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Beauty Featured

Heather Rainbow Is the Face of Anti-MLM TikTok—She Talks to Skyelyfe About the Dangerous Business Models of Arbonne, Monat and More

January 12, 2021

MLMs are much of a foreign concept here in L.A., but chances are you’ve encountered a “Boss Babe” (as their team members call themselves) on Facebook at some point, likely in the form of a former classmate or religious peer—claiming to own a “small business.” The worst MLMs are many of the ones you’re most familiar with (namely in the beauty industry). But you probably don’t realize they actually operate through a pyramid scheme business model that scams anyone who isn’t at the very top.

Before we get into the depths of multi-level marketing, let’s talk first about what drew me to this phony albeit fascinating facet of work. Growing up, I think we can all say we’ve been subjected at one time or anther to a Tupperware, makeup or sex toy party. The host boasts a night of wine and champagne, mingling, hors d’oeuvres and even free gifts! Sure, you feel slightly obligated to buy something, but it’s usually something you can use, so why not? Never did I realize the darkness and destruction associated with these seemingly harmless gatherings.

Years following one of those parties, I was actually approached by none other than Ian Ziering, who attempted to recruit me to Team 90210, his own group that falls under the much larger umbrella of Nu Skin, a luxury MLM that sells skincare and devices. His team is chockfull of—you guessed it—naïve Beverly Hills, 90210 devotees swayed to join out of pure fandom. He pegged me as potentially one of them.

I met Ian briefly at an event in 2017. He was there with his then-wife and none other than Tori Spelling and her entire brood. Being the self-proclaimed biggest 90210 fan who ever lived, it was exciting seeing the two former stars not only still pals, but also just casually chatting it up with attendees at this low-key Sunday event on the rooftop of a Miracle Mile apartment complex. No one (including the girl who invited me) had any real clue what this event set out to do. There were signs that seemingly promoted “Tori’s Beauty Box,” but there were no such boxes or details in sight. Oh well, there was wine and some snacking, so what did I care?

I snapped my obligatory shot sandwiched between Tori and Ian (see embarrassing grin below), told them I was a fan and didn’t think much else of it. Ian suggested I give his wife my info so we could connect about me reviewing “Tori’s Beauty Box” for the website I wrote for at the time. We exchanged emails and I went on my merry way.

The next day, I shot Ian’s wife a note—and to my surprise, she replied immediately: “What’s your phone number? Ian wants to give you a call about something. He’ll explain.” I didn’t realize we needed a full-blown phone call to discuss the contents of “Tori’s Beauty Box,” but alas I obliged. Who was I to turn down Steve Sanders, amirite?

What followed was an hour-long sales pitch—all while I was in the middle of my work day. Ian tried to convince me how easy it would be to sell an everyday necessity like toothpaste, and how I could join his exclusive Team 90210, and have access to him directly at all times. I could recruit my friends and “make money!” I was shook. So… guess there’s no “Tori’s Beauty Box” after all! When I finally got off the call and said “I’d consider it” (syke), I walked out of the conference room at my office, looking like I’d just seen a ghost. My coworkers were shocked by everything that transpired.

With the exception of telling my closest friends about my bizarre experience, I largely put the encounter out of my mind. Needless to say, I never joined Ian’s coveted Team 90210 clique, but I’m sure it’s a swingin’ time. It wasn’t until two years later, after watching Vice‘s detailed documentary on LuLaRoe leggings, that I really got invested in MLM culture. It’s an extremely fascinating world, and this doc is a must-watch.

Fast-forward to fall 2020, and I stumbled upon the TikTok account of college student, Heather Rainbow (yes, that’s her real last name). As the unofficial face of Anti-MLM TikTok, Heather breaks down every MLM’s business model, debunks all of their so-called perks and takes a stand against anyone who tries to counter her well-researched facts. Raised in an evangelical household, Heather regularly explains to her 100k followers why religion and MLMs go hand-in-hand.

@heather.elise.rainbow

Comment the other bossbabe phrases that you see on social media! ##antimlm ##pyramidscheme

♬ original sound – heather elise

Since liberating herself from her mother’s conservative practices, Heather has gone on to educate people so they don’t fall into the same traps as many of her peers growing up. Heather’s wealth of research and knowledge is so astounding that she even caught The Atlantic and Newsweek‘s attention. She was quoted in both, once TikTok announced a policy in December banning content that “depicts or promotes Ponzi, multi-level marketing, or pyramid schemes.”

