Why Is TikTok So Obsessed With ‘Clear’ Magnificence?

I’m not on TikTok for the beauty trends – shocking, from someone who writes about beauty for a living, I know. I’m really just there for the memes and a break from Instagram’s unwavering, manufactured perfection.

But everywhere I turn (uh, scroll) I come across videos of “clean” beauty tutorials that smell of the same unattainable perfection. Not “clean” as with clean ingredients, clean as in appearance itself, which usually consists of straight hair combed back, skin that’s glowing enough to dazzle passers-by, and very minimal makeup with clean complexion products, light mascara, and a little some tinted lip balm.

If you search for #cleanlook on TikTok, you can find hundreds of videos, mostly tutorials, that garner more than 22 million views. The clean look can be found on almost every A-list model these days. It seems to be the off duty hair and makeup of choice for Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, and the like. Here’s the part that gets you mad at me: it bores me to death.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping makeup and hairstyling minimal at all, so if that’s your game, you do it (heck, I do it all the time). It’s the fact that the internet is so intrigued, especially by the “clean look” that sets me up. Because, all of you, it’s literally a repackaged version of makeup with no makeup, and that shit has always been around. Nothing new or revolutionary happens here.

When I realized that, everything clicked: People don’t ask for tutorials with a clean look because they don’t understand how combed hair works or that there is tinted sunscreen. That’s because the primary people who go viral or are known to mimic the clean look have straight or wavy hair, clear skin, naturally full brows, and – you guessed it – young, white (or fair skinned) , thin and conventional are attractive.

If you ask me, the world can’t get over this so-called new trend because people are subconsciously concerned that little other than hair gel, mascara, and lip balm won’t make them look supernaturally hot. The trend seems to be less about the makeup itself than about the illusion of filter-free flawlessness (which doesn’t exist).

It annoys me as much as when a size four celebrity like Dakota Johnson steps out in jeans, a basic top and black boots and is automatically considered a style icon. Is this outfit really cross-border or do their appearance-based privileges make it appear as such in the eyes of tabloids and social media?

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