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Why TikTokers are Buying $20 Chanel Cotton Pads.

What’s the point of spending four times more on cotton pads to wash your face with than you usually do? It’s for one reason: because they’re CHANEL.

Remember when unboxing videos first took the world by storm? In the beginning we saw adults unboxing kids’ toys and YouTubers unboxing different tech items. It then evolved to YouTubers posting unboxing videos of their holiday present hauls and shopping hauls. And then we saw celebrities unboxing PR boxes on their Instagram Stories—yes, we’re still hoping our Poosh holiday delivery was lost in the mail.

The next evolution of unboxing has shown up on TikTok

But now, we’re seeing something totally new. The next evolution of unboxing has shown up on TikTok, the hottest new social media site that we hate to love and love to hate. TikTok influencers are taking the world by storm, videos are amassing millions of likes, and we just. keep. scrolling. Sure, we can blame the algorithm for being “too good” or rationalize the hours of scrolling (“How is it 4 a.m.? I swear it was just 11 p.m.”), but the fact of the matter is that we are addicted to TikTok, the app we swore we didn’t understand and thought was for kids until the pandemic hit.

CHANEL Cotton Pads
Why TikTokers Are Buying $20 Chanel Cotton Pads

With TikTok’s popularity and the fact that it’s a video platform, it seems natural that the new unboxing trend would emerge there. So what exactly is this new trend? TikTok users have been going viral for unboxing the cheapest items from luxury brands like CHANEL, HERMÈS, DIOR, and more. The TikTok shopping hack went viral after several users started buying CHANEL Le Coton, the $20 extra soft cotton from the brand.

Some users have dedicated their entire accounts to these unboxing videos.

While some users have dedicated their entire accounts to these unboxing videos, some have just made a few videos amongst many others. TikTok user @theerinmarie was one of the first people to go viral for this trend after buying the CHANEL cotton pads in August 2020. She revealed the purchase in a three-part video, with the first video gaining more than seven million views and more than a million likes. As for why she’d buy CHANEL cotton pads? She wanted to see if they’d send it in a CHANEL box, according to the TikTok. In the three-part series, she shows the product as well as free samples of mascara and Chance perfume that came in a “cute bag.” She explained in the videos that she’ll use the cotton pads to wash her face at night. So what’s the allure of getting 100 CHANEL cotton pads for $20 over drugstore cotton pads that cost as little as $6.99 for 400? “They’re not just regular cotton pads, they’re CHANEL cotton pads, and they’re extra,” according to the TikTok video. She feels like she’ll be washing her face in luxury, but the purchase is more for the packaging and the aesthetic of having a CHANEL box than anything else. Since her August videos, she has moved on from that trend and has posted “get ready with me,” designer

Another user, @thebrokecollegestudentk, also went viral for unboxing the cheapest thing from GUCCI: the Mascara L’Obscur, a $35 mascara. That video has almost 50,000 likes and more than 175,000 views. She’s since created other videos as well, but they also haven’t done as well as the GUCCI unboxing video. This trend is unstoppable.

TikTok user @uptop.n.downbelow also went viral for unboxing HERMÈS and DIOR notebooks, some of the cheapest items available from the luxury brands. Like many others, her videos are mostly focused on the packaging itself rather than the product they send. She first bought an HERMÈS notebook and was unimpressed with the packaging and the small notebook. That video gained more than 523,000 likes and almost five million views, while her follow-up video, a DIOR notebook, is not quite as popular with almost 49,000 likes and a little more than 330,000 views. So why the discrepancy in numbers? For one, the big difference between the HERMÈS and DIOR videos is that the HERMÈS one was negative but the DIOR one was positive—the user loved the DIOR wrapping and notebook and thought the whole thing was really well done overall.

One user doing something a bit different is @marc.unbox, who has dedicated his entire TikTok account to these videos rather than just posting a video or two. To no one’s surprise, he has gone viral for “buying & unboxing the cheapest items from luxury brands,” according to his TikTok bio. He has almost 140,000 followers and more than three million likes on all his videos across TikTok, and examples of his videos include some of the cheapest items from CHANEL (the cotton pads), CELINE (a tennis wristband), HERMÈS (glycerin soap), FENDI (a tie), LOEWE (socks that came with complimentary branded masks!), VALENTINO (a bracelet), SAINT LAURENT (a magnet), and more. He unboxes the product, shows it off, and wraps up with rating the experience, including the wrapping, shipping, and anything. This trend has become so popular that CHANEL Le Coton was back-ordered for months and now shows as out of stock online.

So, what’s the point of spending the extra money on an everyday item? The luxury brands lure us all in—everyone wants to be a part of experiencing luxury, and buying the cheapest item is seen as a way in. It gives people a sense of belonging and makes them feel proud to be able to say they have something from CHANEL, LOUIS VUITTON, GUCCI, or any other luxury brand. But more than that, it’s about the aesthetic. Unboxing videos are already popular, so why not take it to the next level of rating how luxury brands package their products? And for people who can’t or aren’t buying these products, it’s surprisingly satisfying to watch. Add in the flex of having a CHANEL box or GUCCI bag to decorate your house with or the simple beauty of decorating with these items and the reason for this trend is undeniable.