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2020’s viral beauty challenges and how they started

By Nwabisa Tolom

Instagram and Twitter challenges have our inner beauty gurus jumping for the make up bag and digging into the fancy side of our wardrobes. Below we take a walk back into the recent past as we list some of this year’s top viral beauty challenges (can you believe it’s only May?) We've also included a little history on where these world-uniting gems came from.

We hope you feel inspired enough to start your own and tag #mplhairchallenge @mplhair


Originator: Twitter @lase_asoloo

One of the most popular challenges... ever? This ‘born out of quarantine boredom’ challenge is especially fun because you can do it with your friends without any of you leaving your homes. “We understand that in a period like this with nothing to do, a lot of people may slip into depression due to high levels of inactivity and idleness,” co-creator Toluwalase Asolo tells Teen Vogue. “So we decided to highlight the togetherness in isolation.” A challenge that’s gone on to celebrate different cultures, represent diverse gender expressions and have young girls loving themselves definitely deserves the first mention on this list.

If you told someone last year that in 2020 influencers, celebrities, and even babies would be posing on Instagram wearing nothing but a pillow and a belt, they would’ve said you’ve lost your mind. If anything, this year has shown us that strange things are possible and sometimes beautiful. This trend was started by a couple of European influencers as #quarantinepillowchallenge, but as it’s popped up across the globe it’s become popularised as #pillowchallenge. It’s a cute, fun, no-fuss challenge that anyone can be a part of.

Originator: IG @QueenHollywood__

This is climbing the popularity scale and has people lipsyncing the lyrics to Lil’ Kim’s 1997 hit single ‘Crush on You’. The original music video was the first video to feature the different coloured wigs and monochromatic outfits that the artist has become known for. In the challenge version, participants emulate this iconicity and they do not disappoint. As a fan of Lil’ Kim, I’m more than happy that this song is being enjoyed and reimagined by a new generation.

As museums and galleries are closed, many have turned to online archives not just as a way to enjoy art from home, but also as inspiration. This challenge is made for those who love beauty and appreciate art. Although the challenge to recreate artworks using household items were made popular by the Getty Museum, it was started by a Dutch Instagram page with a name that translates to “between art and quarantine”. It's easy and refreshing to get lost in this hashtag, as the page has been sharing interesting recreations for several weeks now.

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