I reached out to Heather, curious to learn more about how she got this deep into studying MLMs. She dished to skyelyfe on literally everything you need to know about this toxic culture, how to avoid being a victim and the worst MLMs out there. Keep reading for what she has to say!

skyelyfe: For those who don’t know, what’s an MLM, why are they so commonly joined, and what’s the issue with them? 

Heather Rainbow: An MLM, or a multi-level marketing company, is a company which uses a business model involving three key things: A product to sell, an incentive to recruit, and a multi-tiered compensation plan. Every single MLM out there has these basic features. They are so commonly joined because of No. 2: an incentive to recruit.

Every MLM compensation plan factors in some kind of incentive, usually monetary, to add new people into the company. This is often framed as an “opportunity” on social media posts trying to rope people in. Of course, this leads to the question, what’s wrong with that? Well, of course selling for commission is totally fine, but the recruitment aspect is what makes these companies so comparable to pyramid schemes.

A pyramid scheme is a model in which no product is sold (but as shown in legal proceedings with MLMs, the line is more blurred than just the presence of a physical product). Recruitment would be the sole money-making opportunity in this scenario. Unfortunately, MLMs are extremely comparable to this model, making them, in my opinion, unethical.

It is essentially impossible to make a living wage in an MLM without recruiting and adding new people into the company, so the selling aspect is much less important than the recruitment aspect. If an individual makes more money by recruiting than by selling, there is a significant issue in the business model. 

SL: Known as a “scam” by many outsiders, what keeps people invested in these so-called “businesses”—especially if they’re not making money?

HR: A couple key things go into this. First of all, the life portrayed on social media by MLM participants. Monat, Itworks, Arbonne, all these distributors and many more are known for displaying a lavish lifestyle in their posts to make the “opportunity” seem legit. Ultimately people believe what they want to be true, so an old friend sliding in your DMs because they want to help you make money when you’re in a tight spot can seem like an amazing opportunity, when in reality they have ulterior motives.

Another key factor in keeping people invested in MLMs is the sunk cost fallacy. Once you’ve sunk money into something, it’s only human to do absolutely anything to get that money back, especially if you have an upline telling you it’s possible if you only try hard enough. This fallacy essentially creates a bias toward the opportunity, telling you that you have to continue this MLM since you already threw money in. 

SL: Tell us about your educational and professional background. And how did you transition into becoming the face of anti-MLM culture on TikTok?

HR: I’m a junior in college right now, and I’m a pre-med student studying chemistry and math. This of course is totally unrelated to the legal and ethical aspects of MLMs, which are kind of a separate interest of mine that I started researching around the beginning of the pandemic. I’d always sensed something off about these companies, and growing up in a small town in a religious circle, they were extremely prevalent and normalized.

After seeing the companies spike in popularity and use the pandemic to their advantage via social media, I fell into a massive research rabbit hole where I uncovered the truth about this business model and the real ways it’s hurt people. I started making TikToks, and I was shocked by the positive feedback I got and how interested people were in knowing more. And the rest is history! 

SL: Do you feel like you’ve helped anyone through your platform? Or do you feel like none of the people deep in MLM culture are able to see your point of view?

HR: I’m so honored every time I receive a comment or a DM saying I helped someone get out of their MLM. I’ve had people in various MLMs—Monat, Arbonne, Younique, tell me they started rethinking their practices after seeing my videos break down the compensation plans and legal problems. It really is my greatest accomplishment to know I helped someone out there. Of course, there are people who’ll never understand what I’m trying to do, and will always see me as a negative hater, but such is life. I wish them the best, although sometimes it’s hard not to get sassy with them. I try to see them as a victim of the company they’re participating in. 

SL: Moving on from the business aspect, let’s get into the majority of products sold by MLM distributors—or what do they call themselves? Are these products ever high-quality? Or are they actually a scam, too? 

HR: Distributors, consultants, market partners—these are all words they use to describe themselves, although I, of course, think salespeople is the most accurate. Quality of product often comes down to a matter of opinion. Some products I feel very strongly negatively about, like the Kangen water filter that costs thousands of dollars, as well as ketones from Pruvit, and shakes from Beachbody.

