This is why so many TikTok videos begin with the creator applying lip gloss

Once you start scrolling on TikTok, it feels like you can't stop and watch the video in its entirety. You might stop and listen to a vignette about a new fashion trend, a half-comedian joke, or some story about someone's toxic ex, and then you'll get bored and leave. But if someone starts wearing lip gloss while publishing their article, that's a different story.

Many creators start their videos with lip balm to grab your attention, and it's become such a trend that it officially has a name: Meet the "Lip Gloss Strategy." New influencers do it to boost their views, but mega social media stars like Alex Earle and Eloise Dufka are also fans.

It doesn't matter whether the creators are using Rod's latest drop, Summer Friday's shiniest gloss, or a half-melted blob of Burt's Bees. If they smear something on their body, there's a good chance you'll stop and watch their entire three-minute video.

Most of the time, the content isn't even about the lip gloss itself, but the visuals are still enough to keep you hooked. That's why it works.

What is your lip gloss strategy?


In a video posted in October that has now been viewed more than 40,000 times, creator @juliabroome admitted that she's been using a "lip gloss strategy" that she says works like a charm.

The trick, she explains, is to hold or apply the lip product at the beginning of the video. As an example, she mentioned creator @anastazia, who used lip products while making an unrelated video about her trip to Erewhon.

"[The lip gloss strategy] is basically your hook, but you don't have to have a hook," says Bloom. “Consciously or subconsciously, viewers are more likely to stop and watch your video when you’re doing something else.”

This is the most subtle trick ever, but once you see it, you'll see that a lot of creators do it. Under Bloom's video, one person commented: "Definitely noticed the hook," while another wrote: "It's everywhere!"

Here's Why the 'Lip Gloss Strategy' Works


In a world where everyone is easily distracted and always looking for the next dose of dopamine, it becomes even more necessary for TikTokers to instantly capture their audience’s attention. In business, this is called a "hook."

Next time you scroll, compare a TikTok where creators put on lip gloss versus a TikTok where they just sit in front of the camera and yell, and ask yourself which one you're more likely to watch.

According to licensed psychologist Michele Leno, Ph.D., LP, videos that are visually appealing are more likely to draw you in, especially on apps where there's always something new and exciting to watch.

Bloom noted that this psychological trick is the same reason why GRWM videos (the topic has been viewed more than 347 million times on TikTok) also attracted a large number of users. If you think about it, most creators don't talk about their makeup or outfits, but they still put on concealer, eyeliner, or put on a jacket while they're talking so you have something to look at. Meanwhile, the real themes of the videos are dating horror stories, money-saving tips, or how they deal with anxiety.

According to Leno, a hook can be something big—like someone crying in the video—but it can also be subtle, lighthearted, and fun. Putting on lip gloss is a perfect example of light-hearted fun, probably because it's something anyone would do when talking to a real friend on FaceTime.

"We want to feel comfortable and safe when reading videos," Leno says, which is why Realistic Habits is such a delight. Watching someone glide over gloss is relaxing, and as a bonus, it's likely to be relaxing for the creator, too. "It reduces anxiety, creates a welcoming environment, and suggests [we're all] here to have casual conversations," she adds.

Of course, using pretty lip products also increases the chances of viewers jumping into the comments to ask, which is even better for increasing engagement.


According to Leno, though, hooks don't last forever, especially if they become too noticeable or popular.

After all, the whole point of hooks is to make your video more interesting and help it stand out in the sea of ​​FYP.

Now that the lip gloss strategy has been trending for a few months, it's likely that another viral campaign is about to emerge.


Michele Leno, Ph.D., Ph.D., practicing psychologist