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The TikTok ‘Skin-fluencer’ Report

The last 12 months have seen a new breed of influencer born on TikTok, the ‘skin-fluencer’. Consumers’ shift to putting more emphasis on their skincare - in 2020, John Lewis reported a 234% uplift in its sales of skincare, body and hair - has paved the way for this new group of advocates and a host of inspiring and educational content.

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The last 12 months have seen a new breed of influencer born on TikTok, the ‘skin-fluencer’. Consumers’ shift to putting more emphasis on their skincare - in 2020, John Lewis reported a 234% uplift in its sales of skincare, body and hair - has paved the way for this new group of advocates and a host of inspiring and educational content. 

So, where is this content being shared? Well, the short answer is all over social media, but perhaps most notably on TikTok; its #Skincare hashtag has over 36 billion views. TikTok is known for taking pride in being an educational platform and promotes its #LearnOnTikTok hashtag,  

TikTok has provided the perfect platform for these skincare influencers to reach millions and to share their knowledge and passion. But what exactly is in it for them? How much do we know about their skincare qualifications? And, what are the biggest skincare trends on TikTok right now? 

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Our research

We’ve analysed content (over 750 videos) from the top 50 skin-focused influencers (with total profile views of over 50K) from the UK, USA, Europe and Australia to reveal:

  • Who could be earning the most from TikTok

  • Who has skincare related qualifications

  • On average, how many sponsored adverts they publish

  • Whether they use disclaimers when endorsing products

To get a better understanding of the skin-fluencer landscape, we’ve looked at the biggest trends on TikTok at the moment and which brands are getting the most attention when it comes to skincare. We also spoke to consultant dermatologists from Skin+Me to get a better understanding of whether or not consumers should be cautious when reading advice given on TikTok and trying out the trends themselves at home. 

TikTok Skin-fluencer earnings

According to Forbes, global spending on influencer marketing has skyrocketed in recent years, rising from an estimated £1.4 billion in 2017 to about £5.8 billion in 2019. This figure is set to rise further to £10.9 billion in 2022.

TikTok directly pays its top creators for each video they post. How much they pay each creator will depend on the number of followers they have, as well as the amount of views/engagements they receive for each video.

Influencers using the TikTok Creator’s Fund have reported a rate of 2-4 pence per 1,000 views. TikTok has dedicated £231 million to the fund over the next three years, and anyone with enough views can be involved, so long as they meet the eligibility requirements.

Looking at our list of 50 content creators and using an earnings calculator, we have been able to shortlist the below 10 influencers as the ones able to make the highest earnings from the platform. 

What kind of content are the top skin-fluencers producing?

@skincarebyhyram (Hyram Yarbro) is paid the most, with an estimated £4,897 per video. Weekly, he produces on average five videos and is best known for his brutally honest skincare routine reviews and trusted product rankings. It is likely that the level of honesty in Hyram’s reviews significantly contributes to his success. A recent study by Harvard Business School MBA graduate Alessia Vettese Forbes claims that many consumers look for influencers who are willing to give products negative reviews. Hyram engages with his fans, answering the questions they leave in his comments and publicly reacting to tagged posts.

@dermdoctor (Dr. Muneeb Shah) scores the second-highest in terms of pay per video, earning an estimated £3,529. Similarly, Dr Shah is popular for his skincare reaction videos and product reviews. But unlike Hyram, Dr. Shah is a trained dermatology resident physician.

Other skin-fluencers, such @allyoucanface, take an alternative spin on skincare. She specialises in facial exercise videos and combines them with high-quality skincare recommendations.

How transparent are skin-fluencers?

Knowing how important transparency is to consumers, we also looked into how many TikTok skin-fluencer posts were marked as #ads or #partner posts.

Generally speaking, adverts on TikTok cost significantly more than on other social media platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram. There are lots of different Tik Tok ad types, with different associated costs, but the cost of working with influencers will often be at their (or their management’s) discretion.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says that advertising activity on TikTok in any form must be obviously identifiable. 

However, it has been stated that there is a loophole and way around this within TikTok’s format. In a lot of circumstances, no identification of paid advertisements or partnerships can be found. 

Looking at our list of 50 skin-fluencers, we analysed their last 15 posts and logged which ones included #sponsored or #ad in the caption. Once again, Hyram came out on top out of all the influencers for having the most number of posts marked as ‘sponsored’, with three out of 15 of his most recent posts being attributed to paid-for activity.

How many of these influencers have skincare qualifications?

We looked into which of our skin-fluencers have qualifications in this area, logging any notable mentions on their TikTok bios*. 

Notably, the majority of skin-fluencers we looked at had no qualifications at all.

We spoke to Dr Jason Thomson, head of medical and Dr Malvina Cunningham, consultant dermatologist from online dermatology service, Skin+Me to get their advice on listening to skin-fluencers and following TikTok skincare trends. 

“The dermatology and skincare communities have recognised that there’s a problem with lots of misinformation and bad advice being shared and disseminated on social media. But at the same time, there’s also some fantastic content out there created by professionals who truly are skincare experts ranging from dermatologists to formulation scientists and social media can be a great resource for skincare knowledge and advice.”

