The ultimate guide to clean girl makeup

The further we get into the 2020s, the further we stray from the full-glam makeup look. Chunky eyebrows, heavy foundation and a powdery matte finish are going out of style. The internet has jumped on the self-love train, and now, the natural, dewy, no-makeup-makeup-look is *all* the rage. 

@angelieblush Espero les gusteeee🫶🏼 #cleanmakeuplook #makeuptutorial #everydaymakeup #beauty #lanadelrey ♬ original sound - liv ❥

Not only is this type of makeup quick and simple to achieve, but it also highlights areas of natural beauty. It is very versatile—you can wear it on a dinner date with your crush, out to brunch with besties or in your next IG photo shoot. If you're unsure of where to start, have no fear! Here is the ultimate guide to clean girl makeup. 

Pre-makeup prep

Glow Recipe toner | The Ordinary eye serum | Laneige lip mask | Glow Recipe moisturizer | Peace Out Acne patches | Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi drops | First Aid Beauty ultra repair cream | Supergoop unseen sunscreen 

To achieve the clean girl look, preparing your skin before applying makeup is the most important step. First, a light SPF sunscreen will protect your skin and prevent future aging. Next, use a moisturizer to keep your skin dewy and hydrated. Trying to keep it simple? Stop here.

If you want to go the extra mile, layer on a serum, eye cream or spray-on toner. Another extra (but amazing) addition to this skincare routine is a lash serum to ensure your eyelashes grow out long and healthy.

The base

Charlotte Tilbury setting powder | Rare Beauty concealer | Ilia skin tint | Hourglass setting powder | Charlotte Tilbury foundation | Beauty Blender powder puff | Kosas concealer 

Unlike past makeup trends, the clean girl look does not completely change the texture or color of your face. Base makeup, including foundation and concealer, should be light and natural, providing a sleek, bright and glowy canvas for the rest of your routine. Foundation is typically thin and easily blendable, although some skip it altogether.

As for concealer, the shade should be light enough to brighten and lift your face but still match your skin tone. Concealer placement is also imperative to lifting the face and highlighting your natural beauty. In this case, less is more. Try putting small dots under your eyes, on the very outside of your eye, between your brows, on the sides of your nose and over any redness. Blend with a beauty blender, brush or even your finger. 

Although used minimally, powder helps to lock in your makeup to ensure it lasts all day. Use a triangle-shaped powder puff to lightly set under your eyes, on the sides of your nose and over any other spots of concealer.

For an extra touch, try adding some fake freckles around the nose and cheeks. If you want to highlight your natural freckles, simply place some product on top to really accentuate them. Don't have a false-freckle product? It is totally OK to improvise using brown eyeliner or a small brush and cream contour. 


updated ‘clean girl’ makeup routine 🫶🏼

♬ Hrs and Hrs - Muni Long

Blush, contour and highlight

Charlotte Tilbury highlight wand | Rare Beauty blush | Makeup by Mario highlighter | Pixi blush | Dior glow face pallete | Milk Makeup contour stick | Charlotte Tilbury contour wand

Contour is used to shape and lift your face. There are tons of different types: cream, stick and powder. Depending on your preference, they can all can be used to create a clean face of makeup. Try putting it right below your cheekbones, on the sides of your nose, the very bottom of your nose, on your jawline and right below your brow bone. Your contour shade should be slightly darker than your face but not too dark where it looks unnatural.  

Blush has made a huge comeback in this new wave of beauty. Instead of placing it on the apple of your cheek (which drags your face down), try placing it higher on your cheekbone and on the tip of your nose for a fresh look. Use a dusty or bubblegum pink color during the day. At night, use a deeper red shade. Cream products will create a more dewy effect, while powders are good if you have oily skin.

Want that extra glow? Apply a warm, golden highlighter to the top of your cheekbone, inner eye corner, brow bone and the tip of your nose. 

Eyes and Lips

Loreal Telescopic mascara | Thrive Cosmetics liquid lash extensions mascara | Too Faced eyeshadow palette | Tarte lip plump gloss | Makeup by Mario lip gloss | Hourglass lip gloss | Benetint lip tint

Eyes and lips are the focal points of any clean girl makeup look. As for eyes, mascara, eyeshadow and eyeliner all play a role. 

Eyeshadow is very minimal. Neutral shades are best: light pinks, browns and cream colors. For a fancier look, try a neutral shade with a little bit of shimmer. 

For eyeliner, a thin brown or black wing is the way to go. To get a snatched cat-eye, outline your inner corner and continue the line along your waterline, into a sharp wing.  

Mascara is the finishing touch to all of this. Clean girl makeup loves a good long lash moment. 

And don't forget to perfect your pout: The main goal of any clean girl lip product is to plump and gloss. This can be achieved through a lip-plumping gloss, lip liner or lip tint! 

If you use any of these tips, tag us @girlslifemag

Slider image: @beyondthevanity_
Top image: @aliciarosebreuer


by Frankie Smith | 8/10/2023