Get your notebook out, skincare nerds—Tiktok's most dangerous beauty hacks have finally been revealed.
After countless lockdowns and endless boredom bouts, it's no surprise we've been forced to get creative when it comes to spending our downtime.
The long evenings on the couch have many of us scrolling through our various social media apps, discovering new ideas on everything from kitchen cabinet organization to how to wash our jeans for optimal wear. TikTok has also introduced us to a plethora of style and beauty content, with tutorials on how to wash hair properly and how to become a Princess Diana lookalike adding an exciting spark to our normally mundane routines.
Unfortunately, not all hacks are created equal—and some are even downright dangerous. While the Internet can undeniably be a goldmine of inspiration for budget-conscious folks, it can also be littered with some seriously problematic content. In fact, many of the 'benign' TikTok videos on DIY skincare have been denounced by medical and beauty professionals for spreading misinformation and harmful advice to millions of people on the platform.
With help from the experts at Vera Clinic, we've rounded up five of the worst beauty hacks to go viral on TikTok in recent months—with explainer pieces on each trick to shed light on why they should be avoided at all costs.
Trust us, you’ll thank us in the future.
1. Sun Cream Contouring
Say what now? This new take on how to contour has taken TikTok by storm, with countless DIY beauty channels racking up millions of views for their tutorials on how to look naturally chiseled sans makeup.
‘Sun Cream Contouring’ involves the application of sunscreen to designated points of the face, such as the cheeks or forehead, to allow other areas—mainly the cheekbones—to deepen in color more quickly.
While this technique might work, it’s strongly discouraged by medical professionals. Ditching the SPF leaves your complexion at high risk of damage from UV rays, which, with time, can cause wrinkles, sagging, and even skin cancer. Don’t worry though—there’s plenty of ways to achieve that sculpted look without compromising your health. We recommend following our guide on how to apply bronzer for that sunkissed glow—once you’ve checked out our list of the best facial sunscreens, of course.
2. Homemade Face Treatments
We love a bit of DIY pampering as much as the next person, but when it comes to our skin, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
While natural ingredients can often make luxurious at-home facials, not everything in our kitchens is suitable to be applied to our skin.
Case in point—TikTok’s coffee exfoliator trend. The caffeine-infused hack has been widely circulated on the platform in recent months, with some advocates recommending people mix the grounds with lemon and honey to create a low-cost facial scrub. Unfortunately, this post-cleanser trick could do more harm than good, especially if you suffer from sensitive skin. Ground coffee’s texture can be extremely harsh and could severely irritate your skin if applied with force. Stick to enjoying it for your morning cuppa, we say.
3. Toothpaste Spot Treatment
The toothpaste spot treatment has long been a remedy of beauty pseudoscience, with celebrities swearing by the sticky trick as far back as the early noughties.
It’s made a comeback on TikTok over the past year and—surprise, surprise—is just as ineffective today as it was twenty years ago. Rather than heal your pimple, that glob of toothpaste is likely to aggravate it—leaving you with a nasty rash or even a chemical burn. Ouch!
4. Face Slugging
While it’s not as gross as it sounds (no de-shelled snails needed), slugging isn’t something you want to be doing on the reg. The TikTok trend involves covering your face with Vaseline overnight, in the hope of leaving you with a hydrated glow when you awake.
Unfortunately, the Petroleum jelly lost its reputation as a miracle product years ago now and is rarely recommended by medical and skin experts today. For more information on just what’s so bad about this particular hack, check out our article on why derms don’t recommend you try the slugging trend.
5. DIY Eyebrow Tint
Eyebrow tinting at home is far from an uncommon practice, but like all DIY beauty procedures, it needs to be done correctly. Unfortunately, some TikTok users have thrown the rule book out the window, experimenting with unsuitable formulas like beard dye to fill in their brows. This can cause blistering and rashes and, if it gets in your eye, it can even result in blindness. An absolute no-no.
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Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.
Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.
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