Fantastic or Flop? TikTok Viral Hair Hacks Examined

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2020 was the year of WFH, social distancing, and Tiger King.  But more than anything else, it was the year of the at-home haircut.  So many of us, with barber shops and salons closed, were forced to pick up the sheers and cover our roots at home.

We all know that TikTok is great for social media platform for creating short music videos. However, TikTok has also become a go-to social media for DIY hairstyles. While quarantining might not have been the first time you attempted to cut your own bangs or been lured by DIY styles, we can’t say the timing hurt the popularity of these hacks.  To see which ones were worth testing out and which you might regret, Fashion Reverie called upon some experts.  Keep scrolling to see which styles they loved, which they hated, and which have them begging you to book an appointment with a professional ASAP.

Hack #1: Super simple big bouncy 70s style curls

With over 18.7M views, this video shows that, after a year of staying in, it’s obvious we’re all ready for a little glam again. 

Benjamin Mohapi, founder of the BENJAMIN Salon in New York City and Los Angeles, exclaims, “I love this! Big is beautiful and she looks great. For some people, the skill of holding a brush and blow dryer [at the same time] may be a bit difficult, but with practice you’ll get there.”

“This is one of my current favorite hacks!” gushes Chita Beseau, Booksy ambassador and hairstylist expert.  “It will depend on the type of hair you have to get super bouncy results. The ends have to be allowed to cool down in form before you shake them out.”

Courtney Harris, also a Booksy ambassador and hairstylist expert says, “This is definitely a great hack! Besides the ability to know how to use a round brush, one should be knowledgeable of how to blow dry hair. Too much heat will definitely make the hair ‘frizz and fry’ and poof, the bounce is gone.”

Our third fantastic Booksy ambassador and hairstylist expert, Angel Cardona exclaims, “I think this hack is great! It works best if the hair is prepped properly in the styling process. Also, if you have natural body to your hair, you should get great volume.”

Hack #2: Dye your hair milk tea brown with blonde boxed dye 

Can blonde dye result in a stunning brown hue?  With over 2.2M views, we’re betting quite a few people watched this video and DIYed their hair to milky perfection … or perhaps were left with something other than the intended effect.

“I’m never a fan of home box dye,” Mohapi shares. “It’s always an issue. We spend so much time [in the salon] fixing color that has gone wrong.  I can never in good faith recommend it.” 

Beseau also urges against it, “Oh No! It’s not a good idea at all. Leaving hair color on for more than the directions say to will risk your hair being damaged so badly that it could break off or melt. It’s never a good idea to do your own hair at home, unless you are a licensed professional cosmetologist. Don’t do it. Most likely it will turn orange or brassy if you have dark brown or black hair.”

“Where’s the hair police when you need them? This hack should be banned!” Harris exclaims.  “First of all, the ‘box color’ is sometimes a ‘hope and wish’ type of process.  Secondly, the processing time varies depending on the health of the hair and scalp, plus knowledge of depositing hair color. Lastly, do not try this at home!! There are professional colorists in your local city that can achieve the ‘milk tea brown’ color.”

Cardona unanimously agrees, “This is not something I would recommend. Box color in general is risky and could lead to a very expensive fix at the salon. I’d say it’s not worth trying to find out if it would work well for you or not.”

Hack #3: Twirl and cut your hair for the perfect bangs  

Over 10M viewers have at least pondered the idea of twirling their locks and snipping for a perfect bang.  However, the professionals are a bit skeptical of this at-home hack.

“This could go wrong in so many ways!” Mohapi warns.  “Your hair can bounce up way more than you think when you cut your bangs so, please, please, please just go ask your hairdresser to do it for you. Quarantine is over so you have no excuses.”

Beseau explains, “I think this is very misleading and not many people are going to have these results trying this at home. It all depends on your hair texture and how low or high your hairline is at your forehead, there’s too much that can go wrong when cutting your own bangs. Don’t do it!”

But not everyone believes this tip to be so cut and dry. “I’m on the fence with this hack,” Harris shares. “Bangs can be a little tricky when you’re not familiar with cutting them. The twisting adds texture as well as elongates the outermost ends of the bang. If one must cut their own bangs, I recommend them to gradually cut the hair and not all at once.”

“The result of this would be different for everyone, and probably not exactly what you expected,” Cardona explains. “Everyone’s hair texture, hairline, and cowlicks are different and will spring back differently, so it could go wrong for most [people].”


