This issue, Maria Henry explores the trials and tribulations of the TikTok skincare community. Who can you trust and what should you buy?

If you’re anything like me, you probably spent a lot of your lockdown franticly scrolling through TikTok looking for something to do. During this time, you may have stumbled across ‘skincare TikTok’, a community of online users interested in skincare and improving the overall health and appearance of skin. In this article we’ll dive into the wonderful world of TikTok skincare, taking a look at specific trends that you may have seen taking over your ‘for you page’ and testing which products are actually worth the online hype.

Korean skincare has been a longstanding internet fascination. With an emphasis on improving the health of your skin to improve appearance, rather than just covering flaws, Korean skincare has become a fixture of many celebrity self-care routines. Known primarily for its elusive seven-step routine and for being a favourite amongst K-pop idols, K-beauty has recently found a new home on TikTok.

K-beauty TikTokers like @thruhelenslens recommend a range of products to help you get the classic dewy Korean ‘glass skin’ look. She recommends double cleansing, beginning by using the Krave Beauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser, priced at £16 (cruelty-free, vegan and fragrance-free!) and the Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, priced at £12 (cruelty-free and fragrance-free). She also suggests using a Toner and a Vitamin Serum, following this up with a moisturiser, eye cream, a lip mask and finishing with the most important product – sunscreen.

Fellow K-beauty guru @Glowwithava also recommends a daily skincare routine to get perfect glowing, dewy skin. She recommends going with toner pads, Sulwhasoo Serum (a serum made with medicinal herbs) and then a radiance concentrate mixed with a BB cream to get the classic glass skin no-makeup-makeup look.

One name that seems to have been floating around the internet these past few months is Hyram. The ‘skincare king’ of TikTok, Hyram went viral a couple of months ago for his videos recommending affordable products that could help clear up your skin. His success was huge with products he recommended selling out of stores across the UK within hours, and there’s even an Amazon shopping page with his approved products ready to be shopped by fans.

Though this all sounds great, how reliable is Hyram as a dermatologist? Well, he’s not actually a dermatologist at all. Despite not having a medical or cosmetic background Hyram identifies himself as being a skincare junkie, trialling products out of sheer love for skincare. Though this may lead you to think his suggestions are less well-informed, there has been a lot of love for Hyram from people who like the fact he recommends everyday, affordable products rather than the super expensive, inaccessible products that so many internet dermatologists attempt to plug to their audiences.

The TikTok platform also allows him to interact more closely with his fans, reacting to their skincare routines and recommending them more products. Now with a whopping 6.4 million follower count and over 229.2 million likes on TikTok, Hyram seems to be a fixture of skincare that isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

One product range that seems to be all over TikTok is the Canadian based skincare company CeraVe. CeraVe launched in 2006 with only three products – a moisturising cream, a lotion and a hydrating cleanser. These were all developed by dermatologists with the intentions of creating an affordable product that can be used to “hydrate, protect and replenish skin”.

CeraVe has now grown into a huge multi-national brand, with a product range suitable for a diverse range of skin types. The brand has some rave reviews, with people claiming that their products cleared up their skin within a matter of days. The products are all fragrance-free, paraben-free, allergytested, non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t be too heavy and block pores) and their special Ceramide fuelled formula makes it ideal for helping dry skin get some moisture. However, as easy as it is to get dragged in by the glowing reviews, there are a few issues with CeraVe as a brand.

A huge negative to CeraVe is that they are not cruelty-free and do test their products on animals. They also do not use sustainable packaging, meaning if you are trying to reduce your environmental impact, they may not be the brand for you. Although their prices are low and reviews are strong, the ethical implications of them as a brand are something to weigh up before investing in their products.

The aptly named @allyoucanface TikTok channel offers a new perspective on skincare – movement. Company founder Anastasia believes that you can begin to fight wrinkles, dull skin, and even asymmetry of the face with facial exercise alone. On her website she claims that working out the facial muscles stimulates blood cell circulation, leading to increased production of collagen and faster cell renewal. This in turn leads to youngerlooking, fresher feeling, glowing skin. Anastasia also claims that exercising these muscles will reduce sagging skin and wrinkles as the facial muscles become toned and strong. This can also help facial asymmetry, as people learn to target the “weaker sides” of their face and build up their muscles. Though this all sounds promising, the question is raised – is it worth it?

A couple of positives to this alternative skincare are that it’s sustainable (you’re not buying any physical products, therefore not creating any waste) and it’s completely natural, with no actual products needed to go onto your skin. The major negative is that it’s a slow process. Like any other type of musclebuilding, it’s very time consuming and it will most likely be a very long time before you see any actual results. Though Anastasia does offer a 3-week course priced at $90, it’s unlikely you’d see results until a few months in, and after that, it’s up to you to maintain.

To conclude, there are a LOT of products out there being pushed towards us online. It’s difficult to know who to trust and what the right thing for your skin will be when there’s such an overwhelming amount of content out there.

The easiest way to know if a product will be helpful for you is to do your research before you purchase. Look into what it contains, what are the ingredients? Will they be safe for your skin type? Beware of excess oils and fragrances, additives and parabens. You should also always look at reviews from multiple sources, don’t just take one influencers word for it! Everyone’s skin is different and with the thousands of products out there, it’s difficult to choose the right ones. This is where online skincare communities such as on TikTok are helpful in introducing you to new products, testing them for you and opening channels of communication between specialists and those seeking advice.

If you enjoyed this article you can find more of Maria’s work @mariawriteshere on Twitter.

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