Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
As we head into party season, TikTok's makeup hacks are coming thick and fast. There's the one-minute trick that'll give you a smoky eye without the effort, ditching pink blush for more natural-looking purple tones and the very smart winged eyeliner technique using Sellotape — all of which are approved by beauty enthusiasts and makeup artists alike.
This week, everyone's obsessed with freezing their Beauty Blenders. If you're a foundation wearer, you might prefer the sponge to using your fingers or a brush to blend makeup to seamless perfection. From Patrick Ta to Mario Dedivanovic, many high-profile celebrity makeup artists rely on a Beauty Blender to achieve an Instagram-worthy base, dampening beforehand and bouncing it over the skin to apply makeup easily. Now, TikTokers are taking things one step further.
Stitching @gwmakeup's original video, @briana.pelaez went viral for putting her sponge in the freezer for a couple of hours before using it to apply makeup, amassing 3.4 million views. Many others soon jumped on the bandwagon, including @sonjahan, who claims that freezing your makeup sponge uses less product, reduces swelling, provides more coverage and ensures makeup is glowing.
As someone who loves to wear makeup and is always on a quest for a flawless base, I was intrigued but also suspicious. For last week's Beauty In A Tik, I tried the jade roller foundation hack. TikTokers have extolled its virtues, claiming the cool tool soothes skin, minimises redness and blends better than a foundation brush or sponge, but I was far from sold. The roller snagged on my skin and resulted in a patchy rather than perfect finish. Would the frozen Beauty Blender turn out to be just another gimmick that I'd relegate to the TikTok beauty hacks graveyard?
I didn't have a Beauty Blender to hand so I used Huda Beauty's The Basic B Sponge, £15, which looks and feels very similar. I ran the soft sponge under the tap and popped it into a bowl to keep it clean before putting it in the freezer for around two hours. This was a mistake. The wet sponge froze to the bottom of the bowl so a chunk was missing when I managed to prise it free.
Before I get into how the hack worked for me, I should explain that I like my skin to look as glowy as possible. I always apply my trusty Allies of Skin Peptides & Antioxidants Firming Daily Treatment, £105, followed by SPF, in this case, Vichy's Idéal Soleil Solar Protective Water SPF30, £19, which makes skin dewy and radiant. My favourite foundation (Gucci Beauty's Fluide de Beaute, £46) doesn't contain any illuminating pigments so I sometimes mix it with a tiny dot of Versed's Mood Lighting Luminizing Glow Drops, £16.50, for more of a gleam. I also have very oily, acne-prone skin so my pores are pronounced, even under makeup. Of course, you don't need me to tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with visible pores or any kind of skin texture. In 2021 many of us have ditched filters and are learning to embrace how skin looks naturally. But I love playing around with full-coverage makeup and sometimes I opt for ingredients and techniques to make my skin appear a bit smoother. There's nothing wrong with that, either.
By the time I'd pumped some foundation onto the back of my hand, the makeup sponge had started to thaw and wasn't so rock hard. Unlike a Beauty Blender, Huda's sponge has a smooth edge, which makes blending foundation really easy, so I got to work quickly while it was still a little icy. My initial thoughts? This feels incredible. Much like a jade roller or gua sha tool, gently tapping the sponge over my skin was soothing and relaxing in a way I didn't expect, and I was surprised by how immaculately it blended the product. As the sponge defrosted, the water melted into my foundation and made my skin gleam. I'll take the extra hydration!
It took all of a minute to perfect my entire base but what impressed me the most was my skin texture. You'll know that pores can't open or close but the frozen makeup sponge hack takes its cue from last summer's skin icing trend, which minimises the appearance of enlarged pores. Mine were virtually undetectable. I spent a good five minutes afterwards staring at my skin in the mirror.
Despite being a bit of a faff (who has the time or patience to freeze their makeup sponge every day, unless you have a handful on rotation?) I rate this hack as it does yield great, noticeable results. But what does an expert think? Makeup artist Zoë Moore says: "I find this trend a little odd. Using cooling aids can help de-puff skin but to apply foundation with a frozen Beauty Blender could be a disaster. When it starts to thaw, the water will mix with any oil-based foundations and result in a cakey, unblended finish." I hadn't thought of that but it makes sense as oil molecules are repelled by water. Luckily, my foundation is oil-free – but even then, Zoë suggests a better technique for flawless blending. "I personally like to apply my own base with my fingers, as the warmth from your hands helps the product blend beautifully into the skin."
Though the Beauty Blender did most of the work to smooth my skin, a great foundation helps. If you're after full coverage, try NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation, £28. Those looking for medium coverage will love Il Makiage's Woke Up Like This Flawless Base Foundation, £36, and if you're into something lighter, try Fenty Beauty's Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint, £25, available in 25 shades.
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