Personally, with my knowledge of science and the human body, I think all these things are a massive waste of money. But of course, some people swear by them. I do think some sellers are genuine with their love for the product, and I wouldn’t want to call them all liars. But I do think they’re extremely biased and the placebo effect is extremely real. I know some people that genuinely enjoy Senegence lipstick or Monat hairspray, and I don’t fault them for that, although I wish they would support a more ethical business model with their purchases. 

SL: What are some of the most commonly known MLMs that people in L.A., for example, probably don’t realize are such?

HR: Being from a small town, I see a lot of smaller MLMs that maybe aren’t as pervasive in larger cities. These could include Zyia, Senegence, Paparazzi, Vantel pearls, et cetera. And even larger MLMs like Mary Kay, Pampered Chef and LulaRoe are way more prevalent here, from what I have observed. Everyone knowns someone in an MLM. 

SL: Going off of that, why are MLMs far less common in metropolitan cities like L.A.? Generally, who is your typical MLM salesperson, and why?

HR: There are many answers to this question, and it’s really an interesting one to think about. MLMs are often joined by stay-at-home moms wanting to make an extra income while spending time with their kids. This type of family, with a father working and a mom staying at home with the kids, is extremely common where I grew up. The conservative, “traditional” family is so often the target of these companies, because the “mom guilt” card is incredibly effective. Don’t you want more time with your kids? Don’t you want to provide for your family? These are all sentiments expressed by MLM recruiters. These families definitely exist in cities too, but being from a small town, I know just how important that structure can be to many people here.

Unfortunately, MLM money is thrown at the republican party as well, and the link between republicans, conservative evangelicals and MLMs is undeniable. As I like to say, spreading the gospel is remarkably like spreading the “good news” of an MLM. All these factors contribute to MLMs spreading like wildfire in small-town churches and families. 

SL: When celebrities (like Ian Ziering, for example) join MLMs, how does his “business” experience differ from that of a regular person? 

HR: Ah, celebrities in MLMs. These figures are often touted as success stories by MLMers, and they add credibility to the company’s name. For example, Blac Chyna joined Monat this year, and the distributors screamed it from the rooftops. Jenna Boyd from Atypical is near the top of Rodan + Fields. One of the major contributing factors to being successful in an MLM is a social media following, or better yet, a fan base. This makes it incredibly easy to skyrocket up the ranks, generating huge profit. People will do anything to talk to their favorite celebrity, or even any celebrity, and that includes joining a multi-level marketing company.

These opportunities can be hugely profitable for anyone with a built-in following, as recruiting will be laughably easy. This is unfair and unethical to say the least. People do enjoy Nu Skin products, although personally I see them as incredibly overpriced, and I find it hard to believe these products are the source of Ian Ziering’s good skin.   

SL: Are any MLMs better or worse than others? Or are they all pretty much the same?

HR: Even those within the Anti-MLM community have varying opinions on this. Some MLMs like Tupperware or Pampered Chef have extremely loyal customers who genuinely love the product, and these are seen as less predatory than other such companies. Unfortunately, I still see these companies as unethical due to the recruiting nature of the business model, although I’m not judging anyone for purchasing. Because the three key things that make up an MLM, as I mentioned earlier, include an inherently unethical recruiting model, I do not support or buy from any of them. 

SL: Is there anything else you want to share on this matter? And what else can you tell us about your life outside of TikTok? 

HR: Thank you so much for asking me to share! I’m always happy to talk about the ethics around MLMs and how we as consumers should be aware of what’s going on in the background. My goal is to educate those who vaguely know what MLMs are and maybe sense that something is off, but aren’t armed with the specific information to understand why. Remember that when someone is asking you to join, they are likely going to make money directly from your buy-in purchase.

On my platform, I also like to discuss my experience leaving evangelical Christianity and being homeschooled almost my entire life. I’m thrilled to have grown a social media following from talking about issues that are important to me. Aside from TikTok, I love being a woman in STEM, I love powerlifting and I love being a barista!

Now that we’ve got scammy skincare out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff with a review of Nudestix’s Nudeskin skincare line, HERE!

Beauty Featured

The 5 Best and Worst Affordable Skincare Brands, According to TikTok

September 24, 2020

TikTok is a treasure trove of beauty tutorials, reviews, tips and tricks. I downloaded the app thinking I had a good hold on makeup and skincare, only to realize my sorely limited knowledge. Little did I know I’d quickly uncover the best and worst affordable skincare, which is frequently covered on the stimulating platform.

