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De-influencing is the latest movement on social media, and it can save you some major money. The trend is taking over TikTok currently with more than 97.6 million views on #deinfluencing. That’s over 30 million more views than #influencing on the site. The videos basically talk about what products aren’t worth the money and which viral items feed into overconsumption.
But what exactly does that entail? Does it mean saying goodbye to all your TikTok-made-me-buy-it purchases? Is it just another way to declutter your home? And does this signal an end to the age of Amazon influencers? The de-influencing trend can be kind of confusing, but don’t worry. I’m here to give you the scoop on what this movement means and how you can be a part of it. Here are items that aren’t worth the hype (though their dupes are great!) and how unhauling them can save you money.
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So What Is ‘De-Influencing’?
In short, de-influencing is a rebellion against influencer culture and the way social media tends to encourage people to buy more than they’d like to. It’s a response to the incredibly fast cycle of shopping trends that lead to overconsumption.
And what is overconsumption anyway? It’s basically just buying more things than you need or could reasonably use. Overconsumption is bad for a lot of reasons in that it encourages waste, it’s not environmentally friendly, and it isn’t exactly cheap. And I don’t mean things like buying an extra snack when you need a pick me up or treating yourself every now and again to something nice. That’s totally normal. The de-influencing movement isn’t about never shopping again — it’s about critically evaluating what you’re spending your money on and if you actually need those products.
Many TikTok creators on #deinfluencing share personal accounts of purchases they made because they were influenced which they later regretted. They unpack how influencers encourage buying things to be trendy or to fit in and why that’s not always sustainable. (For the environment or for your bank account.) Many videos discuss how trending items are either overhyped or way too expensive and overall not worth the money.
Related: Target Trade-In Program Gives You Gift Cards for Used Items
How to Take Part in the De-Influencing Movement
If you feel like you need some de-influencing but don’t know where to start, I got you. Begin with paring down the things you already have. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and take a look at your stuff. What did you get on a whim that no longer works for you? Is there anything that you just don’t use or just don’t like anymore? Do you have way too many of certain objects, such as water bottles, lipsticks, or old books?
Once you’ve determined what’s no longer serving you, unhaul it! This basically means getting rid of it but with a focus on more sustainable ways of clearing out clutter. The term came from BookTok creators donating books they didn’t like in “unhaul” videos. There are many ways to unhaul while getting at least a portion of your money back. Consider returning the items to the store if you can or reselling them on Poshmark or Depop. Head to your local Plato’s Closet or other consignment shops. Heck, even post it on Facebook Marketplace.
If you’re feeling particularly giving, donate items to charities. Aside from Goodwill and Salvation Army, check out local women’s shelters. They often welcome donations of women’s clothing, unopened cosmetics, and personal care items. Additionally, many libraries and retirement homes accept book donations. Habitat for Humanity ReStores welcome donations of clothes, household goods, and books.
10 Items to Unhaul
If you’re looking at your stuff and trying to figure out what to unhaul, check out my list of items below. Or if you’re trying to decide if these things are worth buying, read on. Save your money for products that bring real value instead of the promise of clout. Many of these items are just way too expensive, fall in and out of trend too often, or are simply unnecessary. That’s not to say that they’re bad products — if you like them then that’s great! It’s more about comparing value and making sure you have all the info if you are thinking of purchasing them.
1. Anything From Charlotte Tilbury
Miss Tilbury is all over TikTok with her viral products. She’s also frequently mentioned in de-influencing videos, and for good reason. There are just so many dupes that offer the same quality and serve the same purpose for way less. Consider a drugstore dupe to save as much as $32. For example, the Elf Halo Glow ($14, Ulta) is a great dupe for the Hollywood Flawless Filter ($46, Sephora). Sure, she’s trendy, but the products are just a shade more expensive than they should be.
2. The Latest Trending Water Bottle
This is one of those items that’s constantly cycling in and out of popularity. Consider the days when the Hydro Flask or the Yeti was the trendiest bottle. Instead, just find a bottle that works for you (and you don’t need to spend over $40 to do that). If you really do need a new bottle, consider getting a Stanley tumbler dupe and save yourself up to $30. Or even better, Five Below has $5 Starbucks studded tumbler dupes.
