Here’s Why 2024 Will See The Fall Of The Clean Girl

Clean girl

2023 saw the rise of a flurry of aesthetics, we’re talking about vanilla, strawberry, tomato, rich and party girl, and, of course, clean or ‘that’ girl. On most days, like a regular Internet resident, I love playing around with these–when I’m feeling basic I cosplay as a vanilla girl, but on a regular, I’m a party girl. These aesthetics are all fun and games but I have a bone to pick with one in particular, the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic or the people being in their ‘that girl’ era.

The rising popularity of clean girl

There’s no denying that since the pandemic, wellness has become a massive priority for most of us. We’ve learnt to centre our lives around finding peace in structured routines and pushing ourselves to improve each day. In the quest for this, the ‘clean’ girl was born. She is everything you’ve ever aspired to be. She wakes up at the crack of dawn, practices yoga and makes the most delicious smoothie bowls. Nobody organises their schedule like she does, she even colour codes her planner and is always prepared for everything. Her aesthetic is minimal and fresh with her hair pulled back in a sleek bun. Her skin is always radiant and clear with a subtle flush of colour on the cheeks and she has dreamy lashes. So essentially, she’s a ‘perfect’ girl with her life in order.

When it comes to beauty aspect of clean girl aesthetics, Hailey Bieber has been the loud and proud flag-bearer of this trend with her glazed skin, strawberry cheeks and pulled-back hair. It’s no secret that this was the most-followed trend last year with over a billion views on social media. The clean girl dominated our lives and pushed us to a longing for toxic perfection with clean skin, perfectly straight hair, overly healthy eating habits and a conventionally attractive body. The existence of the clean girl forces us to curate a lifestyle that is unattainable and one that makes you conform to unnecessary ideals.

We need to admit, that it’s problematic

When wellness is practised because it’s trending and not because it will better your life in more ways than one, that’s when the stop button needs to be pushed. As someone who prioritises fitness a lot, a part of me was happy with the way fitness in its different forms made its way to everyone’s lives, albeit through a trend. However, the rise of the ‘clean girl’ makes us ponder about the existence of, a dirty girl. Indirectly, the clean girl trend calls everything that doesn’t fall under its purview, dirty. The unhealthy idea of being flawless with all that we do doesn’t set the best precedent. The ideology of wanting to be the best at everything without any room for mistakes is no way to live at all.

The newest aesthetic on the block

Enter, the-whoever-you-want-to-be girl. Not bound by the shackles of carefully curated routines and pushy wellness ideologies, this girl is the antithesis of its sister, the clean girl. She isn’t afraid to hit the snooze button on her alarm and miss out on a workout. She enjoys her smoothie bowls and also doesn’t shy away from gorging on a greasy pizza. On some days you will find her sporting a full face of makeup with an elaborate hairstyle while on some days you will find her bare-faced with frizzy hair.

She lives a life that allows her to enjoy things at her pleasure—she’ll go out on a Friday night, she’ll have some leftover pasta for breakfast and miss her workout. However, the next day, she will complete everything on her to-do list, get in her daily routine, follow her elaborate skincare routine and even squeeze in a workout. By balancing the pressure for perfection with the idea of experimenting with your lifestyle and beauty choices, this girl revolts against every ‘aesthetic’ that exists. The whoever-you-want-to-be-girl doesn’t follow trends and aesthetics aimlessly but shapes her life and routines as she deems fit.

- Beauty Writer


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