TikTok wellness trends that defined 2022

14 mins
21 Dec 2022
TikTok wellness trends that defined 2022

The last twelve months have given us an eclectic mix of gut hacks, chill-out wellness routines and, er, vabbing

image Team Woo

words Flossie Skelton and Rhys Thomas

In 2022, TikTok remained a gift that kept on giving. 2021 may have given us That Girl and her 12-step skin routine but 2022 was the year where the app began to - understandably enough - mirror the turbulent and kind of bizarre post-pandemic times we were living offline. We had crying makeup hacks for the girlies slouching around listening to sad pop and single-handedly bringing back emo. Then, there was the weird girl aesthetic, for devotees of Bella Hadid and anyone trying to track down back issues of Fruits on Ebay. And alongside all that, for whatever reason, the air fryers beloved by optimisation bros were seemingly relentlessly pushed by the algorithm.

So when it comes to TikTok wellness trends, boy, have we seen a lot; an ocean of tips and tricks to better yourself at the swipe of a thumb. So, from eating algae to putting your vaginal secretions to, um, interesting use, we’ve rounded up the (supposed) wellness wonder hacks that have been living rent-free on our FYPs.

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Are they brilliant? Or bizarre? Life-changing? Or loathsome? You decide. (Or in some cases, don’t. In some cases, please, let the experts decide)

Air Fryer

Guys and their gadgets. It is an inter-generational phenomenon, and for the lads on socials, air fryers are the rage. Especially when it comes to speeding up or adding a bit of restaurant-style flare to foods we eat on the daily, like an air fryer toastie.

The king of the grill air fryer is probably Jake Grigg (AKA Air Fryer Guy), with near two million followers and 12.6m likes all dedicated to watching him make videos of air-fried goods. Paprika chicken, ‘dessert nachos’, mango fries, he’s even got a cookbook.

The idea of an air fryer is that it’s a great way to reduce oil intake when cooking, which for many offers a healthier approach to cooking. But even more generally, air fryers offer an easy access point to making a tasty meal for those less confident with their cooking (often men, because patriarchy). It’s actually faster than most ovens, and way easy to clean. Convenience all round.

Should it stay?

If you have an air fryer, you might as well get the most out of it right? So getting a world of weird and wonderful inspiration from TikTok can’t be a bad thing...

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“Natty”

Natty derives from natural, which is referring to having a physique that was obtained naturally. Without the use of substances that could be considered performance-enhancing (such as anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, erythropoietin (EPO), and beta-blockers). It’s a subject which guys who gym have been obsessed with this year. The year of the Natty (or the #natty - a tag which has been viewed 2.1 billion times).

On TikTok, this often manifested as general inspo-posts on influential natty physiques. But there was a flipside, too. Namely, a whole lot of debate about whether someone is or isn’t natty, breakdowns on why a specific person (usually a celebrity) isn’t natty, whether it’s valid to be called a natty if you are but previously weren’t.

The trend can be found across all social media platforms, but for rapid roundups, takes, and in some cases genuinely fair and open-minded analysis, TikTok is full of it. Arguably it is one of the few male dominated trends on the site - think of it as the butched up version of the deep dives analysing female celebs’ supposed use of plastic surgery and tweakments.

Should it stay?

Discussing whether or not somebody or a photo of them is natty, should stay. Being able to critique the content we consume on social media is a great skill, and media literacy is as important as ever. Noticing something might actually be a little bit out of touch within a healthy lifestyle (because it is literally photoshopped or otherwise) is vital. Conversation around beauty standards, aims with physique and sound guidance and awareness on how people are achieving their mind-blowing gains will make for a more credible and safer world of body image for men.

While again, we’re not advocating people use performance enhancing drugs unless it has been recommended by a doctor, not being natty can stay too. It’s going to stay, realistically, but provided not being natty is done under medical supervision (for their health) and people are open and honest about what they’ve done and why (for everyone’s). Lying about being natty should not stay.

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The Hot Girl Walk

2022 was the year where, thanks to TikTok, if you did or said or felt anything, like, ever, at all, you were a [Insert That Thing Here] Girl. It was the law that everyone had to be a type of Girl, who did [Something] Girl things. And to be clear, you don’t have to be a girl to be a Girl.

The Hot Girl Walk actually originated on TikTok in 2020, when user @exactlyliketheothergirls shared her “best glow up advice”: every day, go on a walk of around four miles, and limit yourself to thinking about three things on the way. 1) Things you’re grateful for. 2) Things you want to achieve. And 3) Crucially, how hot you are.

