Another day, another TikTok persona. Or at least that’s how it seems as of late. To recap, so far we’ve seen the beachy, environmentally conscious VSCO girl come to fruition, as well as her antithesis, the darker, makeup-loving e-girl (think 2020’s version of Goth). And in response to those completely opposite personas, another has arisen: the soft girl.
What is a soft girl?
For one, she’s on TikTok 24/7, typically filming indoors in her bedroom. And she’s likely partaking in the platform’s #softgirlchallenge, which arose last year and today has more than 1.1 million views. In these videos, girls morph from grunge outfits and moody facial expressions into sweet pink outfits with big smiles, playful hairdos and ultra-girly makeup. Essentially, the soft girl is the happy medium between VSCO and e-girls — she’s emanating the happy vibes VSCO girls are known for, but she’s also totally done up with the theatrical makeup and accessories that are loved by e-girls.
And what’s heartening about this aesthetic, as well as the others, is that the TikTok culture encourages Gen Zers to play with their personas. One day they can be cheerful and cute with pigtails and barrettes, the next they can be sullen with lots of eyeliner and military boots. As you scroll through the thousands of TikTok #softgirl videos and Instagram posts, the posters often say they’re switching up their look for the day, or trying out a new aesthetic — and in doing so, they’re completely avoiding the stereotypes that other generations have been entrapped in.
How to be a soft girl
Like all of the personas that have arisen on TikTok, soft girls definitely have some key traits. For one, there’s a lot of pink. Pink clothes, pink accessories and even pink hair if they’re willing to go that far. Second, unlike VSCO girls, soft girls love them some makeup and swathe their faces in a whole lot of pink blush, as well as tattoo stamps and a glossy lip. They’re also adopters of oversized clothing, from trucker jackets to super-sized sweatshirts (often worn by the original soft girl, Ariana Grande).
While the soft girl is still up and coming, this latest trend is only going to gain steam in 2020 — and she’ll probably create some spinoff personas in her wake, too. Follow our guide to become more familiar with the vibe, and who knows, you might even find some products for yourself, too.
Soft girl hair
Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Star Glitter Mist ($16; nordstrom.com)
Pink hair, don’t care. Soft girls show the most commitment to their look when they’re rocking rose-hued tresses, and this temporary sparkle spray is a great way to test out the color. Looking for something longer lasting? Try the semi-permanent dye from the same brand.
GirlZone Hair Chalk 10-Piece Set ($15.99, originally $24.99; amazon.com)
If you’re not ready to go full-on pink all over, this top-rated hair chalk allows you to literally draw colored streaks onto your strands.
L. Erickson 5-Pack Barrettes & Bobby Pins ($18; nordstrom.com)
Barrettes are the key hair accessory for soft girls, sometimes placed at each temple, sometimes placed all over the head! This five-pack of bubblegum pink barrettes and bobby pins is perfect for all her hair needs.
Lele Sadoughi x LoveShackFancy Knotted Headband ($59.50, originally $89.50; shopbop.com)
An on-trend topknot headband that comes in pink plaid? Two birds, one accessory!
Cridoz 12-Piece Acrylic Resin Hair Barrettes ($9.99; amazon.com)
Because soft girls can never, ever have too many barrettes — they often snap them onto their jeans pockets, too — this backup 12-pack is a good investment.
Days Of The Week Scrunchie Set ($8, originally $12; urbanoutfitters.com)
Scrunchies are back in a big way this year, and this sweet set of soft pink patterns and fabrics is right up every soft girl’s alley.
Soft girl makeup
Milk Makeup Tattoo Stamp ($12; sephora.com)
Like e-girls, soft girls love playing with their makeup — and that includes drawing hearts and stars around their faces. This tattoo stamp comes in six different shapes, takes the difficulty factor down a few notches, and looks super professional, too.
Freck Beauty OG Freckle Pen ($22; urbanoutfitters.com)
Jan Brady would be pleased to know that freckles are very in right now — so much so that soft girls who don’t have them naturally now have a go-to pen to add them to their visages.
Too Faced Love Flush Blush ($28.50; nordstrom.com)
Pink blush is a key component in the soft girl look, and this heart-shaped compact from ultra-girly beauty brand Too Faced is the perfect choice. The more on her cheeks, the better!
Glossier Cloud Paint ($18; glossier.com)
For a deeper blush, Glossier’s Cloud Paint is lightweight but creates a dense, glowing-from-within look.
Hard Candy Look Pro Eyeshadow Palette in Desert Fever ($9.96; walmart.com)
With shades like hot pink, pastel pink, pink glitter, yellow, lilac and more, consider this the soft girl dream.
Urban Decay Hi-Fi Shine Ultra Cushion Lip Gloss ($20; nordstrom.com)
You’re not a soft girl without the signature pink lip, and this super-shiny, long-lasting gloss from Urban Decay has multiple shades that will work. We’re personally partial to subtle shimmer in the shade Pink Slip.
Soft girl outfit ideas
Mavi High Waist Mom Jeans ($118; nordstrom.com)
While mom jeans may have been one of the funniest “Saturday Night Live” spoof skits ever, the jeans of yore are back big time, and TikTokers near and far are pairing them with tiny tees and tucked in turtlenecks.
Missguided Pink Plaid Mini Skirt ($34; missguidedus.com)
Like Cher in “Clueless,” soft girls love them some pink plaid, especially if it comes in the form of a teensy weensy mini skirt.
Faithfull The Brand Vaneda Top ($149; shopbop.com)
When we said they love pink plaid in all its forms, we meant it.
Eyeye Denim Belted Trucker Jacket ($288; urbanoutfitters.com)
While soft girls appreciate showing some skin, they also love covering up — and a trucker jacket in a soft pink hue is the perfect way to do so.
Superga Women’s 2790 Acotw Fashion Sneaker (starting at $44.98; amazon.com)
A clean white sneaker is the perfect soft girl accessory to those all-pink outfits, and they’ll never go wrong with this classic from Superga, updated with a platform sole.
Rad + Refined Tinted Heart Shaped Sunglasses ($68; nordstrom.com)
Epitomizing the sweetness that soft girls exude, these heart-shaped glasses from Rad + Redefined — if you haven’t checked out their vacation style you need to immediately — will be her go-to all summer long.
Agolde Charli Oversize Denim Jacket ($198; nordstrom.com)
Oversized denim jackets are going to be the “it” accessory of the summer, and this one from Agolde is the gold standard. Featuring a light wash, the made-in-the-USA jacket gives off easy breezy vibes, partly because it’s made of recycled and organic cottons.
UO Clara Teddy Moto Jacket ($99; urbanoutfitters.com)
No surprise here: Soft girls are obsessed with super-soft fashions, and this teddy jacket (in pink, natch), mixes cozy fleece with the structured style of a moto.
UO Willow Fuzzy Drawstring Teddy Jacket ($49, originally $69; urbanoutfitters.com)
For a more affordable option, this one comes in a similar super-cozy plush fabric with a more athletic silhouette, but still in soft girl-approved pink.
Levi’s LMC Oversized Mock Neck Fleece Sweatshirt ($148; shopbop.com)
Ariana Grande kicked off the huge sweatshirt trend and it’s nowhere near fading. We love the washed-out hue on this supersized version from Levi’s.
Truly Madly Deeply Baby Animal Baby Tee ($34; urbanoutfitters.com)
If cutesy is the look they’re going for, this cropped tee — complete with two tiny kittens — is the answer.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.