Thomson and Cunningham added:

“As a rule if you're looking for content on skin conditions and how to treat them, then follow dermatologists as they have the highest level of expertise in diagnosing and managing skin conditions and their expertise will also cover cosmetic treatments. Skincare fanatics can also have a wealth of knowledge on cosmetic brands and skincare that can be really insightful as long as you're not trying to treat a medical condition.”

What types of skincare content is being shared on TikTok?

Looking at five key trend categories, we’ve delved into the content that people are loving on TikTok right now. 

With that in mind, should you really be putting turmeric on your face?

TikTok is famed for its DIY (do it yourself) facemask trends, but whether they are all worthy recommendations is another matter.

Being trained medical professionals, Thomson and Cunngingham were able to offer counsel around following TikTok trends:

“Dermatologists will not generally advise using DIY face masks as strong scientific evidence that they work is lacking. The problem with DIY face masks is that you’re using neat/raw ingredients which means there will be a mixture of potentially helpful components but also some potentially irritating ones too and getting the right concentrations of the key active components is unrealistic with a DIY facemask. 

“Skincare products also have strict standards they need to meet and will have been formulated to ensure consistency, safety and the optimal concentrations of ingredients to ensure they get absorbed into your skin so they can exert their effects. DIY face masks lack this safety and quality control and therefore you risk causing side effects such as irritation and increased sensitivity.”

They continued:

“That’s not to say the individual ingredients don’t have potential benefits and anecdotally people have been using DIY face masks for years with reported benefits to the skin. Turmeric has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties mainly through its active component, curcumin. Studies have been done on turmeric when ingested and when applied on the skin and have demonstrated improvements in some skin conditions such as acne and eczema as well as an anti-ageing ingredient. 

“With a DIY facemask, again, knowing if you're getting a beneficial amount of curcumin is difficult as its amount varies between batches of turmeric (usually between 1 and 6%). There's also the risk of staining your skin and some people can rarely develop allergic contact dermatitis. 

“If you’re wanting to try a DIY face mask, you must do your research and make sure you're choosing ingredients that will help you achieve your skin goals and also be compatible with your skin type. If using DIY facemasks, remember not to leave them on for long periods (e.g. over-night) and as a general rule 10-20 minutes is probably enough time and remember to rinse off thoroughly after use. We'd advise not doing them more than once a week and patch test before applying on your face.”

The most viewed skincare ingredients on TikTok

With 261.6 million hashtag views, retinol is the most viewed skincare ingredient on TikTok, with niacinamide and salicylic acid following.

We wanted to find out more around the most viewed skincare ingredients on TikTok. Thomson and Cunningham were able to explain why certain ingredients are more common than others: 

“Retinol, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide are really common ingredients found in over-the-counter skincare products and have been used for years for their beneficial effects on the skin. Being cosmetic-grade means you don’t strictly need to be under the supervision of a professional when using these ingredients, but there are some important things to know before starting to use them in your skincare routine.”

“Retinol is a vitamin A-based ingredient and is the strongest retinoid that you can get without a prescription. It’s probably the most effective non-prescription, anti-ageing skincare ingredient with decades of evidence showing its effectiveness. That said, the formulation containing retinol is very important as the molecule is very unstable, which means if not formulated well, its benefits are unlikely to be achieved. It also can be associated with side effects, such as dryness, irritation and flaking skin, which is why it’s best to start on a low strength formulation and apply it only a few times a week to let your skin build up tolerance to it. 

“Not everyone will be able to tolerate retinoids, so if you have very dry, eczema-prone skin, this ingredient may best be avoided as it may make your skin worse. Retinoids can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight so applying sunscreen is a must. It should also be avoided when pregnant/breastfeeding.

“Hyaluonic acid and niacinamide on the other hand are usually very well tolerated irrespective of skin type and can be used on sensitive skin and well as in pregnancy.”

The most viewed skincare tool on TikTok

You have likely seen jade rollers and gua sha being used across social, but it’s the brand Foreo leading the charge when it comes to the most viewed and tagged skincare tool on TikTok, with 160.2m views.

Most viewed skincare condition on TikTok

Acne is the most viewed skincare condition on Tik Tok, with 7.9b views. 

When it comes to skincare conditions, Thomson and Cunnginham always recommend seeking professional advice: 

“Acne, psoriasis and eczema are all medical conditions and if you suffer from these conditions you should see your GP or a dermatologist to make sure you're getting the best advice and treatment.”

Most viewed skincare brand on TikTok

It’s undeniable that TikTok is an incredible platform for brands looking to build their presence and following. Below are some of the brands with the most amount of hashtag views. 


We analysed 750 videos from 50 of the most popular TikTok accounts belonging to skin influencers based in the USA, UK, Europe and Australia. All accounts analysed had over 50,000 followers. 

The estimated pay per post was calculated using the Influencer Hub Tik Tok money calculator

To understand ad transparency on TikTok, we analysed the top 15 most recent posts (25 March 2021) from all 50 profiles to see how many posts were marked as #ads or #partner posts.

To reveal the most viewed DIY masks, tools, ingredients, skincare issues and brands, we analysed the exact match TikTok hashtags on 22/03/21. 

To uncover which skin-fluencers have qualifications, all the content on their social media profiles was analysed in order to source the information concerning qualifications. If there was any visible information around education, this was logged. If the influencer has qualifications but hasn’t outlined this within their profiles, we were unable to log this. 

All data correct as of March 2021.

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