TikTokers Are Whipping Foundation with Electric Frothers, But Should You Try It?

Here's what a dermatologist has to say about the latest beauty hack.

Woman Applying Foundation to Face

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If TikTokers have anything to do with it, your electric milk frother might have more uses than just homemade lattes. In case you missed it, users have been repurposing their handheld electric frothers (typically used for whipping milk or mixing matcha) to combine liquid foundation with water. It's called makeup frothing.

The result is a foundation that has a creamy, whipped texture that users who've posted viral videos celebrate for providing lightweight and natural-looking coverage. Think: a fresh dewy glow as opposed to a matte look, which is also less likely to transfer onto other surfaces (read: saving a lot of white shirts).

Frothing makeup seems to be the latest in a string of beauty trends spreading on TikTok involving new ways to prep products for the skin. For instance, app users also recently posted about foaming skin-care products, noting its ability to make a little product go a long way. Others have been mixing liquid foundation with water for a similar reason, with an added benefit of lighter coverage that stays put.

Combining both trends, user @avonnasunshine shared a video popularizing her method of makeup frothing. She turns drugstore makeup into a weightless formula that feels "like mousse," she says in her clip that currently has more than 976,000 views. She mixes together water and liquid foundation with a frother before spreading the whipped final product onto one side of her face with a makeup brush. "It feels like you're applying water to your skin," she says in the video. She also applies regular liquid foundation to the other side of her face for comparison, noting that she can feel it on her skin more than the frothed foundation.

While this seems like a fun, new way to apply liquid foundation (not unlike Hailey Bieber's serum foundation hack) if you have a handheld electric frother, you might be wondering if the hack actually provides lightweight coverage and whether or not it's safe to try. Ahead, a makeup artist and a dermatologist weigh in on the trend. Spoiler alert: There are some potential health hazards associated with the method that you should know before whipping anything together.

What is makeup frothing?

Makeup frothing is a trend circulating on TikTok that involves mixing liquid foundation and water together with a handheld electric frother. The method results in a thicker yet lightweight formula. Though users don't specify exact ratios, they seem to add a few drops of liquid foundation to about two tablespoons of water in a tall glass. Next, they insert the head of a frother to the mixture and turn it on to whip together the two ingredients. The whole process doesn't seem to take longer than one minute.

TikTok users are sharing that the mousse-like result spreads on more easily, feels lighter on the skin, and allows for a more natural look. Frothing liquid foundation results in "the makeup/pigment being diluted, so you're using less of it," explains Ryan Karmouta, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist. "Since you have less makeup density, it will be lighter and easier to remove."

Does makeup frothing for lightweight coverage work?

Celebrity makeup artist Justin Cornelius tried the frothing method firsthand to see if it works. While combining liquid foundation and water with an electric frother does create a new texture, there's no major advantage to the hack other than "just trying new, cool ideas," he tells Shape. During his trial run, the only benefit he recognized was that the water helped separate some oils within the foundation, he explains. Additionally, "the look on the skin was much softer due to the dilution from mixing the foundation into the water."

Is frothing liquid foundation safe?

Diluting liquid foundation with water and whipping it with a frother can actually affect the quality of the product. "Products are formulated in order to be stable, so adding in water and frothing can destabilize the product, which may not make it work as it is intended," explains Dr. Karmouta. This is especially the case when it comes to products that contain active ingredients. Skin-care products are more likely to contain active ingredients, such as retinoids and acids, but liquid foundations can include them as well.

There are also health concerns related to the trend. "From a health perspective, using non-sterile or dirty instruments along with water may increase the risk of bacterial contamination," says Dr. Karmouta. For instance, if you normally keep your electric frother in the kitchen and fail to sanitize it before trying this makeup hack, it could cause skin problems.

"Contaminated makeup can introduce pathogens, [such as] bacteria, that aren't normally inhabitants of the skin," he says, adding that this could potentially cause a skin infection. The best way to safely give the trend a try is to use distilled water and sterilized instruments, advises Dr. Karmouta. This way, you're less likely to contaminate your makeup with bacteria.

Additionally, you'll want to use the mixture immediately after frothing it up. As with anything that's left sitting around in a moist environment, there's a risk of bacteria, fungi, and mold growth, explains Dr. Karmouta.

You can whip liquid foundation in water for lightweight coverage: True or false?

Woman Applying Liquid Foundation On Face

Adding liquid foundation to water and mixing it with a frother will dilute the formula and create whipped texture, resulting in lightweight coverage. However, due to the potential risk of bacteria contamination and mold associated with makeup frothing, consider skipping this trend and opting for a lightweight liquid foundation formula instead.

If you simply can't resist giving it a try, be sure to use a clean frother and distilled water to whip your liquid foundation, then use the mixture right away. As always, chat with your dermatologist if you have any specific skin concerns.

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