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NOW READING 5 Viral DIY Beauty Hacks That Are Actually Dangerous – Yes, Including Gorilla Glue
February 22, 2021

5 Viral DIY Beauty Hacks That Are Actually Dangerous – Yes, Including Gorilla Glue

Think twice before experimenting with at home beauty hacks frequently spotted on social media.


Let’s face facts. We’ve all done things that we regret, especially when we’re in a hurry or when we’re strapped for cash. Sometimes, substituting one product for another works fine – but the following practices could land you in the ER or cost you a fortune in dermatological fees if something goes wrong. And social media glamorizes many unsafe at home beauty techniques, so buyers beware. Before you attempt to use a non-beauty product in lieu of something safe and intended for that specific purpose, read on.



  • Don’t Use Permanent Adhesive Spray in Lieu of Shampoo


@im_d_olladyStiff where????? Ma hair 🤬🤬♬ original sound – Tessica Brown


Recently, a viral TikTok post caught the attention of the masses. Tessica Brown substituted Gorilla Glue Spray for her usual hair spray, and the repercussions were disastrous. Gorilla Glue is a permanent spray adhesive intended for craft projects and mounting photos and forms a water-resistant barrier. Brown’s mistake could not be rectified at home despite shampooing repeatedly and using every type of oil she could find. Emergency room efforts to remove the glue with acetone burned her scalp and resulted in extreme headaches. We can thank Brown for bringing unsafe beauty hacks front and center.  


Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Ben Talei has never encountered a situation like Brown’s, but he has treated people who used “regrowth products on their hair, which resulted in chemical burns and [the loss of] big patches of hair.” He also mentioned that, “A few years ago, in salons, one Brazilian straightening product caused massive amounts of hair loss.” Brown’s situation has since been resolved, thanks to the efforts of Michael K. Obeng, MD, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, but it’s best to forego using anything on your hair or scalp other than products deemed safe for such use. 


  • Don’t Remove Blackheads with Disposable Flossing Picks




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sukhi Mann (@sukhimann_)


Among the bad Instagram skincare advice that was resurrected in 2020 on TikTok is a terrible hack for removing blackheads – the disposable flossing pick. According to one IG video with nearly 1.2 million views, simply presoaking blackhead-prone areas with a towel moistened in hot water is the only prep you’ll need before dragging dental floss across your skin to remove pesky imperfections. When Dr. Ava Shamban, a member of Beautytap’s Advisory Board, weighed in on this for Allure last year, her biggest concern was regarding the potential spread of infection. Floss isn’t sterile, so if you accidentally rupture a blemish in the process, you may spread bacteria to other areas of the face. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t drag anything across my skin, let alone something as strong as a piece of dental floss. To make matters worse, the IGer recommended following up with a toner – or mouthwash – afterward.


  • Don’t Exfoliate Your Face with Coffee Grounds


dangerous diy beauty hacks
DIY coffee ground exfoliators can be harmful to your skin.


That morning cup o’ joe might do wonders for your mood and energy level but using actual coffee grounds on your face is something you should avoid at all costs. The caffeine-depuffing effect sounds great in theory, and while a search for “DIY coffee face scrub” results in nearly 5 million results, coffee grounds have rough edges and can cause miniature tears, leaving you battling post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) instead of enjoying baby soft skin. And scrubbing too hard can create larger tears, resulting in infections. No thanks. 



  • Don’t Formulate Your Own Sunscreen 


dangerous beauty hacks
Never DIY your sunscreen.

For the love of all things precious, the DIY sunscreen approach draws out the ire in me like no other. As a two-time skin cancer survivor, I’m required to see my dermatologist every 90 days to track my progress, and messing around with sunscreen would never be something I’d entertain. And yet, there are people making homemade sunscreen by combining powdered zinc oxide with coconut oil and aloe vera gel. In an article published by the Penn State News in 2019, surgical oncologist Dr. Colette Pameijer, who is both a skin cancer specialist and a surgical oncologist, emphasized the dangers associated with DIY-ing something as important as sunscreen. For those considering the bottom line when undertaking such a task, purchasing the ingredients to make one batch (with some leftovers) would run nearly $56. Add in the complete lack of quality control, verifiable concentration, studies, or expiration information, and you have quite a recipe for disaster. 



