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Trash These TikTok Trends: Separating Beauty Wisdom From Viral Nonsense

Healthy skepticism and listening to experts will keep you and your clients safe from the latest bogus trends

TikTok is a canvas for expression, a small, endlessly scrolling window that offers a glimpse into humanity’s boundless creativity. 

It’s also a platform awash with chicken marinated in Ny-Quil, dubious “pink sauce,” and rampant misinformation.

Beauty TikTok is not immune to the kinds of sensationalist stunts and quick fixes that tend to go viral, and salons are often inundated with requests whenever a new trend makes the rounds. Here are some tips to avoid looking clueless when your clients start gushing about the latest TikTok trends, while also helping you sniff out snake oil so you can guide clients toward real solutions.

Do your research

Any time a new beauty tip or hack pops up, it’s always best to start from a place of skepticism. Before applying petroleum jelly to your face overnight to make it “glow” or ingesting chlorophyll to cure acne, do a quick Google search to see what beauty experts or healthcare professionals say about the procedure before giving in to client requests. Chances are, if it’s racking up millions of views on TikTok, there’s an article explaining whether it’s rooted in reality or a total sham.

For example, in the case of “slugging” (aka coating your face in petroleum jelly before going to bed), dermatologists say that it can be beneficial for specific skin types, in drier climates, and in very small doses. However, people with oily or acne-prone skin should avoid slathering it on their entire face, as it can cause unwanted breakouts.

As for drinking chlorophyll, there’s zero evidence that the chemical does anything helpful, and any benefits are likely due to increased hydration. It likely won’t hurt, but you’re effectively drinking expensive water.

You can’t say the same about the freckle tattoo trend, where influencers used sewing needles dipped in ink to dot freckles on their face. It’s a procedure that caused horrific swelling and scarring for a reality TV star after using what turned out to be counterfeit, lead-filled ink. Other influencers peddle the benefits of at-home microneedling, a procedure best left to licensed and trained professionals to avoid permanent scarring and further skin damage.

You may not know the first thing about tattoo ink, but your training and experience should tell you off the bat that these are extremely dangerous procedures. Take a step back, lean on your own knowledge and intuition, and seek out expert advice to fill in any gaps in information. You’ll have the tools you need to combat any phony trend that comes your way.

Follow experts, not influencers

Because TikToks are bite-sized bursts of video, many beauty influencers focus on the “wow” factor since that’s what drives the most engagement. Unfortunately, these videos tend to talk more about the supposed effects and discuss the routine in broad strokes, either glossing over or leaving out essential details that keep people safe.

Instead of getting advice from so-called “experts,” seek advice from TikTok-ers who are actual, licensed dermatologists like Dr. Azadeh Shirazi. These skin-care experts will point out when beauty trends are bogus, provide alternatives that will give clients the results they’re looking for, and explain the nuance in trends that may be worth trying.

Curating a list of licensed experts in your feed will give you the information you need to combat some of the more suspicious claims circulating on the platform while guiding clients toward better, less-dangerous solutions.

Consult with a professional

As always, nothing beats getting advice directly from the source. Doctors and other licensed medical professionals are happy to discuss skin-care goals and debunk unproven and unscientific methods. They will provide your clients with far more information and context than a 60-second video and set patients up with a long-term routine — and proper medical prescriptions, if necessary. Don’t be afraid to recommend a second opinion to your clients.

Think you know what clients truly want? We surveyed 800+ beauty patrons to discover what matters most to potential clients. Here's what we found

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