Experts weigh in on the validity of viral beauty trends

The flaxseed mask has been gaining traction on TikTok. Picture: X

The flaxseed mask has been gaining traction on TikTok. Picture: X

Published Mar 4, 2024


Social media is rife with an abundance of wide-ranging life hacks, tips and tricks, with scores of users eager to give a range of them a try.

This includes viral beauty trends, which often promise youthful, clear and flawless skin at a fraction of the cost and time when compared to cosmetic procedures.

But skin experts have warned that not all these trends, which usually promote the use of everyday household products and toiletries, are safe or effective.

“Not all beauty advice offered by the internet is best suited to skin,” Kevin Khosa, the customer service manager at SKIN Functional explained to Independent Media Lifestyle.

“There are many fads and it is easy to get swept up in the virility of some of these trends.”

Meanwhile, Tzvia Hermann, the co-founder and owner of The Laser Beautique, shared similar sentiments.

“Some of these viral beauty trends are harmless, fun and creative, but some are a disaster and you just shouldn’t even try them,” she warned.

She also believes that some of these fads, often seen on TikTok, are ingenious ways for people to gain traction on the app.

“It's crazy what some people will do to gain followers,” she said.

Below, Khosa and Hermann discuss several beauty trends which have recently exploded in popularity on TikTok:

Flaxseed mask

This trend sees people boil flaxseeds in water and apply the sticky residue which forms from this process onto the face in the form of a mask.

Many have punted this as an alternative to botox as it promises users youthful and clear skin.

But Hermann believes that “it’s just about impossible that anything topical or any home-made mask or serum could ever compare to the effects of Botox.”

“Although it’s been reported that flaxseeds may improve pores and acne, there is no scientific evidence.”

She added that flaxseeds are very sensitive to heat and are produced by a process called cold pressing.

“This fad flaxseed mask recipe calls for heating up the mixture, but this will destroy the integrity of all the goodness in the seed.

“When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

Meanwhile, Khosa believes that flaxseed masks pose no danger and that they offer benefits in terms of boosting skin glow and antioxidant properties.

“However, ascorbic acid is considered the gold standard in antioxidants and would be better suited to scavenging harmful free radicals.”

Nappy cream to heal a damaged skin barrier and to treat acne

This is another skincare trend that is gaining traction on TikTok, with many users swearing by this unusual beauty fad.

Khosa believes that the baby product can be used to repair a damaged skin barrier on a short-term basis, but he warned that some nappy creams are occlusives. This means that they create a physical barrier on top of the skin to keep it moist and hydrated.

“While occlusives have been raved about, using them too frequently hampers your barrier’s ability to effectively protect the skin.”

Hermann also believes that you need more than nappy cream to repair a damaged skin barrier.

“To heal and maintain a healthy barrier, you need to make sure you cleanse with a cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture and micro biome as well ensure that the bad bacteria is eliminated and the PH is intact.”

Applying foundation in water to make it transfer-proof

Hermann believes that this is yet another ineffective skin fad.

“If you are mixing foundation with water for more hydration, then you may as well spray your face with water before applying make-up,” she said.

“The only thing I know of that can make foundation transfer-proof is setting spray and the water foundation hack literally dilutes foundation,” she warned.

Khosa also believes that this method does not offer the skin any direct benefits.

“If the water is cold, it may harden some foundations,” he said.

Overall, when it comes to social media beauty hacks, Khosa and Hermann urged users to exercise caution.

“I’m not a fan of TikTok fads. They come and go all the time and then people realise that there is no scientific evidence behind them and that even the ingredients aren’t backed by any reputable trials,” Hermann said.

“My advice is to always check the product's claims and ingredients and to not take TikTok fads at face value.”

Khosa also recommended that users do in-depth research or that they consult a skin expert before attempting a beauty routine from social media.