I tried TikTok’s viral beauty hacks to see if they actually work

Image via Olivia Latinovich

Words by Hannah Cole

Falling down the rabbit hole of TikTok might come with benefits.

TikTok was a foreign term to me until COVID hit. Yes, I am one of the millions who downloaded the app mid-lockdown. In Australia, the platform grew 52.4 per cent in the first half of the year, with an average of 2.5 million Australians using the app every four weeks.

Typically, I’m a laggard when it comes to technology, so I started hesitantly. It soon became a communication tool – friends would share the funniest clip they found that day, sparking conversations and much-needed laughter. We were connected by our lols.

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Back then, the algorithm quickly learned to serve me animal after animal doing ridiculous things, until my feed was like a personalised version of Funniest Home Videos. After a few months, I simply forgot to open the app.

A few weeks ago – entirely out of character – I gave in to the infinite, eye-opening world of TikTok beauty and skincare. Alongside makeup fanatics, a host of dermatologists, aestheticians, and other trained beauty professionals found a home on the app, quashing misleading trends and offering necessary hacks for hundreds of thousands of views. Take Hyram Yarbro (@skincarebyhyram) as a prime example. The skincare enthusiast is now a worldwide sensation and the catalyst for the recent uplift in CeraVe purchases.

I’m always on the lookout for beauty hacks that don’t involve excessive makeup or unnecessary buys, and TikTok has delivered. I want fewer fine lines, refreshed skin, and an achievable look that will stay with me throughout the day. Look, some trends are questionable: sunscreen contouring, radiator curls and false eye bags, just off the top of my head. But there is a plethora of good once you take the time to sift through. Here’s what I’ve learnt from TikTok so far.

The Soap Brow

@sophpontinhow i do my soap brows !! i just use any bar of soap and a damp lash and brow comb 🤎♬ we should be lovers instead – favsoundds

A brow can make (or break) a face. I’ve always lusted after a strong brow that would negate any need for makeup and pose an instantly striking look. Alas, my brows are painfully pale and unruly. I’m also incredibly lazy when it comes to their maintenance, so the soap brow seemed like the perfect quick fix for my trivial woes.

The hashtag (#soapbrows) has over 139 million views and counting, so we’re definitely onto something here. It’s laughably simple and promises perfectly shaped and groomed brows that last all day. All you need is one bar of regular soap (or brow soap, if you buy the hype) and a damp lash and brow comb. Cover the comb in suds (minimally, don’t go too nuts here), then swipe up and along the brow to form your desired look.

The verdict: Even these rebellious brows stayed in perfect shape all day. Without a lick of makeup, the instant lift provides a much-needed beauty boost and a sense of put-togetherness. It’s already part of my everyday routine.


@charlotteparler😇 #skincare #tiktokbeauty #tiktokskincare #winterskincare♬ original sound – Charlotte Palermino

Apparently, Martha Stewart is a fan of “slugging,” the much-hyped trend involving nothing more than your old pot of petroleum jelly, AKA Vaseline. The basic idea is to follow your regular night-time routine – serums, moisturisers, etc. – and finish off with a layer of jelly on your face and lips. It locks in the moisture and lets the products do their work, so you wake up refreshed and bright.

Slugging fans complain of ruined pillowcases and bedsheets coated in a layer of dried-up jelly. Co-founder and CEO of Dieux skincare, Charlotte Parlermino (@charlotteparler), filmed the only masterclass I need. “Pea size amount. Whole face. This is going to last me until AOC is elected president,” she orders with a deadpan expression as she holds a tub of Vaseline.

So, I pea-size-amounted my face following my usual routine. I liked the sluggish feeling. I could sense all the goodness locked in and the formulas working their magic. Was there a remarkable difference when I woke in the morning? After one go, maybe not, but it hasn’t done any harm. Will I try it again? Obviously. I want to look like Martha Stewart when I’m 79 years old.

Freeze your face

@momentsofmoda Beauty tip! Deep puff your face by icing daily. Instant facelift! #bestkeptsecret #beautyhackes #botoxnatural #naturalfacelift #fyp #foryoupage ♬ original sound – Jessica Wang

With one easy beauty hack and one nourishing moisture tip down, it was time to cheat the system and wipe years from my face. I need to banish wrinkles for good (without spending a dollar). The above TikTok-er claims she has been regularly icing her face for two years and has seen a noticeable difference in fine lines and wrinkles. It’s her “instant facelift”.

“No need for botox,” spruiks another fan. So, I went all in. I grabbed my ice cubes and began to rub and slide them along my face – across the forehead, under the puffy eyes, lining the cheekbone. Honestly, I only got one cube deep before my face tingled, my brain froze and the cold, pink colour flushed my face.

I liked it. It felt exhilarating and refreshing, like a mini cryotherapy session. Moving forward, when I hit the mid-afternoon slump, instead of sitting zombie-like and stretching my eyes open, I will reach for the freezer. Whether it improves my face overtime or not, it gave me a necessary burst of energy. I’m scheduling this cool session a few times a week from now on. It’s (almost) better than coffee.

I have successfully fallen down the TikTok hole, and I’m not climbing out any time soon. Next on my list: a lick of honey to solve dry lips, a saltwater fest to banish under-eye bags, au natural lip plumping with cinnamon oil. You’ll find me catching up on reality TV while scrolling through #beautyhacks forevermore, there’s a whole world to explore.

If it’s TikTok approved, it’s good in our books.

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