TikTok’s Latest Beauty Fad Is Designer

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The other day, I was scrolling through my For You Page when I stopped on a video of a man gifting his S.O. a big box from Chanel. She opened it slowly, gently prying off the stickers without ripping the tissue paper, while saying something to the effect of, "I thought we weren't doing any more fancy gifts!" Once she made it to the inside box, the gift was (drum roll)... cotton pads. (Or, as her partner referred to them, makeup wipes.)
The price tag on a box of Chanel Le Coton pads is $20 for 100 pieces of single-use double-C-embossed cotton gauze, which is only useful for removing makeup when combined with an additional cleanser or micellar water. For the TikTok entertainment value alone, however — the anticipation hooks you into watching the whole unboxing, hoping you're gonna get a bag reveal — both parties seemed amused by the purchase. Hey, it's 100 pieces of Chanel, and this guy's only out 20 bucks.
The video speaks to a larger trend happening on TikTok, wherein people are buying the cheapest thing they can find on a fashion designer's website. The videos, tagged #cheapestthing, usually show an unboxing with lots of fancy wrapping and the eventual reveal of a high-end beauty product, be it a Dior eyelash curler or a Chanel compact mirror.
Beyond the unboxing porn, many people are sharing extra perks that come with a designer purchase, even a cheap one. For example, apparently the purchase of a Gucci Beauty eyebrow pencil can get you a sharpener (which are small and tend to go missing), plus a branded tote bag. If you're in it for the freebies, though, you should order direct from the brand's website; it's unclear whether a third-party seller, like Sephora, would include the frills.
Of course, the trend hinges on what you consider to be "cheap," but most of the videos show products that range from $20 to $50. That budget can't quite get you an Hermès lipstick... but you can get a nail polish.
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