Are the clean-girls killing colour? The damages of beigification.

Ginny Oakley

The Clean Girl aesthetic has become the obsession of Gen Z, with Ugg boots being sold out from September 2022 to got2b’s hair gel being raided off of the shelves of Superdrug and Boots for the last two years. But what has happened to colour? Why is beige the new pink? Arguably, TikTok culture is the root cause for this, with millennials scrolling through their For You Pages for hours every day and the addition of TikTok shop, meaning users can quite literally stock up on their new clean girl neutrals from just the hit of a button.

So, what is the ‘Clean Girl Aesthetic’? Look around your university campus and I’m sure you will be shocked at how many clones you see. ‘Clean girls’ can be spotted by their slick ponytails, neutral clothing, and ‘clean’ makeup (another key part of the look). Linen trousers, miniature gold hoop earrings and classic French tip nails are also a must. Other accessories include an iced oat matcha latte and if you’re more of a gym-clean girl, then a yoga mat completes the look.

Who knew beige could be so fun?

How to do the best slick-back ponytail:

  1. Use a fine comb to part your hair in the middle.
  2. Scrape hair back with a styling product; hair mask, oil, or gel, ensuring you maintain the middle parting.
  3. Use a soft-back comb brush to gradually scrape hair into a ponytail, smoothing out any bumps and securing it with a tight elastic.
  4. Use hairspray to secure around the hairline and underneath the ponytail and smooth any fly-aways – add an additional hair-tie if necessary.
  5. For extra slickness, grab a (spare) toothbrush and spray with hairspray, then use this to flatten any baby hairs around your hairline.

Struggles of being a Clean Girl

The trend appears most attainable for the under-25s, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely out of reach for the over-25s! However, let’s address a few problems of the trend that cannot be dismissed.

  1. It’s ageist: the trends clearly represent a youthful, fresh-faced woman.
  2. It’s fatphobic: All clean girls are athletic, thin and prioritise their figures.
  3. It’s racist: There is a general acceptance that to be a Clean Girl, you must be white.

The influx of the Clean Girl aesthetic has led to the demise of colour. Autumnal oranges, summer corals and glitter Christmas nails are gradually fading, and the varieties of beige has become more visible than ever before. Who knew beige could be so fun?

the monotony of beige can be damaging to the growth and cognitive development of children

Celebrity influencers are definitely partly to blame, with influencers sharing and promoting the beige overload of their children’s nurseries and toys, all conforming to their neutral colour palette.

The truth is, these TikTok trends are not always pretty. The recent overload of beige has caused concerns for many, in particular – the Sad Beige Baby.

Kylie Jenner’s YouTube baby announcement ‘To Our Son’ epitomises the beige baby through the beigeification of her son’s nursery; the muted, shadowless, empty crib looks anything but inviting – especially for a child. This generation’s preoccupation with beige and aestheticism blocks out the traditional pink and blues and births newborn babies into a room of blankness. It might be aesthetically pleasant, but the monotony of beige can be damaging to the growth and cognitive development of children. Children thrive off of colour and limiting this is not only limiting their development, but even more so, it restricts the vibrant positivity associated with colour. So, take this as your sign to bring the colour back into your nursery!

Therefore, the decay of colour, the emergence of the clean girl aesthetic and the influence of TikTok have created a new Gen Z culture thriving off slick back ponytails, beige clothing and ‘clean’ makeup. The fluctuation of such trends will only foreshadow an upcoming comeback where colour will reappear and heavy makeup, thick brows and dark eyeliner will emerge on our screens once again. It’s just a waiting game!

Ginny Oakley

Featured image courtesy of The_Tonik via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 1 courtesy of @matildadjerf via No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 2 courtesy of @sophiatuxford via No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 3 courtesy of @mollymae via No changes were made to this image. 

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