Reuse, Recycle, and Most Importantly: REDUCE. A Spotlight on TikTok’s De-influencing Trend


Photo by: Brooke Simpson

A new trend has been taking over TikTok over the last few months, de-influencing. After years of influencers participating in paid partnerships and brand deals, selling expensive products to their followers that they get paid to promote, people are beginning to question the quality and necessity of these products. 

With 313.6 million views and counting on TikTok, the de-influencing trend has been on many people’s “For You Page.” The trend focuses on combating influencer culture, a $16 billion dollar industry that uses social media to market and promote certain products to a large audience. Influencing is so successful because it is able to target niche audiences and advertise specific products based on their personally curated Instagram or TikTok feed. 

These recommended products, however, are not always the best quality, or they are outrageously overpriced. After years of having face serum ads and hair supplement promotions sprinkled throughout their sources of entertainment, Gen Z has had enough. Thus, de-influencing was born.

De-influencing is the process of literally telling people not to buy something. These TikTokers are talking about overpriced and overhyped products. Many people are spending hundreds of dollars on beauty products, many of which were recommended by influencers on TikTok. The global beauty industry market has a value of $511 billion dollars, and its increase has been a direct result of social media and influencing. De-influencers are trying to tell their viewers that they don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on products to take care of themselves, to look and feel beautiful. Beauty on a budget could actually be just as effective as the products that are breaking people’s banks. 

Not only are the younger generations annoyed by corporate greed, but they are also filled with anxiety for the future of the Earth. With a growing concern of climate change, many people are starting to become aware of its sources, and overconsumption is a big one.

We’re overconsuming at a rate that is about five times of what the Earth can sustain,” said staff member Randy Shangraw, who teaches AP Environmental Science at PFHS. “Whether it’s plastics, textiles, food, fish in the ocean, or minerals in the ground, we’re using them at a pace that is not sustainable. Over the next 30 to 40 years, we’re just gonna run out.”

Overconsumption has led to systems like fast fashion, which is an Earth-killing cycle. In fast fashion, clothing is made at extremely fast rates for a cheap price to keep up with the ever-changing trends that social media creates, but the quality of clothing is so bad the items are more likely to end up in a landfill in a few years or less. Producing fast fashion also has very high carbon emissions, which is a leading cause of climate change. The ethics of fast fashion are also hard to ignore; workers are being paid below minimum wage to work long hours in poor conditions to produce these garments that are made from unsustainable materials. There is very little legislation regulating the environmental impact and ethical standards of consumer culture; so until that happens, everybody has to do their part in reducing their carbon footprint, and part of that includes reducing consumption. 

Reducing your personal consumption does not need to be hard. Just look up #Deinfluencing on TikTok to get recommendations for less expensive, sustainably made alternatives to the trending items you’re interested in. Invest in quality products to lower your consumption rate. Visit a thrift store to find some unique treasures. Utilize websites like ThredUp, Poshmark, and Depop to search through thousands of secondhand clothing items. Everything makes a difference. But most importantly, work on lowering your consumption rate. Reduction of production is the best way to combat the climate crisis. “You don’t need to buy a new electronic device every time it comes down. You don’t need to buy new clothes all the time,” said Shangraw. We all have way too much of everything.”