Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
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TikTok's beauty enthusiasts have dreamt up a million different ways to enhance their lashes. You might remember the viral Vaseline lash lift hack, which enlisted nothing but a slick of petroleum jelly, a lash curler and a spoolie brush to define lashes without the need for mascara. Or perhaps you were taken by the recent upside-down lash curler trick: using your curler the wrong way up to help lengthen short, sparse lashes. Right now, there's only one lash hack on TikTokers' lips and it involves everyone's favourite multipurpose balm: Aquaphor.
Parched lips? Put some Aquaphor on them. Ragged cuticles? Aquaphor is great for those. Cracked feet? Aquaphor, of course. Considering the do-all product's popularity, it was only a matter of time before people found a use for it in their makeup routines — and this week, they're mixing it with mascara.
TikToker Marnee Dowell is the brains behind this one and their video demonstrating the technique has amassed 2.5 million views (and climbing). "If you haven't mixed mascara into your Aquaphor yet, wyd?" asks Marnee. In the clip, they squeeze a little Aquaphor Skin Soothing Balm, $16.90, onto their fingertips. They dab on a little mascara next to it and rub their fingertips together. Then, using their fingertip like it's a mascara wand, Marnee simply swipes the mixture onto their lashes. The result is impressive to say the least: long, thick, glossy lashes that look natural rather than spidery or clumpy.
Marnee's video gained hundreds of comments and as you might've expected, not everyone was sold. "Unless it's waterproof it will smear all over your eyes," wrote one follower, while another commented, "I did that once and all my mascara flaked off during the day." For others, this lash hack has been a go-to in their makeup routines for a while. "I've been gatekeeping this bro," said one.
If you're a Beauty In A Tik regular, you'll know that no trend is too much of a chore, so I dug out my Aquaphor balm to see what all the fuss was about. Before I get into things, a caveat: my lashes are quite long. Lately, though, no matter which mascara I use, I seem to collect flaky black dots underneath my eyes and on my eyelids. Could mixing my mascara with something moisturising stop the product drying out throughout the day? More importantly, would it give me the naturally fluttery look I want?
Though my lashes are on the long side, they're also very straight and tend to droop, so I enlisted my trusty Kevyn Aucoin The Eyelash Curler, $38, first. You could use any mascara for this but I reached for the new Max Factor Masterpiece 2 In 1 Lash WOW Volume & Length Mascara, $18.57, which has two brushes — one for lengthening and another for volumising. This time, however, I wouldn't be using the brushes at all. Instead, I applied a tiny dot of Aquaphor to my fingertips and an equal amount of mascara, then combined the two.
The application was easy. Imagining the tip of my finger was the mascara brush, I swiped upwards from root to tip until my top lashes were sufficiently coated and I was pleased with the thickness. I didn't need a spoolie brush, though Marnee does comb through their lashes to separate them a little. Surprisingly, my lashes looked incredible. Instead of appearing coated in product like usual, they were super glossy, as if I'd just had a professional lash lift and tint.
It only took a few swipes to achieve the volume I like but it does get messy (later in the day, I found a slick of mascara on my elbow). For that reason, I didn't hold high hopes for this hack so I hate to admit that I was proven wrong. I was convinced that my lacquered lashes wouldn't survive my sweaty commute into work and that I'd arrive with panda eyes or a telltale black line just below my eyebrow. But nothing. I wear glasses, too, but my lenses were streak-free at the end of the day. I did avoid applying the concoction to my lower lashes, though. (That's just asking for trouble.)
Aquaphor is a mixture of liquid paraffin, glycerin and panthenol, among other ingredients, which makes it thick in texture. It will always leave behind a residue, not dry down or absorb like a water-based moisturiser. I have a habit of touching my eyes and lashes throughout the day and because the mixture stays wet, it left lots of smudges on my hands. On the plus side, it's so easy to remove at night. I sometimes end up tugging at my lashes in the shower to remove every scrap of mascara (balm cleansers make removal a little easier) but this just slipped off, which makes me think it's better for my lashes in the long run.
While mixing Aquaphor with mascara works a treat, you're probably wondering, Is this safe? The general consensus among TikTok dermatologists like Dr Shah and Dr Prem Tripathi is that Aquaphor is fine to use on skin around the eyes. Aesthetician Alicia Lartey told me that using Aquaphor on lashes separately is fine, too. But mixing it with mascara will obviously affect the way your mascara works. "The eye area is also very delicate so I wouldn't mix the two," says Alicia, "especially if you deal with blepharitis," which causes swollen, itchy eyelids.
Overall, Alicia isn't a fan of combining beauty products, particularly around the eyes. If you are going to use Aquaphor on your lashes, Alicia recommends making sure they're clean and dry. "The product is essentially a barrier so you don't want to trap bacteria under there. You can put Aquaphor on the lashes in the evening and mascara on in the morning," says Alicia, who also rates clear mascara for giving lashes a natural boost. Like Vaseline or castor oil, know that Aquaphor won't grow your lashes, either. Rather, it can help moisturise dry and brittle hairs.
Though I loved the glossy results and the ease of removing the combination of Aquaphor and mascara, it's just too much effort for me to consider doing every morning. Instead, I'll look for a mascara with moisturising ingredients infused into the formula, like L'Oréal Lash Paradise Castor Oil Enriched Mascara, $12.99, Rose Inc Ultra-Black Lash Lift Serum Mascara, $24, or Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Universal Volumising Mascara, $35.