If you spend any time on TikTok, the odds are good you’d have seen influencers on TikTok evangelising the concept of deinfluencing. It’s a bit ironic in the sense that influencers are usually influencing you to buy and consume more and more, but now they’re telling you to stop swiping your credit card for things like the Dyson Airwrap or AirPods Pro Max.
So what exactly is deinfluencing, and does it really matter?
Sometime in January this year, beauty TikTokkers started posting videos decrying popular products that range from the aforementioned Airwrap and Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Highlighter Wand, all under the guise of deinfluencing their audience. Soon after, this trend spread to almost all other corners of the social media app. Even witchcraft content creators were deinfluencing.
Image credit: TikTok
“So I’m really enjoying this whole deinfluencing thing, partially because I personally have a really bad spending problem,” Michelle of @michelleskidelsky told her followers at the beginning of February. In the 3-minute-long video, she talked her followers out of buying expensive body wash, “fancy coordinated loungewear”, and new makeup for the sake of new makeup.
@michelleskidelsky i could talk about things we don’t need all day (yes i am talking to myself) #deinfluencing #overconsumption ♬ original sound - michelle
Commenters were addicted. “Pls make more parts to this,” said one, while others agreed wholeheartedly with her pointers about not buying that new eye shadow palette that was on sale. The craze was understandable: people love being told that buying the shiny new product isn’t going to change their lives overnight, especially with inflation and a looming recession.
But hold up, this whole thing sounds familiar. Isn’t deinfluencing just influencing in reverse?
In their article breaking down the rise of deinfluencing, Dazed Digital claimed that influencers are using the trend to steer their followers away from popular products that they don’t like to products that they like or are promoting on the sly. “Most ‘deinfluencers’ on the app are really influencers in sheep’s clothing,” the author wrote.
To break it down even further, deinfluencing videos are literally just negative reviews. But no one wants to watch a naysayer talk about how cheap or inferior a mascara is. So they slapped on a fancy buzzword to reframe a negative review and turn it into something that's more subtle. Fast forward 2 months and the #deinfluencing hashtag has over 490 million views and rising.
At the end of the day, deinfluencing is just another social trend that will come and go. While it might have more longevity than other fads, we wouldn’t put too much stock into most of the deinfluencing videos that are out there on your For You Page.
Your best shot at becoming a more responsible spender is to stop buying things just because you saw it go viral on TikTok. “Social media can make us feel pretty bad about our lives, especially when it comes to material wealth,” Michelle said in another video after she went viral for her deinfluencing TikToks.
“There’s no point in buying yourself into debt so that you can buy yourself into a better life, because that’s not possible,” she added. Now, that’s advice you don’t need an influencer to tell you.