When I initially pitched a story about TikTok beauty trends to PRIMER co-founder Anna, her initial reaction was…laughter. As she pointed out, I am not on social media. Even though most of my beauty editor peers are all over TikTok/Instagram/Facebook, I’ve chosen to steer clear to preserve my sanity.
But while I may not post much on social media, I do try to keep across the beauty trends on TikTok. With one billion active TikTokkers across 154 countries, and beauty/skincare ranking as the sixth most popular search item (the #beauty hashtag has over 100 billion views), there’s no escaping that TikTok is where beauty trends are now born.
I first cottoned on to this when PRIMER beauty editor Lucy and I worked together over at marie claire, and we noticed that Instagram was suddenly dominated by posts about “strobing” – something we’d never heard of. Upon closer inspection “strobing” turned out to be “highlighting”, only with a new Millennial-friendly name.
Here are five trends TikTok acts like it discovered but that you’re most likely already doing. (These are not hacks, which are an entirely different story, and one I might pitch to Anna. Who will, no doubt, think it hilarious.)
“There’s no escaping that TikTok is where beauty trends are now born.”
What it is: A four-day skincare schedule that alternates between “work” days (when skin is treated with active ingredients, like retinol and exfoliating acids) and “rest” days (when skin is slathered with soothing ingredients, like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, so it can recover from the more active ingredients and minimise the chance of irritation). The term was coined by US dermatologist, Dr Whitney Bowe.
Is it new? Kinda. If you’re using retinol, you were probably already “skin cycling” and only using it a few nights a week. Regardless, it’s a good idea, especially for anyone who wants to start using actives, or those looking to streamline their regimen.
What it is: This follows the same basic principles as skin #Slugging and #NailSlugging: before bed, coat hair in a heavy-duty hydrating treatment (like a hair oil or leave-in mask) and wrap it all up (in a hair wrap, or sometimes a sock) to seal in that hydration. Those who’ve slugged report waking up to hair that’s healthier, shinier and stronger. The current trend is credited to TikTokker Monique Rapier.
Is it new? It’s an update on hair oiling, an ancient Indian and Ayuverdic medicine practice. Also, those with frizzy, extremely dry, curly and oily hair have been using overnight hair treatments forever, because it actually works. So yeah, this is TikTok and real-world approved.
What it is: A smoky take on cat eyeliner, this replaces crisp and clean lines with diffused edges. It’s still dramatic and features a flick at the outer corners, but the whole vibe is softer and smudgier.
Is it new? This is the one that sent my eyeballs to the back of my skull. If you lived through the ‘90s supermodel era and lusted over the sultry eye makeup those supers wore so well, you’ve done/still do this (I definitely do). And that other 90s favourite,
overlining lips with a darker lip pencil, is also back, but it has a new TikTok name, #SirenLips, and one update: extending the outer edges a little bit past where your natural lips end, and in a slightly upturned direction. (Please be careful, because this could very quickly veer into Joker territory.)
What it is: It’s basically what us non-Gen Zers refer to as “no-makeup makeup” and consists of a fresh face (moisturiser, blush, mascara, fluffed brows) and slicked back hair, maybe a pair of gold hoops if you’re feeling it.
Is it new? OK, I lied, this is what sent me over the edge. This is that effortless, minimalist makeup thing most of us do every single day, whether deliberately or because we just can’t be bothered. C’mon, TikTok!
125.6 million views
What it is: The pearlescent, milky-nude nails worn by Hayley Bieber to the Met Gala, and now seen on everyone at your local nail salon. The name comes from the high-shine finish of a Krispy Kreme.
Is it new? Mmm, maybe? Frosted nail polish was a hallmark of the 80s (as was frosted lipstick and eyeshadow), while those whites and creams recall the futuristic and mod trends that dominated the culture in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as the world clicked over from one millennium to the next. The finishing layer of glaze is new, though, and I personally like this, because I love a wear-everywhere neutral nail, and this is neutral nails but with something extra. And we could all use a little jazz hands.
Main image by The Parlour Room.