Since its inception, social media has played a powerful role in shaping makeup trends and popular clothing styles. And of course, TikTok is no exception.
As one of the world’s fastest-growing social media platforms, TikTok has inspired an entirely new generation of subcultures, each with their own language, personas and aesthetics. These subcultures act as an identifier, the same way that previous generations had goths, punks, jocks, preppies or emo kids.
First we had VSCO girls — beachy, eco-conscious girls who opt for a pared-back look. These girls reach for skincare over makeup (if any makeup at all).
Then came e-girls — these girls are “very online.” They maintain a colourful yet emo aesthetic heavily inspired by anime and K-Pop.
Now, a lesser-known aesthetic is taking center stage, completing the trifecta of TikTok girl aesthetics: the soft girl.
Soft girls are this generation’s girly-girl. But rather than donning hot pink leopard print and bedazzled accessories, the soft girl is hyper-feminine in a dreamy, playful (and tbh less tacky) kinda way.
Urban Dictionary describes a soft girl as “nice to everyone,” “approachable” and the “polar opposite” to an e-girl. Her aesthetic is youthful and innocent. She wears pastel colours, lip gloss, lots of blush, pigtails, hair clips, headbands and will sometimes paint cutesy drawings on her face like faux freckles or clouds.
Though not a completely new aesthetic (soft girl vibes have been floating around Tumblr for years), the subgroup wasn’t fully actualised until 2019 when it seemed to jump from Tumblr to TikTok to Instagram in a matter of months.
It’s since become a popular style amongst some of social media’s biggest influencers who have adapted it to suit a more wearable, everyday look.
So if you’re looking for a bit of girly inspo, or just love seeing this dreamy aesthetic on your Instagram feed, here are some of our favourite soft girls to follow.
Rachel Tee Tyler
Based in Sydney, Australia, Rachel Tee Tyler mixes soft girl vibes with Y2K aesthetic. Follow her IG for outfit inspo and her YouTube channel for makeup tutorials inspired by popular TikTok trends.
Queensland-darling Brooke Styles is the ultimate femme soft girl. Follow her IG for fun, positive lifestyle content and her TikTok for soft girl makeup inspo— including her ‘Modern Day Character’ series where she transforms herself into characters from her favourite fairytales.
Caroline Carr is a beauty influencer based in Texas. She combines soft aesthetic with her love of cosplay to create a quirky, fun look that’s captivated over 4 million fans across social media. Follow her IG for a glimpse into her daily life and her TikTok for a bit of everything.
Nicole AKA Nico1eodeon is another soft girl with a massive following on TikTok
(over 700K!). Follow her IG for wearable, everyday soft girl lewks and follow her TikTok for some fire POV content.
Lily AKA DouxFairy incorporates her love of pink into her sweet-as-candy soft aesthetic. Follow her IG for street style inspo and her YouTube channel for soft girl transformation content, including hair, makeup and outfits.
Sophie Suchan serves up elevated soft aesthetic— perfect for the soft girl working a 9-5. Think: Elegant, tailored and chic. Follow her IG for style inspo and her TikTok for easy hair, makeup and outfit hacks.
Jo AKA BamItsJoanne is a style blogger who combines simple 90s fashion with soft girl aesthetic. Follow her IG for retro-inspired style paired with timeless pieces and natural soft girl makeup looks.
Lyssy Noel mixes soft girl vibes with her love of gaming for the ultimate cutesy gamer-girl aesthetic. Follow her IG for colourful makeup content and her TikTok for makeup transformations and lip-syncing.
*Googles how to paint clouds on face.*