We’ve seen a dozen takes on minimalistic trends this year, the most recent being the vanilla girl aesthetic makeup trend. Think neutral cashmere, creamy coffee, a beige claw clip, gold jewelry, soft slippers and muted makeup. This aesthetic makeup “trend is a new branch of minimalism that we’re seeing. It’s a trend based on the aesthetic of looking effortlessly cool,” says celebrity makeup artist Hannah Martin. She notes that the trend extends into fashion and interior aesthetics. Bobbi Brown Cosmetics national makeup artist Michele Shakeshaft describes the trend as “fresh with a focus on glowing skin. It evokes a feeling of cozy, confident and chic but with minimal effort.” Martin notes that the trend emulates spring, so she can see it sticking around.
It’s worth discussing that the word vanilla makes the trend sound exclusionary, and this isn’t helped by the fact that when you search the trend on TikTok, it’s largely blonde white women blinking back at you. However, Shakeshaft has a holistic take on the trend that anyone can latch on to. “It’s all about embracing the natural look with minimal products,” she explains. If you look at the definition of vanilla when used as an adjective in the dictionary, it means “having no special or extra features; ordinary or standard,” although its colloquial connotations can be otherwise. Honestly, we see the trend as being basic but in a good way.
What the vanilla girl aesthetic makeup entails
There is a lot that goes into the vanilla girl aesthetic, from accessories to interior design, but we’re here to talk about makeup. According to Shakeshaft, the trend is all “about enhancing the glow of the skin and the natural features of the face.” The overall idea is to look “healthy and natural as if you’ve had a full night’s sleep and are naturally glowing from within,” explains Martin.
The trend is rooted in looking like yourself but a bit more polished, so the makeup isn’t too excessive. “The aim here isn’t to drastically change your appearance or focus on any one feature,” says Martin. She explains that it involves “toning down redness in the skin, shaping the brows, curling the lashes and creating that lift, brightening the under eye, adding a little warmth to the skin with bronzer and blush and hydrating the lips to create a classy, natural look.”
How to achieve the vanilla girl aesthetic look from lips to eyes
When it comes to use from your makeup bag for this aesthetic, you call the shots. “Choose products that will perfect the skin, boost glow and enhance the features of the face that make you feel the most confident,” says Shakeshaft. Of course, skin care should kick off any makeup look. Shakeshaft suggests Vitamin Enriched Face Base ($60) as a base, which acts as both a moisturizer and a primer.
Following skin care, Martin says to start with a light dewy base—think skin tint or tinted moisturizer. She says blush is a crucial part of this look, noting that you may have to test a few to find the perfect hue for your complexion. “Blush is best at lifting and plumping when it’s used on the high points of the face, so make sure it’s applied to the top of the cheeks” says Martin. She prefers applying buildable powder blush with Hannah Martin x Ciaté London 24-Piece Professional Brush Collection ($199).
Light mascara is all you need on the eyes—a coat or two will do. Fill in any sparse areas in the brow with the tip of a pencil, like Micro Brow Pencil ($35) “to create fine, hair-like details on the brow, so the brow looks perfect and not drawn on,” says Shakeshaft. The lips are an important final touch. Martin notes that those on TikTok are currently loving lip oils. “They offer a slight tint but ultimately deliver hydration to create a natural plump.” Lip gloss can work as well.