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A thought-provoking viral video on TikTok has sparked debates about whether people should undergo beauty treatments “if they can’t afford them,” and the woman behind the footage spoke to Newsweek about their views.

Admitting that her sharp opinions “may sound more snooty and controversial than they potentially are,” Ellie Jones received a surprising amount of support for her strong views in just one of many posts shared on her account.

The video has been hugely popular, garnering over 455,000 views and 44,000 likes since it was posted in May. In the caption, Jones (@thenowthegorgeous) wrote: “This is just something to think about before you decide on certain treatments…”

TheNowTheGorgeous Controversial beauty treatment lasts
Ellie Jones (@thenowthegorgeous) shared her controversial views on beauty treatments on TikTok. Her video went viral and the comments section proved she was not alone in her opinion.

@thenowthegorgeous/TikTok

The freelance writer from London, England, is not one to shy away from talking about the beauty industry, said Newsweek How the content of her thesis at university comes from: “I am very interested in fashion sociology and wrote my dissertation at Cambridge University on the significance of women's clothing in religious life.”

“I like to make funny videos that I think are relatable and shine a light on the things people in the spotlight do to look good! I think it helps to know that things aren't necessarily natural and cost a lot of money to maintain, otherwise it's easy to compare yourself to people whose job it is to look good.”

In this particularly interesting statement, she said: “I feel that there are certain beauty treatments that if you can't afford them or don't have the time to do them, you're better off not having them done,” before highlighting the two treatments that she feels her statement most applies to and that both have something in common.

Eyelash extension

The first treatment to come under fire is eyelash extensions, which are a potentially costly endeavor for many. Global Market Insights estimates the eyelash extension market to be worth $1.1 billion in 2023, but Jones believes some may be living beyond their means to afford the treatment, or foregoing it altogether.

She said: “I think if you don't have the time or money to do your extensions regularly, you often end up looking worse.”

She further warned of the dangers of this treatment without proper training, saying: “If you try to do it yourself at home, you don't know what you're doing. You could get an infection.”

She has to live up to what she says: “Some people do it quite well at home, but the danger is always there. Or if you go to someone who has really low prices, you don't necessarily know if they clean their tools.”

She concluded by pointing out that outgrown eyelashes can be a telltale sign and apologised to those who only had the treatment once. She said: “I think it looks better to have natural, shorter and less visible eyelashes than if the eyelash extensions don't fit well.”

Hair extensions

She said the second treatment would have to be “hair extensions. I personally haven't seen a really cheap alternative to hair extensions that looks good.” The treatment requires more than just visits to the hairdresser, because hair care is an important part of ensuring hair looks good for longer.

Jones added that while she believes there are “definitely exceptions,” this is aimed at those who wait longer than they should due to cost. She said: “I find that if you're walking around with your hair showing or the extensions falling out at the event or whatever, it looks a lot worse than what you were trying to change about your natural hair.”

She ended her TikTok by saying, “Unless you know you have the budget and time to go to someone really good and get your hair naturally filled and refilled regularly, just don't do it.”

The 21-year-old, who currently works in fashion technology, said Newsweek: “As women, we are often tricked into paying for beauty treatments that aren't necessary, and it's easy to fall into the trap of trying to keep up with celebrities and influencers who often get their treatments for free and whose job it is to always look camera-ready.

“Certain beauty treatments such as extensions, veneers and fillers require a lot more maintenance than they first appear and you end up having to either keep paying to update a treatment or walk around with a half-finished treatment for weeks until you can afford it!”

What do the comments say?

Jones wasn't alone in her thoughts, with one user writing: “It's true. You get used to the way you look and feel like you have to maintain it. It gets expensive and is a slippery slope.”

“I'm glad you said something because I was just looking into eyelash extensions yesterday and was so surprised that they cost about $200 every 2-3 weeks,” said a second.

A third added: “The pressure on everyone to have multiple luxury services is HUGE. Just waxing, tanning, hair, nails, eyebrows, lashes are crazy… I've realised I really do the least of them.”