How the 'Clean Girl Aesthetic' is Taking Over TikTok

lifestyle social media Aug 22, 2022
Clean Girl Aesthetic

Slicked-back bun, some gold hoops, and your favorite lip oil and you’ve achieved what TikTok calls the ‘clean girl aesthetic’.

In an era filled with makeup and beauty trends, what makes the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ different from all the rest?


What is the ‘clean girl' aesthetic?

'Clean girl' aesthetic: new-age minimalism that emphasizes the importance of having natural-looking makeup that accentuates glowing, dewy skin to appear effortlessly put together.

Some women take the trend a bit further by also dressing minimally in neutral colors. Some consider it more of a lifestyle. Get up early, drink their green juice, put on your matching workout set, and go to pilates kind of vibe. Living your life like you’re the main character. 

Despite the fact that there is no official definition for ‘clean girl aesthetic’, everyone recognizes you must have certain details whether it's in your outfit,  your makeup, or your lifestyle,  to officially look like you’re following the ‘clean girl aesthetic’.


Where did the ‘clean girl' aesthetic originate?

The 'clean girl' aesthetic first went viral on TikTok, but where did it come from?

The blueprint for this trend was the model-off-duty; beautiful skin, minimal makeup, hair always perfect, and always seems to look put-together, but in reality, the ‘clean girl' aesthetic has been around for a while. 

Although many credit celebrities such as Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber for being the main inspiration behind the trend, the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ is a revamped version of #thatgirl. 

What is #thatgirl?

To understand where the ‘clean girl aesthetic' came from, let's dive a little deeper and look at the origins of another viral TikTok trend, #thatgirl.

‘That girl’ is also a trend that was started on TikTok and spread to other social media apps due to its popularity.

The ‘that girl’ trend was created as part of a movement to become the best version of yourself. The trend encourages healthy eating, beauty rituals, and fitness as a form of self-care, as well as being organized and productive. 

The creator who made #thatgirl go viral was @kaylieestewart. In December of 2021,  she posted a video titled, “How to become “That Girl" in 2022”. Where she listed some tips to become ‘that girl’.

She listed some things such as: waking up before 8 am and working out 4-5 times a week. Her video went viral and as of August 2022, the video has over 7 million views on TikTok. 

A month later, women on TikTok start posting videos with the #cleangirlaesthetic, a version of ‘that girl’ that is more focused on appearance.

The ‘clean girl aesthetic’ and ‘that girl’ are both very similar. Both focus on women becoming the best versions of themselves, but the ‘clean girl' aesthetic is the more refined version. 

The ‘clean girl’ puts more effort into her appearance by looking more 'put together' and expensive while still being ‘that girl’. 

‘Clean girl aesthetic’ TikTok Takeover

The ‘clean girl aesthetic' first started appearing on TikTok around January of 2022.

With many videos showing up on FYPs everywhere with the hashtag #cleangirlaesthetic

In the few months since the start of the ‘clean girl aesthetic’, it has come a long way and is now more than just a skincare and makeup trend.  

Now, content not only consists of ‘clean girl aesthetic’ makeup tutorials, but also skincare routines, outfit ideas, nail inspo, day/night routines, and even cleaning and organization videos. 

The ‘clean girl aesthetic’ has become way more than just a beauty trend, it's become a lifestyle.


How to achieve the ‘clean girl aesthetic’


This step is important in order for your skin to look dewy and healthy. In a lot of the videos, women are using serums, face masks, moisturizers, and sunscreens.



Focusing on the base, blush, lips, and of course, you cannot achieve the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ without the laminated, feathered brows.

As the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ grows, you can see the impact that this trend has had on the beauty industry. 

Many makeup brands have come out with cream and lightweight products to help you achieve the ‘clean girl aesthetic’. 

Use a lightweight tinted moisturizer and some concealer for your base. 

Many of the women creating ‘clean girl aesthetic’ content are using products like the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter Complexion Booster, Kosas Revealer Concealer, and the Dior Backstage Flash Perfector Concealer to create the perfect base.

