James CharlesMTV Video Music Awards, Arrivals, Prudential Center, New Jersey, USA - 26 Aug 2019

Transformation challenges are taking over social media.

While at home during the coronavirus quarantine, users are dusting off their makeup brushes and getting creative with their content. Transformation challenges are proving popular on TikTok, as beauty enthusiasts take pleasure in the before and after of their metamorphoses.

The #PasstheBrushChallenge compiles snippets of TikTok-ers making up their fresh faces. James Charles spearheaded a beauty guru edition that features Nikkie de Jager, Patrick Starrr, Nikita Dragun, Bretman Rock, Manny MUA and Gabriel Zamora, among others. The influencers start and end their respective segments of Charles’ compilation video by pretending to pass their makeup brushes on to the next guru.


##passthebrushchallenge beauty guru edition 🎨 tag your favorite!! 💞

♬ original sound - jamescharles

Charles’ version is one of the top videos from the TikTok challenge. It has been viewed more than 35 million times, generating 8.2 million likes and more than 110,000 comments.

Other versions of the #PasstheBrushChallenge show users transforming into fantastical creatures from movies and characters from popular culture. Overall, the challenge has racked up more than 1.2 billion views on TikTok and 200,000 posts on Instagram.

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A similar challenge, the #DontRushChallenge features influencers and celebrities making themselves over to the tune of “Don’t Rush” by Young T and Bugsey, featuring Headie One. Influencer @lase_asoloo is credited with creating the challenge, which has prompted participation from celebrities such as Marsai Martin, Storm Reid, Skai Jackson, Tamar Braxton and Kollin Carter, Cardi B’s stylist.

The #DontRushChallenge now has more than 550 million views on TikTok, and nearly 450,000 posts on Instagram.

Social media seems to remain enthusiastic about makeup despite reports of the category’s decline, which has only been accelerated by COVID-19. Some beauty and wellness brands who ramped up digital efforts during the pandemic have already seen the payoff. TikTok, in particular, has seen a surge in usage since the coronavirus started. Its algorithm allows for influencers of all sizes to go viral. For brands working with them, that could mean a simultaneous lift in sales.

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