Viral beauty: #Dontrushchallenge

Shamara Mohsin talks TikTok, trends and isolation makeup, in her discussion about the #dontrushchallenge and the power and entertainment of transformations.

Shamara Mohsin
21st April 2020

Long gone are the days when makeup was just about making yourself look ‘presentable’. Nowadays, we see individuals adorning a full face of cosmetics to simply take a new profile picture, share a makeup tutorial, and even more recently, to make a TikTok.

The phenomenon of donning a face full of makeup for a 15-second video may sound absurd for some, but to others, it is part of personal empowerment, entertainment and creating confidence. 

TikTok has grown exponentially since its emergence in 2017, so much so it is no longer considered ‘just for kids’ as it was intially. Nearing its three-year birthday, the app now has over 800 million users, who are believed to spend an average 52 minutes online everyday. Featuring no names, big names and probably nearly every person you know on there, it’s hard to not get swept up in the TikTok hype.  Just like Instagram and Twitter, TikTok has its hashtags, some of which are actually challenges for other members of the TikTok community to take part in.

And it wouldn not be a new day if there was not another trend sweeping the interweb. Recently, it has been the #Dontrushchallenge; appropriately named after the song Don’t Rush by Young T and Bugsy featuring Headie One. The rappers play as your backing track, as you address the camera bare face before popping on your favourite glam look- and maybe even a just as elaborate outfit to match. 

The #Dontrushchallenge has so far accumulated over 52 million videos and is bound to collect a few more in the coming days. The challenge could have been inspired by the time the public now has to participate in TikTok content with the current isolation in effect, leaving many bored and looking for something different to do. 

While some may consider glamming yourself up with nowhere to go a waste of time, product and energy, many would argue otherwise. Gone are the days when we dressed for others, an article by Refinery 29 suggested that adorning your favourite blush or perfecting your eyeliner may help you deal with the current situation of COVID-19.

It's logical to assume taking part in your usual routine will help you feel less uncertain, but experts suggest it may also allow you to separate your home and work life, similar to how many stay-at-home workers often separate their workspace from their living space, or wear business attire despite being able to stay in their PJs.  Therefore, it could be argued that continuing to carry out your everyday routine may help you to acclimate to this new way of life. Not to mention, for all those makeup novices or those simply wanting to try a new look, it’s a perfect time to give it a go if you don’t feel comfortable sharing this side of you with the world.

As to why the #Donrushchallenge has taken TikTok by storm, for some reason, the concept of transformation seems to fascinate audiences, similar to weight loss transformations or, even stranger, wardrobe clear-outs. Arguably all these transformations may interest us so much because they are things we’d like to accomplish ourselves, or because they are just so darn satisfying to see someone be there best self. But I think the #Dontrushchallenge may represent the very best of the transformation trend by allowing people a form of empowerment, to showcase their talent with makeup while highlighting their beauty with or without the cosmetics on top.  

Considering the diverse representation of content it has inspired, we can consider the #DontRushchallenge an expression of self-confidence and self-love for every culture. While the creator of the challenge, Toluwalase Asolo, 20, along with seven of her close friends, did not intend to create a global movement, they have inspired individuals around the world to celebrate their origins, professions and interests through makeup.

In the UK alone, NHS workers have used the trend to highlight the lack of known diversity in their field. Therefore, the #Dontrushchallenge has showcased the beauty in diversity, unlike any other TikTok challenge before it and while TikTok may produce some questionable content, this one seems to bring out the best in people.

Therefore, regardless of your thoughts on isolation makeup, it has showcased the talent and beauty of every culture while producing entertainment for others, spreading love and positivity in a time of need.

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