As for how to achieve the infamous ‘flushed’ look, many use cream blushes such as Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush and Tarte Breezy Cream Blush

To achieve plump lips, many use the Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil and, as of recently, lip stains such as the Fenty Beauty Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain.

Some would say the brows are the most important part of the whole look. The laminated, fluffy brow has been around for a while but it's a staple in achieving the ‘clean girl aesthetic’. 

Some popular products are the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze, Patrick Ta Major Brow Shaping Wax, and for the ones looking for a stronger hold, the got2b Glued For Brows & Edges.

Because this trend has been around since the beginning of 2022, makeup companies have come out with endless products in all price ranges to help you achieve the infamous ‘clean girl aesthetic’ look.



While every ‘clean girl’ has her own technique on how to achieve the slicked-back bun, there are a few must-have products. 

In order to get the slicked-back look, many use products such as mousse, gel, hairspray, and hair wax. 



‘Clean girl’ outfits consist of minimal staple pieces in a neutral color scheme. 

It's a mixture of athleisure paired with light accessories to elevate the look.

Pieces such as unitards, bodysuits, simple denim, and button-downs are often used. 

For accessories, gold jewelry is a must. Hoop earrings, rings, bracelets, and necklace stacking is a staple.

As for shoes, ‘dad’ sneakers have become extremely popular. The must-have ‘dad’ sneaker is the New Balance 993



What does the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ lifestyle consist of?

While there are many versions, there are some common patterns.

Living a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy, and exercising are common themes among the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ TikTok videos. 

Drinking super greens in the morning became a trend as well as taking up pilates and going on ‘hot girl walks’ or motivational walks where you listen to your favorite music and your favorite inspirational podcasts. 

Another huge part of living your life like a ‘clean girl’ and becoming ‘that girl’ is that self-care is very important. 

Self-care is unique to each and every person but if you need some ideas, check out our blog post “5 Quick and Easy Self-Care Tips for Women Who Work”.

Ultimately, the ‘clean girl lifestyle' consists of living a healthy lifestyle, and taking care of your mind and body all while working to achieve your goals and looking amazing.


5 TikTok creators who embody the ‘clean girl aesthetic’













The controversy behind the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ 

While many women live for the ‘clean girl aesthetic’, there are some that are skeptical due to the trend alienating women who don't fit into the aesthetic. Especially women of color, women with skin imperfections, plus-size women, and women with disabilities.  

Others think that the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ is nothing new. The ‘clean girl’ look involves wearing your hair in a slicked back bun with smooth edges and accessorizing with gold jewelry, especially gold hoops. 

The slicked-back hair and gold hoops were extremely popular among Latinx and Black women in the early late 90s and early 2000s. 

At the time there, was a certain stigma around wearing gold jewelry. There is a clip from season 4 of Sex and The City floating around, where Carrie Bradshaw (the fashion icon at the time) finds her engagement ring that so happens to have a gold band.

Miranda tells her “but you wear gold jewelry”, and Carrie responds to her, “Yeah, like ghetto gold for fun”.

Some women of color feel upset because when they had slicked back hair with gold hoop, it was seen as “ghetto” and now it's being rebranded as ‘clean girl aesthetic’ and the majority of women participating are white.

The new and improved ‘clean girl aesthetic’

Many creators have started speaking up against the lack of inclusivity and the cultural appropriation behind the ‘‘clean girl aesthetic. 

Creators such @Lipstickittty on TikTok are speaking up about their experiences as women of color wearing certain items used in the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ and how they were targeted for it. 

This has caused women of color to make the trend their own, making the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ more inclusive.

They’ve created their own hashtags such as #latinagirlaesthetic and #cleangirlblackgirl where other women of color can make their own ‘clean girl aesthetic’ content in a more welcoming setting.


The ‘clean girl aesthetic’ has come a long way in the past months and is now considered more than just a beauty trend, it's a lifestyle. 

The trend that was first started on TikTok has now started taking over other social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram.

Although there is some controversy behind this popular trend, you cannot deny the great impact that it’s had not only on social media but on different industries such as the beauty and fashion industry. 

This proves time and time again how much power social media holds, specifically a platform like TikTok. 


✍️ Written by Lizbeth Duarte


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