In the quest for glowing, blemish-free skin, there are no shortage of tips and tricks that promise to revolutionise your beauty regime. But how many of these actually work? The skincare experts at The Organic Pharmacy have rounded up five viral beauty hacks circulating on social media to find out just how effective they are.
As well as being entertaining (and the reason why many people’s screentime is on the rise), video apps like TikTok can be a treasure trove of helpful information. And as our interest in all things skincare seems to be at an all-time high, social media is reflecting this: the hashtag for ‘skincare hacks’ on TikTok currently sits at 401.2 million views. Here we dive into five of the most popular tips and tricks on social media to see whether they really work.
Icing the face
The first skincare hack we cover isn’t actually new: skincare lovers have used cold eye masks and cucumber slices for years (you might remember some celebrities swearing by the cold teaspoon trick for tired eyes). TikTok users have recently adapted this trend by refrigerating skincare tools such as jade rollers, glass globes, or Gua shas. These Korean beauty tools have had a huge boom in popularity lately, as they help to reduce puffiness by aiding lymphatic drainage around the face and neck. Keeping them cold helps to constrict blood vessels, which counteracts swollen, red skin.
Some have taken this cold beauty therapy to the next level by applying ice cubes directly to the skin, or even submerging their faces in bowls of ice water. However, while this would help with de-puffing and anti-redness (and undoubtedly wake you up in the morning), these more extreme measures aren’t really necessary. Using refrigerated beauty tools, cold eye masks, or going back to the classic cucumber slices will give you just as many anti-inflammatory benefits without the rude awakening of a bowl of iced water.
Eye cream hack
A popular tip for combatting dark circles has also emerged on social media. One TikTok user has claimed that gently pulling the skin of your undereye can help you to choose which eye cream is best for you. The video suggests that if lifting your skin makes the dark circles disappear, you have thin skin and should choose a product that helps build collagen. If the dark circles stay, opt for ingredients like retinol or Vitamin C to help resurface and brighten the skin.
This tip can indeed help you pick an eye cream, as ingredients like collagen and retinol are well-known to combat the issues described above. However, we must remember that significant dark circles — caused by factors like age or skin pigmentation — can’t be completely corrected by topical products alone. Similarly, pulling at the skin underneath your eyes should be done gently and rarely as it is delicate and thin.
No longer just a superfood to snack on, bananas are now being hailed online as a powerful skincare product. And, unlike other hacks that have more anecdotal evidence or varied results, using banana peel as a natural, affordable acne treatment has some scientific reasoning behind it.
Banana peel acts as a natural antimicrobial agent, killing the type of bacteria that causes acne (known as Staphylococcus epidermis). It’s also high in antioxidants, which can help reduce the number of free radicals and oils on the skin’s surface (Research Gate). This means that banana peel is a cheap, readily available treatment for acne that can also be used as part of an anti-aging regime. However, avoid DIY masks made with banana, lemon juice, and baking powder, as the latter ingredients are too acidic and abrasive on the skin.
This hack also boosts the sustainability of your beauty routine, as it requires no products in plastic packaging and makes one last use of the peel before they’re sent to the compost heap. After cleansing your face, simply cut the peel into strips and rub them into your skin in circular motions for around ten minutes (paying extra attention to any spots or inflamed areas). Be sure to rinse your face with warm water and moisturise as normal.
Also gaining popularity is the practice of dermaplaning, which is the close shaving of dead skin cells and tiny hairs from the face — otherwise known as ‘peach fuzz’. This is said to leave the skin brighter, more radiant, and means that makeup and other products glide on smoothly. Dermaplaning is also thought to reduce hyperpigmentation and old acne scars, and many people have found this to be effective (Radiance).
However, like most skincare hacks, there is no one-size-fits-all approach: those currently suffering with acne, rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis should avoid buying a dermaplaning tool (known as a dermatome) as it can irritate and strip away the already-sensitive skin. Similarly, the skin can be sensitive and more vulnerable to external factors like sunshine in the following days, so dermaplaning should be done cautiously and with proper aftercare.
The final skincare tip that’s circulating on social media is ‘wet skincare’, which essentially means applying moisturiser and other hydrating products to damp skin rather than dry. This is one of the more reliable and trusted hacks out there, as it’s known to help improve the absorption of moisturisers and serums into the skin (Healthline).
As it locks in hydration more effectively, applying products immediately after showering or washing your face can maximise their performance. Dermatologists have actually taken to TikTok to say that among the more unusual, experimental skincare methods on social media, this is one that they can confirm. If you want to try this technique without rushing before you dry off, simply use a spray bottle or damp cloth to dampen your skin before applying your favourite hydrating products.
“With a wealth of tips, tricks, and hacks now shared across social media, it can be hard to know which ones are good for your skin. Some are surprisingly effective and are backed by science, while others are just a passing trend.
“The most important thing to keep in mind when experimenting with any new method or product is to research how the ingredients could impact your skin. You may be sensitive, oily, dry, or acne-prone, so be sure to consider your skin type and any potentially irritating ingredients before trying something different.”
-Margo Marrone, Co-Founder of The Organic Pharmacy