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Beauty Look to try: testing TikTok’s favorite beauty products

Feb. 1, 2021
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Say what you will about TikTok, but there’s no denying the platform has totally changed the game in terms of beauty. And as discussed previously, TikTokers really know their stuff. So, to honor the ingenuity of these savvy kids, I decided to put some of the most famous TikTok products to the test. Here are my highly scientific results.


Skincare is really where TikTok reigns supreme, and there are a whole host of products that are almost synonymous with the platform. Affordable efficacy is where TikTok skincare truly shines, and this is exemplified by the Garnier Micellar Water. I love this product—it just works. With a whole host of fancy, expensive micellar options out there, it feels good to go for this cheap and cheerful option instead. 

In a similar vein are the CeraVe cleansers. These are simple, good formulas that clean your face and help out your skin—no frills, just function. The Hydrating Cleanser is a brilliant formulation for anyone with a sensitive skin type, while the SA Smoothing and Renewing Cleanser is perfect for anyone struggling with skin texture and blocked pores. My choice, though, is the Foaming Cleanser, which leaves my skin feeling refreshed, purified, and never tight or dry. 

TikTokers also love the Foreo Lunar Mini skincare tool for deeply cleansing the skin. On this, I have more mixed feelings. It does feel nice to use, and certainly helps any cleanser foam up and feel more effective. I’m just not totally convinced of the results here—I think a hot cloth offers an extremely similar cleansing experience.

Liquid exfoliation is a TikTok fave, and the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant and Pixi Glow Tonic both have received rave reviews. While I do enjoy both, for me the clear winner is Paula's Choice. I find even after one use my skin feels smoother and softer and looks more glowy. The Pixi is certainly no dud, but the slight sting and unnecessary fragrance undo some of its good qualities for me.

For a more intense exfoliation, The Ordinary Peeling Solution AHA 30% BHA 2% is hugely popular. This bloody-looking formula certainly makes for good video content, but many skincare experts have questioned whether it’s a little too strong to be messing about with at home. 

Finally, a controversial one. The Purito Centella Green Unscented Sunscreen SPF 50+ was a TikTok icon—until it was recently revealed the SPF levels claimed on the packaging aren’t accurate. It’s hard for me to recommend this product after such a huge error on Purito’s part—but it does feel super lightweight and offers at least some sun protection, I guess.


For a different TikTok-approved SPF, I point you in the direction of the Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color-Correcting Treatment SPF 30. This is (as far as I’m aware) a really unique product. It appears to be a green-tinted moisturizer, but when rubbed into the skin it changes to a warm, glowy beige that offers some coverage and evening to the skin tone, plus gives hydration and sun protection. I like to use this either as a primer or on more minimal makeup days, a light-coverage base in itself. 

For a real foundation, though, both TikTok and I have been loving the L’Oreal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation. Many affordable foundations feel heavy and unpleasant on the skin—but not this one. It has a light, thin texture that sinks into the complexion but packs a punch in terms of coverage. It also makes skin look incredibly hydrated, glowy, and juicy. For extra coverage where you want it, TikTok favorite Tarte Shape Tape Concealer is ideal. 

Faux freckles are another incredibly cute TikTok trend, and the Pseudo Labs Phreckles are the most natural way to get them. Rather than drawing on individual marks with a pen, this innovative product encourages you to spray the product over your face, giving a far more natural appearance. 

To complete your TikTok-approved complexion, the Physician’s Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer is another firm fave. This is a powder bronzer that feels almost like a cream, offering a super subtle wash of color and a gorgeously natural finish. The ‘80s packaging and coconut scent only add to the fun.

For the eyes, TikTok loves all L’Oreal mascaras—and I’m honestly inclined to agree! The Telescopic Mascara is my favorite, offering length and separation similar to my beloved Glossier Lash Slick, but with a bit more of an obvious finish. 

TikTok is also a huge fan of the Lemonhead Spacepastes, which have long been loves of mine. The most famous is the incredible “Houdini” shade, so named because in some lights, it disappears, while in others, it reflects an almost bioluminescent lilac glow. 

On the lips, the Too Faced Lip Injection Maximum Plump or Essence Kiss The Black Sheep Lipstick are uber popular. Surprise surprise, I love both. The Too Faced gives that slightly tingly, plumping feel and offers a glossy, pouty finish. The Essence is perhaps a little more exciting, looking black in the tube but changing color upon application to a warm wash of pink. It also feels pleasingly hydrating and gives lips a cushiony look.