Dark Academia To E-Girl: Which TikTok Subculture Should You Belong To?

Subcultures aren't dead, they're all on TikTok. It may feel as though emos, scene kids and Tumblr girls slowly disappeared from every corner of the internet but they were simply carving out a new niche for themselves over on the video sharing app. In fact, the past year has seen TikTok spawn and nurture an abundance of cool and curious aesthetics and communities. You've no doubt heard of cottagecore, goblincore and cabincore...
For the most part, TikTok's subcultures are defined by their taste in music, cinema and literature. But it's the imagery — in particular sartorial choices and mainly hair and makeup — which creates a very specific and iconic identity, propelling them to viral status. Ahead, we enlisted industry makeup artist Zoë Moore and photographer Simone Steenberg to celebrate TikTok's most imaginative aesthetics through a series of creative yet wearable beauty looks. From e-girls to TikTok witches, which circle do you belong to?
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Fairycore takes its cue from cottagecore (an aesthetic inspired by the charming countryside and romance) but the micro-movement is embedded in folklore and fantasy, as nailed by TikToker @darciadele. If faux pixie ears are a step too far for you, think a smattering of sun-kissed freckles, iridescent colours reminiscent of butterfly wings, and heaps of sparkle (or fairy dust, if you will).
ghd Gold Hair Straightener, £149, ghd, L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.ART Pli Shaper, £16.50, Feelunique, Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream, £60, ASOS, Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer, £14.60, Cult Beauty, Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer, £36, Boots, Guerlain Precious Light Concealer, £36, John Lewis, Freck Faux Freckle Cosmetics Neutral, £17, Beauty Bay, NARS Liquid Blush in Torrid, £26, Cult Beauty, Milk Makeup Color Chalk in Skip It, £14, Cult Beauty, Holographic Stars, £1.75, eBay, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze, £24, Cult Beauty, Trinny London Lip Glow in Bella, £16, Trinny London, Huda Beauty Obsession Pastel Eyeshadow Palette Mint, £27, Feelunique.
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TikTok's obsession with the occult has cultivated a congregation of witches — and not the frightening kind. Witchtok will allow you to nurture your spiritual side with positive affirmations, keeping journals to explore lucid dreams and spells which manifest love and success, like TikToker and hereditary witch @clementinekruczynski2. The aesthetic is just as mystical: makeup looks influenced by the colour and texture of crystals, flickering candlelight and an abundance of fauna and flora.
Boucleme Super Hold Styler, £18, Feelunique, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, £49, Cult Beauty, KVD Beauty Good Apple Skin Perfecting Foundation Balm, £29, Cult Beauty, Shiseido Synchro Skin Self Refreshing Concealer, £30, Space NK, Ciaté London Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm, £22, Feelunique, KVD Beauty Super Pomade Brow Pigment in White Out, £19, Boots, NudeStix Magnetic Luminous Eye Colour in Queen Olive, £20, Beauty Bay, MAC Pigment in Deep Blue Green, £17.50, MAC, Rimmel Wonder'swipe Eyeliner to Eyeshadow in Kha-Ching, £4.99, Superdrug, Eylure Enchanted Lashes in Stars In Their Eyes (customised), £6.99, falseeyelashes.co.uk, MAC 3D Brass Gold Glitter, £17.50, Jarrold, Glossier Lip Gloss, £11, Glossier.
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Ever since ABBA joined TikTok and Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" became one of the top sounds, the app's beauty enthusiasts have swapped '90s grunge and Y2K trends for full-on '70s glamour. Blown out waves, beautiful big afros, curtain bangs and bold swathes of pastel eyeshadow reign supreme among glossy lips and layers of bronzer. Embrace your inner bohemian flower child.
ghd Classic Curl Tong, £129, ghd, Kristin Ess Soft Shine Beach Wave Spray, £12, Boots, Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint, £39, Cult Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer, £24, Feelunique, Lumene Invisible Illumination Water Colour Bronzer, £22.50, Lookfantastic, NudeStix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze in Sunset Strip, £28, Cult Beauty, Tom Ford Shade & llluminate, £64, Feelunique, Pat McGrath Labs Mothership I Eyeshadow Palette in Subliminal, £115, Net-A-Porter, Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Beguile, £17, Illamasqua, Armani Eyes To Kill Designer Eyeliner in Amethyst, £32, Armani, benefit Cosmetics Roller Eye Bright Waterline Pencil, £16.82, Feelunique, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Mascara, £23, Space NK, Pixi Lower Lash Mascara, £11, Lookfantastic, Chanel Rouge Allure Ink in Amoureux, £33, available at Chanel.
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The E-girl's natural habitat is online. You might spot her in the wild but it's her internet persona which defines her look, merging anime and emo subcultures. Hair is dyed all the colours of the rainbow, hearts and stars are etched onto skin in jet-black eyeliner, doll-pink blush accentuates the nose and cheeks, and there's always a feline flick that's sharp enough to do some damage.
Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint, £25, Boots, MAC Pro Longwear Concealer, £22, MAC, Illamasqua Beyond Powder in Electric, £34, Illamasqua, MAC Blot Powder/Pressed, £24, MAC, benefit Cosmetics Precisely, My Brow Pencil, £22.50, Cult Beauty, Urban Decay Prince Let’s Go Crazy Eyeshadow Palette, £49, Urban Decay, KVD Beauty Tattoo Liner in Trooper Black, £18, Boots, MAC Glitter in Iridescent Lavender, £17.50, MAC, Milk Makeup Color Chalk in Freeze, £14, Cult Beauty, L’Oréal Paris False Lash Telescopic Mascara, £10.99, Boots, Eylure Individuals Duos & Trios False Individual Lashes, £7.49, Superdrug, Heart Glitter, £1.01, eBay, MAC Love Me Lip Colour in Laissez Faire, £19.50, MAC, KVD Beauty Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick in POE, £20, Amazon, MAC Lipglass Clear £16.50, MAC.
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TikTok's most brooding aesthetic romanticises literature, knowledge and philosophy. Constantly have your head buried in a book? Live for the autumn? You're already halfway there. Dusky, moody hues like burgundy, sepia and burnt sienna lend dark academia its mysterious and cosy charm. Let TikTok's @ba.naan and @khlo.co stir your imagination.
Omorovicza Gentle Buffing Gelee, £23, Cult Beauty, Tata Harper Water Lock Moisturiser, £59, Cult Beauty, Ciaté London Disco Nap Lip Balm, £16, Lookfantastic, Shiseido Synchro Skin Soft Blurring Primer, £32, Cult Beauty, Shiseido Synchro Skin Glow Luminizing Fluid Foundation, £40, Cult Beauty, Glossier Stretch Concealer, £15, Glossier, VIEVE Skin Dew, £19, Cult Beauty, NudeStix Magnetic Eye Colour Pencil in Nudity, £20, Cult Beauty, Makeup by Mario Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette, £41, Cult Beauty, MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipstick in Carnivorous, £19.50, MAC, MAC Love Me Liquid Lip Colour in It’s All Me, £,19.50, MAC.
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