3. Niche Kitchen Gadgets
We’ve all seen those oddly specific kitchen tools like garlic peelers or the pickle jar that really only works for pickles. These are things that serve one purpose and don’t often get used. (Well, unless you’re really into peeling garlic.) While there’s something to be said for convenience, more often than not, these things are just going to take up space in your kitchen. A good way to determine if a gadget is too niche is to divide the initial cost by how many times you use it or plan on using it. If you end up with a price of just pennies, then you probably use it enough to justify getting/keeping it.
Note: A lot of times when we talk about how unnecessary certain products are, we ignore how beneficial those gadgets can be for disabled folks. If an item makes an everyday task more accessible for you, get it! If something really does bring good value to your life, then keep it!
Related: 50 Frugal Living Tips
4. Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner
Olaplex is hugely popular on social media, even if it makes an appearance in many de-influencing videos. So why are folks recommending dropping this brand? Well, it’s a whopping $96 for one full-sized bottle. If you’re using both shampoo and conditioner, as most people do, then you’re spending $192 altogether. Considering these items are consumables, you’re literally rinsing that money down the drain. If you need a bond-building shampoo, check out an Olaplex dupe instead. By swapping to a dupe that has the same benefits, you can save well over $100 with every set and thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
5. Scent Beads
We’ve all seen the aesthetic laundry routines on CleanTok. Scent beads are a huge part of those million-step routines, but are they really worth it? If you like the way they smell, that’s great, but you can just use fabric softener or dryer sheets for fragrance. Using both scent beads and fabric softener is redundant and kind of a waste of product. That’s an extra $13 you’re adding to your routine without seeing any real benefits.
Plus, if you use too much of the product, scent beads can lead to residue build-up in your machine or on your clothes according to some reviewers’ discussions on Amazon. Washing machine repairs or replacing a wardrobe can be ridiculously expensive. It’s better to just save your money and skip the hype surrounding this product.
6. The Latest Lululemon Leggings
Lululemon is incredibly trendy, there’s no denying that. But you don’t need a pair of $100 leggings in every color, and you don’t need every new legging style they release. The leggings are insanely expensive, considering you can get a pair of leggings at Old Navy for $15. Sure, there’s something to be said about the comfort and longevity of Lululemon clothing. But you can save tons of money by opting for Lululemon leggings dupes or other Lululemon dupes.
7. Anything Skims
A good piece of shapewear can make a huge difference in your wardrobe. But it can also make a huge difference in your bank account. Especially Skims, where a bodysuit sells for anywhere between $62 to $98. You don’t need to spend that much on an item that goes underneath clothing. Nobody will even know if it’s a name brand because they won’t see it. If you’re in the market for shapewear, go for a Skims dupe instead. They do just about the same thing but for up to 70% less cash.
8. Drunk Elephant Skincare
It seems like everyone on TikTok has a 10-step skincare routine with Drunk Elephant everything. And the popularity makes sense because the products aren’t bad at all. But when it comes down to it, you don’t need to spend $78 on just one (that’s right, only one) full-sized serum. Instead, look at the active ingredients in the Drunk Elephant item and find those same ingredients in cheaper products. For example, The Drunk Elephant C-Firma serum is $78 and has a 15% concentration of vitamin C as its main active ingredient. However, you can get a 30% concentration of vitamin C serum from the Inkey List for $10.99. You can get a twice-as-potent product for a whole $68 cheaper.
Affordable ingredient-based brands to check out include Good Molecules, The Ordinary, and the Inkey List. And if you’re looking for a cleanser instead, just go for Cerave. It’s way cheaper and does more or less the same thing.
9. The Latest Headband in Everyone’s GRWM Videos
This is another one of those things that fall in and out of style at lightning speed. First, everyone had those plushy-looking headbands with a bow on top for doing their skincare and makeup. The next minute, the oversized bauble headbands were all over the Internet. You don’t have to hop on every trend; just find a headband you like and keep with it. Heck, mine has a little bean sprout on it. The point is to use what you have instead or opt for something that’s going to last you.
10. Bloom Greens
I love seeing the morning routine girlies with their Bloom greens and fun-shaped ice cubes. But my budget tells me that’s not the move. While I could use some more veggies in my routine (who doesn’t?), the Bloom supplement is $40 for 30 servings. That’s $1.33 per serving.
If you need some fiber to help with bloating and constipation, just opt for Metamucil. It’s $29.49 for 180 servings, or $0.16 per serving. You’d need to buy $240 worth of the Bloom supplement to get that many servings. Honestly, not worth the price.