What Does “Clean Girl Aesthetic” Really Mean?

If you spend time on social media platforms such as TikTok or Pinterest, you might have seen the so-called “clean girl aesthetic.” This style centers around a very minimal, no-makeup look and typically includes a slicked-back bun or ponytail, with the goal of allowing an individual’s inner beauty to take center stage. Chunky gold accessories and simple, basic clothing items (or athletic wear) round out the look, creating the overall appearance of effortless elegance and beauty. 

However, some viewers might be left wondering whether or not they can join in on this trend at all, since the influencers who have popularized it are typically the embodiment of the traditionally idealized beauty standard. A variety of users have made comments on the lack of diversity that can be found within the trend, whether that comes in the form of body size, race and ethnicity, or gender expression. 

Source: Pretty Little Thing

One of the more common complaints is the inaccessibility of the style for people who may have acne, hyperpigmentation, or any kind of skin condition that causes them to feel like they need more coverage. Is the trend, which showcases only the most flawless skin, suggesting that anything else is to be considered “dirty” by comparison? Additionally, there has been some discussion surrounding the fact that several of these elements have long been sported by women of color, and yet have only gained praise and popularity when seen on white women.

Whether or not you choose to partake in one of social media’s largest trends or not, just remember that your natural traits don’t need any modification, and that you can embrace them without needing to conform to one limited ideal of beauty!