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When worlds collide: Style and Beauty, meet TikTok

Acknowledging that Gen Z remains stuck indoors with nothing to do besides attend Zoom classes at the moment, fashion influencers, makeup artists, and style and beauty brands have begun to up their content investments on the hugely popular video-sharing platform.

Ah, TikTok. The video-sharing platform that’s been absolutely dominating the teen market over the last year, it’s social media’s answer to shortened attention spans and the technology industry’s rapid growth. It’s also extremely popular amongst 16 to 24-year-olds and as a result, the world of style and beauty is flocking to the app to tap into its lucrative young market during the pandemic.

At a time in which sales are inevitably going to be lower than ever as people are unable to visit stores or salons to get their hands on the latest products or their hair coloured to look like an ‘e-girl,’ it makes sense that both industries would be thinking digitally. Adopting virtual solutions is undoubtedly the best way to connect with consumers while physical retail isn’t an option and with this in mind, brands looking to engage with a wide audience are definitely doing well to be on TikTok right now.


Beauty’s migration to TikTok has finally dawned, with hacks and 15-second makeup tutorials becoming as common on the For You Page as dance challenges and lip-syncing duets. During the quarantine period, the app has been downloaded over 1.5 million times (according to SensorTower) making it the best online location for MUAs, influencers, and cosmetics brands to be a part of.

Beauty content that goes viral has been generating some serious sales for the brands behind them. For example, Deciem’s The Ordinary recently saw a purchasing spike of 426% in its AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution as videos began circulating of acne-positive teens using the product and #TheOrdinary received over 50 million views.

What’s interesting, is that Deciem’s popularity didn’t originally come from paid influencers as is common with social media promotion, but was boosted completely organically, and this seems to be the case with a lot of other brands as well such as Milk, Lime Crime, and Nudestix. ‘It’s simply all about being funny, quirky, and real,’ says Nudestix founder Taylor Frankel. ‘We’re creating makeup content and tutorial content, but in a really quick, easy, fun, relatable way.’     

With the Coronavirus lockdown accelerating their content production plans, brands are actively creating more and more, using their accounts to start sponsored hashtag challenges that contribute to TikTok’s new highlighted beauty section on the homepage. It’s this method that garners the most success, as these campaigns largely tend to reach a great deal more viewers than exclusive content might and even as brands scale back dramatically on their overall advertising spend, this focus on social media means they’re still able to stay afloat.

Additionally, although YouTube is (and always will be in my opinion) the O.G. for beauty content, it seems that the tried-and-true business strategy of launching a cosmetics line is now being embraced by the TikTok generation, just as it was in the early days by the likes of Huda Kattan and Jeffree Starr.

‘So much of the Gen Z audience is at home and on social,’ says Florence Adepoju, founder of cult beauty company MDMflow. ‘Because most of TikTok’s users consists of teens that would otherwise be in school, there’s just so much more attention to the platform making it the ideal place to be promoting new products for the time being.’

But it’s not just the business side of the industry that’s benefitting from being on TikTok. Freelancers unable to do their craft during this time are taking to social media to give digital classes and start new viral trends as a means of generating income. In fact, TikTok beauty tutorials have become so popular that people are beginning to use the app in favour of YouTube, opting for short, bite-size clips that don’t require the same level of concentration as your average 30 minute video on how to do the best cat eye.

And not only are these videos less time consuming, but the looks are pretty different. By this point I’ve no doubt you’ve seen your fair share of tips on the ultimate glam-face, but an entire sky image painted on a single eyelid? Maybe not so much. The ‘e-girl’ look is absolutely thriving, as is throwing it back a few decades to the ‘80s and ‘90s with neon liners and bold lips — honestly, TikTok creativity knows no bounds. Plus, if you’re in need of some advice (and trust me, you’ll need it if you’re thinking about doing something drastic like bleaching or shaving your head which is apparently all the rage right now), there are plenty of professionals such as Brad Mondo who are taking to the app to give the inexperienced a hand with whatever they might be considering doing.

So, without further ado, here are a few of my favourite accounts if you’re bored and desperately searching for a new hobby to try while you’re social distancing (it’s also quite nice having a reason to actually do makeup and put on a cute outfit once in a while). And, fear not, because if you don’t have access to any of the products they’re using, you can always hop on the DIY trend and make your own using just a few ingredients from around the house.





While TikTok’s style content isn’t perhaps as rich as that within its beauty section, it’s definitely on its way to being just as popular (if not more). Being confined to our homes appears to have been the catalyst for many to join in on the fun and get involved, including members of the notoriously serious fashion industry. From designer Jacquemus to model Bella Hadid, the sartorially blessed have jumped on the TikTok bandwagon in their newfound downtime, making the app a hotbed for style-set members to show us their everyday looks from the comfort of their own living rooms. In keeping up with the daily ensembles of the fashion elite therefore, you’re bound to come across something worth adding to your collection or you could even try recreating the pieces yourself as many talented young fashionistas seem to be doing:




The incredible number of young girls and boys adept in using a sewing machine is highly impressive, with some producing replicas that are so similar to the originals you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. And there are of course the challenges which involve re-creating famous runway looks with recycled materials, tie-dying old garments you might otherwise have thrown away, and putting together entire outfits based solely on one ‘aesthetic.’

I’m personally a big fan of @jesskeo who makes getting dressed feel like the imaginative and enjoyable time it should be, with a vibe that’s extremely reminiscent of 60’s-era fashion. She’s posted a multitude of video series influenced by decades past and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t tried to make some of my own. TikTok is my guilty pleasure at the moment and it’s not just me who feels that way. The app has become the world’s latest social media sensation during lockdown and a hub of truly creative content.

Being isolated is tough — there’s no denying it — so why not lift your spirits a little with some style and beauty videos that are sure to get you feeling inspired and, who knows, we might come out of this with a whole new range of designers, aesthetics, and beauty trends that will for ever be remember as being birthed in quarantine. I predict a lot more people will be dressing up their sweats once we’re outside (yes, it’s a thing, check it out here).