Those of us with an interest in beauty will have noticed the seismic shift from makeup to skincare in 2020. Things have changed drastically even beyond the rules of lockdown and social isolation, with trends around beauty being one major industry that has evolved a great deal in a short period of time. Skincare has skyrocketed in popularity, with record-breaking sales, meaning it has overtaken makeup as the highest-earning beauty category.
It seems we were becoming more interested in having healthy, glowing, and clear skin this year, whether this is through gradual tanning products or retinol. Lockdown has clearly accelerated how quickly we’ve adopted skincare into our beauty regimes.
By the end of 2020, the UK cosmetics industry was set to decline by 10 per cent, a historical figure. With many of us having fewer reasons to wear makeup in lockdown, skincare has given us our daily fix of improving our appearance for days—that have become our norm—of lounging around the house with a bare face. Wearing makeup daily has become almost as pointless as the bikinis and summer-wear you bought in the January sales.
This shift to skincare is reflected online, with social media ‘skinfluencers’ growing in popularity.
There was a time where beauty vloggers only existed on YouTube. However, the social media platform TikTok has become a window into consumer trends. The rise of skincare content on the gen Z-dominated platform has created a new generation of skinfluencers. These creators educate users on cool new brands, unforgettable trends, and essential ingredients and techniques for flawless skin. According to influencer management platform Traackr, in April 2020, engagement on skincare-related TikTok videos surged by 1,002 per cent from a year ago.
Here, we look at some of the top skinfluencers on TikTok. We gathered information on TikTok followers, likes, and engagement to find 5 of the top skinfluencers of 2020.
@yayayayoung has 1.3 million followers, 43 million total likes, and a 13 per cent engagement rate. These figures are impressive considering this account was created in March.
Young Yuh offers knowledgeable advice about K-beauty and Korean skincare, including the culture’s famed 10-step routine. K-beauty is becoming more popular in the West due to its incredible, innovative products. According to Marie Claire’s Digital Beauty Editor, Katie Thomas, South Korea’s beauty industry is around 10 to 12 years ahead of the rest of the world. And you can access fantastic guidance at your fingertips on TikTok with @yayayayoung.
This skinfluencer isn’t afraid to test skincare routines to show users what will happen. He commented: “I’m willing to do things that other people won’t like. For instance, I’m willing to purposely put retinoids on my face for a week straight, twice a day, just to see what will happen with my face.”
@skincarebyhyram has 6.7 million TikTok followers, 249.6 million total likes, and an 11 per cent engagement rate. Yarbro began making beauty videos on YouTube in 2017, although his figures rose on TikTok following the pandemic.
Dubbed the “Gen Z whisperer” by The New York Times, Yarbro is a Hawaiian skinfluencer who turned to TikTok, captivating teenagers around the world with product reviews and tutorials. He has been instrumental in driving youngsters away from harsh exfoliants that include walnut shell—like St Ives and Kylie Skin scrubs—which he claims cause inflammation, redness, and sensitivity. He encourages gentle chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid and peels, becoming a trusted source of information for younger people who may not understand skincare ingredients.
TikTok users are so influenced by Yarbro that he essentially made CeraVe’s salicylic acid-based cleanser a cult classic, as users rushed out to purchase the face wash. This is particularly interesting as CeraVe is an unlikely fan favourite, with consumers usually favouring newer brands with pretty packaging like Glossier. CeraVe, on the other hand, is sold in most pharmacies and supermarket aisles. Accounts like this are changing the entire skincare game for luxury brands, who are relying more on effective products rather than branding.
Yarbro told The Guardian: “Traditional marketing fails to establish trust. People gravitate towards online creators who have real, honest opinions. When a creator establishes trust with their audience, their reach exceeds any marketing budget or exposure strategy. People are drawn to people.”
@skinbyliss has 213,000 followers on TikTok, 2.3 million total likes, and a 7.4 per cent engagement rate. Striebel is a licensed esthetician, meaning she’s a qualified skincare professional. Her videos help answer the questions that are on most of our lips—how to battle acne, what’s the difference between blackheads and sebaceous filaments, what ingredients mean and do, as well as skincare dos and don’ts.
The TikToker started posting skincare content around the summer of 2020, attracting a lot of attention from users looking to improve their skin.
With 2.8 million TikTok followers, 190.9 million total likes, and a 5.1 per cent engagement rate, Marine Biology student @jc.dombrowski doesn’t focus only on skincare. Dombrowski teaches his followers about everything from newly-discovered sea animals to how our skin ages, and dedicates his platform to fighting fake news. This user posted his first video in September 2019 and has amassed many followers through his skincare wisdom—earning more than 1.1 million followers in only five months.
@skinbydrazi has around 6 million TikTok followers, 12.9 million total likes, and a 4.5 per cent engagement rate.
Doctor Azadeh Shirazi is a licensed dermatologist specialising in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. Her educational and insightful videos feature procedures such as laser mole removal, advice on ingredients you shouldn’t mix when layering products, different types of acne and treatments, routines, tutorials, and product reviews. This user is perfect for those seeking a professional opinion on skincare.
