The 365 Day Challenge: Fad Flops

Anyone else feel exhausted when they look at social media sometimes? Not only are people showing off their best lives through manicured outfits, curated travel, and perfected angles, but they’re also pushing product constantly. Whether it’s a new miracle diet or skin-perfecting face wash, people are always looking for the next big thing and brands are keeping their products in front of us with influencers who are essentially paid to like their products. But there’s another side to this level of consumerism – as I like to call them, “the fad flops”.

I can’t be the only one who’s given in to the social media-driven impulse purchase only to be disappointed by the results. Even with countless reviews, it’s hard to tell what the truth is. Plus, we’re all unique, so your skin combination differs from mine, your body might love red onions while my body absolutely hates red onions. So one product may work miracles for one person and totally bomb for another. To top it all off, it can be hard to tell how to actually use the product when researching online, even if there’s a video to demonstrate, that clothes look different on the models and the products are placed perfectly.

If you can’t tell, I have lots of experience with “fad flops”, making it tough to trust my increasing dependence on the online shopping world. One recent “flop” I experienced was with the charcoal toothpaste fad. Anyone else tried this stuff out? It surfaced first on influencer accounts and subsequently on some media sites I follow, proclaiming it could whiten your teeth easily, without the harsh effects of whitening strips. At the ripe old age of 30, the strips actually hurt my teeth now, like 24 hours of discomfort after I put one on – what happened to the good old days when a girl could just whiten her dang teeth! Anyway, after reading some reviews that screamed success and watching this absurd video of a girl demonstrating how to use this charcoal wonder, I decided to give it a shot.

It was a disaster. The charcoal concoction came in a little circular tub in powder form (which I knew going in because of the video), and it got literally everywhere. There were little black specs all over my bathroom, my teeth were stained black until I re-brushed them with regular toothpaste and used mouthwash, and it did NOT whiten my teeth. While I tried to dedicate myself to using it over several weeks, hoping my teeth would at least get whiter for the pain that it was, I ultimately gave up before the whole tub was gone. Epic fail. And I’m going to assume I’m not the only one who’s had this experience – I consider myself pretty capable and this fad just was not working with me at all. So why isn’t anyone talking about the products that *don’t* work? Is it because no one is paying them? Sure, maybe I tried the exact wrong charcoal toothpaste and maybe for some it has worked, but I’m sick of seeing all the success stories pile up in my search results, burying any kind of negative feedback.

In a world where we’re inundated with products, influencer messaging, and paid ads, how do we know what’s true without actually trying it ourselves? Maybe it’s time to start showing everyone more about real life instead of just showing them the “miracle successes”. After all, no one is perfect, and maybe we’re all just looking for a little more human connection while we virtually stare into other people’s worlds through our phones. Start sharing real life with me, won’t you? Maybe we’ll prevent the next person from trying out an epic “fad flop”.


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