TikTok's sunscreen contour hack is ridiculous and concerning

There has to be a safer way to be “naturally snatched all summer”

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / December 07 2021

In what can only be described as a truly WTF moment, TikTokers have been encouraging viewers on the platform to contour their face using sunscreen.

And look, while we were on the fence about the TikTok frozen beauty blender hack and left a little unimpressed by the TikTok banana peel facial, we’re completely perturbed by the sunscreen contour hack by comparison.

What is this ‘unique’ contouring technique?

The sunscreen contour hack is all about using a low SPF sunscreen as a base on the whole face and then haphazardly slapping a high SPF sunscreen on the typical highlight points of the face (cheekbones, nose, all the places the sun naturally hits essentially). 

The (not so clever) idea is for the different levels of sun exposure to create different levels of skin tone and therefore shadows on the face.

The method was developed by TikToker Eli Withrow, who has since admitted in a follow up video titled ‘Pseudo sunscreen contour results’ that her “results aren’t exactly a scientific method”.

Why is sunscreen contouring ineffective?

Besides the fact that you’re going to look like a bit of a silly goose laying out at the beach with streaks of white sunscreen all over your face – sunscreen contouring is just plain bad for your skin. It risks sun exposure and subsequently damage to certain areas of the face, and let’s not forget about the wrinkles. 

It’s a point a number of skin experts on the app (who have stitched Eli’s original video) have made, while others have also reiterated that layering anything above SPF 30 on top of SPF 30 is basically redundant:

Meanwhile other TikTokers have hilariously called out the hack for just being outright ridiculous:

And then there are some creators on the app who’re trying to use the technique to Macgyver their way to a more defined six-pack (um, okay):

It’s at this point that we think we should all collectively agree to close the app and take a water break...

When you log back in though, why not check out the completely safe (not to mention cute) fairy hair trend?

Main image credit: @stopiteli

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).