The advent of 2024 was rife with everyone's "ins" and "outs" lists. The internet saw discussion of everything from silver jewelry (in) to quiet luxury (out). But one trend that stands out from all the others is this: the anti-trend trend.
@michelleskdl / Via tiktok.com
Being anti-trend, or "de-influencing," is what some TikTok users are doing to combat the rise they've perceived in overconsumption over the past few years.
"When overconsumption is like, your coping mechanism, like it is mine, not only is that so bad for, like, your mental health, and the planet, and whatever — it's gonna make you so broke," says TikTok user @michelleskdl in a video posted last year. The video got over 800,000 views and is part of a larger "deinfluencing" series on her page.
"De-influencing" became a popular trend on TikTok in 2023, and it's exactly what it sounds like: creators saying, "Hey, we don't actually need to buy any of the stuff that's popular online." And I'm here for it. Anti-consumerism is indeed in, it would seem.
Recently, I spoke with TikTok user Megi, @mothermegi, about a viral video she posted describing how she plans on a "makeup buying ban" for herself in 2024. "Last month, I made a promise to myself that I'm gonna stop buying any more makeup indefinitely," she begins in her video.
Megi cites TikTok (and the short-lived nature of its ever-evolving trends) as one of the main reasons behind our current levels of overconsumption. Although the primary focus of her page is makeup and skincare, as 2023 came to a close, she noticed a change in how she felt about her makeup purchases.
"Overconsumption has been, uh, insane, for this past year," she says in her video. "It's been especially driven by TikTok." She also critiques the online beauty community for its focus on short-term makeup trends.
"I love makeup, so obviously, I've been sucked in to it," she says, referencing how the beauty industry pushes people to buy so many products. "Let me show you a couple of the things that I bought this past year."
She proceeds to hold the products she's bought over the past year up for the camera, stating the reason she bought each one. "Let's see if there's a common denominator between all of them, okay?"
"Rare Beauty blush," she says, "viral on TikTok. Dior blush: viral on TikTok."
"Charlotte Tilbury glow wand... Viral on TikTok. Merit beauty lipstick and lip oil — lip gloss. Viral on TikTok."
Setting powder, foundation...
...And Dior lip gloss were all amongst the products that Megi has bought in the past year — all because they were viral on TikTok.
It's unusual to see a creator be so upfront about why they've purchased trendy items, and refreshing; and Megi's followers seem to agree.
Reactions to the video have mostly been positive. "The majority of comments are like, 'OMG, I'm doing this too,'" she tells me. "Some people say this is only a personal problem, but it's not."
Online trends have impressive sway over what products we consider to be "cool," to the point that it seems we can buy coolness. "It's important for people to self-reflect," Megi tells me. "Are the things you own actually bringing you joy?"
She decided to cut back on trend-following late last year. "It started with looking at what brands [are] supporting," Megi tells me, "and realizing that what we spend our money on has a lot of power."
She says it's important to realize that influencers have power, and therefore responsibility, when it comes to recommending what people buy. And influencers do have a lot of power: According to one survey, up to 28% of TikTok users say they have "bought products because celebrities/influencers advertised them."
Promisingly, Megi's video is part of a broader discussion regarding overconsumption online, hopefully one that marks a change in people's purchasing habits.
As the de-influencing trend grows, hopefully people are "influenced" to make their purchases more thoughtfully. Making the individual choice to buy less stuff is where that starts!
If you'd like to keep up with Megi, feel free to follow her on TikTok @mothermegi. And if you personally have any thoughts, tricks, or tips when it comes to what we buy, feel free to comment below!