The Best And Worst TikTok Beauty Trends In 2023

From hair slugging to pimple-popping, things got pretty ugly this past year.

TikTok has become the go-to source for beauty advice. But viral trends aren’t always safe to try at home. HuffPost asked the experts to comment on the best and worst beauty trends from the app this year. Which ones should we try and which ones steer clear of?

The Best

Red Light Therapy

Those scary-looking LED masks actually work, according to the experts.

“With over 136 million views on TikTok, #redlighttherapy is a trend that is here to stay,” said Dr. Jeremy Brauer, a New York-based board-certified dermatologist.

Using photobiomodulation — the application of light to aid with tissue repair and inflammation — and near-infrared light may benefit the skin in a variety of ways.

“Since it helps improve cellular function, it’s a great option for those looking to improve skin texture, fine lines and acne scars,” Brauer said, adding that the process can also be anti-inflammatory. “There are at-home red light therapy devices, however, they aren’t standardized, so I’d recommend visiting your dermatologist to further discuss in-office options.”


Skin Cycling

Skin cycling may sound fancy, but it’s really just an easy way to create a nighttime routine that targets several concerns.

@drwhitneybowe

Skin cycling for beginners: how to get started. And how to layer with Bowe Glowe #skincycling #thatboweglow #dermatologist #skintok

? original sound - Dr. Whitney Bowe

“Although the term is new [coined by Dr. Whitney Bowe], the concept has been around for a while,” Brauer said. “Skin cycling is so popular because it is simple, effective, and can be personalized for different skin types. Instead of the simultaneous application of too many products, skin cycling helps simplify your topical routine. For example, night one may be ‘exfoliation’ night, night two is ‘retinol night’ and nights three and four are recovery nights so you hold off on the exfoliation and retinoids and give your skin a chance to recover.”

Strawberry Makeup

This fresh makeup look went super viral after Hailey Bieber posted a video tutorial on TikTok.

“In my opinion, the strawberry makeup trend was the best beauty trend on TikTok in 2023. I liked it because it’s so cute and easily achievable. It really looks good on everyone and is relatively timeless,” said Katie Jane Hughes, a celebrity makeup artist (who has worked with Bieber) and founder of KJH.Brand.

Mascara Cocktailing

Mascara cocktailing involve mixing different mascara formulas to achieve your perfect look.

@katiehub.org

@essence cosmetics , you amaze me? #fyp #mascara

? original sound - katie

“Makeup artists have been using this technique for years, layering and combining mascaras to give the eyes added definition,” said Ruby Hammer, a makeup artist and founder of Ruby Hammer Beauty. “Lashes are incredible at determining how your eyes look. Build volume and length in the center for a larger doe-eyed effect, or build up at the outer corners for a siren effect. Make sure to keep a clean spoolie on hand to avoid clumpy lashes, but enjoy experimenting with volumizing, lengthening, colored and defining formulations to enhance your eye shape.”

Strategic Camouflage

Spot concealing, or “strategetic camouflage,” is a clever way to use less product and make it work better for you, Hammer said.

@rubyhammermua

Strategic Camouflage ?? One of my most frequently asked questions is how to hide pigmentation marks without it looking cakey… the magic is all in the application. Forget huge swipes of concealer!! Use a tapered or fine point brush to dot on a hint on concealer, tapping in and building up if required. No filters required ? #rubysroutine #pigmentation #concealertutorial #honednothacked #strategiccamouflage #mua #breakthemold #beautyover40 #beautyover50 #beautyover60 #bangladeshi #desi

? I'M FEELING LUCKY - Ellen Once Again

“I’ve used this technique since the ’80s, pinpointing base products only where required,” Hammer said. “I loved seeing this trend on TikTok. For the lightest, most natural-looking base, pick the smallest precision brushes to apply concealer, only to the areas that need attention. It looks like magic the first time you see someone following the technique! Using a precision brush pick up a small amount of product and place it onto the blemish you wish to conceal (no giant triangles or huge circles) and then tap in using your fingers. You can build up the coverage if you require more, but this will melt the product into your skin seamlessly. Then set with a translucent powder.”

Heatless Styling

So many people have tried some form of heatless styling in the past year (perhaps with a robe belt!) to give their hair a break.

“It’s refreshing to see the increase in heatless styling – less damage and breakage, especially if you’re a daily hair straightener user,” said MariLynne Cosmillo, the founder of Hours Haircare. “Understanding the best heatless wave or curl technique for your hair length and type will save you a lot of time. For example, robe curls are best for long hair, socks for short, and don’t skip the hair product – prep using a product with hold to set the curls, so you get the best results.”

Hair Oiling

Hair oiling is a 5,000-year-old tradition from India. But it’s become a big hit online lately, with people praising it for giving them longer, stronger and healthier hair.

@mypawfectfamily

Every family has their own recipes, but this is how we’ve always done it:) #indianhairoil #indianhairsecrets #hairoiling #diyhairoil #hairgrowthtips

? Smiles & Sunsets - ultmt. & Hz.

“Hair oiling can be beneficial when used correctly on non-oily scalps,” Cosmillo said. “Oiling the scalp is most helpful for strengthening the roots and preventing hair fall, although it comes with some terms. Only leave the oil in for up to three hours, and don’t over-apply, which can lead to overwashing. If you already have an oily scalp, this may not be the right treatment for you, as it can further clog your hair follicles and increased shedding.”

