While searches for ‘skincare’ have been on a constant growth ever since January 2016 according to Google Trends—including two major peaks in May and November 2020—it’s important to note that keeping your skin healthy and attractive is more than just a beauty fab. Skincare as a ritual also provides an opportunity for mindfulness. It allows you to reduce your stress, focus on self-care, and even strengthen your self-worth.
But let’s not be naive either—with the rise in popularity of skincare come thousands of products that brands will do almost anything to push us to buy, regardless of how beneficial they actually might be. And with so many options available, heated opinions are bound to circulate.
It can therefore be incredibly difficult to choose which creams, serums and cleansers to purchase when your TikTok FYP perpetually confuses you, feeding you one contradicting review after the other. Fear not, however, because I’ve done all the testing, researching and debating to save you the trouble, and to hopefully prevent any major breakouts.
Now, everyone’s heard the age-old phrase ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’—well, sadly in this instance, the folklore doesn’t quite add up. Despite this product’s seemingly straightforward branding, consumers might not complete their daily skincare routine feeling quite as fresh as promised.
The Clean & Clear Exfoliating Daily Wash uses naturally derived exfoliators, thereby supposedly making it a perfect product for any oil-prone face. Unlike other competing exfoliators, the Daily Wash utilises micro-beads—tiny exfoliating agents used to remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells—which, allegedly, should leave the skin feeling smooth rather than irritated.
However, in a classic cosmetic plot twist, marketing consultant, TikTok content creator and skincare enthusiast Dani Nicholls included it in her list of skincare products that belong in the bin.
If you’re still on the hunt for a cleanser which won’t irritate your skin, perhaps you should consider a natural anti-chemical product. One such example would be the straightforward, no-nonsense Squalene Cleanser from fresh-faced favourites The Ordinary. Not only is this product a personal favourite of mine, it’s primed for all skin types and is not going to break the bank.
The Ordinary’s cleanser also, you guessed it, contains squalene—a highly versatile fatty molecule, which works to moisturise and soften your complexion. This can also help reduce frown lines and wrinkles.
While these flimsy little chemical squares might have served us all well after a sticky night out, the reality is, make-up wipes are both ineffective and harmful. Rather than cleanse the skin, facial wipes are designed to break down makeup particles, so instead of effectively removing any residue or cosmetic pollutants, using these wipes effectively rubs the particles into your skin—inadvertently leaving a dirtier surface than you started with.
These nasty little wipes can also have a devastating impact on your skin’s pH balance, primarily due to the abundance of chemicals present. Over time, face wipes have a tendency to cause irritation and breakouts, leaving the skin looking dull and wrinkled.
If these revelations don’t cause you to throw out your hoard of wipes immediately, the final straw might be their horrendous environmental impact. These products are made from polyester, cotton, wood pulp and rayon fibres meaning they won’t decompose quickly, instead piling on top of one and other, padding landfills.
Who needs chemical face wipes when reusable pads and trusty bottles of micellar water exist? This new fan-favourite combo is a great alternative, both in regard to removing your make-up and keeping your skin safe from any unnecessary abrasion and damage.
Made from luxury bamboo and 100 per cent cotton, these pads are beautifully soft, perfect for even the most sensitive of skin, and easily washable. They’re also highly absorbent, so the days of aggressively scrubbing at your waterproof mascara are long gone.
While facial wipes may appear more convenient, their one-use nature often results in a hefty end-of-the-month bill. On the other hand, high-quality make-up pads can often withstand 100 washes. Once you’ve removed last night’s war paint and you’ve gotten the maximum use out of your pad, simply throw them away in your compost bin and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Not many cosmetic products have held such a tight grip over the gen Z and millennial community as the iconic Mario Badescu facial spray. Is it still worth the hype? Sadly, I’m here to inform you that the beauty YouTubers of 2017 were lying to you.
Anyone marketing this spray should definitely dodge the word natural, as it turns out that the mist is choc-a-bloc with fragrances—specifically, Hexylene Glycol, a colourless liquid known to cause skin irritation.
The spray also contains Phenoxyethanol, a preservative which should be fine in low concentrations but has been known to cause drastic allergic reactions in some cases. Beauty whizz Katya-Niomi stated that “it’s simply fragrance galore” and went on to explain how bad fragrance is for your skin as it sensitises it, in turn breaking down your skin’s barrier.
You know what they say, third time’s a charm. The Mario Badescu spray also has remnants of Propylene Glycol—an ingredient that has garnered mixed opinions within the cosmetic community. It has been deemed safe by certified dermatologists via Healthline as the ingredient is chemically inactive, however, the Environmental Working Group has also acknowledged the ingredient’s capabilities to cause redness and irritation.
This Superdrug gem is a favourite among netizens online, with one user stating: “It is the most versatile skincare product I own, I use this product as a toner, I use it during the day as a fresh natural moisturiser and it gives me this impeccable glow.” It can also be used at the end of your make-up routine to set your face.
The affordable hydrating mist also contains many other vitamins A, B, F, and H, which combined with the horse chestnut extract will help moisturise dry skin.
There we have it, these are my discoveries. Of course, I would be an irresponsible skincare comrade if I didn’t encourage you to do your own experimenting in search of the ultimate cosmetic kit. However, I hope these findings start you off on the right path.
