Can the ‘Meredith Duxbury Effect’ Win Over TikTok Audiences a Second Time?

“Trust the process,” prefaces Rachel Carlisle in a TikTok video, one of several recently uploaded by the Mississippi-based creator in which she demonstrates her signature base makeup routine, a combination of Bio-Oil plus a cheek and temple engulfing blush layer preluding foundation.

“I started doing this blush technique whenever I felt washed out,” said Carlisle, for whom the end result is a reddish pink hue peeking out from beneath her makeup — just the way she likes it. “Sometimes I’ll tone it down if I just want a little flush of color — other days, I want a more dramatic look.”

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Since she began sharing the technique on TikTok in January, Carlisle’s following on the platform has climbed from 10,000 to 41,000-plus, with her tutorials similarly garnering thousands — and in some cases millions — of views. Some onlookers have hailed the technique as offering the “perfect” sun-kissed look, while others have met the method with a skepticism similar to that which Meredith Duxbury, who first went viral in 2021 for her 10-pump foundation technique, faced.

Duxbury has since become one of TikTok’s biggest beauty creators, leveraging the momentum garnered via her divisive calling card to branch into lifestyle content — now shared to an audience of 18 million-plus — and ink deals with brands like Lâncome and Tatcha, as well as sign with Creative Artists Agency.

But can lightning strike twice for others dabbling in unconventional beauty signatures?

“We know that TikTok has made a science out of recommending dramatic fashion and beauty content,” said Michael Appler, chief operating officer and creative director at Cancel Communications, the firm which represents Trendalytics. Duxbury, he said, “built a lasting case study for how unusual makeup applications — which make for great thumbnails — can sustain and capture an audience.”

Potentially working to Carlisle’s advantage is that her blush technique capitalizes on the already-growing “underpainting” trend, which entails placing blush and contour beneath foundation and gained virality thanks to makeup artist Mary Phillips. According to Spate, “underpainting” receives an average 1 million TikTok views per week — up 46.8 percent year-over-year.

Other creators, like Kay Wright (@kaayywrightt) and Erin Wong (@egggwaffle) have similarly reaped recent virality thanks to maximalist makeup techniques, in some videos cutting open and dumping entire foundation tubes into their palms for a single application. “I’m not sure if you guys have noticed, but any time I do my makeup, I’m always going for a natural beat,” Wright joked in her most recent video. She counts more than 700,000 followers on TikTok, and her content — whether makeup or food-related — is all marked by the same excessive M.O., which Appler said borders on “meme-like; it takes [Duxbury’s] exaggerated style to ridiculous heights.”

However unsettling her content may be to some, Wright has found a niche among the ASMR community — though it remains to be seen whether this new crop of creators can garner the mainstream appeal Duxbury has attained. For Carlisle, who loves to travel, cook and has even published a cookbook, interpolating more diverse content and seeing where that can take her page is the plan.

“Beauty is my go-to, but I can see my page turning into more beauty lifestyle. I’d love to start working [recipes] in, or even filming my outfits for work or vacations; I’ve been loving posting so I’m definitely hoping to grow that,” she said.

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