The Worst

Popping Pimples In The ‘Triangle Of Death’

@drjennyliu

Don’t pop pimples, instread try spot treating with benzoyl peorxide, sal acid, or sulfure. Love acne patches too. Or see a derm for a steroid shot #triangleofdeath #pimplepopping #skincaremistakes #skincaredonts #skincaretips #dermatologist #skincarehacks

? You & Me - JENNIE

This is how the “triangle of death” theory goes, as explained by Brauer: “If you pop a pimple in this region, there’s a possibility of creating an open wound. If bacteria gets into an open wound, an infection could develop. If this infection became serious and remained untreated, then expanded to the brain, then it could potentially prove fatal, as this region has veins that lead to the brain – causing blood clots, which could then lead to a stroke.

“However, the chances of this happening are low, and these infections are treatable with antibiotics. Although the odds are low, I wouldn’t recommend popping pimples in this region and if you do, watch for signs of infection.”

Nasal Tanning Sprays

This dangerous trend saw people using (illegal) nasal sprays to achieve a deeper tan while using sunbeds.

“Also known as the ‘Barbie peptide,’ TikTok users are promoting nasal tanning sprays, which purportedly give users a deep tan through melanotan II, a lab-made ingredient that mimics hormones which already exist in your body to create a tan. Although this may sound promising for anyone looking to achieve a summer tan, the ingredient is actually illegal to sell in all 50 states, as well as in the U.K. and Australia,” Brauer explained.

It’s extremely dangerous, and just like sitting in a tanning bed, can be associated with melanoma,” he added. “Along with potentially causing cancer, tanning can cause premature aging. For a safer option, I’d recommend talking to a board-certified dermatologist to find a self-tanning lotion that works for you.”

Pinching Dark Undereye Circles To Figure Out The Cause

Dark circles can indeed be hereditary or acquired via aging, lifestyle factors and more. But you can’t determine the cause by pinching your under eyes.

“It’s not always that easy to figure out the cause of dark undereye circles, and there are often multiple etiologies,” Brauer said. “These include, but are not limited to, aging skin and loss of elasticity, orbital bone resorption and hyperpigmentation.”

Underpainting

Underpainting is when you apply your contour, blush and highlighter before your foundation. The practice gained more traction on TikTok this year when Mary Phillips, who often does Bieber’s makeup, shared a video with the underpainting technique.

“Like many techniques on TikTok, they start with incredible artists sharing their wisdom — however, to go viral there needs to be a good visual impact so what starts as one thing very quickly turns into something else,” Hammer said. “Everyone has seen the before images of heavily applied stripes of concealer and large circles of blush that are then blended over with foundation. If you remember playing with paints as a child, you may remember that mixing all your colors at once left you with a brown sludgy mess and some of the after-effects I’ve seen have also resembled this. The art of underpainting is to be light-handed and strategic for a natural base effect.”

Sunscreen Contouring

We know the sun is dangerous, especially without adequate sunscreen protection. Contouring with sunscreen is not a good trend.

“This trend started in 2022 and continued into 2023; sunscreen contouring became a thing post-Gwyneth Paltrow’s infamous sunscreen routine video,” Hammer explained. “As an artist and beauty lover, this is one of the trends I have liked the least over the last year. No amount of contour is worth potentially damaging your skin. Instead, grab a bronzer and highlighter to give yourself a natural-looking glow that your skin will thank you for.”

Hair Slugging

Hair slugging may seem like hair oiling, which is a “good trend,” but a slugging routine leaves oil on the hair overnight, wrapped in a fuzzy sock. Leaving it overnight isn’t always ideal.

@vanesamaro91

The oil im using is from @Fable & Mane and you can find it on their website or sephora ?? discount code: vanesa15 #fableandmane #hairslugging #fableandmanepartner

? original sound - Vanesa Amaro ??

“If you’re using oil on your hair for an extended period, it should be on the lengths of your hair only – avoiding your scalp so it doesn’t clog your hair follicles,” Cosmillo said, noting that most of the hair slugging seen online is not done correctly.

“Slugging correctlyis beneficial if you oil with a high absorption rate such as coconut, sunflower, olive or castor oil, and find the right one for your hair porosity,” she said.

Hair Crackling Or Scalp Popping

This trend may seem satisfying, but it’s not good for the hair follicles. This trend involves quickly pulling the hair out of the scalp to make a popping sound, and purportedly has a few benefits. But beware.

@dey.1997

Best way to cure my headaches, pulling your #garrotillo #lacostachica #fyp #headache #relax

? original sound - D G

“Pulling your hair out like this is dangerous and can cause bald spots, inflammation, scalp wounds, and long-term damage to the hair follicle,” Cosmillo explained. “If you’re trying this for migraine relief, you should see a doctor instead – scalp popping/hair cracking will cause much more harm than good.”

Before You Go

A gentle bubbly clay mask

34 TikTok Beauty Products That Will Genuinely Wow You

Popular in the Community

Close

HuffPost Shopping’s Best Finds

MORE IN LIFE