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E-girl Beauty
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A little bit bondage, a little bit baby: E-girl make-up and hair explained


TextAlex Peters

What is E-girl make-up and how to get the look yourself

E-girls are the natural evolution of scene kids for an internet generation who grew up online and have swapped MySpace for TikTok. Though the term itself has been around for more than a decade – an insult hurled at female gamers online – thanks to TikTok it has taken on new meaning in the last year. 

To be an E-girl is to exist digitally, mediated by a screen, by a filter, by an app. And the look pulls heavily from internet, particularly Tumblr, aesthetic as well as taking elements from the biggest cultural scenes of the last few decades: skate culture, hip-hop, anime, cosplay, BDSM, and goth. Throw in some Hello Kitty, dog collars, Depop mesh shirts, and the “I’m Baby” meme and blend until smooth. Think early Grimes mixed with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and a touch of Sailor Moon if she was into kink and harnesses. 

Running throughout the E-girl aesthetic is a strong motif of infantilising innocence – little girls with pigtails and little pink noses. Their signature technique of piling blush on the nose so it looks, as Doja Cat put it, like they just woke up, blew their nose and have pneumonia, has become a defining part of the look. Is she a bit sunburnt? Is she shy? You can’t tell but she probably needs looking after either way. 

But there’s also a punk nihilism, a cutesy, cartoony brightness, and that darker ever-present hint of bondage. “Being sexual as a girl isn’t a bad thing, but most E-girls aren’t trying to be sexualised. We’re trying to show that there isn’t just the innocent girl and the thot,” eighteen-year-old Kayleigh, a Nashville-based E-girl told Dazed last year.

The make-up reflects this mix of influences. The piled-on blush around the nose and cheeks that toes the line between youthful glow and sickly snuffle, with a dose of Kawaii anime embarrassment, is usually found in standard blush shades like pinks and corals but you can also experiment with greens, blues, or purples for a more extreme version. Fake freckles are also often dotted across the face. This can be achieved using the faux freckle pens that have been cropping up recently from brands like Freck, Lime Crime, and ColourPop. Brow products like Glossier Brow Flick or brown liquid eyeliners can also be used and some people go one step further by creating a semi-permanent look with henna. 

Alongside the freckles, small face tattoos in cute shapes are a must. These hearts, stars, or small crosses are often placed below the eye or high on the cheekbones and can be created using tattoo stamps offered by Milk Makeup which come in all kinds of shapes from astrological signs to peace and ying yang symbols. You can also free hand it with any liquid eyeliner you have lying around to create your own personalised shapes.

Eyes are usually winged with heavy liner to accentuate or create that big doll-eyed effect and packed with pastel eyeshadow, extra points if it is frosty and iridescent. Lips can range between a sharp dark liquid lip to a more blurred mussed up lip. Or you can keep the attention on your eyes and nose with a simple clear gloss.   

For the hair, it’s simple: the brighter the better. Box-dyed, rainbow colourful, and always changing, E-girl hair ranges from lime green to neon pink and purple. Colourful bangs or half-and-half split dyed styles are also popular. Brands like Bleach London, Manic Panic and Fudge offer many different colourful options. Why not try Bleach shades ‘Green Juice’ or ‘Awkward Peach.’ Once you’ve got the colour, section your hair into ponytails either with all your hair or Spice Girl style with two mini-half ponies and secure with scrunchies and lots of colourful hair clips.

Here are some of our favourite E-girl beauty looks.

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