At this point, we should all know that you can’t trust every video you come across on TikTok. Especially in the beauty category, there are a lot of potential risks involved when it comes to your face and your self-confidence, for that matter. The risks range from the innocuous (simply looking ridiculous) to the much more serious, like long term damage. But as trends and hacks spread virally across the internet, so do mishaps and warnings, including from Australian Big Brother star Tilly Whitfield. “This is the result of attempting to remove scarring I inflicted on myself trying to replicate an at-home beauty procedure I saw on a TikTok video 2 months before big brother,” Whitfield wrote in the caption of a post sharing her scarring from trying at-home freckle tattooing and subsequent attempts to fix it herself. “Please please don’t try any ‘DIY’ or ‘at home’ beauty procedures,” she warns.
While the app is known for its beauty hacks, some of which are helpful (like how to create the perfect winged eyeliner), it’s also a mixed bag of advice, where so often the most popular videos are the ones that create the most dramatic response—which isn’t always a good thing. So how can you tell the difference between a helpful hack and a potentially dangerous at-home treatment? It’s good to use your best judgment and look for licensed dermatologists that post the pros and cons of the trends on the app. Here are the worst ones from this year.
TikTok has long been obsessed with faux freckles At first the cute and easy freckle makeup videos went viral, and then the app became obsessed with henna freckles (with over 132 million views on the hashtag #HennaFreckles), to often mixed results. Now, TikTokers have leveled it up a notch, some opting for semi-permanent ink. There’s already been a fail video posted by someone who tattooed their own freckles at home. Needless to say, it’s best to leave semi-permanent or permanent procedures to the professionals or just stick to drawing them on with makeup.
Lube as Primer
Now this one isn’t dangerous but it might break you out. Dr. Robert Finney, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Entière Dermatology, told NYLON that he does not recommend trying this trend. “While not everyone is breakout-prone and may tolerate this just fine, I still wouldn't recommend it,” he adds. Finney also says that any lube that includes fragrances can cause allergic and irritant reactions. Also, why? Plenty of great makeup primers already exist.
Contouring without makeup sounds like a time-saver but doing it by getting sun damage on your face is a recipe for problems down the line. Let’s lather the SPF over our whole face and opt for a self tan if you really want to give no-makeup contouring a go. (That hack is also trending and won’t freak out your dermatologist).
While tan tattoos are a cute nostalgic throwback, but just like tan contouring, they also put you at risk of skin damage. (Reminder: A tan is no better than a sunburn when it comes to sun damage.) Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Liv Kraemer recently spoke against the trend on TikTok, posting a video that said “Might look cute now but in 10 years you’ll be in my clinic.” She captioned the post: “Sorry to say but there is no such thing as a healthy tan. You will develop wrinkles + dark pigmentations later.”
So, this one won’t cause you any lasting damage, but the amount of foundation used is just plain wasteful. And it’s bound to look cakey the moment you step out of the glow of your ring light.
It should go without saying that we should leave teeth filing to dentists. That, however, didn’t stop people on TikTok from trying it on their own with nail files in an attempt to give their chompers a more even, perfect look. Dentists soon spoke out against the trend, saying it can do irreparable damage to your enamel. Yikes!
Full Facial Wax
While these viral videos definitely have can’t-look-away shock factor, and they’ve gained Dutch TikToker Kapsalon Freedom a following of more than 5 million TikTok users, pouring hot wax over the entirety of your face can go wrong in myriad obvious ways (including potentially suffocation).
High Frequently Facials
With the rise of at-home facials, high-frequency facials have popped up all over the app. While these facials can be great for treating acne, wrinkles, and enlarged pores, many people are using these professional grade tools incorrectly– and too often. It’s best to leave anything that involves putting electric currents in your face to the professionals. And if your skincare routine ever hurts, that doesn’t mean it’s working better, just stop immediately.
Too Much Slugging
Slugging while recently trendy, is just a cute name for the simple skincare practice of using Vaseline or another occlusive over your moisturizer to seal in moisture. It’s been promoted by influencers like Hyram Yarbro and has a time and place in certain people’s beauty routines– particularly those with especially dry skin types or who like in dry climates. For everyone else, and especially the acne prone, dermatologists have warned that it might lead to unwanted breakouts.
Using "Erection Cream" On Your Lips
This one should go without saying but on TikTok, apparently anything goes. One viral video showed a TikToker getting a lip plumping result from applying what he called “erectile cream” on his lips. Despite what looked like dramatic results, it’s best to stick to products designed specifically for the lips. Many of today’s lip plumpers have never been gentler, giving lips a fuller look with hyaluronic acid rather than irritants.