Even though “clean girl beauty” is supposed to seem effortless, it really requires 24/7 maintenance. No one—truly, no one—wakes up with silky-soft sun-kissed skin, feathered brows, and a flyaway-free sleek bun. Plus, in addition to being problematic, it can be kind of bland, as one Twitter user puts it, “Y’all look like factory clones.”
Luckily, there’s another aesthetic arising on TikTok for those of us that aren’t afraid to sweat our hearts out on elevated surfaces until the club closes. It’s Feral Girl Summer. First popularized by TikToker Mollie Fraser, Feral Girl Summer is the time to “wreak havoc, cause chaos, align your rodent chakras, and just completely get after it.” In other words, it’s all about embracing the mess, whether that means going on a week-long bender or just being cool with your flyaway hairs.
It also means that it’s totally okay if your eyeshadow isn’t blended to perfection and your winged liner isn’t sharp enough to cut glass. Makeup meltdown is having its moment—that smudged, lived-in look you see in the mirror when you get home at 3 AM is super on trend. Only now it has a new name: Marinated Makeup.
Indie rock musician beabadoobee is one of the major reasons this trend has been dominating our social media feeds. Search beabadoobee on Pinterest or TikTok, and you'll find an endless catalog of her signature “marinated” look: smudged-out charcoal liner, heavy helpings of faux freckles, and a subtle, bitten lip. Her dreamy, undone signature look suits her music well— her newest album, Beatopia, is a soothing medley of teen angst and folksy melodies. The look itself is an intriguing mishmash of different aesthetics. It combines fairycore’s freckles with night luxe’s bold black smokey eyes, and e-girl’s romantically overdone blush. But what distinguishes this look from other TikTok beauty trends is that it’s supposed to look like you slept in your makeup. The messier, the better.
Dominica Baird, a trend forecaster in the beauty industry, says that the rise in popularity of lived-in makeup is going against previous trends that encouraged “forced happiness and optimism” like the clean girl aesthetic does. Now that we can leave the house again, we’re all about “going out and dancing and getting back to having fun,” says Baird. She says marinated makeup is “merging the two worlds of Y2K nostalgia and the new resurgence of nightlife.”
One big caveat: letting your makeup marinate is bound to break you out— and for skincare nerds like me, no makeup look is worth clogged pores or itchy eyes. Georgia Hope, a London-based makeup artist that frequently works with beabadoobee, agrees: “Sleeping in your makeup isn’t great for your skin.” What she recommends instead: “You can achieve a similar look through different blending techniques.”
That being said, here are six simple steps you can take to get the marinated makeup look without breaking out.
1. Lube Up Your Skin
Embracing the mess also means embracing your skin’s imperfections. For this look, Hope suggests starting off with a more breathable base. She “lubricates” the skin with moisturizer and a light layer of M.A.C Face and Body Foundation—just where it’s needed. To get that glazed, sweaty look, she likes to tap cheekbones with a glossy, shimmer-free highlighter, like Danessa Myricks Clear Dew Wet Balm, for a fresh finish on the skin.
2. Fake Freckles Til You Make It
Freckles—real or faux—are essential to give off that natural, sun-kissed skin look. For those of us that turn lobster-red in the sun, it’s much easier to just draw them on. First, prep your face for freckles with a rosy cream blush (I like Glossier Cloud Paint in Storm) or a light dusting of bronzer on the apples of your cheeks and across the bridge of your nose. Then, lightly dot a freckle pen (Freck Beauty’s Freck OG is made just for this, but an eyebrow pen also works well) on and around the nose bridge and immediately tap them out for more freckles and a realistic finish.
3. Live In Your Liner
Unlike other eye makeup techniques, the marinated eye look doesn’t require that much precision or effort. “I don’t mind if the eyeliner moves a bit,” says Hope. “It’s all about letting your makeup melt into your skin.” This is your moment to channel your inner Effy Stonem. The less it looks like you tried the cooler it is. Hope suggests applying a black gel eyeliner (she likes Pat McGrath PermaGel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil) on the upper and lower waterlines and smudging the liner out with your fingers for a diffused, smokey effect. To add even more drama to the eyes, Hope layers on a black cream or liquid eyeshadow into the lower lashline, and then blends it out to get that rougher, lived-in vibe.
4. Amp Up The Lashes
Because this aesthetic is all about juxtaposing a more natural base with eyes that really pop, artfully clumpy mascara is the lash look of choice. The goal is somewhere between I-just-woke-up-from-a-really-good-nap and I-just-headlined-a-sweaty-rock-concert. Try applying a generous coat of mascara, letting it dry completely, and then building it up with a second layer. Holding the mascara wand vertically and applying a third coat onto the ends of your lashes delivers extra rocker-chic clumpiness, says Hope.
5. Bite Your Lips (or at least make it look that way)
To get the signature bitten lip look, Hope suggests softly lining the lip and buffing out the edges with a brush, then, topping it with a diffused lip color, like Glossier Ultralip in Fête, to the middle of the lips. The effect is: it’s 4 a.m. and your lipstick is almost faded away— but what’s left, paired with your natural flush, is a subtle cherry shade.
6. Let it All Marinate
Now, instead of sleeping in your makeup to get that smudgy, morning-after look, you can speed the process along with a heavy spritzing of a facial mist, like Caudalie Beauty Elixir, for a dewy finish. The rest is up to you. Allow your makeup to marinate, whether it’s at an overcrowded nightclub or on the stage like beabadoobee—it only looks better as the night goes on. Embrace the mess. After all, it is Feral Girl Summer.