E-girl makeup: Everything to know about the faux freckled, heavily-rouged faces on Instagram and TikTok

E-girl makeup: Everything to know about the faux freckled, heavily-rouged faces on Instagram and TikTok

Break the Internet

Text: Emily Heng

Image: Instagram | @dojacat

As much as it pains us to say this, we've been hanging about the Internet for a while now. No, that's not an invitation to start guessing the median age of the Buro. Singapore team —just know that it's long enough that we've witnessed the comings and goings of multiple subcultures borne on social media platforms. There was the Instagram baddie, of course; she of bold brows, matte lipstick, and gravity-defying falsies. Then there was the gloss-wearing, scrunchie-toting, Victoria's Secret-scented VSCO girl.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the dawn of a new decade brings a fresh figure to the forefront. Enter: the e-girl. Short for "electronic girl," she is the highly connected, social media savvy youngin' that would (probably) roll her eyes at you if you deign to ask her about dabbing. A regular user of TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, she is fluent in the latest memes, artistes, and irony; is rarely seen without cutesy barrettes or brightly dyed hair; and maintains an iron-clad grip on her phone when emerging from the safety of her sanctuary (i.e. her room). And that's just the tip of the iceberg, really.

So, what is e-girl beauty?

The typical trappings of your average e-girl include copious amounts of blush, candy-coloured locks, and sweet motifs ranging from hearts to stars — most of which is doodled on to their mien using eyeliner. It is an aesthetic largely inspired by video games, anime, and Asian culture (think K-pop and J-pop, even), where they harbour marked similarities to emo and punk culture, except with a cutesy twist.

Though cutesy, that is not all to the subculture. According to popular TikToker — and self-proclaimed e-girl, Jessica Fisher — it is an aesthetic that contains an element of BDSM and kink. Think about it: pigtails, pink blush, and doodles are all indicators of youthfulness. There is no sexual connotation attached to it when viewed singularly. Things change, however, when it is paired with harnesses, lollipops, and suggestive posing aka the garb of choice for e-girls. Together, it presents a narrative that is reminiscent of a hypersexualised child. Problematic? Perhaps. And yet, it is also empowering, in a sense.

You see, unlike the slew of VSCO girls and Instagram baddies regularly spotted out-and-about at Coachella and clubs, e-girls are rarely spotted — or pictured, even — beyond their rooms. A quick scroll through Instagram and TikTok confirms this, with many a selfie and video shot indoors or framed in cropped, tight close-ups where viewers are unable to discern the background. Bearing this in mind, it is clear to see that the e-girl style serves as more of a kind of experimentation; a "costume" instead of an identity that one will be required to assume 24/7. For young tweens still figuring out how they'd like to present themselves to the world, it's a godsend, of sorts — a way to try on a new personality without having to commit to it beyond the confines of their home.

What should be in your e-girl starter kit?

Now that you know how to spot an e-girl in her natural habitat (online), here's a handy arsenal of tools you'll need to become one. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?