Who are these TikTok beauty theories actually for?
Everyone and their mother use social media to voice their opinions. Sometimes, hearing their thoughts can honestly be fun! From restaurant recommendations to stances on current events, we can learn so much from this shared virtual space. Hell, I’m literally writing an opinion article that will end up there as well. Being chronically online has its drawbacks though, as you (hopefully) know by now. I learned that surfing the web every day leaves me no time to spend with my own thoughts because I’m constantly absorbing others’. Strangers tell us how we should act and who we should be, and we usually believe them.
Various beauty theories have been making their rounds on TikTok. Take the “Hair Theory,” for example, which tells us that how we style our hair can change how people see us and make us look younger. If you use a claw clip, people will think you’re practical and productive but still stylish and chic. It means you took the time and effort to do something with your hair, but you don’t care enough to make it perfectly neat. If you choose to wear your hair down, it will send a message that you’re a natural beauty and you’re comfortable in your own skin. Sure, there is a science as to what hairstyles suit your face shape and what you wear. There are also other factors, like where you should part your hair and what hair color would suit your skin. I’m not even sure if it’s worth calling a theory—it’s basically geometry and color wheels.
So, you might be wondering, what’s the problem then? Social media pushes us to try these theories, not because it can boost our self-esteem, but because it can change the way people perceive us. Knowing that there is something we can do to be seen (and possibly treated) in a better way makes us excited to try it. There’s nothing wrong with trying a new hair color, length or style—even I’m excited by it! But remember to ask yourself: why am I doing it? And who am I actually doing it for?
This is a reminder from the girl writing this article, who once bleached her hair and dyed it blonde because some guy told her he liked it. Why did she do it? She was too afraid to be replaced. And who was she actually doing it for? Yes, some guy. Once she got replaced two months after going blonde, she dyed it back to her natural black and never felt more like herself.
Years before the said incident, the same girl always painted her nails white because some guy, yet again, said it looked hot. TikTok also introduced the “White Nails Theory” challenging the “Red Nails Theory.” In a nutshell, these tell us that wearing these colors of nail polish will increase our chances of receiving romantic attention from men. TikTok suggests that men love seeing red nails on their potential partners because these were popular in the 90s, and a lot of them grew up seeing it on their moms. (Sigmund Freud would be so happy to be alive right now.)
@girlbosstown Reply to @meganandliz @tinx @serenakerrigan ♬ original sound – GirlBossTown
Scientifically, studies show that men do find women more attractive and sexually desirable when they’re wearing red. But there are still so many other reasons why a guy will or will not end up liking you. The Red Nails Theory doesn’t work for everyone. Regardless, the main problem is that social media tells us to try it out because this can be the key to gaining attention from men.
Here’s an idea worth paying attention to: If you look good, you will feel good—regardless of what social media (or some guy) tells you. There is nothing wrong with experimenting and putting theories to the test. They offer interesting experiences and can help you learn more about yourself! But there is something wrong once you’re doing it to please others, when the only person worth impressing is yourself. If our self-esteem becomes dependent on other people, it can crumble as soon as one person passes us by and ignores us completely. Remember when Cassie would copy Maddy’s looks in Euphoria just to get Nate to finally notice her? That didn’t end well, did it?
So part your hair the way you want and wear whatever nail polish you like. If you do what makes you feel good about yourself, your confidence will radiate—at the end of the day, that is what should draw people near you.
Words Kyla Villena
Art Macky Arquilla