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3 Virtual DIY Beauty And Grooming Trends To Trash

The lowdown on those too-good-to-be-true TikTok look-good hacks…

By Adriana Ermter

Remember YOLO, the acronym for “you only live once”? Its hashtag dominated videos of people ziplining Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, eating donut burgers and shopping 90210’s Rodeo Drive. They flooded our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds before donning masks and isolating indoors became our new norm.

Now, FOMO, otherwise known as the fear of missing out, holds court amidst our oscillating ghost town/madhouse world. It has us replacing IRL moments with double clicks – all in our quest to connect, be happy and stay in the know. So much so that one billion people worldwide, as reported by CNBC, currently turn to TikTok each month for their daily fix of Texan drone dances, Aussie dog-painted sunflowers and “For You”-curated content, complete with DIY beauty and grooming hacks…including three top-trending hacks that are better left for the viewing than the doing, especially if you just want to get back to the YOLO.

The real deal: Skincare facial patches, such as skyn Iceland’s Face-Lift in-a-Bag, Fanny Face’s Stardust Gel Eye Masks and Oia Patches Facial Wrinkle Remover Strips, are used to reduce and prevent wrinkles, fine lines and crow’s feet. The patches are typically non-toxic and dermatologist tested for sensitive skin, as well as fuelled with skin-safe ingredients like aloe vera, white willow bark, caffeine, jojoba and shea butter to soothe, smooth, hydrate and plump up your face.
The perceived win: You can admire your younger visage in the mirror and on Zoom.
The TikTok hack: Attaching strips of regular adhesive tape to your face before bedtime to prohibit wrinkle-inducing facial expressions while you sleep. According to TikTokkers, all you have to do is place the tape over top of existing fine lines or over areas of your face where you want to prevent wrinkles from forming, then go to bed…and you’ll wake up wrinkle free.
The reality: Tape that’s strong enough to hold your skin taut while you count sheep is meant for packing boxes and construction sites, not your face. Factor in tape’s occlusive nature and, well, that’s just a breeding ground for bacteria, dirt, oil and grime to fester, causing redness, irritation and acne on your skin. Plus, when you pull off the tape, you risk taking off a layer or two of your skin with it. “This [hack] can cause a tear in the skin barrier,” affirms Dr. Michael Somenek, a board-certified plastic surgeon at the Somenek + Pittman MD Advanced Plastic Surgery clinic in Washington. “The trauma could result in underlying pigmentation, or leave you at risk for a bacterial infection that could potentially scar.”

The real deal: These RL products are intended to do exactly what their names state: suck gunk – like blackheads, pus, oil, dead skin cells, dirt, etc. – out of your facial pores. There are multiple brand options to choose from, including Rodan + Fields Pore Cleansing MD System, Poppyo Blackhead Remover Pore Vacuum and the Lonove Pore Vacuum.
The perceived win: Your every selfie will feature a flawless complexion.
The TikTok hack: To be fair, there is no hack per se being touted on TikTok, rather just an assortment of the actual vacuums and their purported efficacy.
The reality: At the end of a vacuuming session, most people – TikTok influencers included – have very red-looking faces and marginal (if any at all) reductions of pore gunk. And trust me, turning up the settings on these devices doesn’t help. “People with skin issues, such as rosacea especially, need to proceed with caution,” warns Dr. Somenek. “The vacuum can exacerbate these conditions and cause untoward side effects like broken capillaries and bruising. This can even occur with those who simply have sensitive skin. Even if the device is effective, the pores will eventually refill, and preventing this from occurring via this tool is too much wear and tear on the skin.”

The real deal:
Remember when makeup contouring was all the rage with anyone who was anyone on the small or big screen did it (yeah, we’re talking about you, Colin Jay, Kim/Kourtney/Khloe Kardashian and Tom Sandoval)? The makeup technique is still appreciated by the masses as it carves out cheekbones, creates a definitive jawline, highlights eyes and gives skin an overall golden glow, in about one to three hours.
The perceived win: You’ll never look better, on screen or in front of your peers.
The TikTok hack: Using sunscreen, and the lack of it, to sculpt your skin using the sun. All you have to do is apply an SPF 30 product all over your face, and then add an SPF 90 product to the parts of your face where you would typically brush on a little highlighter. The idea is that the sun will contour your skin in the same areas where you would typically apply bronzer. So, despite decades-old warnings about sunburn and skin cancer, TikTokkers have made the sunscreen-contouring hack seem very appealing as a time saver; it works as you’re taking a walk outside, shopping at an outdoor mall, whatever. The hack is touted to provide all the rewards of makeup contouring, without the time spent spackling in front of the mirror.
The reality: Factor in your facial features, sweating, facial movement, etc., and reality dictates that there’s no certainty to how well this hack will actually work. Think about it: your nose, cheekbones, eyes, forehead, cheeks and chin don’t receive the sunlight equally. And, more importantly, do you really want to purposefully expose any portion of your face to the sun’s harsh UVA and UVB rays? “Attempting to control your sun ray exposure through mixing SPF levels is illogical,” says Dr. Somenek. “Radiation bounces off sand, water and cement, hitting the face at different angles, so you might not get the J-LO glow but you could get patchy sunburns. And you are risking your skin from a cosmetic standpoint and health-wise in the form of skin cancer.”

ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based, lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.

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