As a viral trend and fully-fledged state of mind, though – representing the power of positive vibes, the importance of mental health alongside physical exercise, and the fact that wellness needn’t be complicated, costly, or gatekept – the Hot Girl Walk really blew up around the spring of 2022.

To date, #hotgirlwalk videos have been viewed over 553 million times.

Should it stay?

Long live the Hot Girl Walk.

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Gut stuff

I remember a time when my gut wasn’t something I thought about all that much, which was probably wrong and bad. That was before the Year of the Gut on TikTok, of course. AKA 2022.

With the #guthealth hash tag now hitting 3 billion views, it’s like the app has been a conveyor built of clips about the supposed gut-related benefits of everything from aloe vera juice to bone broth.

Whether or not such things really work is a question to ask the experts (FYI, we already did just that here). But it’s undisputed that our overall health is tied to our gut in many aspects, from our digestion to our mental health. So building hype and awareness around this fact alone is no bad thing.

Should it stay?

Encouragement to pursue and maintain a healthy gut should stay. But when it comes to how to do that, let’s make sure we’re getting our info from credible medical sources...

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Vabbing

In case you’ve been living under a rock, vabbing – or vaginal dabbing – is the practice of using vaginal fluid like perfume, dabbing it on pressure points like the insides of your wrists or behind your ears. Since it blew up on TikTok in the summer of 2022, vabbing videos have garnered a frankly incomprehensible 375 billion views and have boggled the minds of many.

Why do people do it? Potentially to attract a mate, but also just to feel sexy, confident and “empowered.” It’s based on the theory of pheromones, and the idea that mammals can attract others of the same species by emitting sexy signals through scent (FYI, there is insufficient research to conclude that this is a thing in humans). But much like the Hot Girl Walk, it’s less a science than a Vibe Thing. A way to transform your energy.

Should it stay?

If you’re into it, sure. I, personally, do not know.

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Clean Guy Aesthetic

Everyone loves a routine video. A ‘day in the life’ of someone we think is nice vibes, or hot, or cool. They’ve been a constant since sharing video online became a thing. This year these views into the lifestyles of people we’ve never met became more detailed than ever. Especially in masc. spaces. And men seem to be really getting into it, especially the ‘Clean Guy Aesthetic’.

It isn’t necessarily about being ‘clean’ as in, drug and alcohol free, or anti-SeshTok. Clean Guy Aesthetic is more to do with living pure and well, eating wholegrains, exercising, looking good and being aspirational.

Creators like @gabrielvalantino show details on everything from morning skincare routines to workouts and recipes. @mackenziewc has an even larger range (and following) of things he shares: ironing his bed (as a joke), $100 grocery hauls, it’s all here.

Should it stay?

As long as it’s all nice and attainable (and healthy to sustain as a creator), then why not? Let’s see how to be pure and clean and good. It’s just old aspirational glossy men’s magazines for the young. Of course, as with all trends and lifestyle trends, extremes can creep in - especially for content creators who feel pressure to outperform one another.

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Soft Life

Soft Life came before “quiet quitting.” And, unlike quiet quitting, it's not a buzzword: it's a lifestyle.

The “Soft Life” trend reportedly originated in the Nigerian influencer community, and hit the mainstream in 2022 as an ethos of limiting stress and centring joy. And it's struck a chord - videos under the hashtag #softlife have collectively been viewed over 466 million times.

Should it stay?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

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Sea Moss

So this one’s about moss. From the sea. Which you eat. Why? Many reasons, according to TikTok in 2022. To clear your skin, improve your gut health, boost your energy levels, and more.

“Sea moss” is a broad term which encompasses various types of water algae (yum!) and that contain beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, and more. As the year comes to a close, #seamoss vids have reached 500 million views, and all manner of brands are cashing in on the demand.

Should it stay?

Dieticians do verify that it has benefits. But consuming too much can be bad. For now I’m staying on the fence...

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The Whisper Manifestation Method

Manifesting obvs remains a top-ranking wellness buzzword, and there have always been a ton of ways to do it. But in 2022, we saw a lot of TikTokers doing it in a whispery way.

After @HotHighPriestess’s video about the “Whisper Method” went viral back in April, the hashtag has now amassed over 174 million views — meanwhile, hoards of shook TikTok viewers have been swearing by its efficacy in comment sections.

Whether you’re pining for a dream job or a simple bare-minimum text back, it’s pretty straightforward: visualise first what you want, and second the person who can give it to you. Wherever you envision them being, imagine yourself walking up to them, whispering what you want them to do in their ear three times, then kissing them on the forehead. The piece de resistance? Maintaining full conviction, once you leave that space, that what you’ve asked for is going to happen.

