I did my makeup with a wet towel like TikTok, and I really regretted it

Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where every week we put viral beauty hacks and innovative TikTok trends to the test.

Just when you think you’ve seen all the TikTok beauty hacks (lube as primer, dental floss to get rid of frizzy hair), another one comes along to blow the others out of the water. This month, app beauty enthusiasts are looking for new ways to keep their makeup intact in the pretty hot summer weather we’ve had recently. (I’ve definitely cursed it now.)

I’ve seen TikTokers do their makeup with a frozen sponge (surprisingly impressive) and soak their foundation in a glass of water to make it waterproof (it works, but don’t ask me how). Continuing the theme of a slightly dewy face (hear me out), beauty obsessives are packing a slew of face powder and a damp paper towel to set their makeup perfectly, without slipping, splitting, or creasing. .

It looks like TikToker @sayri_reyna was the first person to share the hack online. Once the makeup is done, the translucent setting powder is applied and applied to the skin with a damp paper towel. “In college I took a makeup and design class for drama class, and our instructor Emma taught us how to set our faces with a sponge, some setting powder, and a wet paper towel,” says Sayri. “We would establish [our makeup like that] and he would run his finger across our faces with a lot of pressure and if he did it correctly, nothing would come out. He was set to perfection.”

Sayri proceeds to use a “ridiculous amount of powder,” then pushes the damp paper towel onto her skin and holds it up to the camera, showing that there isn’t a single bit of makeup on the sheet. A flick of a finger shows that her makeup is really locked on. The video racked up so many millions of views that it wasn’t long before other TikTokers jumped on the bandwagon, like @makeupbylordthivi, who also went viral, and was just as impressed.

I asked London-based makeup artist and TikToker Tilly Ferrari for her verdict, and surprisingly, it’s not all smoke and mirrors. “Makeup artist Lisa Eldridge recently released a video demonstrating this method, which is actually 100 years old and originated from Ern Westmore,” a Hollywood makeup artist and actor, says Tilly. “Ern, his brother and his father were true pioneers of old Hollywood makeup.” Tilly says you’d be surprised how many of the techniques we use today were devised by the Westmores, like layering powder blush over cream blush to prolong it.

Tilly adds, “In the old days of Hollywood, makeup was very heavy and oil-based, requiring a lot of powder to set. Using cold water on a cotton pad helped remove the top layer of powder and brightened the complexion.” Cold water also helps soak up the top layer of powder if you’ve been a little clumsy, Tilly says, making it appear less cakey.

This trick seemed really convincing, so I had to try it the next time I did my face makeup. I don’t like to wear foundation and instead opt for a hydrating serum like Decorté Liposome Advanced Repair Serum, £55, followed by a good moisturizer, like The Nue Co. Barrier Culture Moisturizer, £45, to create a velcro. base.

I applied my makeup as usual and reached for a setting powder that I’ve really been loving lately: Lacura Translucent Setting Powder, £4.99 (Launched 28th July), which TikTokers are hailing as a rip-off for Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder. , £34. It sets my concealer and foundation beautifully, but would it work just as well to stack it?

I don’t have a face sponge, so I used my trusty fluffy powder brush to apply the product in stripes (avoiding my eyes and lids). I expected to choke on a pillar of dust, but this was intense and I had to work my way through at intervals, holding my breath as I went. A little advice: do not wear black.

Once I achieved the same ghostly effect as Sayri, I reached for my damp paper towel. After squeezing out the excess water, I carefully patted it onto my face in sections and pressed until it looked like the powder had settled on my skin. While it seemed to absorb on camera, on closer inspection in the mirror it had collected in my pores and around any dry patches of skin. In all honesty, my makeup looked horrible.

On behalf of Beauty In A Tik, I insisted, running my finger down my face to see if any of the makeup transferred. And boy, did she do it. This left a big hole in my foundation and I ended up having to fill it in with more foundation. Still, I wanted to give the dust more time to settle, so I went about my day, even doing a workout a few hours later to put it to the test.

I wanted to like this hack, but my makeup never looked worse. It got more patchy throughout the day. Horrifyingly, bits of foundation and powder rolled from my face onto my lap as I brushed my fingers across my face. Also, my skin was so parched that it felt like my face would break every time I moved a muscle.

Maybe this very powdery trick will work for theater or movie makeup, but I wasn’t sold for an everyday look. Instead, makeup artist Daniel Martin taught me to always strategically powder my makeup to keep it from looking flat. A little shine is a good thing. It means that the skin looks current skin.

To spray strategically, use a small, flat brush like the MYKITCO. 0.12 My Flat Powder Brush, £19.50, and gently dip it into your face powder. Daniel loves Tatcha The Silk Powder, £45, but if you’d rather spend less, try elf High Definition Powder Sheer, £6.50, or Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Setting Powder, £26. Gently tap off excess so as not to completely cover the face and sprinkle on areas that tend to get oily quickly. For most people, that’s the T-zone (nose, chin, and forehead) or under the eyes if you want to increase the staying power of your concealer, but really wherever you see fit.

If your skin gets oily throughout the day and tends to separate makeup, you might want to try some blotting sheets like DHC Blotting Paper 100 Sheets, £4.99. They quickly dry up oil on the face and, in my experience, keep makeup in place much longer.

It’s safe to say I wouldn’t try this trick again. If you want your makeup to last for hours on end, makeup artists I’ve spoken with suggest finishing with a setting spray. Tilly agrees. “There are definitely more convenient ways to set your makeup these days,” she says. “I would recommend finishing with a reliable setting spray that will help bond the layers of your makeup and also add longevity.” Tilly loves Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray, £26. “It’s what I use on all my brides and I make sure to set each layer as I go.”

I agree that setting spray is the best option here. I don’t think you can go wrong with Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray, £27, but Revolution’s Rehab Coconut Restore Fixing Spray, £8, and NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray Matte Finish, £8, are just as flawless.

Now, excuse me while I clean up the mountain of dust on my bathroom floor.

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