TikTok is well-known for the (often outlandish) creativity many of its users possess. Combined with the persuasive ability of the algorithm, beauty influencers have kept dewy body oils selling out over and over again, sent eccentric hairstyles and funky accessories trending with minimal effort, and spread self-proclaimed beauty hacks like wildfire. In a new viral makeup “hack,” BeautyTokers are pouring their liquid foundation into a glass of water prior to application.
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The question is, why? In 2019, celebrity makeup artist Rebecca Restrepo told Byrdie that swirling water and foundation right before application would give you a dewier finish by adding moisture without excess oils, but the method didn’t seem to take off until earlier this summer. It’s not certain exactly how, but many commenters across trials of the technique point to this apparent advertisement for Chinese retailer BODYWHY as the origin. There’s no real context for the video, but the user appears to be proving that the product is waterproof by squirting the foundation into water prior to application and then pouring the water over her face post-application.
Clearly, people were intrigued; today the #foundationinwater tag has over 21 million views on the app, with people fawning over the glowy look it produces. One of the many users to give it a shot was mangomoniica. She shows off a layer of oil floating at the top of the water, and specifically calls out the supposed benefits of separating out excess oils and increasing hydration. She applies the soaked foundation to one-half of her face and foundation straight out of the bottle to the other, reporting that the watery side feels a bit lighter. She also uses clean paper towels to show that the watery side transfers significantly less than the normal side, but after a day of wear, there weren’t any apparent differences in the staying power.
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“Why not just use a water-based foundation?” one commenter wondered, but mangomoniica just went on to reshoot the video with a water-based foundation. Another claimed to be a cosmetic chemist, noting, “the oil is what keeps your skin hydrated. Water evaporates drying you out, oil traps it in.”
The comments beg a valid question, though. This method seems messy and wasteful, and beauty experts from Revolution warned the Liverpool Echo that this technique won’t work if your foundation isn’t waterproof, if it’s oil-based foundations, or if it’s already lighter than your skin tone (because the excess water can make it ashy and uneven). They say the best way to add that dewy look is to add a small amount of water to the back of your hand and mix your foundation in, instead.
So, as a BeautyToker would leave in the comments, would you try this?
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