Just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder than using lube instead of face primer or listening to Tessica Brown, aka Gorilla Glue girl, explain why she decided to use spray adhesive glue instead of her usual hair product, TikTok is back with yet another bizarre swapping trend—this time, we’re replacing toothbrushes with razors.
Before we jump into it and try to answer the ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘when’ you might all have on the tip of your tongue, please be aware that some of the topics explored and videos shown throughout this research may be triggering for some (blood and gore depictions).
Going as far as to call the recurring theme behind this trend a ‘concept’ might be a bit much, but from what we can tell, it all relies on dramatising some of our daily life’s most common tasks all in the name of gruesome content. As you’ve probably guessed it already, content creators taking part in the trend are not really brushing their teeth with razors. They’re just dexterously editing their footage to make it look like they are.
Most of the trend’s videos follow a similar format: someone is pictured reaching for a toiletry item which is often used once a day or more (like a toothbrush or a comb, for example) only to look down and realise that they’ve accidentally picked up something sharp instead (like a razor or a pair of scissors) and started brushing their teeth with the former or attempted to comb their hair with the latter.
Reporting on the recent rise in such ‘goreish’ videos on TikTok, Insider stated that “at least 50 videos associated with the trend have over 1 million likes and many have view counts in the millions as well.” By coming up with new ways of turning harmless parts of their routine into nightmarish shorts, TikTokers are also poking fun at forgetfulness and what, in worst case scenarios, it can eventually lead to. Milder videos depict amusing confusion such as accidentally throwing your cup of tea on your bed and then attempting to drink from your phone, using an unidentified brown substance while baking instead of chocolate chips or even emptying your rubbish in your kitchen’s sink instead of your bin.
Among all the different ways people interpret the trend, the most popular videos feature people ‘accidentally’ substituting razor blades with toothbrushes, blood included of course—it’s Halloween all-year-round on TikTok, I guess. One of the most viewed videos, with over 15 million views, on the platform is by user @jiminie.cricket. Another bloodier video by @deluxelliww, which has racked up 3 million views, showcases—you guessed it—a person realising they have mistaken their trusty toothbrush for a sharp razor.
Many of the videos following the recent trend include trigger warnings attached to them, though they do little to actually warn you before seeing the full video (“TW: Razor” does little to clearly explain what you potentially might see).
Inspiration for the trend seems to have its origins drawn from a Webtoon—where fanfiction and manga collide—called Horang’s Nightmare. Many of the videos on TikTok use the hashtag #horangsnightmare alongside #toothbrushrazor and #razortoothbrush, which have both been recently flooded with videos of teens faking shock and horror at their toothbrushes actually being razors.
Penned by the Korean horror writer of the same name, Horang’s Nightmare is easy to recognise as the source of inspiration for this latest trend, especially when looking at its third chapter, where a resident within a haunted house picks up his razor as an alternative to a toothbrush, slicing his mouth as a result.
The audio often used on the trending videos was originally shared on the app in July 2021 and has since been used in over 200,000 videos. It is made of a pitched and slowed down snippet from the 1985 song ‘Suki Suki Daisuki’ by Togawa Jun. Urban Dictionary states that the Japanese sentence translates to “I like you, I like you, I love you so much.”
According to Genius, the English translation of the track is about a love that can often become violent. The song has also been investigated by TheFocus due to its popularity in the TikTok sphere. The translated lyrics “Say you love me or I’ll kill you” are a cause for worry, which explains why many fans have taken it to be part of Yandere, a Japanese portmanteau term used for “a person who is initially loving and caring to someone they have a strong affection for until their romantic love becomes mentally destructive in nature through either over-protectiveness, violence, brutality or all three combined.”
Although credit should be given to the many content creators who are currently taking part in this gruesome TikTok trend—you have to be pretty creative to come up with some of these videos—it’s also surprising that the app has yet to notice the sudden rise in gore content.
In the meantime, users like @galaxy_cosplay have taken the matter into their own hands and created ‘safe spaces’ (under hashtags like #youresafe) for those who are worried they might see some gore content on their FYP.