TikTok's Clean Girl Aesthetic Keeps Things Fresh and Simple
Ballet-core, cottage-core, coastal grandmother, Y2K aesthetic, romcom-core— the list of curated aesthetics just got another addition: the clean girl aesthetic. You may have seen the term pop up on your TikTok For You Page a few times here and there, but what does it actually mean? Is a “clean girl” someone who follows certain fashion and beauty trends, or is it a specific lifestyle?
Keep scrolling for a breakdown of what this popular Gen-Z and internet-dubbed aesthetic really is, its origins, and how you can get it for yourself.
Elements to the Clean Girl Aesthetic
The clean girl aesthetic goes beyond just appearances, but it still heavily relies on how one visually presents herself to the world. A clean girl's look is always intentional and neat, right down to the details, but the main idea behind the aesthetic is that it's also achieved with minimal effort. Follow a couple or all of the elements below to find your way to the clean girl aesthetic.
@heynuraaa clean girl hairstyle for school #hairstyleforschool#cleangirlhairstyle#hairtutorial♬ sonido original - rolitasdecanciones
Popular clean girl hairstyles almost always include a middle part. Slick back buns, braids, and ponytails are the most common styles that fit into the aesthetic. The clean girl loves a good hair oil or leave-in conditioner to let soak in her hair while she makes a seamless Trader Joe’s or Starbucks run.
Skincare and Makeup for the Clean Girl Aesthetic
@olafflee ‘clean girl’ grwm 🤍 #cleangirl#grwm#aesthetic#OOTD ib: @Whitney Hanslow ♬ smile - user19192570443
The ultimate makeup look for the clean girl aesthetic directly reflects the “skinimalism” trend identified by beauty experts at Nouveau Lashes in their 2023 Minimalist Beauty Guide. It's all about glowy skinand light, effortless application and can be achieved by simplifying your skincare and makeup routines. “No makeup” makeup, healthy blush, glossy lips, dewy skin, and manicured brows fall into the clean girl look, too.
Like with her makeup, the clean girl likes to keep things with her nails as simple as possible, while still maintaining a manicured look. Glazed donut nails made famous by Hailey Bieber, or the new take on the trend, lip gloss nails, are a go-to for the clean girl aesthetic, since the colors are mostly neutral and the styles are easy to achieve.
Clean Girl Fashion
@tamikalanay This set! 🤍😩 #neutraloutfits#casualoutfits#winterfashion#petitefashion#minimalisticstyle#winteroutfits2023#capsulewardrobe#longskirtoutfit#stockholmstyle#scandinavianstyle♬ Fake ID X Walking On A Dream Carter Walsh Remix - CarterWalsh
There’s a sort of uniform for the clean girl aesthetic. The most popular clothes and accessories include comfy matching sets, low-rise Uggs or slippers, gold hoops and necklaces, and claw clips. She likes to remain effortless in all of her routines, so a collection of workout sets, sweatpants, and loose-fitting, oversized clothing is always in her rotation. Neutral tones and monochromatic co-ords are also on trend here.
The Clean Girl Lifestyle
@dianaviskov from this morning #morningroutine#thatgirl#thatgirlaesthetic#cleangirl#cleangirlaesthetic#fyp#dayinthelife#minivlog#aesthetic#motivation#productivity♬ Écoute Chérie - Vendredi sur Mer
You might think that adopting this aesthetic means that you have to get your whole life together. You've probably seen videos that showcase the clean girl in a super organized and put-together home space. She keeps track of every detail of her life with calendars and extensive planners, and she has countless products in her shower.
When it comes to diet and exercise habits, the clean girl eats super healthy, follows low-impact workouts (like pilates), and makes sure to note that “balance is key.” She most def enjoys a classic Sunday reset, too.
Do what you think fits your lifestyle best — you can keep your home organized and your diet healthy without pressuring yourself to maintain perfection.
Things to Remember with the Clean Girl Aesthetic
While TikTok's clean girl aesthetic is presented as a popular and aspirational lifestyle, it's popularly demonstrated only by white women.
Many women of color have called out the clean girl aesthetic for using beauty trends and looks that WOC have been practicing for ages, making these habits “trendy” with essentially no inclusivity or credit to WOC.
Things like slicked back, oiled hair, minimal makeup, and gold jewelry are details that have been popularized over time, thanks to Black and Brown women. If you’re going for that clean girl aesthetic, make sure you know where its origins lie, and be sure thank the real inventors of the look.
In addition, users on TikTok and other social platforms can make it seem like there are strict rules as to what a "real clean girl" should look like, and how she should live her life.
It's easy to feel pressure to hold yourself to certain standards put in place by the fashion, beauty, body image, lifestyle, and home content online, especially when you see a perfectly packaged aesthetic that comes across as effortless for others. Online appearances can make it seem like you're supposed to live your life a certain way, but it's important to remember that you are a complex human being.
Keep in mind that for some creators, presenting a single aesthetic is their job, and they likely don’t fit into one box all the time. And it's okay if you don't fit into one box all the time either.
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Header image by Polinach / PEXELS