These are the wildest TikTok trends 2021 has gifted us

Hold on to your hats: the TikTok trends 2021 gave us were nothing short of wild

In this photo illustration the logo of Chinese media app for creating and sharing short videos TikTok, also known as Douyin is displayed on the screen of a smartphone on September 18, 2020 in Paris, France
(Image credit: Chesnot / Getty)

What are some of your favorite TikTok trends? 2021 has blessed our feeds with plenty of beauty hacks, pesto eggs and, of course, ridiculous challenges that never should have started. It's all part of the platform's charm. 

While some viral videos provide timesavers in the kitchen department or give you the scoop on fun fashion how-tos, others are so wild you'll wonder how they even began in the first place. (Not to point fingers, but the Sundress Challenge...)

Let's revisit some of the most chaotic TikTok moments we've experienced this year. Hold onto your hats, and no, don't grab any milk crates.



The button for ByteDance Ltd.'s TikTok app is arranged for a photograph on a smartphone in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020

(Image credit: Bloomberg / Getty)

1. The TikTok Stealing Challenge

As the name suggests, the TikTok Stealing Challenge requires platform users to snag tools from their high school classrooms, restrooms and hallways without permission. In the process, items like fire extinguishers, soap dispensers and lab microscopes have gone missing, and some schools are firing back with disciplinary action. 

2. The Milk Crate Challenge

Some people believe the Milk Crate Challenge is a chance to earn viral fame. TikTok higher-ups see it as a way for app users to get seriously injured. The trend consists of stacking plastic milk crates on top of each other to create a rickety staircase of sorts. Spoiler alert: most attempts to climb said stairs do not end well. TikTok officials even had to go so far as to ban these videos from the platform. 

3. Fake Window Challenge

In times of quarantine and self-isolation, TikTokers decided to project fake scenes on their wall—be it rainforests, cityscapes and more—to make it seem as though they're in a location they're actually not. Hey, those travel restrictions got us a little stir crazy, OK? 

@honeybobabear

@nam__p Ty I won’t be opening my real window ever again #fakewindow #projector #fakewindowchallenge #tiktokmademebuyit

♬ original sound - HoneyBobaBear

4. The Sundress Challenge

Fashionistas who want to seize an opportunity for internet fame from the Sundress Challenge need not worry, the challenge doesn't involve clothing at all. The Sundress Challenge is essentially just about having sex in as many public places as possible. No, this was not an inside look at summer styles. In fact, this NSFW trend actually got banned.

5. Berries and Cream

Justin McElroy, @hoopsmcelroy—who you might recognize from My Brother and Me, Sawbones and The Adventure Zone—did the unthinkable and the unnecessary. He uncovered a very catchy-yet-irritating 2007 Starburst video about berries and cream. 

"Please make great art with this sound," he wrote. "It's what we all need." 

This is the great art people have made while donning their renaissance garb, like the actor in the commercial. 

@katherynelissa

catch ya girl in fantasyland :,))))

♬ original sound - Justin McElroy

6. The Harry Styles Challenge

If you wanted to know what you'd look like on Harry's arm, this trend is the way to find out. Move over, Olivia Wilde. Take notes on the beneficial, educational clip below.

@jeannette_wilson

Reply to @ferraozinha Stay in school kids. #OriginalMusic #harrystyles #harrystylesvids #onedirection #1D #louistomlinson #niallhoran #liampayne #hs #fy

♬ James Bond Theme - Tommy Tallarico

Essentially, this is social media's way of allowing quick hookups to come to fruition. "Sneaky links" let TikTok users arrange an in-person meet-up for a casual fling, and some platform users go so far as to have a dedicated sneaky links schedule—commitment for the commitment-phobes.

8. Towel Challenge

To keep boredom at bay this summer, many app users decided to attempt the TikTok Towel Challenge, which required them to unlink their intertwined towels through crazy moves. As you grip your towel from each side, interlock it with your buddy's towel, which will be held in a similar fashion. Then, it's game on! However, some argue whether or not this can actually be done. Take a look—or try it out—and see for yourself. 

@vorostwins

It is possible!!! #fyp #twins #twotowelchallenge

♬ Iko Iko (My Bestie) (feat. Small Jam) - Justin Wellington

9. The Time Travel Challenge

Several TikTok users claim to hail from the future and enjoy giving us insight into what's to come. Spoiler: it's pretty concerning. 

TikTok user @unicosobreviviente (the "lone survivor") got the ball rolling with the time travel theme by posting images of an untouched world in 2027. It's definitely creepy, though we've caught a few slip-ups in his videos, so there's no need to panic just yet!

@unicosobreviviente

Responder a @diegogr01_

♬ sonido original - Javier

10. The Ghostface Cult

At the height of spooky season, we noticed platform users' love for Wes Craven's fictional serial killer. Everyone was participating in the Ghostface cult, where they placed the spooky image of the masked murderer on their profile.

Naturally, this raised a few red flags. Were people thinking about following Billy and Stu's lead? Nope, it was all in good fun and a way to honor one of the best Halloween movies of all time.

@sukoma5

#ghostface #scream #ghostfacecult #KFCSecretMenuHacks

♬ original sound - Justice for synth

11. Lube makeup primer

Though this isn't necessarily a challenge per se, many beauty buffs decided to use lube as base makeup to enhance their shimmer. The consensus? NOT A GOOD IDEA!

"I absolutely do not recommend using lube as a makeup primer," says Alexandria Gilleo, makeup artist and founder of My Zen Den. "Your face and your privates have different pH levels and the ingredients are not formulated to use as a primer."

This is NOT a way to achieve the dolphin skin trend. We repeat: NOT a way to achieve the dolphin skin trend.

12. Rubbing your tongue

Have you been persuaded to start rubbing under your tongue? Naturally, there's an NSFW meaning behind the trend. All you have to do is lift your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Then, with a (clean) finger, you rub the veins and slimy corridors. The texture, as TikTokers insist, is similar to a fella's most sensitive part. 

13. Using blowdryers on eyelashes

In hopes to outsmart Maybelline, beauty buffs are testing out the TikTok eyelash curler hack. Using a Dyson number on your eyes will not give you a more voluminous look, but it will irritate and potentially burn a very sensitive part of your face.

female standing against wall with bleached eyebrows - stock photo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Maskot)

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 


The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara. 


Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 


When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)