TikTok brings us the likes of resident skincare guru Hyram, who dominates the app. Other influential aficionados in the space include JC Dombrowski, Dr. Shah (@dermdoctor) Charlotte Palermino (@charlotteparler) and Young Yuh (@yayayayoung). I’ve impressively learned more about skincare during my short time on the platform than during the course of my life.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Hyram (@skincarebyhyram) on

These experts’ massive followings swear by their actions: micellar water is always a yes, whereas makeup wipes are always a no. But to get into it a little deeper, I’ve rounded up a list of what the TikTok experts generally classify as the best and worst affordable skincare brands on the market.

Keep reading to find out!

(via Unsplash)

5 Best:

CeraVe: Leading the pack of best and worst affordable skincare brands is CeraVe. A drugstore staple, the brand is known for its generous supply and effective ingredients. Like many, I quickly brushed their products to the side, due to lackluster packaging. But if the experts sway my desire to experiment, I’ll look into fan favorites, the Hydrating Cleanser and Moisturising Cream. The brand’s products are frequently sold out, and have been proven to work wonders on the skin. CeraVe is truly the all-star in the TikTok skincare space.

@skincarebyhyram

bruh the GLOW 🤩 ##duet with @uglyboimiguel ##skincarebyhyram ##glowup

♬ Spongebob – DrumCorpsKat

First Aid Beauty: This brand is heralded by the experts as a go-to for sensitive skin. But additionally, it’s touted for its antioxidant-rich sunscreen, which blends seamlessly. Hence its name, the clean beauty brand is also known for targeting specific skincare woes, including Keratosis pilaris (KP), eczema and acne.

@mellluuuu

This stuff is amazing!!!! HIGHLY recommend!!! 😍😭 @skincarebyhyram ##skincarebyhyram ##firstaidbeauty ##niacinamide ##fyp ##skincare ##dermatology ##skin

♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 夕依

La Roche-Posay: With such a fancy name and sleek packaging to boot, I’m always shocked to see La Roche-Posay posted up in CVS. The French skincare brand boasts an array of effective and affordable products geared toward sensitive skin. Derms swear by this brand, and its popularity is more evident than ever on TikTok.

@selenatepepa1

Obsessed✨ What should I try next?? ##larocheposay laroche ##skincare ##target ##skincareroutine ##oilyskintips ##fyp

♬ Breathe – What’s That’s Supposed To Be About Baby – Years & Years

The Ordinary: I’ve always abided by the saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” And in the case of The Ordinary, it may just defy the odds. It’s one of the most remarkably priced brands at Sephora, chock-full of effective ingredients and a wide array of products for varying skin types. To top it all off, its packaging, albeit simple, is sleek and professional. The Ordinary—most renown on TikTok for its AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solutionkeeps its products focused on prime active ingredients (like niacinamide and zinc, for example) and ditches the fancy frills.

@yayayayoung

A quick AHA+BHA “how to” with my tips! ##skincare ##beauty ##theordinary ##ahabha ##exfoliation ##fyp ##foryoupage

♬ original sound – yayayayoung

The Inkey List: Taking cues from The Ordinary, brand new The Inkey List is another ridiculously affordable skincare brand at Sephora. Known to include your standard buzzy ingredients (hyaluronic acid, retinol and collagen, to name a few), they’ve also released innovative formulas previously unknown to the common consumer: Polyglutamic Acid, Multi-Biotic Moisturizer and Heptapeptide Serum.

@whatsonvisface

Hyram inspired me! This routine by @theinkeylist is only $42. Check out their recipe builder to make your own! ##learnontiktok ##tiktokpartner ##ad

♬ original sound – whatsonvisface

5 Worst:

St. Ives: If you live by the “any press is good press” motto, St. Ives can thank TikTok for making it one of the most talked-about skincare brands on the app (even if it happens to be a best and worst affordable skincare list). St. Ives is the butt of every joke in these 15-second videos, but nevertheless, it has gained relevancy. Roasted for its ridiculously high concentration of fragrance, its harmful scrubs (which have been proven to cause tears in the skin), and the brand’s recommendation to exfoliate every single day, using St. Ives in your skincare routine is considered the ultimate no-no by the experts.

