What Is Indie Sleaze Makeup + How To Nail The Look, From A MUA

Davy is no stranger to indie sleaze, as she lived through this trend in her late teens and early 20s, more or less keeping a similar aesthetic ever since. “It’s essentially casual, but like, obscenely confident,” Davy says about the look. 

The image of indie sleaze you have now is likely a reflection of the last time this trend was popularized in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Think of it like ‘80s party culture meets alternative hipster era. To be specific: The clothing choices are purposely random and lacking cohesion, everyone’s hair is messy (but in a cool, I don’t care sort of way), the dance music is loud, everyone parties (a lot), and nobody at the function would be cool if they were posing for a photo—club candids only. 

A few staples of the previous indie sleaze era, according to a TikTok trend predictor Mandy Lee, include: amateur style flash photography, provocative advertisements, outdated technology, Tumblr quotes, and tons of music mashups. 

With the rebirth of this trend, we hope to leave behind some of the more problematic aspects of indie sleaze (no trend era is perfect, after all). The romanticization of eating too little (think negative body talk during the height of the 2012 Tumblr era), glamorization of excessive drug use, and lack of social and cultural awareness can and should all be left in the past. 

However, the new-and-improved version of indie sleaze on the rise may be exactly what we need post-clean girl aesthetic. It’s a refreshing blast of carefree energy with tons of room for self-expression and less pressure to perform on social media platforms. “I would go as far as to say it’s actually embarrassing if you look too ‘put together,’” Davy notes. 

Now that we’ve covered indie sleaze 101, let’s move on to the best part: the makeup. Here, how to get the perfectly-disheveled look and some of the best products to get you there. 

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