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The Perfect Aesthetic Makeup Look For You, Based On Your Back-To-School Vibe

I'm torn between fairycore makeup and the updated egirl.

Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Do you smell that? The scent of an impending return to education is beginning to seep into the air. And while that means reuniting with the friends you’ve missed all summer, the beauty of notebook shopping, and probably more than a few stress pimples, it also means that it’s time to figure out your back-to-school aesthetics, including the ideal back-to-school makeup look you’ll want to adopt. Once you decide on your overall style vibe for this year, I have the ideal makeup look that complements it.

Whether you’re back in the classroom full time or staying on Zoom, making a little time for makeup in the morning can help make you feel put-together and ready to take on the day. You don’t have to be a beauty connoisseur to recreate these looks at home, though. There are ideas for every skill level, as well as different ideas for how much makeup you like to wear, and you should feel encouraged to adapt every look in a way that makes you feel most bad*ss. If you like to keep it simple or go all out every single day, there’s something here for you.

Even if you haven’t settled on just one back-to-school vibe to commit to, you can rock these looks on a rotating schedule until you settle on one you really love. And in the TikTok era, it seems subcultures are pretty much dead, so play around with all of these until you find the aesthetic that feels the most like you — regardless of the “trend.”

From full-glam to slapped-together, these are the must-try beauty looks for all every back-to-school aesthetic.

01
The Sweetheart Makeup
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

It doesn’t get more “Gen Z sweetheart” than Olivia Rodrigo. This aesthetic involves cute matching sets, slip dresses, and dainty chains but lacks the makeup intensity of going full egirl. Instead, this look stays soft with small eyeliner wings, a good amount of light blush, a dash of highlighter in the inner corner of your eye, and a glossy lip. Oh, and don’t forget Rodrigo’s always brushed-up brows.

02
The Modern Punk Makeup
Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

I’m obsessed with the return of pop-punk and the makeup it’s brought back into the trend cycle. With your oversized graphic band-tees layered over a long-sleeved T-shirt, wear an overly dramatic eyeliner wing that’s both thick and long. If you really want to go all out, you can add a little red undersmoke eyeshadow. Since this makeup has OG Gossip Girl actor and Pretty Reckless’ Taylor Momsen’s approval, no one can call you a poser.

03
The Bratz Baddie Makeup

The Bratz baddie look is for those willing to take a little extra time with their makeup in the mornings. This is for those who can and want to stomp down the halls in heels, put the effort into fly monochromatic fits, and could be in the Gossip Girl reboot. Taking a cue from Saweetie’s look on the cover of WONDERLAND, your Bratz baddie makeup should include the works: a heavy contour, overlined and glossy lips, a smokey eye (in any and all colors), voluminous false lashes, highlighter, and sculpted brows. For most people, it’s not an everyday look, but I’m positive all the baddies out there are up to the challenge.

04
The Fairycore Softie Makeup

Although going all-out fairycore before school may be a bit too much to ask of anyone (who has time in the morning for all the glitter and florals and rhinestones?), Euphoria’s lead makeup designer and artist Donni Davy shared a multicolored, pastel eyeshadow look that will still let you still rock your soft, fairy fantasies. But, if you have the time, have at adding pearls, rhinestones, and more to adorn this delicate look. The best part is, watercolor makeup, or soft washes of muted colors across your eyes and temples, is still in, so you don’t have to worry about mastering the perfect eyeshadow shape. Let your brush lead you where it wants to go.

05
The Updated Egirl Makeup

Egirl makeup but with a twist. That’s what endlessly talented makeup artist Autumn Angelize served in the photo above. If you loved doing the full TikTok-viral makeup look but want to change it a bit for the new school year, take a cue from this look. While the makeup artist’s vibrant blush is still the star, Angelize brought it up the temples and lower on the cheeks rather than strapping it over the nose. That’s not to say, however, that her nose isn’t blushy. Rather, Angelize just gave this blush-heavy look a much-needed update.

06
The ‘70s Dreamer Makeup
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Images

What makes the return of the ‘70s so great? The makeup stylings are simple and still far out. To go with your sweater vest and bell bottoms, you can do a single, pigmented eyeshadow all over your lids. You don’t even need eyeliner technically, although, it’ll really sell the vintage edge you’re bringing if you load it on like Lily Collins did at the 2019 Met Gala. However, I would leaving the hair teasing to, maybe, two days a week.

07
The Chill Girl Makeup

Some days, you just can’t put in that much effort. So, to pair with your comfiest jeans and tossed-on sweater for your chillest days, I recommend the quickie, no-makeup makeup look: brushed-up brows, mascara, a little concealer, and a tinted lip oil. Emma Chamberlain, seasoned Internet cool girl, demonstrated this look above and added a little brown eyeshadow to her lids for extra definition. You’ll feel put together without needing more than five minutes to throw it all together.

08
The Little Prepster Makeup

Luckily, if you’re living for the return of cable-knit, polo shirts, and tennis skirts, you’ll be thrilled to know those trends aren’t going anywhere. And now, you need to go a little preppy with your makeup. For this, my mood board is exclusively filled with Madison Beer makeup. The singer’s inner eyeliner wings, soft-sculpted cheeks, and all-over glow make this look country club-ready without being too much.