@akoniphoenix

Just don’t do it! 😅 @dermdoctor & @skincarebyhyram DON’T recommend! ##stives ##skincare ##poc

♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by St. Ives (@stivesskin) on

Clean & Clear: While I’ve never been a Clean & Clear user, it’s definitely synonymous with my childhood and acne commercials I saw every day as a kid. Having been around for so long, you’d think the company would have their formulas down by now—but according to the skincare experts, such is not the case. Clean & Clear’s products contain heavy concentrations of fragrance and other harmful ingredients for the skin, including alcohol and menthol. Also, in cases where beneficial ingredients are included, they’re often counteracted with other ingredients that make them either harmful or obsolete.

@skincare.noob

they won’t be missed🤢🤢 ##skincare ##badskincare ##cleanandclear##neutrogena ##teatree ##foryou ##foryoupage ##fyp ##theordinary ##hyramapproved ##cerave

♬ original sound – caleb

Bioré: Who doesn’t love a good peel-off mask or nose strip? Watching gunk seep out of your skin is oddly satisfying. It isn’t, however, actually doing anything for you. While yes, you may see a temporary removal of blackheads from a Bioré nose strip, these strips do absolutely nothing to treat or reduce blackheads longterm. Pore strips aside, many of the brand’s formulas are advertised as fitting “for all skin types,” when, in fact, they’ve been proven to cause redness, breakouts and excess oil production when used on dry or sensitive skin.

@skincarebyhyram

Great routine! 🤩 Use ##skincarebyhyram so I can react to yours 🥰 ##duet with @sammcgraww

♬ original sound – Sam McGraw

Thayer’s: Thayer’s is up there with St. Ives in the TikTok skincare space. Just about every expert swears against it, insisting that tannins-infused witch hazel is unacceptable on the face, no matter your skin type. Thayer’s is known for its array of witch hazel products, which have gained popularity based on their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But their high concentration of alcohol only causes the skin to produce more oil and trigger more breakouts. Steer clear at all costs!

@careclarkbsn

##dermatology ##dermatologynurse ##witchhazeltoner ##myskincaresecret ##myskincaretip ##productreview ##budgetskincare ##ulta ##witchhazel

♬ euphoria s1e1 OST – devyn

Mario Bedescu: When I think of this brand, Urban Outfitters immediately comes to mind. Trendy and affordable, it never dawned on me that experts deem Mario Bedescu one of the most hated-upon skincare brands. In fact, the company settled a class action lawsuit in 2013 for failing to disclose the inclusion of strong steroids in at least two of their products. Generally speaking, the brand’s ingredients lists are misleading and cheaply made.

@skincarebyhyram

He will be missed 😔🙏 ##duet with @no_no_care_ ##skincarebyhyram

♬ Cyber Sex – Doja Cat

 

 

For more skincare content, HERE are some of the newest CBD-infused beauty products we recommend trying!

Food

Here’s How to Make the Best Fall Cocktails, According to TikTok

September 5, 2020

Ah, fall. It’s truly the most beautiful time of the year when breezy weather, apple picking, oversized sweaters and boots rule all. 

As you bust out the blankets and prepare for the holidays, you’ll obviously need a cocktail in hand every step of the way. Below, find all the best seasonal spirits and how to make them, according to TikTok.

1. Spiced Rum Caramel Coco

A drink and dessert all rolled into one? Sign us right up. This quick, easy hot chocolate is packed with spiced flavor and fall deliciousness. Adding caramel corn on top makes it the go-to guilty pleasure of the season.

2. Pear Drop Cocktail

We live for a refreshingly fruity, yet light cocktail. If that’s also your jam, try this lovely pear drop. It features banana liqueur and bitters, surprisingly—but it adds an unexpectedly enjoyable flavor you can’t find anywhere else.

3. Apple Gin Garden

If apples are more your thing, you have to try this Apple Gin Garden with elderflower, apple juice and gin, of course. Adding floral notes to the mix gives it a rich and elegant flavor. This one’s for enjoying that fall breeze on your balcony or porch in the evening.

@hangreen_22

Gin Garden 🍓🥒 Gin, Elderflower Syrup, Cloudy Apple Juice, Soda #cocktail #cocktails #gin #fyp #fypage #tipplesandtonics

♬ original sound – hangreen_22

4. Apple Cider Cocktail

What’s a fall cocktail roundup without at least one apple cider refreshment? Crisp cider combined with orange slices and vodka equals instant autumn delight.

