A common realization on TikTok is, as creators often point out, that none of us have ever had an original thought in our lives. In this same vein, it seems none of us have ever done an original action, either. One area in which the latter is becoming increasingly obvious is the application of beauty products — more specifically, men’s application of beauty products.
It all started with a TikTok by @taggahyaggah, which saw her film a POV example of a guy putting on chapstick. The method is instantly recognizable for anyone who’s ever witnessed a man moisturize his lips: Tightly grip the chapstick, then, for some reason, purse your lips and fold them inside your mouth before applying it. Although this is clearly the least effective way of applying chapstick — congratulations, sir, you got none on your lips — all men seem to do it.
In a handful of videos stitched with the original, girls tested their boyfriends — each of whom did the exact same thing, before looking bewildered as their girlfriends laughed. In one video, a boyfriend tries to explain his method, telling his girlfriend that men purse their lips because it gives them “a smaller area to cover quicker,” which is “more efficient.” To be fair, he also adds: “Who dictates what’s right or wrong?”
It’s not just chapstick, though. After the original video went viral, girls started sharing the other skincare idiosyncrasies they’d spotted in men. For example, the way they ferociously rub face wash on their face as if they’re sandpapering it — and then do the same with the towel. Or the way they blob on tiny dots of moisturizer and then heavily drag both hands down from their forehead to their chin to rub it in (sometimes they might try to pat it into the skin first). There’s also the aggressive way they brush their teeth, which explains why most of their toothbrushes look like this.
One creator put all these together in a recreation of her boyfriend’s nighttime routine. Flex at the mirror? Check. Rough face wash and towel rub? Check. Teeth brushing that makes your gums bleed? Check. Haphazardly throwing everything off the bed onto the floor before getting in? Check.
It arguably makes sense that men wouldn’t know the optimum way to apply beauty products as the industry has always been — and still is — targeted at women. In fact, 2019 statistics show that just 21 percent of men worldwide routinely spend money on beauty products (although this has grown from 17 percent in 2015). This lack of knowledge, however, doesn’t explain why they’ve all developed the exact same macho beauty routine — the men of TikTok might be able to, though.
“We do that so we can see it foam up,” one guy commented on the face wash video. “It’s our way of proving that it’s working.” On the chapstick front, most guys didn’t understand what was wrong with the way they do it, but one tried to explain: “It’s ‘cause I don’t wanna eat the stuff. I don’t know where my lips stop and my mouth starts.” One commenter on the moisturizer video said of the long, slow face rub: “Don’t wanna spend time doing it, one clean motion and done. What else do you want?”
The trend has also spread beyond beauty — now there’s POV videos of how guys do other daily things. Like, eating with a fork by gripping the handle like they grip chapstick; petting a dog by giving it some *masculine* pats; taking off a sweatshirt by pulling it from the back; drinking water in several huge gulps; and taking a bite of someone else’s food by widely opening their mouths for a huge taste, before giving the rest back and nodding approvingly.
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to do these kinds of things — and it’s unsurprising that homogeneous groups would have the same habits. But when it comes to skincare in particular, it’s cute that so many men seem to have adapted to the beauty world — where they might feel confused and out of place thanks to archaic gender norms — by developing the same, almost comically masculine ways of doing things.
But who am I to judge! If you wanna rub the skin off your faces, fellas, go ahead!