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How to get soft girl aesthetic, coquettecore and mermaidcore in make up

Besides Barbiecore, three other themes are currently enjoying a lot of attention in make-up. A guide to help you achieve these looks

Arianna Grande often flaunts the soft-girl aesthetic look.
Arianna Grande often flaunts the soft-girl aesthetic look. (Courtesy Arianna Grande/Instagram)

Gone are the days when make-up trends would emerge from movies and runway shows. Today, inspirations come sources like OTT shows, TikTok and Instagram. This also means that new trends emerge every month, and make-up isn’t just restricted to what is shown on the fashion runway.

While Barbiecore is having a big comeback owing to the movie release, three other themes are enjoying a lot of attention in make-up right now: the soft girl aesthetic, coquettecore and mermaidcore.

Here’s the low-down on these inclusive makeup trends:

Also read: 7 cleansing balms and oils to remove make up easily

The soft-girl aesthetic

Among the celebrities who often flaunt this look include singer Arianna Grande, actor Sydney Sweeney and female K-pop stars.

“The soft girl aesthetic in make-up is a celebration of all things cute and girly. Your palette would consist of mainly pinks, peaches and glitter. A highlight of this look is a strong blush swept across the bridge of the nose and cheeks; think Japanese anime girls,” says Janhvi Kapoor’s make-up artist Riviera Lynn. Heavy-handed bronzer or contouring is a big no for this look.

Singer Taylor Swift is another poster girl for this look and has been serving many 2023 versions of this aesthetic as part of her new album tour. The return of Y2K fashion has played a big part in the popularity of this look.

To get the look, prep the skin well with lots of illuminator after your moisturiser, says Lynn.

Another alternative is to mix an illuminator with the foundation. “I like to use the MAC strobe cream or Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonder Glow,” says the celebrity artist. Next, apply blush. Lots of it on the apples of your cheeks, Lynn suggests. “Take it higher on to your cheekbones and also on the bridge of your nose. Use a peach or pink lip tint and try to use a darker tint in the centre of the lip, creating almost like an ombré,” says Lynn.

Straighter cat eyeliners are also a strong attribute of this look. Lynn recommends that you ditch the upturned wing liners and draw your wing straight out from the lash line to give the illusion of an elongated eye. To finish, “apply a good amount of mascara. If you’re in the mood to play, create fake freckles and you’re good to go,” says Lynn.


The fashion and make-up of this look is all things flirty, doll-like, lacy and with frills.
The fashion and make-up of this look is all things flirty, doll-like, lacy and with frills. (Courtesy Bridget Westendorf/Instagram)

The fashion and make-up of this look is all things flirty, doll-like, lacy and with frills. It takes inspiration from other recent trends such as regencycore (corsets and frills) and balletcore. “Soft girl and coquettecore are very similar when it comes to make-up. The only difference for me would be the highlighter. Use a regular, non-glitter highlighter; I love the Becca highlighter in opal. And the lips will be soft and diffused rather than juicy big,” says make-up artist Annalia Zhimomi, who is also the founder of Annalia Beauty. Think of girly soft baby doll look, she says.

Use soft, light pinks or taupe for eyeshadow. “Most importantly, use shimmer on the love bands around the eyes like the Koreans. This trick is used to appear young and Lolita-like, a very big character inspiration for this look. Tight-line your eyes to make lashes look fuller but avoid eyeliner as you want a soft feminine look and bold liners can give an edgy look,” says Zhimomi.

Use loads of soft blush on the apples of the cheeks and pull it towards half of the cheekbone as well. “Contour your nose to make it appear doll-like. Highlight the bridge of your nose to make it appear sharp and tiny, and add a bit of highlighter on the apple of the cheeks,” says Zhimomi, who also recommends Too Faced’s highlighter in canary diamond.

While butterfly clips in the hair work for the soft-girl, the coquette girl can finish with ribbons.


Megan Fox in the wet, mermaid core look
Megan Fox in the wet, mermaid core look (Courtesy Andrew Fitzsimons/Instagram)

This is one of the biggest fashion and beauty trends of 2023. Scallop hems, shell and pearl embellishments and motifs, and shiny sequins in all sizes and colours of the sea, these elements form the core of this look and it has been seen across collections on the runway. The release of the new The Little Mermaid movie is one of the major reasons for its popularity.

The often-seen wet-hair look on fashion runways is also part of the out-of-the-sea mermaidcore look. If you add extra long wavy hair extensions, you have the perfect island-girl hair, as seen on everyone from Khloe Kardashian to Megan Fox.

“Think as if you have just come out of the water, looking glamourous— wet and glossy," says Zhimomi. "Open, pulled back wet-looking hair created with strong hair gel, dewy skin, bushy gelled brows, glossy lips, cream blush and cream highlighter (like the MAC strobe cream) will give you this look. For eyeshadow, use a mix of teals, sea greens and turquoise,” suggests Zhimomi. You can also add pearl sticker accents around the eyes or even on your cheekbones to be a stylish 2023 mermaid.

Dhara Vora Sabhnani is a Mumbai-based writer.

Also read: The skincare and beauty rituals of bodybuilders


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