Beauty reborn: How TikTok saved Brooke Styles
“Everyone has highlights but there’s a lot of things to the backstory”
By Delaney Loane
Digital Beauty Editor / March 31 2022
Anyone who claims TikTok hasn’t played a major part in their past few pandemic-affected years is lying – or probably embracing a side part/skinny jean combo...
We kid, we kid; we don’t follow hair parting age restrictions. But we sure as hell do follow everyone we know/care about/have ever seen on TikTok. And because yes, we’re completely obsessed, we refuse to believe there are people who don’t feel the same. Long story short, we’re thankful; TikTok was there for us when friends/family/outside entertainment couldn’t be.
It served the same purpose for content creator Brooke Styles, too (who cottoned on to the idea earlier than many of us, launching her account mid 2019), only instead of merely scrolling for hours (being served the app’s own ‘pause and drink some water’ reminder is humbling to say the least), she was going viral.
In fact, not only did TikTok bring Styles major joy in general, but it actually served as the catalyst for a life-wide revival, ushering in an entirely new chapter packed with creativity, opportunity, and positivity. Quite the trifecta if you ask us.
Here, Styles opens up to BEAUTYcrew about how her overnight success on TikTok turned her entire world around (as well as the lessons she’s learnt and liquid blushes she’s unearthed along the way)…
How TikTok changed everything for her
“It was really overwhelming to be completely honest,” Styles confesses of the sudden uplift of her social presence. “When I started TikTok, I was in my darkest time, and the response was overwhelming. To get that 100k in not even three months when that took me years [on Instagram], that was the ‘Holy cow’ [moment where I thought] ‘I don't know what's coming next; this is next level’. I didn't really understand how viral a video could get; I don’t think anyone really did, [but] I think my creativity just thrives in that short 15-30 second content.”
While the response was overwhelming, Styles says she felt lucky that it was overwhelmingly positive: “I never experienced any hate – TikTok was such a positive community. It was like a family base, so I honestly feel like TikTok saved me, not only financially, and [through] being able to be creative again, but just to have that little source of ‘I've got a safe space’.”
Something she experienced that definitely would be overwhelming? Getting stopped in the shops – yep, real Billie Eilish style stuff. “I’d never had people stopping me and asking for photos,” she laughs. “Mum and I were like ‘what?’ and then it’s now come to the point that mum’s used to just taking photos for me. She knows the job.”
How to live an online life without ‘living’ online
So, boom, you go viral and your passion project is suddenly your actual job. Where do you draw the lines between work and play? “If I'm having a harder day, I just try and switch off,” Styles explains, confirming that a ‘bad day’ is “just stress usually now, which is probably way better than what it was before.”
“I give myself weekends and a 9-5 structure as much as I can, even though it's the most flexible job in the world,” she says. “I gave myself an office instead of sitting in bed and scrolling on TikTok [to mark] the difference between scrolling leisurely and scrolling for work.”
“It’s hard when it’s your hobby, your income and a day-to-day leisure thing. [I find that the key is] to try and break up normal [viewer] life and online [creator] life, [because otherwise] you can be scrolling on your phone and then not even realise you're working and creating again, like subconsciously. You’re looking at other people being creative and then that sparks you an idea and then you're like ‘oh, I want to go do that’ and you switch back on again.”
Another important aspect of Styles’ ‘online life’? Acknowledging how she got here while still celebrating where she is. “Everyone is still pretty guilty of posting highlights,” she notes, admitting she’s part of said guilty party sometimes, too. “Even though I'm very transparent, I still do it, because I'm proud of myself and I like to share that. But at the same time, I think what I went through to get there is really important.”
“I might have become successful overnight [on TikTok] but before that, I went through workplace bullying, I went through losing my aunty, I went through having to adapt to having her two kids now, and then living in the family house again,” she shares. “Yes, everyone has highlights but there [are also] a lot of things to the backstory.”
How she frames makeup in her mind
For Styles, beauty is more of a visuals game than a vanity one – she likes to create a character rather than just throwing it on for the hell of it.
“I feel like there were two major things in my life that made me how I am with creativity,” she explains. “The first one was dancing. I got put into dancing really young so I [always] knew makeup as a creativity thing, because you put makeup on to go on stage and to perform. It was more of a character-based thing for me; I didn't really wear it in high school until I was in grade 10 to 12 for everyday wear.”
“The second one is that every single school holidays I would go to my grandma’s and she's the most creative person I know – I feel like I got the flair from her. She didn't have money to take us to the movies, so she would take us down to the beach and we would collect shells and then bring them home to make a photo frame for mum. [Other days] we’d paint eggs or do something with beads; she really created that structure in my life and gave me that creativity aspect.”
Styles’ ability to see makeup as an outlet rather than a necessity shifted, however, when she was going through a particularly tough mental health period: “I used makeup to hide a little bit because with my mental health I break out a lot, so I became really dependant on it at that stage,” she shares. “[Then] when I went through this transition with TikTok, I stopped using it as much because I was like ‘I need to go through a full cleanse; I have to break the barrier with makeup and having to always wear it when I leave the house’, because it was becoming an unhealthy quick fix.”