Should it stay?

I mean, wherever you stand on manifestation, it’s not like there’s much work to this one. No skin off anyone’s back to try. So sure, if you fancy!

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Low Dopamine Mornings

Let's not forget that 2021 was the year of That Girl. You know: the one who gets up at 5am to put on yoga leggings the price of your monthly rent, journal, go to the gym and drink superfood smoothies. Suffice to say, the lifestyle this promoted was, for many of us, a wildly unsustainable one.

Want a more accessible way into morning wellness? Enter 2022’s Low Dopamine Mornings: a trend now garnering millions of views on TikTok. There are really not a lot of rules to it, bar not going on your phone for at least the first hour of the day, and doing something else slow and chill instead (like sitting outside, reading a book or doing some laundry).

Why? Because if you start scrolling as soon as you wake up, that’s a big ol’ dopamine hit right away — which supposedly sets a precedent for the rest of the day. It’s said that you’ll then go on seeking that same level of dopamine, which your other tasks and activities aren’t going to give to you. So you’ll constantly feel dissatisfied.

Should it stay?

All the way, I reckon. It’s a trend that can be tailored to suit everyone (and thought to be particularly good for those with ADHD and seasonal affective disorder).

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SeshTok

The TikTok universe of all things sesh. Taking drugs, discussing drugs, being high: they’re the natural elements of this world. Earth, wind and fire, merely a band to appreciate while on psychedelics. Within this world, content dedicated to harm reduction has been especially popular. Often there’s amusing workarounds to bypass TikTok’s censorship detection, so instead of ACID you might have to look for AC!D.

Harm reduction on TikTok is the content dedicated to providing people with information about drugs that is often neglected by professional services due to its illegal nature. This can be personal anecdotes about how taking MDMA has left creators with more volatile states of mood, but also people spreading the word about news, and scientific breakdowns of why drugs make us feel a certain way. Having bad mood swings following MDMA use, for instance, can be due to the drug flooding serotonin receptors. Our brain flushes out the serotonin as the drug breaks down, which can leave us feeling low. On top of that, the substance impacts GABA (γ-Aminobutyric acid) receptors, which are responsible for fight or flight responses. It’s a potent combo, perhaps we’ll make a TikTok about that one day.

Should it stay?

Absolutely. We’re not saying you should get on the sesh, but the future would be better if taking substances came with as much information, awareness, and responsibility as possible. If SeshTok is able to facilitate this where world leaders and PSHE lessons are not, it should stay. Always practise safe sesh.

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The Shy Girl Workout

Did you really think this entire roundup would only include one [Something] Girl trend?

This one was for the girls, boys and they/thems who struggle with gymtimidation, be it due to complicated equipment, or perhaps the general feeling that you are a sofa worm who doesn’t belong near a rowing machine.

Vids about Shy Girl Workouts, hitting upwards of 13 million views on TikTok, have offered us advice on exercise plans that need little or no equipment, can be done in one part of the gym and avoid poses or movements that you might feel icky doing in front of others.

It’s another example, of how TikTok has helped make health and fitness feel more accessible this year.

Should it stay?

I don’t want to suggest that anyone should be having to shrink themselves in order to fit in anywhere, but if it makes your gymming experience easier, cool! Yes! Do it!

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Celibacy on TikTok

No nut November, but all year around? Yup, the idea of celibacy on TikTok, where the majority of users are less than 34 years old, is a whole thing. For personal, spiritual, and virality-based reasons, people of all genders engage with this topic.

And this is reflected in the IRL, too. Reports often circulate about Gen Z having less sex, and while there is a large element of people focussing on quality over quantity, some people are just not having sex (or taking extended breaks from doing so) all together. . TikTok has provided a home for discussion and memes around the idea of not shagging. Whether people are sharing reflections on their celibacy journey, or reasons to be celibate (which range from religious or focussing on self-love, through to slightly incel-facing thought patterns or even language that veers towards spiritual-adjacent slut-shaming), there’s a lot of views on not having sex.

Should it stay?

The more open discussion around how we decide to live as our best selves is great. After all, sex positivity isn’t just about normalising the desire to have sex (including in a whole bunch of kinky or multi-person configurations) - it’s about spreading the awareness that not everyone wants to have sex at all.

Expanding the conversation about celibacy is, in general, a good thing and celibacy TikTik can be a discovery tool for many people. However, it is also a place with a lot of misinformation, and general bad advice. So, cautiously, stay.

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