Is your dream hair one swipe away? We put five TikTok hacks to test

From overnight curls to faux fringes and fuller ponytails, we tried out the trending TikTok hair hacks the internet swears by

If you’ve spotted a new hair trend spreading across social media in the past few months, chances are it started life on TikTok. Whether it’s a product recommendation, a styling hack or a rather questionable way to change hair colour, TikTok stars have been transforming tresses around the world with their viral video tutorials. We tasked Layered Online’s Kelsey with putting five hair hacks to the test…

The purple shampoo challenge

Having originally been started by Abby Kovi (@makeupbyabbyk), the challenge began after Abby posted a video showing her applying purple shampoo to her blonde hair. After washing it out, her hair was lifted to a bright, platinum blonde – sounds great, right? Wrong.

While purple shampoo has long been a must-have product for blondes, multiple videos have been uploaded to TikTok showing brunettes applying the same shampoo to dry hair in the hopes of achieving the same result. Some users of the social media app have even gone as far as using an entire bottle of the shampoo and leaving it on for up to 24 hours in the hopes of achieving platinum perfection.

Naturally the trend has gone viral, but using so much of the potent product isn’t great for overall hair health and will have minimal impact if you’re a brunette. Purple shampoo should only be used by blondes once or twice every two weeks to neutralise yellow tones, but if overused the hair may appear duller rather than lighter. This is one ‘hack’ I won’t be trying but if you’re serious about switching up your hair colour, it’s always best to visit your hairdresser and book in for a consultation first!

The faux fringe updo

For many of us in lockdown who binge-watched Normal People, the lure of a fringe has been increasing by the daily. While the thought of committing to the cut may seem daunting, a temporary faux fringe seems like a foolproof solution – especially as this hair hack only involves a few steps. There’s been various adaptions of the faux fringe, but as a fan of Strictly Come Dancing, I decided to test out Dianne Buswell’s take on the trend before taking a trip to the hairdressers. Spoiler: it did not go to plan.

@diannebuswell

In theory, this TikTok hack seems relatively easy. Simply tie the hair up into a high ponytail before taking a section of the pony and bringing it forward so that the ends lay on the forehead. Then pin the section into place, and twist the rest of the hair into a bun to cover up the hair pins. I watched and re-watched the video several times and was convinced I could achieve the same effect, but in reality it wasn’t quite so simple as the video would have you believe.

Like many of us after months in lockdown, my roots are pretty outgrown, making the contrast between the hair on my crown and my blonde ends very obvious – so obvious that the roots made an appearance through the faux fringe. The second hurdle I faced was achieving a fuller fringe. Though my hair is thick, using as much as half a ponytail of hair still resulted in a rather wispy outcome… not the Marianne vibes I was hoping to channel.

It was also quite the challenge to achieve the desired length, as with having mid-length hair it made my ‘fringe’ way too long. In the end, I used up to 20 hair grips to try keep it in place, but was still not convinced by the result. The one positive? It confirmed to me that a real fringe could not possibly be as much hard work and to go for it after all – which I did just days later!

The overnight curls

Of all the styling videos I’ve come across recently, this was the one I was most excited to try. I love how loose, beachy waves look but always struggle to achieve the same result as when I visit the hairdressers. I’ve tried curling wands and straighteners but if a dressing gown belt could give me the best curls, then count me in!

Start by placing the belt over your head like a headband, then separate your hair into two and start weaving one side above and below the belt. It’s not exactly plaiting (though that would be worth trying) but instead just taking sections of hair above the dressing gown belt and wrapping it over then under. When you come to the end, simply secure in place with a bobble, and wrap the section into a bun. By the end, you should be left with Princess Leia style space buns, before leaving the dressing gown belt in overnight.

@bacardibri123

At this point I should say it was not the most comfortable sleep I’ve ever had, and I was skeptical as to if this method would be any more effective than simply sleeping in plaits. All doubt aside, eight hours later and the grand reveal proved me very wrong… well for one side of my hair.

My usual straight style of choice
My fairly wavy strands after

Unfortunately, the other side looked similar to what you would expect after leaving plaits in for a few hours – it wasn’t so big and bouncy, and took more work to brush out. With this method practice does make perfect, and which side you sleep on may also play a part. It won’t be something I do every night (I toss and turn way too much!) but for any upcoming staycations or days out, it’s definitely a low-maintenance styling option. Result!

The dry shampoo switch up

As well as styling videos, TikTok has also unearthed some pretty game-changing ways to use products. Like many of us, I rely on dry shampoo to freshen up my strands in between washes. Usually, I take a spray, rub and go approach but it turns out I’ve been doing it all wrong! If you’re left with white cast or limp and lifeless locks by the afternoon, you need to watch this video from @corascamera. Cora suggests taking your usual dry shampoo of choice and spraying it very generously before leaving it on for between five and ten minutes.

Naturally I grabbed my favourite Weekend Hair dry shampoo from JOICO and got to work in resembling the White Witch from the Chronicles of Narnia, before setting a timer for exactly 10 minutes.

Giving the White Witch a run for her money…
Hello volume at the roots!

Just a few minutes later and my hair seemed to absorb some of the white cast, with just a few powdery sections left behind. After waiting for the full amount of time to pass, I proceeded to rub any remnants into my roots, as I usually would, and was left with much more volume than I expected. My strands felt softer and looked nearly as fresh as after an at-home blow dry. While it may have felt excessive to use quite so much product, it really got to work in doing exactly what it says on the tin. Maybe it’s time to switch up my morning routine after all…

The perfect ponytail in seconds

For this final hack, it’s all about making your ponytail snatched – we’re talking longer locks with much more volume. Simple to achieve, it involves parting your hair into two sections – similar to that of a half up, half down look. Next, tie a top section to give the illusion that this where the high pony is coming from. Finally, tie the rest of the hair together towards the back of your head in a second ‘hidden’ ponytail. Don’t be alarmed – the two ponytails will blend in as the top pony covers the section underneath. If you’re still unsure, try a little backcombing and grab some volumising products, such as the ghd Root Lift Spray. Et voila – a snatched pony to make even Ari jealous.

A short and sad ponytail

A longer look with much more volume

Of all the videos tested, this was by far the easiest to achieve AND with the best results. Having mid-length locks and layers, a big and bouncy ponytail isn’t very achievable… until now. It may not be as long as the likes of Ms Grande, but I was seriously impressed by the results. It took a matter of minutes and required minimal tweaking after – it’s so good I’ll be trying it out on Zoom tomorrow!