TikTok‘s ‘clean girl makeup’ trend is here to stay – at least until the end of Hot Girl Summer (which let’s be real, never really ends). As I walk the sweltering streets of New York City at the very height of the summer season, the evidence is clear, buffed and blended across every face – that lit-from-within, incandescent glow is still the most coveted beauty aesthetic.

But why does this particular makeup look – characterised by a barely-there base, glossy lips and a glass skin finish – have us all in such a collective chokehold? “The ‘clean girl’ trend is essentially 2022’s answer to the no-makeup makeup look that has blown up all over TikTok,” explains founder of Ciaté London, Charlotte Knight.

Knight believes that global lockdowns contributed to a sudden appreciation for less-is-more makeup. “Many were used to not wearing much makeup at all, or if any – a very small amount – throughout the pandemic and this has been embraced and continued,” she says.

All those hours we spent using our skincare routines as a moment of respite from the chaos of the world seemingly played a role too. “Throughout the pandemic, we saw a shift in consumer behaviours as they had time to take a closer look at their current routines and see what products they actually had in their arsenal and how to condense these and make their beauty products be as beneficial to their skin as their skincare,” adds Knight.

We’re also less concerned with what were once considered imperfections, so moving towards a more natural finish seems… well, natural. “The matte makeup trend has moved on (for now!) and people are leaning into embracing what would have previously been seen as a ‘flaw’ – [such as] overgrown eyebrows or blemishes that aren’t totally concealed,” Knight says, adding, “the glow is undeniably everywhere and that’s what this look is all about.”

There’s also our current roster of It girls (think Zoë Kravitz) who prefer a more laidback makeup look, to thank. Knight agrees, saying, “Celebrity culture is still very much alive and seeing celebs such as Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner lean into a fresh, dewy look has also inspired others to take on the trend.”

If you haven’t yet tried your hand at clean girl makeup, Knight has some advice to share. “Look for products with skincare ingredients – it will bring out the inner glow as well as creating that beautiful dewy glass skin look,” she says. “When I first launched colour cosmetics into the Ciaté London brand, it was really important to me that the products were dual purpose – so yes [they were] concealing, brightening and giving a pop of colour, but they also worked with and for the skin.”

Of course, just because the clean girl makeup look is skewed towards minimalism, it doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some of the more vibrant beauty trends. Advises Knight, “You can still play around with colours – go for a darker lip oil or cheek flush so you can experiment and have fun, but it’s the sheer finish that really makes this look what it is.”

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clean girl makeup

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