For most of us older gen Z, YouTube was where we used to get all our makeup advice—a place where we’d get hoodwinked into buying the next viral product. Nowadays, that place is none other than TikTok. The potential virality of an item on the platform has brands in a tizzy as they seek to make it known on the shop floor with ill-placed posters and placards that remind you this is ‘as seen on TikTok’.
Because we know just how overwhelming the amount of choice the beauty and skincare market has to offer, we’ve compiled a list of the latest viral must-haves—only the ones tested and approved by the SCREENSHOT team, of course.
The most recent item taking the platform by storm is Fenty Beauty’s newest product drop. The ‘Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain’ has dominated the makeup scene on TikTok—so much so that the brand itself even notes this on the product’s launch page, labelling it as “Gone Viral.” Retailing at £17 ($24), the Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain has already officially sold out on both the US and UK online Fenty stores—other outlets like Harvey Nichols, Boots and Sephora are also selling out fast, so grab some while you can!
Though you can just apply it like you would any other product, users’ excitement for the longevity and actual stain of the colour comes after actually wiping it off. Applying it with ample coating, then wiping it off, is what reveals the now-viral stain Fenty promises. You wouldn’t have to worry about always taking it off however—that’s just TikTok’s way of doing it. You can also enjoy the initial glossy layer which, as it wears away, leaves behind the soft tint.
“Makeup is all about play, and when I was developing this lip stain, I had so much fun. This product just hits different. You get that sexy, wet-look shine and your lips feel super-hydrated. But… this tint!!” Rihanna—the mogul behind the iconic brand—is quoted saying on the product’s page.
With lip stains thought to be one of the products of the summer 2022, Fenty Beauty’s rendition has garnered over 3 million views on the app—not only gaining popularity for its colour and longevity but also for its moisturising oil-in-water with squalene formula that markets hydration throughout the day. Dreamy.
EltaMD previously had a viral moment with its untinted SPF (already a cult-favourite among celebrities and consumers alike) but spiralled into even greater popularity after Hailey Bieber debuted her “everyday prep” routine on TikTok. The video, which has a whopping 25 million views, shows Bieber applying the EltaMD UV Glow Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF as part of her morning routine.
The highly popular sunscreen is an absolute sell-out on Amazon, which can be explained with the help of one user’s comment on the clip that reads “I cannot believe I use the same sunscreen as Hailey Bieber.” The model whose skin has been heralded by many as the poster child of the ‘clean look’ has capitalised on the obsession of her clear skin with her own skincare line rhode. In efforts to replicate Bieber’s flawless skin, more users than ever have flocked to the SPF product for that glowy doughnut goodness. Bon appétit!
The sunscreen itself is popular for a reason: it’s all-mineral formula curated with rich antioxidants like cult-ingredient niacinamide, as well as hydrating hyaluronic acid and coconut fruit extract, leaves skin healthy, glowing and most importantly, protected against sun damage and skin-ageing free radicals. It follows the model’s own ethos when it comes to her own brand, being paraben-, fragrance-, oil-, dye-, gluten- and alcohol-free. It’s on the steeper side price-wise though, coming in at $40 (not yet available in the UK).
Another seemingly unstoppable product on TikTok came from the recent obsession with having the perfect slicked-back hair look donned by the likes of Bieber and Kendall Jenner. How do they do it? Well, word on the street is, it’s this nifty and surprisingly affordable product you can find on Amazon. The Tancho Tique Hair Dressing is allegedly how the models get the look, and following an influencer try-on video with over 10 million views, the product officially went viral.
As soon as this particular product caught on, more of the same (what we like to call ‘dupes’) surfaced. Bed Head’s Hair Wax Stick has also made the rounds for the same effortless sleekness. Both reasonably affordable, Tancho’s is priced at £22 ($26) while the Bed Head is just £9 ($10).
Now, this is a product that even I couldn’t resist. Available in both matte and dewy finishes, the Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush is most definitely one of the highest selling products brought out by Selena Gomez’s makeup brand. The insane hype around the blush comes from its effortless and intense pigmentation—you barely need a drop to get all the coverage you need which explains why it is widely beloved. In fact, it’s so popular on the app that its hashtag alone carries a total of 126.2 million views.
Despite having such high pigmentation, the formula is actually surprisingly light and doesn’t disturb those under-layers of makeup. Like what most celebrity brands have to offer these days, the blush is vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, dermatologically tested and suitable for sensitive skin. No wonder people are obsessed.
“There’s nothing like a soft hint of blush to add dimension and colour to your look,” Gomez wrote on the product’s page. The product retails for $20 on the US website and is available in the UK from SpaceNK at £19.
Because neither of us have all day, we’ll just call it the NYX Pore Filler Stick if that’s alright with you. This miracle product is yet another TikTok favourite that had everyone racing to sell it out, and they mostly have. The Stick is part of a range of ‘Pore Filler’ products that all aim to do the same thing, smooth out those pesky pores, duh.
“Pores, fine lines, oil and shine are blurred instantly and all day! This lightweight formula dries transparent with a soft-focus finish to blur any imperfections. The unique applicator shape allows for no-mess, targeted application and can be used under or on top of makeup! Perfect for normal to oily skin,” the product’s description reads.
In what can be credited in playing a large part in the NYX Pore Filler Stick going viral, a makeup influencer by the name of Chim tested it in a two-part video—garnering 15 million and 10 million views respectively.
One last thing: run, don’t walk.