TikTok Hair Care Tips: Are They Worth It?


In 2020, social media as a whole grew in popularity with not just young people but across all demographics. There is a tendency for trends to develop and go viral across all major platforms, and TikTok is no exception. Like YouTube, which had a popular “how to” style of videos (short and detailed explainer videos) TikTok is becoming a hub for not just viral dance trends but also many beauty tips.

Many life hacks and health tricks are going around, but here we’ll focus on a few tips within the hair care space. For sanity’s sake, we’ll avoid the obvious troll trends and viral videos (like the girl who sprayed Gorilla Glue in her hair!). This list is not exhaustive, there are too many to note down and there are often variations and alternatives on the same hair trick. Let’s focus on a few popular tips and see whether they actually work or cause harm.

Clay Mask for your hair

A popular method for revitalising your natural curls is to use a clay mask mixture made from clay powder and vinegar. The hair should be completely coated from root to tip and left to harden for about 20 minutes. The hair is washed with a double shampoo routine and followed with a hair conditioner, preferably a deeply moisturizing one.

Verdict- It seems this trend actually works! Ingredients in the clay (like calcium bentonite) help to absorb debris on the hair. This TikTok trend may help bring back your curls. Some specialists suggest using it once a month, but people with coloured hair may experience faster discolouration. It’s important to note that you won’t magically get curls using this tip if your hair isn’t naturally curly.

Precaution- Some clays may not have the necessary ingredients required for absorbing hair debris so they may not work as intended. Additionally, vinegar (even apple cider vinegar) can cause dryness on the scalp, so use it only occasionally.

Curls without heat

This tip is not new, hairdressers and specialists have been recommending it to their clients for years. But TikTok has a way of putting its unique twist on things, with the heatless curls hack anything from socks, T-shirts and bathroom robe belts have been used. The trend involves parting your hair (while dry) and winding it along the length of a long cloth like the belt of a robe and leaving it curled up on either side. The typical recommendation is to leave this overnight (some discomfort while sleeping is to be expected).

Verdict- Again, this one truly seems to work but with a caveat - it takes practice and time to perfect the wavy curl look. You might end up with lopsided curls or messy hair. This trend is gaining popularity as more people are becoming reluctant to apply heat to their hair for styling purposes. Give this one a try and see for yourself.

Precaution- Some accounts and popular posters also suggest a wide range of products to help with no-heat curls. We cannot speak to the effectiveness of any product, it's best to take any product recommendations with a pinch of salt since they may or may not work for you.

Grow your hair with rice water

Say what you want about the TikTok generation, but no one can deny that they do not shy away from wacky ideas. This hair care tip sounds a little out there but it may have actual benefits. It is thought to have originated in medieval Japan and various users on TikTok are bringing back this old remedy. In its simplest form, a cup of rice is added to water and left to sit for a day. This foggy water is then sprayed on the hair every day, some people suggest washing it off with water or shampoo. It is said to improve or speed up hair growth, it may also leave you with thicker hair.

Verdict- The science behind this tip is that rice water contains inositol and linoleic acid, both of which are highly supportive of hair growth. There are only a few studies in this area so it may not work well for everyone, but it is definitely worth trying. An alternative is to use rice extract products, since it makes for much easier application and can also come with additional benefits.

Precaution- Remember to wash out the rice water after 15-20 minutes. If you experience build-up on your hair or scalp over time then be sure to rinse thoroughly after each use. Also, this method is not a cure for hair loss, speak to a hair specialist if you’re seeking treatment for that.

Turns out, a lot of TikTok hair care tricks actually work!

A few other popular tips were left out like castor oil for thick eyebrows (there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence but no scientific backing yet). One important thing to understand is that people receive payment and affiliation fees for pushing products on to their audience. With that in mind, don’t buy every product that you see being promoted by your favourite TikTokers. Other popular beauty hacks may be dangerous and harmful (such as filing your teeth with a nail file!) so use caution and common sense. Set your expectations low, since even the hair care tips that really work may have only minimal effect from person to person. Also, when in doubt, do some research and talk to a qualified medical professional. There is a lot of good to be found online with beauty hacks but also a lot of pseudoscience trickery, so stay informed and don’t believe everything you see. Try these TikTok hair trends for yourself and spread the word among your friends if they work for you!