What does the 'mascara' trend mean on TikTok? Spoiler alert—it's definitely NOT makeup-related!

Confused about TikTok's 'mascara' meaning? Let's just say it's rather NSFW and doesn't belong in your makeup bag...

Black mascara with a brush in a pink bottle on a pink background/ in a blue and pink check template
(Image credit: Getty Images/ Julia Bogdan)

Baffled by TikTok's 'mascara' meaning and the sudden trend that's popped up? You're definitely not alone on that one, so allow us to catch you up to speed with the app's favorite new euphemism...

If you've stumbled across a number of videos baring the 'MascaraTrend' hashtag, hoping to find good recommendations on the best mascaras or hacks to stop mascara flaking only to come away feeling very confused about the user's cryptic thoughts on their favorite mascaras and wands—we feel you.

While TikTok is our go-to for all things beauty, from vibes like the clean girl and vanilla girl aesthetic to all the best makeup hacks—it's also a great place for users to dish on their dating lives and relationships. And right now—from the looks of our For You page—the beauty and relationship verse have crossed over, with a new trend emerging using the term 'mascara' as a cover for something altogether more steamy.

Yep, it seems 'mascara' (formerly a product used for longer and fuller lashes) has a new meaning in 2023 and once we tell you...you'll never look at your mascara wand in the same way ever again. Here's exactly what TikTok's 'mascara' trend means and why it even became a thing in the first place...

What does the 'mascara' trend mean on TikTok?

Well, to put it simply, 'mascara' is a metaphor for a guy and the wand part—well we'll let your fill in the blanks with that one.

Users are taking to TikTok to share their relationships, breakups and sexual experiences in code. For instance, one wrote: "My fav mascara couldn’t keep its wand in its tube,"—translation: her guy couldn't keep his appendage in his pants.

TikTokers have also used it as code for their favorite types of vibrators—like best app-controlled vibrators—with one saying: "seeing everyone talk about all their nasty mascaras they've got and suddenly being glad that my mascara only vibrates.

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Other's have also used the code to praise their partner and their relationship, like this one user who said:" I've had my mascara since I was 14. I’m now 24. Only mascara I’ve ever tried but I know there’s nothing like this one anywhere else. I even made a smaller version because I like it so much."

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So, the code word has many facets, it's seems!

Why are people using the 'Mascara' trend in the first place?

Basically, TikTok's mascara meaning is ideal if you want to discuss more NSFW topics, but maybe you have family members following you for instance—or you want to vaguely share without naming names...

Plus, this metaphor comes in handy regarding TikTok's community guidelines. All explicit language is prohibited on the app and can result in videos getting removed— meaning users often need to find a workaround to discuss more adult content and avoid being censored. These codes have been coined as 'algospeak,' and 'mascara' is just one of the many words that now make up the TikTok-approve vocab.

But why 'mascara' and 'mascara wand,' we hear you ask? Well, in relation to vibrators or the male anatomy, mascaras and mascara wands come in all different shapes and sizes; long, thin, girthy...curved...

It's also a pretty inconspicuous word considering TikTok's beauty influence—it's not exactly unusual to come across users discussing their fave mascaras and clearly, the code works, as many mascara-enthusiasts have been left stumped.

Case and point, one confused user wrote: "I'm having a hard time understanding this mascara trend. I get mine on Amazon."

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Can TikTok's 'mascara' meaning apply to other sexualities and genders?

While a lot of the videos seem to refer mostly to men, due to the association between the shape of a "Todger"—to quote Prince Harry—and a mascara tube/ wand,  the code can be adapted to anyone with some users using the trend to share their sexuality and discuss their preferences. 

For instance, some have shared how they discovered they didn't like 'mascaras' at all,  while others have shared that they actually far prefer "scissors" or "lip gloss". 

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What is the 'mascara' trend on TikTok?

If you want to jump on the 'mascara' trend yourself, it basically sees TikTokers share a video, usually of their face with a caption about their relatable 'Mascara' situation, set to the song 'Constellations' by Duster and barring the hashtag 'MascaraTrend.'

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So far, the videos themselves have wracked up millions of views and likes with more and more users jumping on the covert trend. Often the videos also include a PSA in brackets and a hashtag saying "this isn't about mascara." So if you're ever unsure if you're getting a mascara recommendation or a relationship confession, look out for that...

Mystery, solved!

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team and has recently earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ. She has a background in design, having studied Illustration at Plymouth University but has taken a leap into the world of journalism after always having a passion for writing. She currently writes pieces on beauty, trends, fashion, and entertainment for GoodTo and My Imperfect Life. She also tests and reviews beauty and skincare products and tries out the latest TikTok hacks for My Imperfect Life.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.