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Soft Girl Makeup Is the Feminine Beauty Trend We Can’t Get Enough Of

@haileybieber / Instagram

The “soft girl” era is upon us, and it looks like it’s here to stay. Everywhere you turn (or scroll), people are embracing the idea of leisure, hyper-femininity, and plush textures. Of course, this trend has also crossed over into our beauty looks with the rise of “soft girl makeup.”  Defined by its pastel color palette and dewy, radiant skin, the soft girl aesthetic has more color and radiance than “no makeup makeup,” but is decidedly lighter and more wearable for every day than coquette makeup.  

“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?

Several trends floating around the internet have led us to the soft girl makeup look we’re seeing today. Cold girl blush has given us the romantic, flushed look required for soft girl makeup, and trending colors like peach fuzz have popularized monochromatic tones. Soft girl makeup also fits into the overall clean girl aesthetic that is so prevalent today, essentially making it the perfect makeup look for all of the current beauty trends.  “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. 

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, get a lit-from-within glow with an illuminating primer. The MISCHO BEAUTY Sheer Glow Primer smooths, hydrates, and preps skin for a radiant finish. Irwin also recommends using an eye primer like the ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Mini Eye Primer.“It makes a huge difference in the wear of the shadow.”

2. Create your canvas. Start with a foundation in the coverage of your choice—we love ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Luminous Foundation. The medium coverage is buildable so you can tailor it to your needs. If you prefer a matte look, try the FENTY BEAUTY Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation.  “Since the look is [about appearing] well-rested and bright-eyed, don’t be afraid to color-correct and conceal,” says the makeup artist. We recommend the KVD Good Apple Lightweight Full Coverage Concealer for “full coverage that isn’t heavy feeling.”

This look also benefits from a bronzer like ESTÉE LAUDER Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer for a soft, effortless contour.

3. Move on to your eyes. “You don’t have to wear shadow with this look,” explains Irwin. But if you do, peachy-pink tones are perfect for soft girl makeup. “You can apply it the same way you normally would, but make sure you really brighten up the eye area. 

The LAURA MERCIER Japan in Bloom Eyeshadow Palette has the perfect neutral and rosy shades for a darling soft girl look. “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. 

To finish off your eyes with flirty femininity, add a wing to your eyes with the PHASE ZERO MAKEUP Liquid Eyeliner in Black. To keep the look soft, only line the outer corners of the eyes, forgoing the traditional lash line for a more dainty look. 

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 MILK COSMETICS Rise Lifting + Lengthening Mascara) and one volumizing formula (like DIME BEAUTY Volume Mascara).  

As always, brows are important for the look, too. You’ll want brows that look shaped and groomed, yet full and softly framing the natural shape of your face. The WANDER BEAUTY Upgraded Brow Pencil & Gel Duo allows you to fill in sparse brows and shape with a single two-in-one pencil. 

4. Get cheeky. Now, for the primary signifier of this look: blush and highlighter! “Blush goes on the apple of the cheek, and [further] out if you want,” says Irwin. You can follow the cold girl makeup technique here, applying your blush to your cheekbones and a dab on the bridge of your nose. Try the NARS After Glow Liquid Blush for long-lasting color.

Finish off your cheeks with MOTD Cosmetics Highlighting Powder and add a touch to your cupid’s bow for an extra soft and flirty effect.

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 the FENTY BEAUTY Gloss Bomb Heat Universal Lip Luminizer, a holy grail lip product for beauty lovers everywhere (and for good reason). Wear the sheer pink shade alone or atop your favorite nude lipstick

Ready to try soft girl makeup for yourself? Check out the below pics for inspo.

1. Soft Girl Makeup With Freckles

Hailey Bieber is on our mood board yet again with this radiant look. For this look she effortlessly dons illuminated rosy cheeks and lids, paired with her viral RHODE Peptide Lip Tint.

2. Pink & Dewy Soft Girl Makeup

This look created by makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes features glossy pink lids, a hydrated, illuminated base, ethereal pink cheekbones, and a shiny pink pout.

3. Radiant-Finish Soft Girl Makeup

For special-event makeup that you can dance the night away in, sometimes not-quite-matte, not-quite-dewy radiance is the way to go. Here, Makeup by Alessandra created a look that spotlights soft pink blush, and a peachy-pink cream lip.

4. Glam Soft Girl Makeup

You can still achieve soft girl makeup if a glamorous full beat is your style. Shimmery eyeshadow, winged eyeliner, and contoured blush are toned down and softened by a gorgeous cream nude lipstick.

5. Everyday Soft Girl Makeup

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A post shared by Quymai (@quymaile)

The best part about soft girl makeup is that it serves a look while being wearable enough for everyday. This creator credits her bright neutral pink makeup to the PATRICK TA BEAUTY Blush Duo in She’s a Doll.

Dive into more makeup trends with 16 stunning spring makeup looks that give big feminine energy. Want in on all the IPSY Glam Bag fun? 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 TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
Kindra Moné
Kindra Moné is a writer and content creator who works with brands and magazines to create culturally relevant fashion and beauty content. She is also the founder of The Moné Edit: a community and podcast at the intersection of style and wellness.
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Article Last Updated March 11, 2024 12:00 AM