TikTok skinfluencers are changing the skincare marketing game, breaking the internet with cult products as well as techniques to keep us looking youthful and healthy. It’s encouraging to see that each skinfluencer in this list is different, appealing to different demographics and skincare queries. A diverse pool of influencers is what we need in this industry to keep things exciting and inclusive.
The wellness industry is thriving, for better or for worse, and with it, various vaginal products are appearing on the market. While some products are used to ease menstrual pain or increase sexual healing through pleasure, others are sold purely for the purpose of ‘finessing’ our genitals. Why is this trend happening now and how much of a problem is it?
Of course, this is not the first time that women are being targeted with false and unnecessary health advice. Gwyneth Paltrow, also known as the mastermind behind GOOP, recommended vagina steaming in order to balance hormone levels and cleanse the uterus, which gynaecologists strongly advise against.
A few years ago a new trend appeared that advised women to peel a full cucumber and penetrate themselves with it—not for the purpose of pleasure, but to ‘reduce odour’ and add ‘moisture’. Health professionals were quick to point out that this practice can actually lead to a number of diseases. In other words, your vagina does not need a ‘cleanse’, and unless a medical professional examined you and told you otherwise, basic hygiene should be enough.
Recently, there has been a worrying increase in various products being sold for the purpose of ‘beautifying’ the genitalia. There are now serums, charcoal masks, various scented perfumes and even highlighters to make your beautiful vagina even more… well beautiful, and this market keeps on growing despite medical professionals’ disapproval of it. Not only are these products unnecessary, but they also promote a false idea that our genitals need to appear a certain way, which can create insecurities for women while also capitalising on them.
TWO L(I)PS is a skincare company dedicated entirely to the vulva, which specialises in selling products such as activated charcoal masks for $28 and brightening serums for $150. While all products are dermatologically tested, their necessity should be put under question. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good charcoal mask, but only for my face—never have I considered applying one to my vulva.
The charcoal masks are said to “soothe, detoxify, brighten and moisturize the vulva,” and were in fact so popular that the company sold out of them two months after their initial launch (they are now back in stock). One of the brand’s serums, priced at $120, is made out of the skin whitening agent Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-36, and comes with the instruction to apply SPF 30 sunscreen the following days. Make your own judgement, but it sounds quite concerning to me that sunscreen would be needed in that area after using a serum.
Another company, The Perfect V, explains on its website that its products are “always for beauty’s sake. It is pure, indulgent pampering and love for your ‘V’. It is a multi-tasking luxury skincare formulated to rejuvenate, enhance and beautify the ‘V’.” Notice how the company never refers to the vulva or vagina by its name—instead, it is just the ‘V’, and if you buy their products, you can beautify your ‘V’ to become the perfect ‘V’!
It is certainly confusing that a company created by adults for adults won’t refer to genitalia by its real name, and should be taken as a warning sign. Perhaps it comes from the stigma surrounding women’s genitalia, but this only makes it all the more ironic that a brand entirely dedicated to selling products for our vulvas can’t even acknowledge that it is in fact called a vulva.
Among the products being sold by The Perfect V, which all claim to be both dermatologically and gynaecologically tested, there is a special $43 highlighting cream that promises to ‘illuminate’ your vulva and make it shimmer. This product can be compared to a highlighter you may apply to your face during your make up routine, only, in this case, it is meant for your vulva.
Everyone should be free to do whatever they want with their own bodies, so if you want to illuminate your vulva, please feel free to do so. My aim isn’t to judge customers, but more to highlight a bigger problem: the stigmatisation of the appearance of female genitalia. This is an increasing issue, and cosmetic surgeries, such as labiaplasty, have seen a 400 per cent increase in the last 15 years.
The stigma doesn’t just stop at the appearance of the vulva itself—it also touches upon other aspects, such as the vagina’s natural scent, its moisture or lack of such, or its pubic hair. One of The Perfect V’s best selling products is a beauty mist described as both “a natural skin conditioner and deodorizer,” that supposedly moisturises your skin and leaves your vulva smelling of roses. Another company called V Magic sells lipstick for your vagina, which supposedly moisturises and deodorises your vagina, too.
Similarly, the ‘Clit Spritz’ is a product sold by The Tonic, a wellness company specialising in CBD products. The ‘Clit Spritz’ is described as a “sexily-silky, gorgeously-scented oil designed to stimulate, lubricate and rejuvenate your lady bits.” Using the expression ‘lady bits’ once again stigmatises genitals. It is important to note that the company is selling the ‘Clit Spritz’ as a lubricant—a product that is both necessary and great—but the product’s description is vague and implies that your clitoris needs a ‘gorgeous scent’, which it doesn’t.
Not only are some of these products beyond ridiculous, but many medical professionals advise against applying and using them as they can affect a healthy PH balance and lead to infection. Vaginas can naturally clean and moisturise themselves, so unless your doctor told you to use a specific product, you don’t need one.
That is not to say all products are useless—the company Fur, for example, sells a concentrate to help eradicate ingrown hairs while soothing irritation. Many wellness companies do focus on creating products that help, while others focus on beautifying your genitals. It is up to you to decide which product suits you best, but perhaps try to do some research on each product before buying any.