Face Tape Is Taking Over TikTok — Here's What You Need to Know About the Facelift Hack
Watch any makeup tutorial on TikTok, and chances are you'll see the artist apply a thin, clear strip of tape to the side of the face to visibly lift and define the neck, jawline, cheekbones, or eyes.
These so-called "face tapes" are taking over thanks to the instant, albeit temporary, sculpting effect they provide. While the results are undeniable and make for good visual content, makeup artists and skin experts aren't entirely sold on this viral facelift hack.
First off, Dani Kimiko Vincent, celebrity makeup artist and founder of KIMIKO, says that the face tapes are nothing new. "[They've] been around for many decades," she says. "They work by lifting and tightening the skin with an adhesive that sticks to each side of the face. It's a similar concept to having a high, tight ponytail that pulls your face back and up."
There are two common types of face tape. The first type is face tape connected by an elasticized band. It runs around the head and is disguised by styling one's hair over it. The other type is individual adhesives that are not connected by a band. According to Vincent, these are often used to create a fold in the eye for monolid or hooded eyes, or used to subtly lift the eye area in general.
The eyes are perhaps the most common area for face tape to be placed, as it can give them a lifted and elongated look — which is problematic for many reasons as it often becomes appropriation. It can also be placed near the neck, jaw, or cheekbones to offer a visible sculpting effect in those areas, too.
While the lifting benefits seem great, we, of course, need to consider the skin risks that come with taping your face, too. "Taping your face with different adhesives can be damaging to the skin. For one, these facial tapes are designed to pull and lift skin — it takes a lot of forceful glue to stick, hold, and pull," says celebrity aesthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar. "With prolonged use, skin can become darker, drier, flaky, and commonly itchy where the face tape was placed. Consistently using face tapes can also cause allergies as many of these tapes have irritating adhesives."
Loretta Ciraldo, MD, a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta skincare, has a slightly different perspective on face tape. "There really isn't anything damaging to the skin unless you're allergic to the adhesive in the tape, and if you have a lot of hair you need to be sure not to tangle your hair in it," she says.
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If you're set on trying face tape, Vincent recommends applying it on clean, bare skin. "For the best grip, use a toner or witch hazel to remove any oils that could interfere with the adhesive," she says. "Then, apply your complexion makeup as usual, going over the face tape. Match the elastic band as closely as possible to your hair color. Hairstyling is the best method for concealing the section where the tape meets your hairline and attaches to the elasticized band."
Celebrity makeup artist Tarryn Feldman says alignment is key, which is why it's important to make sure you're applying the tape to the exact same area on each side of the face. "You want to duplicate each area where you want to lift," she says. "Make sure it's taped at the same place on each side. That's where the magic happens."
Once it's applied, Vincent, Feldman, and Dr. Ciraldo say it can be worn for hours (up to 10 or 12 depending on the brand) before it starts losing its grip. That's as long as no irritation is occurring. Aguilar, on the other hand, recommends wearing it for a shorter amount of time so as not to pull on the skin or risk irritation. "If someone is going to use face tape, I recommend not leaving the tape on for more than three hours, or removing it as soon as it begins to tingle, itch, or become uncomfortable," she says.