Hack #4: Create a mini hair goatee under your chin for a chic pulled back style 

“What a great easy way for clients to be able to wear their [hair] like this! I love it! I think it’s simple and easy to understand,” Beseau remarks.

Cardona agrees, “A quick, easy, effortless look that seems as if you put more work into it than you actually did and a great way to keep your hair out of your face.”

Mohapi, however is less than enthused by the overall look, “This is OK, but could definitely be improved upon.  We found that taking the hair from the temple area is way more effective and leaves you the option of pulling some of the fringe bits out for a softer front. Overall, though, it’s a bit ‘Maid Marian’ for me.”


Hack #5: Easy heatless curls with tube socks 

“This hack reminds me of a ‘sponge roller set,’” Harris reminisces.  “Tube socks will hold heat well, especially if you leave them in overnight (the main reason I do not like to wear socks to bed.) This hack works well on hair extensions, just be sure the socks are clean and fresh!”

Mohapi is also a fan. “This is a great technique and has been used for hundreds of years. If you don’t believe us, just ask your granny. It’s probably the healthiest way for you to get those curls.” 

“The first time I saw this hack I loved it. This is definitely an easy way to some pretty, soft curls effortlessly while you sleep, without the use of heat,” Cardona explains. “I think this is a great way to give your hair a break from heat styling, and still have some pretty waves.”

Beseau elaborates on this trend, “this hack takes practice and to be very successful should be done on damp clean hair. I don’t see that mentioned.  It’s important [to remember this step to achieve the desired] results.”

Hack #6: At home, long layers  

Who doesn’t want striking long layers to frame their face?  But will this DIY hack make the pros cut?

“This does actually work,” explains Mohapi.  “It’s important that you don’t cut too much off as you may end up with more than you bargained for. If so, you’re going to look more like 80’s than 20’s!”

“This hack gets two thumbs up from me,” gushes Harris.  “It’s easy and pretty self-explanatory. Over-directing the hair (pulling it all to front) allows the hair to fall longer so it will not be too short.”

Beseau has some doubts though, “This one depends on your hair texture as well. Not everyone will get these results, so I don’t recommend it.”


Hack #7: Make bleached hair healthier with a DIY hair mask 

“This is OK, but there are far more effective ways to get your hair healthier,” explains Mohapi.  “There are lots of products out there [on the market] that can help with strengthening and repairing, and although not as natural, they will have a better result. Olaplex and Milbon are my favorites.”

“I don’t recommend putting oil on your hair.  It’s going to coat your hair and block water from getting into the cuticle, and depriving your hair of water & moisture,” Beseau shares. “It will continue to really dry your hair out and become brittle. This also affects how your hair will respond when getting a color service, and blocks the product from working to its full capacity.”

Harris, however, can see the value in it.  “I recommend this hack depending on how much of the hair is damaged. Mayo and eggs are great for strengthening the hair because of the protein. The castor oil and olive oil are antioxidants that will help pull any disease out the scalp to promote hair growth. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend is for these ingredients to be left in the hair 24 hours. Rinse the ingredients to ensure the hair isn’t overly conditioned. Too much protein can cause the hair to become dry.”

“[Even] if you don’t mind smelly hair and wasting food, I still wouldn’t recommend this hack,” Cardona argues.  “Do your hair a favor and get a haircut, some bond building treatments, a hair mask, and a proper repair shampoo and conditioner.”


Hack #8: Dye your hair pink with cotton candy 

Most people (Over 4.3M of you) have watched this primarily to see if it would work.  While it may provide a lot of comedy value, our experts, unsurprisingly, feel that you should leave the cotton candy for the state fair.

“This is so dumb!” Mohapi professes. “The cotton candy here is simply a vehicle for the food coloring. You don’t need to cover your hair in that sticky mess. I would say that you’re better off mixing straight food coloring with conditioner, or even better, go talk to your hairdresser!”

“It’s a cute video and idea, but it reminds me of the [old trend of] people using Kool-Aid to color hair at home.  That is sugar water, as well, with food color and I’ve seen that it is almost impossible to ever get out of the hair,” Beseau cringes.

Harris does not recommend it either.  “The cotton candy may stain the hair, but it’s not going to last long. Food coloring would have done the trick, or even melting the cotton candy before putting it on the hair.”

Cardona is also against dying your hair with candy, “I’m not a fan of this hack. It seems sticky and there are far better ways to tone hair than cotton candy. 2 thumbs down!”

While we love viral videos for entertainment value, perhaps when it comes to your hair you should leave it to the professionals!

—Janine Silver

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