She continued her (literal and figurative) post-cleanse journey until she felt totally comfortable again with a bare face on and offline. “The first thing was getting out of the house without makeup, the next step was posting online without makeup, and then now I'm so much more carefree with my skin.”
How she learned the art of makeup application
So how did Styles finesse her fine skills? Because if you’ve scrolled her stuff, it’s evident that they’re stellar. Well, she learnt to apply makeup through the very same activity that she learnt to love it. “It was definitely through dancing,” she explains. “Even though it was always the same dark eye and red lip [combination], you had to learn how to do it because mum can’t always be backstage with you. It’s funny when I go to the hairdresser they're like ‘oh, does it hurt when I pull your hair?’. I'm like ‘I was a dancing kid, I feel nothing’,” she laughs.
It was TikTok, though, that re-sparked her love for it: “I wasn’t even doing makeup [at the time]; it was more TikTok that started it [again],” she shares, confessing that she wasn’t always the statement look lover that we know her as now, either. “It was when I started being creative with Disney characters that I explored a little bit more. I think I got my first coloured makeup palette because I was wanting to do a character that needed it.”
Said series (in which she transforms herself into modern versions of everyone from Cinderella and Snow White to Maleficent and Cruella) happens to be one of her (and her followers’) all-time favourites, too. “The Disney recreation lookalike one is probably my most successful and fun series,” she says, confessing that in addition to spurring on her creativity, her grandma also morphed her into “this crazy little Disney fan”. As for its success, Styles understands the appeal: “it’s such nostalgia, you can't get away from it. You just love it and it sucks you in,” she says.
How she revives her beauty aesthetic for spring
So we know what Styles looks like as Snow White, but what does she look like as herself in the springtime? “I really, really enjoy a dewy look for spring, maybe because it’s starting to get hot and it blends in with the sweat anyway,” she laughs, adding that she sticks to a minimalistic cleanser-serum-moisturiser-SPF skin care combo “that works really well with [her] dewy look.”
“I am obsessed with the Garnier BB Cream ($8.47 at Chemist Warehouse),” she shares of her fresh base fave. “It’s my everyday necessity; I use it a lot at home if I'm just doing regular content but don't want to put a full face on. I’m also loving cream blush at the moment – Drunk Elephant brought out their [O-Bloos] Rosi Drops ($51 at MECCA); they’re lightweight and have omega fatty acids in them. I'm really loving Rare Beauty for their [Soft Pinch] Liquid Blush ($34 at Sephora) as well.”
For the record, Styles happens to think blush is the perfect way to ease into bolder makeup looks if you’re keen to broaden your colour comfort zone. “I feel like cheeks are very big at the moment,” she explains. “I think just going for a more playful colour on your cheek [is a great way to dip your toe into brights]. I've been loving more apricot-ty kind of colours too; it's nice and light, but it's still a way to add colour to your face.”
As for brows, she admits that TikTok’s soap brow trend was quite the game-changer for her. “Brows are everything for me. If I soap brow my brows, I feel done. I think that one's been my favourite [TikTok beauty hack],” she confirms, sharing that while she’ll bring a brow gel to get the effect if she’s travelling, at home she prefers a real application of good old-fashioned soap.
While she may not have a specific go-to lip product (“I swap between them all the time,” she explains), Styles admits that she’s definitely partial to a blush pink lip gloss. “I’m such a pink girl,” she admits. Her affinity for blush tones has been even further emphasised by her recent hair colour change (from a bright icy blonde to a rosy strawberry shade).
While she’s been opting for more blues and greens in the wardrobe department (because they make her blue eyes pop like nobody’s business), she’s been reaching for pink palettes when it comes to beauty. “I'm still sticking to my blush colours when I wear makeup,” she confirms, noting that there has, however, been one major post-shade-change makeup switch up. “I've been doing both top and bottom lashes mascara though,” she says. “That's not something I usually do but my eyes have just been popping so much from my hair that I’m like ‘I’m enhancing this as soon as I can’.”
As for the springtime scent she tops it all off with, it’s none other than Gucci Bloom ($129.99 at Chemist Warehouse). Girl’s got taste.
How she feels about her journey (both past and future)
Wondering what advice Styles would give her past self now that she’s come so far? “Oh, gosh, I would probably say hold on,” she laughs. “Hold on; there's a lot coming. I think it's about keeping the people around you. When you go through that overnight success that I did, I can just imagine if you didn't have a good support group around you how hard it would be [and how you could] get lost in it. Having people around you that are going to be there through thick and thin, and uplift you [is important], because you need it.”
As for the future, she’s got a busy year ahead, packed with milestones, goal-ticking (and yes, more brilliant beauty transformations). “I've got a wedding next year; my partner and I are getting married, and I’m also looking for a house. There are a lot of big things going on,” she shares. She’s set herself a dynamite wellness resolution (link to piece), too: “I’m definitely going to be working on my gut health in this coming year,” she confirms. “With mental health, you don't realise that you need to also look after your gut. It all ties together; your gut’s your brain, so [I’m focusing] on looking after myself from the inside out.”
Sounds like a very healthy, positive outlook for someone who began her journey in “a bad place” – cheers to TikTok, beauty and all the other things often trivialised as ‘silly’ when they’re actually anything but.