“Self-Care” TikToks: Are They Helpful or Harmful?

Image via Unsplash

TikTok is, yet again, slowly taking over our lives. This time, it’s in the realm of self-care. The economy of TikTok is based on “trends,” or fleeting video themes that can get extremely popular very quickly and disappear just as fast.

The newest trend of self-care TikToks usually features a person, or a group of people, going through their skin care or nighttime routine with a soothing but upbeat song playing in the background. Sometimes there is no music at all and just the sound of water running.

There are smooth cuts to each action that is taken, and the “self-care taker” will do a silly face between them. The most shocking part of this TikTok trend is how addicting it tends to be and how quickly the hours go by while scrolling through the #selfcare tag. 

One of the popular videos in the #selfcare tag is by the creator @stephtrucco. The video shows her morning routine, and features everything from her shower products to her makeup and even remembering to take her birth control. The music backing the video is the song “Take Your Man” by Mahogany Lox, a very popular TikTok song with over 1.8m videos with it on the site. Steph makes sure to feature all the brands of her products and zooms into the mirror to show herself putting the stuff on. This is what usually constitutes a typical self-care routine video, which is the most popular form of the trend. 

Self-care TikToks might seem light-hearted and informative, however, they have the capacity to be harmful, especially to their young audience. These videos often feature model-esque individuals showing off their “tricks of the trade,” and the comments sections are filled with young fans bashing their own appearances.

These videos often try to attribute the self-care taker’s beauty to their routines, which is not necessarily true, but it can be hard for young fans to understand this. There has also been an uptick in obvious advertising in self-care videos, but TikToks rules do not require paid advertisements to be disclosed. Undisclosed advertisements was a huge issue on YouTube a few years ago — because of the harmful effects it could have on kids — and it’s rearing its ugly head again on TikTok. 

Self-care TikToks also have the capacity to be very helpful and positive. One creator, @urgirladrie, features videos about body positivity for plus-size girls and self-care tips that are more than working out or eating healthy. There are also trends of young people going through their recovery journey using the #selfcare tag. 

TikTok’s version of self-care has become more than just a video trend. Young people are having sleepovers and calling them “self-care nights” instead of spa nights. People are learning tangible ways to take care of their skin and health without huge budgets. In the past, self-care was something people did as a means to an end, but now the simple act of self-care feels like a statement. TikTok has taken over our lives again, but this time it might not be a totally negative thing.



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