Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: @heyyitsjot/TikTok, @elisamontorio/TikTok, Getty Images, CHROM
Everyone loves a good visual beauty hack, and almost all of them live on TikTok now. This year, the platform taught us you can do virtually any beauty-related process, no matter how questionable, if you really put your mind to it. Dreams of creating your own foundation, evening out your own teeth with a nail file, and recycling your lockdown leg hair to make your own artisanal faux lashes all became realities on the app that inspired us to take charge of our beauty routines.
Always intriguing, conveniently under 60 seconds, and often not recommended by professionals in the associated fields, here’s a sampling of the beauty lessons TikTok taught us in 2020 — whether we were looking for them or not. Proceed at your own risk.
Curl your hair with a radiator. Radiators are basically rows of stacked curling wands anyway, right? Just don’t burn your face.
Butter your bread with heat protectant. Before radiator styling, apply your favorite heat protectant on some bread and throw that baby into the toaster to make sure its actually been doing something this whole time.
Introduce your curls to a T-shirt. The practice of drying curls in a strategically tied T-shirt is part of curly-girl lore, but TikTok brought it back to everyone’s attention in a year when people were getting reacquainted with their natural textures.
Introduce your straight hair to some socks. People ditched curling irons and wrapped sections of hair around socks to wake up to heat-free curls.
Don’t be afraid to get a perm. For a longer-lasting curl, just make a salon appointment like a bunch of boys did this year. They all look like they had a blast.
Put soap on your brows. No need to laminate. You can keep you arches glossy and in place with throwback translucent bar soap.
Shave some of your brows off. The problematic fox-eye trend had many a user shaving half their brows off and drawing them back on, and it yielded … mixed results.
Or shave them completely off and tattoo them back on. The quickest way to get the brows of your dreams.
Apply your foundation on top of everything else. Tired of your face creasing and ultimately melting off? Ignore the fundamental meaning of the word “foundation” and apply the product last; like on top of your finishing setting spray and everything.
Put colorful dots all over your face. If your foundation shade-matching endeavors always result in failure, try making your own. Decorate your face with white, red, yellow, and blue dots, blend it all in, and go ahead and file that trademark for your beauty brand.
Put just one color of dots all over your face. Why wear a sunburn when you can wear fake freckles?
Just draw your lashes on. Good-bye, lash extensions.
Or use your extra leg hair if you prefer falsies. Harvest season is here. Put those crops to good use.
Color on your bobby pins. Take all the math out of the winged liner triangle equation, and set your wobbly hand up for success.
Shave your face. The only thing as soothing as soap-cutting is scraping dead skin and dirty hairs off your own face to reveal the smoothness that lives underneath.
Put Vaseline all over your face. The key to glass, honey, butter, mochi, or dolphin skin is probably slugging, the K-beauty practice of slathering Vaseline, Aquaphor, or your preferred petroleum jelly all over your face before bed to lock all your skin-care and dewy potential in. (Condolences to side-sleepers.)
Put Band-Aids on your pimples. If dropping double digits on pimple patches doesn’t sit right with you, just slap a hydrocolloid Band-Aid on your zits.
Paint your teeth with polish. Give your teeth a true manicure with a few coats of tooth polish. Neon green is fun, but blinding white’s totally an option if your at-home whitening efforts don’t go so hot.
File your teeth. What are teeth if not the nails of your skull that will never grow back?