The Hypocrisy of this Viral Trend + How to Reclaim It Using Latinx-Owned Brands
By Shayna Gonsalves
From social media to the most recent runways at New York Fashion Week, the so-called “Clean Girl Aesthetic” can be found as several iterations as a now mainstream trend. Luminous, so-dewy-it-looks-wet skin, coupled with sleek, slicked back hair, is now considered high-fashion enough to be spotted at the spring/summer ‘23 shows of powerhouse brands such as Altuzarra, Eckhaus Latta and Fendi. It was not long ago however, that this look was ostracized for being “greasy” and lowbrow, directly criticizing the Black and Latinx women who originally pioneered it in the 80s and 90s.
Too often are trends only accepted once they have become white-washed enough to be seen as mainstream. A meticulously pulled back low bun with a sleek center part, bare but glowing skin and minimal gold jewelry is nothing new, but it wasn't until the Biebers, Hadids, and TikTok models of the world adopted the trend that it became covetable.
“Too often are trends only accepted once they have become white-washed enough to be seen as mainstream.”
Even the name itself, “Clean Girl,” is problematic, insinuating that there is a dichotomy between what is clean and good vs. dirty and bad; that the epitome of feminine beauty is clean, polished, and effortlessly maintained. The centering of European beauty standards at the core of this trend is easy to overlook unless you have been part of a marginalized community yourself, in which case it is glaring, especially when trying to find the right shade of skin tint at accessible price points.
It is easy to wonder why you should try to be “That Girl”, when there are so many issues regarding its cultural appropriation, yet there is some validity in viewing this grown up model-off-duty look that is light on the makeup, heavy on the skin and hair care, as a version of self care. Eschew the enforcing Euro-centric beauty standards and instead work toward your personal version of glowy skin and extending your wash days, accepting your imperfections whatever they may be, and working with what you’ve got.
Turn Clean Girl completely on its head and call it what it really is - minimal makeup and a strong skincare routine that allows you to grant yourself a few moments of calm in the morning and evening regardless of how hectic your day may be.
If you want to play with the trend or just revamp your beauty routine, we look to step away from abject appropriation and reclaim the Clean Girl vibe by turning to products from our favorite Latinx-owned and founded brands.
FOR YOUR FACE
Ere Perez - natural skincare and makeup utilizing gentle ingredients like beets, carrots, and papaya that will make you look lit from within
Gloryscent - pro-melanin skin care for healthy, radiant skin
Joanna Vargas - for clean, luxury skincare that has set industry standards
Joaquin Botánica - skincare crafted from clinically proven botanicals
Leland Francis - luxury, non-toxic and vegan skincare
Macabalm - the perfect multipurpose balm to be used from everything from highlighting to slugging
Vamigas - clean skincare with natural botanicals and ingredients sourced from Latin America, heavy on the oils which are perfect for a #CleanGirlAesthetic glow
FOR YOUR HAIR
Bomba Curls - products using generational beauty secrets and utilizing natural ingredients like coffee, rosemary, and castor oil
Nolé - shampoo and conditioner bars made from clean ingredients in plastic-free packaging
Nopalera - natural hair care from Mexico
Rizos Curls - all the products you could need for curls, coils, waves, and every pattern in-between
FOR AN EFFORTLESS MANICURE
Chillhouse - for when you need a chip-free mani in a pinch