All The Trends You Need To Know (And Ditch) From The Mayhem That Is #BeautyTok

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From hair hacks and blush tips to always-changing brow trends and every imaginable tip in between, we dissect the (sometimes) bonkers behemoth that is beauty content on TikTok. 

What Is Beauty Tok?

The world of Beauty Tok is vast. Beyond a world. A galaxy. There’s makeup, there’s skin and nails, there’s tattoos and body jewels and teeth whitening. And don’t get us started on all the ways you can curl your hair with anything but a curling iron. It’s a wild internet animal, unconstrained by house rules, bureaucracy or social barriers.

That’s part of why TikTok is great. As far as social-media platforms go, TikTok is democratic. You don’t have to be someone to become someone. There’s an infinite amount of niche communities – #makeupanalysis, #brows, #hairhacks – and because of this hyper-specificity, you don’t have to do much, don’t have to have much and don’t have to say much to go viral overnight. You just have to hit it, whatever “it” is. Theories abound as to what works: stuff that’s undone and relatable, things that are  aesthetically pleasing, stuff that’s useful or inspirational or, well, just different.

When it comes to product reviews, tips and hacks, turning to peers for advice is not a new phenomenon.

Why Is Beauty Tok So popular?

Humans look to see what the people around us are doing, what those we admire are doing. And, sure, there’s plenty of beauty content on YouTube and Instagram, but the rate at which TikTok’s bite-sized videos infiltrate its micro-communities and go viral within them is much, much faster than the platforms that have come before.

Since its international launch in 2018, TikTok has exploded. Business of Apps cited TikTok as the most downloaded app in 2020 and 2021, and Forbes recently named it the most downloaded app globally for 2022. Its users are young – 63 per cent haven’t yet celebrated their 30th birthday – the perfect time to establish what could be lifelong beauty routines.

tik tok, influencer
(Credit: Getty)

Beauty Tok is growing so quickly that its most popular creators and trends are becoming mainstream. Some influencers have even launched their own companies, such as @addisonrae’s Item Beauty line and @hyram’s skincare line, Selfless by Hyram.

Most of what we see on Beauty Tok is by non-professionals – the social media equivalent of the most popular kid in your class doling out excellent tips and tricks. This kind of advice is largely harmless. What’s a friend (even one you’ve never met) good for if not to find you the perfect designer makeup dupe or save you money by telling you which face wash to avoid because it’ll make you break out? TikTok might reach a more disparate and bigger subset of peers, but peer-to-peer influence has always been where and how trends
grow and thrive.

The Dark Side Of Beauty Tok

But what makes TikTok content so special (i.e. anyone can make it) is also potentially harmful. Suggested beauty hacks range from using lipstick as a blush (innocuous) to slathering your face in a homemade chemical peel (dangerous). In a space devoid of external bodies that support creators’ claims with science and safety measures, there’s a fine line between helpful hack and misinformation. Some viral TikTok trends have been genuinely unsafe: using Gorilla Glue to set hair, drinking liquid chlorophyll to treat acne, and using Hyaluron pens to inject at-home lip fillers – something the
US Food and Drug Administration had to issue a warning about.

It’s About Finding The Experts Online

There are real experts on the platform, though, and they also use these hashtags, but to dispel inaccurate claims. Their reaction videos (where they respond to a questionable trend) are getting popular – but they are rarely as popular as the originals. Dermatologist @dr.mamina’s reaction to a viral sunscreen contouring post (where different levels of SPF were applied to different parts of the face to create a “contoured” tan effect), for example, has 125,900 views. The original post has 13.1 million.

@dermdoctor, TikTok.
Dermatologist @dermdoctor uses his platform on TikTok to share skincare tips and advice. (Credit: Image: @dermdoctor, TikTok)

“Social media has become a major source of medical information, and what we are finding is that most of the top trending topics on these platforms are unfortunately not coming from the medical professionals who have the expertise to guide the conversation,” says Dr Mona Sadeghpour, a certified dermatologist and co-founder of SkinMed Institute in Colorado.

“Our flash-second-screen culture is trading entertainment for expertise, and when it comes to cosmetic or surgical procedures that can have dangerous safety risks for consumers.”

Is Beauty Tok Useful?

TikTok is not a perfect system – much of its power comes from its algorithm, which can both suppress and exacerbate inequalities – but its Creator Portal provides a kind of hope for diverse creators that other systems have not. This is important: the variety of creators and the spectrum of people and styles we see complicate any single idea of a beauty standard. Instead of one type of perfection, there is a hope for something more inclusive and wide-reaching. When it comes down to it, the real beauty of Beauty Tok lies in experiential expertise: I am like you. I use this product. I know how to review it properly because I’ve used other products like it before and will again.

For the most part, the blush tips are as harmless as the lipstick, the hair-curling hacks no riskier than the flat iron is on its own. Beauty Tok is not a replacement for dermatologists or makeup artists, but a complement to them. There is inspirational beauty, like what we see on red carpets and television, but there’s also the stuff of the everyday. There are the school hallways, the group chats, the sister in the bathroom. Maybe once it was your mum telling you to put a dab of toothpaste on a pimple, and now it’s a TikToker using tape to make the perfect winged eyeliner. Maybe the platform is new, maybe the products are new, but there will always be a familiar comfort in getting great advice from the people around us who, quite simply, feel like us. But what makes TikTok content so special (i.e. anyone can make it) is also
potentially harmful.

TikTok Influencers To Follow

@hyram 6.1m followers

 Hyram Yarbro, 26. After starting out as a trained makeup artist, his big break came from creating skincare content on YouTube. He’s since launched his own skincare line, Selfless by Hyram.

