner corner, and the pinks on the lid as a wash,” recommends Irwin. “Finish with the warm brown smudged into the lash line for definition.” To really make your eyes pop, use a shimmery nude along the waterline, Irwin says. You’ll often—but not always—see liquid eyeliner in soft girl makeup looks, a technique you can definitely mimic if you want to add even more definition around the eyes.

But while eyeshadow may be optional, fluffy lashes are def required. Irwin says to curl your lashes first, then apply mascara. “Push the wand into the root of the lash and wiggle out,” the makeup artist advises. And don’t forget to separate lashes, too: “Use a lash comb to separate, and reapply as many times as you like,” she says. Irwin recommends doubling up on mascara with one lengthening formula (such as BAREMINERALS Strength & Length Serum-Infused Mascara) and one volumizing formula (like ESSENCE COSMETICS Lash Princess Sculpted Volume Mascara).

As always, brows are important for the look too. Fill in any sparse areas with a pencil, like BENEFIT COSMETICS Precisely, My Brow Eyebrow Pencil. Then, use a spoolie brush to shape, and top off with a brow gel—we like WANDER BEAUTY Frame Your Face™ Precise Brow Gel for this—if you want a little more shaping.

4. Get cheeky.

Blush is one of the key components to this look, as is highlighter. “Blush goes on the apple of the cheek, and [further] out if you want,” says Irwin. As YouTuber Timaloveslemons points out in her tutorial, a lot of soft girl makeup looks will feature Igari-style blush, a Japanese-inspired look in which the blush extends across the bridge of the nose. And while any blush of your choice will work, Irwin prefers cream blush formulas, which “tend to look softer than powder blush,” according to the makeup artist. (Try BEAUTANIQ BEAUTY Blush Serum in Sunrise here!)

Then, apply a highlighter like FLESH Touch Flesh Highlighter Balm along your cupid’s bow and to “all the high points of your face,” she advises.

5. Go for glossy.

“Pinky-peach is the look for lips,” stresses Irwin, who says to look for a shade “that’s close to your natural color but pinker.” Your exact lip color will vary depending on your skin tone, but you don’t want to forget the lip gloss, which the makeup artist calls “an absolute must-have.” We love M·A·C COSMETICS Lipglass, a holy grail lip product for beauty lovers everywhere (and for good reason).

6. Be creative.

Remember the “accessory” we mentioned earlier? Here’s where it comes into play. At this point, “you can leave [the look] the way it is, or take it up a notch with fake freckles or a tattoo stamp,” says Irwin. The options really are endless—you can use stencils, stickers, glitter—whatever you prefer. Your face is your canvas, and you have total creative freedom.

To draw on faux freckles, you can simply use a thin brow pencil, or for a more whimsical look, try THE CRÈME SHOP Faux Real Freckle Stamp, which comes in cute star and heart shapes.

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About the author
Lindy Segal
Lindy is a contributor at IPSY, a beauty and lifestyle writer, and Real Housewives aficionado. She was an editor at People and Glamour, and her freelance work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Who What Wear, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated November 27, 2020 12:00 AM