We're Calling It: Grunge Makeup Will Eclipse The 'Clean Girl Aesthetic' in 2024

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Lately, we’re seeing minimalist makeup looks (like the problematic clean girl aesthetic) fade from our feeds. In its place, comes the rise of heavier makeup trends with names like "Indie Sleaze" and the "Rockstar Girlfriend Aesthetic." Yes, the emo/grunge makeup we wore in the 2010s is back and we’re predicting it’s going to be huge in the new year. And if you’re not caught up with the latest beauty trends on TikTok (we don’t blame you because they’re constantly changing), we’ll catch you up to speed now.

10 Genius Beauty Tips We Learned on TikTok

What Is Grunge Makeup?

Grunge makeup (or “Tumblr Grunge”) is the complete opposite of the clean girl aesthetic. This maximalist beauty trend focuses on full makeup looks that pack a big statement. Think: Smokey eyes, full coverage foundation and bold lips. It’s in the same vein as other beauty trends like Rockstar Girlfriend, Dark Feminine Makeup and goth makeup, as they all fall under the umbrella of darker, edgier styles. 

grunge makeup trend a model poses for fashion week
Randy Brooke/Contributor/Getty Images

Why Is It Popular Now?

OK, we’re starting to sound like a broken record here, but Y2K beauty looks have been dominating over the last few years. While grunge makeup first became popular in the ‘90s, it had a resurgence in the 2010s (hello, Jenny Humphrey and Tumblr girls). And at the Fall/Winter Fashion Week shows this year, designers like Christian Dior, Alice + Olivia and Louis Vuitton showed off grungier makeup looks alongside their collections, which has contributed to their comeback.  

grunge makeup trend a collage of wednesday, drew barrymore and rihanna
Netflix/Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Add to that celebs like Rihanna and Julia Fox, who are modern day pioneers of the grunge renaissance and the popularity of TV shows like Netflix’s Wednesday, and it’s created a perfect storm for this moody aesthetic to rise in popularity recently.  

After years of wearing nothing but “clean” and “minimalist” looks, the grunge makeup trend feels downright refreshing. As one TikTok creator pointed out in her tutorial, “Grunge was a lifestyle. One that didn’t lend itself to a polished look.” Bottom Line: As we head into a new year, we no longer want to play by the rules, especially when it comes to how we wear our makeup.

How to Wear Grunge Makeup

Similar to every beauty trend in existence, the grunge look is up for personal interpretation. It’s more fun when you make it entirely your own. But if you need some inspo to get you started, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Use matte finish products. Say goodbye to dewy looks. When it comes to grunge makeup, matte products are the way to go. Invest in mattifying products that will leave a smooth finish—from your primer to your foundation. 
  • Amp up your eye makeup. Whether you go for a smudged eyeliner look, a glitter eyeshadow, or straight brows (or all of the above), draw all the focus to your eyes. Consider using deeper hues like black, brown and gray to your lids and lash line. Then finish off your look with a few coats of voluminous mascara to really make the look pop. 
  • Don’t forget a bold lip. While your eyes are the focal point, a bold lip is just as important to nailing this trend. We love a classic red lipstick, but a brown, violet or black shade takes the grunge up a notch.
  • Add some personalized touches. To modernize the grunge look of the 90s and 2010s, some TikTok creators are adding blush contour, bleached eyebrows or freckles to complete the look. Again, experiment with the aesthetic and go as ‘grunge’ as you like.  

Now, add some side bangs, slip on your favorite band tee and you’re all set. 

Shop the trend: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Concealer ($28, Ulta); Benefit Cosmetics 2-Piece BadGal Bang Liner Set ($29, HSN); Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam II Eyeshadow Palette ($29, Ulta); Benefit Cosmetics 4-Piece Mascara Set ($40, HSN); Too Faced Born This Way Liquid Foundation ($45, HSN)

about face matte fluid eye paint review chelsea candelario

Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...