At Refinery29 Australia, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but we may earn commission or other compensation from the links on this page.
Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
If TikTok trends are anything to go by, this is the era of blush. The product is so popular (we're talking 4.7 billion views for the hashtag #blush alone), in fact, you can pat yourself on the back if you've successfully managed to avoid the following: the wealth of smart blush hacks (think: the 'dewy dumplings' trick, mixing lipstick with petroleum jelly to create a believable flush), or any mention of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand and Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush (arguably two of the most talked-about blush products among beauty enthusiasts at the moment).
The hype shows no sign of slowing down, but to complement our love of dewy skin tints and diffused winged liner, it seems TikTokers are shelving powder blush in favour of softer, creamy versions. Unlike their pressed counterparts, there's a lot you can do with these more versatile formulas. Case in point: TikTok's recently viral sun-kissed skin hack, courtesy of beauty influencer Kim Lloyd. "This is my number one makeup tip if you want your makeup to look nice and sun-kissed," Kim says in the video, which has amassed over half a million views — and counting.
Kim takes a cream blush stick and draws a "racoon shape" around her face, starting at the centre of her forehead, leading down to her temple, cheekbone and nose, then all the way across. Sure enough, Kim's skin looks equal parts rosy and bronzed, and the hundreds of comments prove that makeup wearers are sold: "You taught me this and you were SOOO RIGHTTTT! It works so well on my freckles! Thank you! 🤗🏼😘," wrote one. Another commented: "I saw you do this a year ago and quite frankly I’ve never had my makeup look so good."
TikTok's bold blush trend is nothing new, but it has come under fire in the past, specifically for glamourising the redness associated with sunburn. Before I delve in, let's get one thing straight: there's nothing aspirational about burnt skin, and anyone who has spent too long soaking up the sun will know that. Aside from painful blisters and the inevitable flaky stage, there are some serious consequences of suntanning and sunburn, which we've explored at length in our recent campaign, Sun Blocked: a global call to action to take sun safety seriously. When it comes to makeup, though? It's creative and meant to be enjoyed and, unlike the long-lasting effects of sunburn, you can easily remove blush at the end of the day.
In her viral video, Kim uses a terracotta-toned blush that occupies a cosy space between pink and brown, but I improvised with Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick in Petal, $77. Over ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF40, $77, I sketched a line down from the centre of my forehead to my temple, over the top of my cheekbone and across my nose, all the while keeping the stick in contact with my skin so that I could try to mirror the shape on the other side of my face. Kim likened the blush outline to the markings on a racoon, but it looked to me like I'd drawn on a pair of snorkel goggles.
As I got to work blending the blush into my hairline, I realised that it looked a little too realistic. My forehead, which is the first place to catch the sun, looked properly singed, though it was nothing a few dots of concealer wouldn't fix next time. The blush was far prettier on my cheeks (something about the placement over the apple made it look more natural, as though the flush was coming from within) and super cute on my nose, just like Douyin makeup. I applied a touch of gel bronzer on my eyelids to pull the look together, a swipe of mascara, and tinted lip oil on my lips.
While I enjoyed the initial sun-kissed finish, the blush became darker as it melted into my skin and my skin took on a beetroot tinge towards the end of the day. Now I know why Kim recommends a terracotta shade or something in between blush and bronzer. Another way around this is simply to use far less product. I've spotted TikTokers strategically stamping (rather than excessively swiping) blush onto their skin and blending with their foundation brush to dial down the colour intensity slightly.
This sun-kissed skin hack is certainly speedy, but I have to admit that I prefer other ways to impart a glow, like making TikTok's viral DIY bronzing drops, which involves mixing your favourite fake tan with your serum, not to mention the 'skin smoothie' trick (self-tan, lotion, highlighter and a little bit of petroleum jelly).