5. Pumpkin Spice Cocktail

We’ve all grown wary of the over-advertised pumpkin spice flavor, but hear us out on this one. This sweet little cocktail also has Irish cream, vanilla ice cream and a cinnamon stick for extra punch. And let’s be honest, adding alcohol to any classic flavor will always makes it worth your time.

6. Frosé

We don’t know about you, but rosé is a must for us to kick off the season. Why not dial it up by blending it with fresh strawberries, ice and a touch of vodka? It gives this classic sweet wine a little zest that’s perfect for fall get togethers.

Angelenos Featured

4 TikTokers to Follow If You Want a Glimpse Into Daily Life in L.A.

August 11, 2020

We’ve grown incredibly attached to TikTok during quarantine. Specifically, we’ve developed a close bond with some Los Angeles TikTokers.

Their content covers everything we love and loathe about the city we call home. From their personal adventures to the most scene-y L.A. destinations to the inside scoop on the people who live here, these local TikTokers do not hold back.

So, if you’ve ever wanted a real glimpse into L.A. life, the three TikTokers below are who you need to follow.

Girl getting her photo taken at a restaurant
via Unsplash

1. @itsmetinx

Tinx is the whole reason we even got the idea for this roundup, so we have to give a huge shoutout to her. As the self-proclaimed “oldest girl on TikTok” who lives in Los Angeles, she may be our favorite of all the TikTokers in our town. We love watching her daily trips to Erewhon and fancy dinners at the trendiest L.A. hotspots—all through her microvlogs, which we absolutely need more of. Tinx also dishes on the latest celebrity gossip in a way that’s refreshingly insightful. So follow her ASAP, because she’s about as real as it gets in L.A. (for better or worse!).

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masking for a friend

A post shared by Tinx (@itsmetinx) on

2. @blazedandglazed

Macy Eleni is here to be “your digital hype woman” through her L.A. TikToks. Though her encouraging words of wisdom aren’t specific to Angelenos, she offers other content that is. Other than pulling you out of a slump with her positivity, she also shares the best thrift store stores, finds, and more in the L.A. area. If you’re into thrifting at all, she’s the girl to follow. Your next vintage shopping experience will be the best one yet after you follow her tips.

3. @taliatalksalot

This is arguably one of the most accurate @’s out there. Talia talks a lot, it’s true, but it’s so worth it. She isn’t afraid to share her unbiased opinions about the most popular L.A. restaurants and roast some iconic L.A. Instagram spots. You don’t really know anything about The City of Angels until you hear Talia’s take on it. Her accuracy about the city’s locations (*cough* The Valley) will give you insight you didn’t know you needed. L.A. isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but Talia could tell you that.

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Abroad has yet to change me

A post shared by Talia (@lichtagram) on

4. @misohungry

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed L.A. foodie or you just really like drooling over well-shot food videos, this is the account you need to follow. These TikToks will take your tastebuds (and eyes) on a digital journey everywhere from Echo Park (and all of the Eastside), to Koreatown, The Valley and even Long Beach and more. Misohungry provides the inside scoop on the best foodie deals, secret date spot ideas and truly the best visuals we’ve never seen when it comes to cuisine. She also doesn’t hold back when it comes to what she’s willing to try. One day it’s vegan, the next day it’s Korean BBQ. You just never know what you’ll get when you follow!

These aren’t the only TikTokers we’re obsessed with. Need some more to follow? We recommended checking out THESE TikTokers over 25 who are totally nailing the app!

Lifestyle Featured

The 5 Best TikTok Practices for Growing Your Business or Personal Brand

June 9, 2020

TikTok is easily the only platform where you can have zero followers, post once and still get massive amounts of attention.

This makes it a treasure trove of possibilities when it comes to growing your business or building your personal brand.

Scroll below for the best tips on how to harness this mighty app’s power, as told by marketing platform Later’s resident TikTok expert Taylor Loren.

(via Unsplash)

1. Leverage Their User Base

TikTok now has over 800 million active users. That’s right on par with Instagram’s active user base which is just under 1 billion. It’s important to note that TikTok prioritizes entertainment and authenticity over commerce—a stark distinction from Instagram. Users are looking for creators who are passionate, inspired and funny. Participating in things like TikTok challengers are fun yet incredibly strategic ways to creatively increase brand awareness. It’ll help boost your account, get more users to check out your content and increase your potential of landing on many users’ “For You” pages.

