Sure, Gen Z already has plenty of accolades under its belt (embracing body positivity, making informal email sign-offs a thing, and taking a stand for mental health), but if this gen is going to do one thing, it’s turn everything into an aesthetic. From Coastal Grandmother to the summer of Side-Character energy, and now, the TikTok clean look beauty trend—style mavens in their late teens and early twenties know a niche when they see one.
While I’m all for letting go of main-character energy and Diane Keaton has a way of making any and all cardigans a much sought-after purchase, it’s that last cultural moment, the so-called “clean look,” that gives me pause. It’s a salient trend that has the ability to evolve from a simple hashtag to an entire personality trait, and it’s one of the newest aesthetics to find success outside of TikTok and start a new wave in beauty and makeup.
Featured image by Teal Thomsen.
What is the TikTok clean look beauty trend?
In short, it’s a natural makeup look characterized by glowy skin and slicked-back hair. But it’s not just for Gen Z. This trend is my newest beauty obsession for ultimate, effortless confidence.
And while “you look so clean” might feel like a strange compliment, as someone who spends an inordinate amount of time and energy on my skincare routine, the TikTok clean look beauty trend has a certain appeal. No more will my blemish-prone skin be subjected to layers of contour and foundation.
Instead, this skin-first approach champions your natural, unique beauty and inspires you to work with what you have to highlight your favorite features.
Is the clean look easy to recreate?
The appeal of this aesthetic is its attainability. As a self-professed skincare girl, makeup is not my forte. I prefer to play to my strengths—and time constraints. For me, the TikTok #CleanLook inspires me to level up my look, without completely changing it. It’s a more whimsical than my minimal approach to beauty. And whether you want to look put-together at the farmer’s market, or you’re tired of your contour palette and are looking for a low-maintenance routine, there’s a Clean Girl in all of us.
While you can probably create a version of this look with the products already in your closet, the rise of glowy, skin-first routines mean there’s a cornucopia of clean-look products just waiting for you to explore. Here are the ins and out of the TikTok clean look beauty trend and all the products that will help you achieve it.
Breaking Down the TikTok Clean Look Beauty Trend
#CleanLook or #CleanGirl on TikTok is the newest iteration of the no-makeup makeup look. Instead of the highly contoured (re: complicated) looks of yore, the Clean Look celebrates your natural beauty.
Like most things on TikTok, the trend is an amalgamation of a few preceding trends: the “That Girl” archetype and her slicked-back bun; TikTok’s emphasis on crowdsourced skincare routines that actually work; and our collective, constant yearning for glowy summer skin.
Makeup tutorials by TikTok users XO Lizah and Eva Rankin were the first to go viral. Then, users began to adopt this aesthetic to show how universal it can be. Popular makeup creators like @radhika.p18, @laurynwill_, and @mylifeaseva went viral displaying the look on different skin tones and hair types. Soon, it went from an ephemeral trend to a full-blown aesthetic. And here I am, obsessed.
What does it mean to look “clean”?
Obviously, anyone can look “clean.” The accessibility of the TikTok clean look beauty trend is what makes it appealing. It’s easy to imitate and works on everyone. It’s a way to highlight your own natural features, instead of trying to look like everyone else.
Unsurprisingly, the clean look puts a big emphasis on skincare. Even more than most no-makeup makeup routines, this trend prioritizes skin that actually looks like skin (ditching the idea that you need a full-coverage foundation).
Is the clean trend the same as clean beauty?
It makes sense that a generation raised on Glossier pioneered the TikTok clean look beauty trend. It’s full of makeup that doubles as skincare, products you can dab on with your fingers, and an emphasis on looking dewy and glowy.
But don’t be fooled. The clean look doesn’t have anything to do with clean beauty. However, many of the hero products do use natural, clean ingredients to promote skin health.
Achieving the clean look won’t make you shell out on expensive products either. While some creators flash their Chanel Glow Highlighting Fluid or Dior Lip Oil, other creators like @_keeees_ achieve the look with Ponds Face Cream and drugstore makeup.
More than anything, clean girl makeup is simple, breathable, and easy to use. It’s multi-use products galore. It’s light coverage. And trust me—it’s about to be your new go-to routine.