Culture

How Skinfluencers Are Taking Over TikTok  

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Skincare has absolutely exploded on TikTok this year.  

Skinfluencers are some of the most popular content creators on the platform, and they’re wielding a huge amount of commercial power.  

So, Who Are The Biggest Players?  

And how are their videos changing the way we buy skincare?   

This is Hyram, he’s a 24-year-old TikTok skinfluencer 

He’s known for honestly reviewing products and other TikTokkers’ skincare routines. In fact, he can be pretty brutal about what people are putting on their faces.  

Hyram’s audience has grown pretty remarkably since the beginning of the pandemic.  

In March he had 100,00 followers and now he has around 6.5 million.  

And there are other massive players in skin-Tok too.  

Young-Seok Yuh has 1.3 mlillion followers, Dr Dustin Portela has almost a million and Vi Lai has over half a million.  

It’s easy to see why these accounts are so successful once you start scrolling through them – the content on them can be really entertaining.  

Natasha GillezeauWhat these guys do have on skin-Tok is that they’re funny. And that is their edge – I think – over maybe other types of skincare content on Youtube or alike. They’re really leaning into the humour side of things, and leaning into making fun of themselves.” 

That’s Natasha Gillezeau. She’s a journalist from the Australian Financial Review who’s covered this TikTok community.

Natasha told me that authenticity is incredibly important, particularly when it comes to skincare, and that’s because beauty companies have a bit of a tendency for BS in their advertising.  

NG: “The thing with skincare products is that there are huge margins on them. They don’t cost a lot to produce, but companies make a lot of money from them. And when you have a lot of profit from a product, you then have more of that profit that can just be constantly reinvested back into marketing efforts  So there’s a niche within a niche on skin-Tok, which is sort of about busting the marketing, and the skin-Tokkers present themselves as these insiders that have really done the hard work for you.” 

That perception of skinfluencers as authentic and honest is worth *a lot* to marketers.  

L’oreal’s mass-market brand Cera-ve, and The Ordinary, have seen a big uptick in sales because of their TikTok presence, and because of the pandemic.  

The Ordinary reported that, at the beginning of the UK lockdown, they were selling one of their products at a rate of one bottle every three seconds.  

And the content creators are getting their cut. By July this year, Hyram had made $265,000 from online ads and brand partnerships alone.  

There are probably a few different reasons that skincare has become so in-demand during a time of global crisis.   

Natasha reckons the fact that we’re all on Zoom and FaceTime so much these days, and seeing our own faces, might have something to do with it.  

But to some extent, it’s also just a bit of a coping mechanism.  

NG: Because of the pandemic, people haven’t been able to go out as much. They haven’t been able to party as much, and there is that sense that people want to do different things to feel good, and there is that kind of rise of the nourish economy. Spending money on new things is one way that people get that hit of feeling good. 

But even though skin-Tok can help to inform people about skincare products and how to use them, Natasha said there are also good reasons to be sceptical 

NG: We should always be cynical – of even well-meaning social media stars who rise to any form of power – because there’s no real methods of holding them accountable  That obviously is something to be concerned about if they’re making claims about certain products, and they’re not following the law on how you’re supposed to do that from a marketing and advertising standpoint. Because the harms are everything from, people just waste their money and time, to people obviously buy a product that they think is going to treat an illness, and not actually get the treatment that they need.” 

The Takeaway 

So, Skincare on TikTok is absolutely huge and it’s gaining a lot of commercial momentum.  

But for the young audience on the app, there are good reasons to question this content because the authenticity of these influencers can be very easy to sell.