2. Know What Sets the App Apart

Another major distinction between TikTok and Instagram is that it’s more about the content of the video rather than how pretty it looks. When users first open the app, they’re immediately taken to their “For You” page, an area with content specifically tailored to their interests based on previously watched and liked videos. Most of the content featured here is actually from people they don’t already follow, making it a valuable tool when it comes to building brand awareness. It’s super critical to make this distinction as it determines what kind of content you should focus on pushing out. There’s less pressure in terms of aesthetic, but unfiltered videos should be kept short, sweet and have a clever angle. 

3. Create Fun, Short and Eye-Catching Content

TikTok is overflowing with effects and editing features that are incredibly easy to use. Never underestimate the value of eye-catching text as it helps users understand what you’re doing, who you are and why they shouldn’t scroll past your video. Another essential tip is avoiding the right side and bottom of the screen when adding text since they’re covered by the share icon and caption. These may seem like simple things, but those are sometimes the most overlooked. Initiating TikTok duets are also a great way to engage with other popular accounts and the perfect way to step out of your comfort zone.

4. Switch to a FREE TikTok Pro Account

If you haven’t already, definitely consider upgrading to a TikTok Pro account. This will give you access to analytics tools that’ll help you gain a better understanding of how your content performs. Use these tools to assess what content you should focus on, find your audience and ask yourself what trends are relatable to your brand. And as we noted, it’s completely free!

5. Know How the Algorithm Works

Trust us when we tell you the discover page is your new BFF. It’s majorly helpful in uncovering the latest trends and hashtags that are used for optimal audience-targeting, aka getting on more users’ “For You” pages. Because your main goal is to be featured on as many as possible, it’s important to contribute the kind of content that other users are interacting with most.

Hone in on your niche from there and you’ll eventually find an audience that likes and shares the same types of videos as you. Using specific trending sounds, songs, effects or combos of these also aid you in gaining TikTok success. The platform truly rewards users who are making the most of their features and actively engaging on the platform, so it’s also an excellent idea to post frequently.

Lifestyle

5 TikTokers Over 25 Who Are Totally Nailing the App

March 16, 2020

TikTok has easily become one of the most popular apps within the last year, and we’ll admit we didn’t fully understand the hype until now.

Initially, we wrote it off as being filled solely with tweens making bizarre dance videos, but now, we’ll admit we’ve seen some users over the age of 25 who are absolutely crushing it with exquisite content.

Scroll below for all our five favorite users who solidify that age is truly just a number!

Perfume (@perfumeofficial)

Hailing from Japan, girl group Perfume’s official account is filled with stunningly choreographed dance numbers, and we’ll admit we’re totally addicted. It’s also refreshing to see that each member of the group is 31 years old and still able to turn it out on such a teen-focused app like TikTok.

Zach King (@zachking)

I mean, considering he just made the most perfect TikTok with Selena Gomez, of course Zach King is a necessary addition to this list. Usually, we think magic tricks are in poor taste, but there’s something, dare we say… enchanting about his oddly-timed optical illusion videos. Before TikTok, the 30-year-old star also cultivated quite a bit of filmmaking and YouTube experience which morphed into what he calls “digital slight of hand.”

Montana Tucker (@montanatucker)

27-year-old actress, singer and dancer Montana Tucker’s A+ TikTok content includes super entertaining lip syncs and razor sharp dance routines in a variety of locations. From the bookstore all the way to a hockey arena, there’s no place Montana can’t make a fire video🔥.

Amanda Cerny (@amandacerny)

28-year-old actress and comedian Amanda Cerny originally began generating social media buzz on Instagram, Vine and YouTube after having worked with traditional TV channels like Comedy Central and NBC. Now, her talent has expanded to TikTok where she posts not only killer dance content, but more of her humor and acting projects. We expect her to make major waves through the rest of 2020.

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Best friend tings @kingbach

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Anna O’Brien (@Glitterandlazers)

35-year-old Anna O’Brien is an OG YouTuber, but her resume extends far past one platform. She’s also a plus-size model, author, TikTok creator and makeup enthusiast who posts incredible yet helpful hacks on her page. It’s rare an individual can combine wit, beauty and confidence so seamlessly and Anna excels at this, making her one of our absolute favorite accounts to follow.