@hyram, TikTok.
(Credit: Image: @hyram, TikTok)

@bambidoesbeauty 89.5k followers

Elle McNamara. She’s not only a skinfluencer but a contributing beauty columnist for Glamour magazine UK.

(Credit: Image: @bambidoesbeauty, TikTok)

@stxph.h 1.7m followers

Steph Hui, 23. Becoming TikTok famous in 2020 while completing her film degree, Steph has recently featured in Samsung campaigns.

(Credit: Image: @stxph.h, TikTok)

@sarahnewsfx 3.2m followers

Sarah New, 22. As the winner of the Creator Revolution competition she received the grand prize of a £75,000 contract to develop her own makeup line.

(Credit: Image: @sarahnewsfx, TikTok)

@itsclaytonhawkins 42k followers

Clayton Hawkins. He was the hairstylist behind singer Olivia Rodrigo’s looks for her debut album, Sour, and also looks after model/actor Dove Cameron.

(Credit: Image: @itsclaytonhawkins, TikTok)

@faithchappelle 102.9k followers

Faith Chappelle. An emerging influencer on the platform, Faith’s content focuses on the style, care and maintenance of curly hair.

(Credit: Image: @faithchappelle, TikTok.)

What’s In And Out On The Tok

OUT: Complicated Skincare IN Simplistic Skincare

Skincare has exploded in the past few years. From 10-step routines to slugging, retinol and skin cycling, there seems to be a new routine or endorsed product on the platform every day. What we’ll begin to see in 2023 is the simplification of beauty regimens to focus more on three to four core products instead of overcomplicating our skincare. 

@daniellemarcan | 3.4m followers
@daniellemarcan, 3.4m followers. (Credit: Image: @daniellemarcan, TikTok.)

OUT: Thick brows IN Skinny brows; Fluffy Brows

What haven’t we done to our brows? From bleaching to dying them bold colours and the return of the iconic ’90s skinny brows. But put your tweezers down as fluffy brows are now on trend. Treatments such as brow laminations push up the brows to make them look fluffier, bolder and thicker. Sported by icons such as Dua Lipa and Zendaya, #fluffybrows has amassed more than 176 million views on TikTok and will be ruling 2023.

@abbey_leigh7 | 122.6k followers
@abbey_leigh7, 122.6k followers. (Credit: Image: @abbey_leigh7, TikTok.)

OUT: Siren Eyes IN Delicate Gemstones

Thanks to hit TV shows such as Euphoria and the reboot of Heartbreak High, the euphoric makeup trend of 2022 shows no sign of slowing down. Gone are the sharply lined black siren eyes and precision doe eyes, and in their place is the delicate, creative gemstone trend. Part of the dopamine beauty trend, which involves lots of happy, glittery colour, this new eye look involves sparkle around the eyes using stick-on gemstones or pearls. Not feeling confident with them? Create a more subtle look with a chrome or glitter eyeshadow instead.

@taontm 661k followers
@taontm, 661k followers. (Credit: Image: @taontm, TikTok.)

OUT: Matte Lips IN Glossy Lips

Step aside matte and liquid – it’s your lips’ time to shine. The Y2K trend is bound to be one of the hottest for 2023. The nourishing formulas, easy-to-build colour (one or two swipes is all you need) and yummy, sheeny finish dictate that we should all have a lipgloss (or several) close at hand this year.

@minazibayi, 306.6k followers. (Credit: Image: @minazibayi, TikTok.)

OUT: Clean Girl IN Grunge Girl

Whether you’re attempting to channel Julia Fox or Bella Hadid, the ’90s cool girl is back. A blend of indie sleaze (an early 2000s hipster micro trend) and ’90s grunge-inspired makeup, the look is all about a smudged eyeliner and effortlessly smoky eyes. To keep it current, pair with a light base and a nude lip. The key here is to look as though you did your makeup in about 10 seconds.

@marysherb 1.1m followers
@marysherb, 1.1m followers. (Credit: Image: @marysherb, TikTok.)

Three TikTok Trends To Know Now

Are you blushing?

Neglected for years, blush is making a comeback in 2023, as TikTok hails the product a makeup bag essential once again. Every beauty brand is bringing out a cream blush right now, and there are even blushes that change colour to match the skin’s pH levels. Application has changed too: in 2023 we’re contouring with blush or incorporating it into our eye looks with trends such as the Crying Girl or Cold Girl.

@madddnot | 61k followers
@madddnot, 61k followers. (Credit: Image: @madddnot, TikTok.)

Autumn Hair

The Red Hair trend is setting TikTok on fire. Offering a full range of tones, from Sydney Sweeney’s strawberry red to Phoebe Dynevor’s true-copper look, this warm, vibrant hair trend is elevating classic red to a more vivid level. If you’re not game to commit to The Little Mermaid shade, the earthier, more natural looking copper could be the answer. The good news? These rusty shades complement any skin tone.

@annabellehooperrr | 153.2k followers
@annabellehooperrr, 153.2k followers. (Credit: Image: @annabellehooperrr, TikTok.)

Slug It Out

Slugging is showing no signs of slowing down in 2023. Smothering your face in Vaseline (or organic balm) to get your skin silky smooth has since expanded to include hair and nails. The process is similar to the skincare method, where TikTokers slather their hands and locks in oil or balm to lock in moisture and keep everything hydrated and strong.

@kbellbeauty | 192.9k followers
@kbellbeauty, 192.9k followers. (Credit: Image: @kbellbeauty, TikTok.)

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