  • Don’t Attempt At Home Chemical Peels Using Medical Grade Products


dangerous beauty hacks
DIY skin peels can cause second-degree, and sometimes even third-degree burns.


With so many safe, traditional at-home peeling products available, there’s no intelligent reason to go shopping online for medical-grade options to do it yourself. And yet, people can still source ingredients online. The old saying, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should” rings true here. “What we see in the cosmetic surgery and dermatology practice,” Dr. Talei says, “is people using chemical peels to make the skin better. They order insane concentrations of glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid (TCA) online and then come in with second-degree, and sometimes even third-degree burns. 


Ultimately, what you’re putting at risk is your body’s health, so consult with your doctor, dermatologist, or Verified Beauty Expert before following the questionable advice offered on social media. 

Tracy is a "quality over quantity" word girl fascinated by eagles and life in a small SoCal mountain community. She believes in the now, has written professionally for 30+ years, and worships at the alters of serum and Sulwhasoo.



Eek! I confess I did my own professional grade peels before I was licensed. Luckily, I had good results. Many aren’t as fortunate. You’re so on point. Don’t get me started about home waxing and sugaring. 🤦🏻‍♀️


I'm glad I didn't try any of these growing up. Some are outlandish and crazy – scary to think about.

Me, too! I've tried more than my fair share of DIY projects, but none of them involved my face. Homemade air freshener is one thing, but using non-beauty products for skincare purposes is a really, really bad idea.

Wow this is crazy. Thankfully I would have never thought about using any of these aside from hearing about the gorilla glue recently or coffee one. I would only do a DIY with actual instructions especially if it consists of chemicals. 

Double-check the credentials of anyone recommending a DIY treatment. There was a viral video in 2018 from an IGer who did at-home microblading. She literally cut into her own eyebrow with a scalpel then applied tattoo ink. There were full instructions, too! Majorly bad idea!

Oh God, that's scary lol. I already have far from perfect eyebrows, aside from plucking some to try to perfect them, I am not doing anything else. But I do agree with your tip. Thank you!

Ahhh this article was eye opening and scary! I had no idea people were doing these things. Thanks for sharing, because if I’m ever faced with someone who asks about these home “remedies” than I will know what they are talking about.

DIY trends have always scared me, but influencers on social media have such a large reach that a foolish or even dangerous video recommendation can easily encourage people to do things without proper guidance.

This article was a good reminder to not be so quick to follow a "trend." Social media has become so influential that many forget to research, consult professionals or even think an idea through before trying a 'diy' that could cause lasting harm to our precious skin. This is a great read with good reminders Tracy!

Thank you for the kind words, pretty lady. Even as a writer, I've had clients ask me to write about some scary trending things they've seen on Instagram. Back in 2018, there was a video circulating about at-home microblading. The IGer actually cut into her own brows with a scalpel. Terrifying stuff!

Saw Tessica Brown's TikTok video on my FYP, felt bad for the girl glad that she got her hair issue resolved.

Me, too! She's very lucky that a professional volunteered to help her, and I hope she doesn't have any long-term damage to her scalp.

Great points , With DIY trending on social media its very easy to try things without really looking into the facts of it potentially being more harmful than beneficial. As a coffee lover I could easily see myself trying that DIY. Good thing I haven't ! I will stick to burning my coffee bean candle and playing it safe .

Smart lady! I used a coffee body scrub a few summers ago and was shocked at how abrasive it was. After that experience, I wouldn't even consider rubbing something like that on my face. You have to love yourself and remember that you only have one face.

You did it again Tracy!!!! Another great article...I shared it on FB, as some home remedys can work but some are very bad. I seen the dental floss trending for blackheads and I'm like ..."Really"!! The only time I used dental floss to help with my eyebrows or eyeliner.
Not going lie...I tried the coffee face mask one time...not a good idea!

Yikes! Your poor face! I can't begin to imagine how that would feel, especially since I've been using chemical exfoliants for the last six years. I barely ever use a physical scrub because I use tretinoin (Retin A). Thanks for the compliment, too, pretty lady.

My face hurts looking at dental floss going across smooth skin!

Mine, too!

Yikes! It's pretty scary how much social media trends have influenced people to make bad choices, especially over this past year! And we thought using baby oil to tan in our day was the worst thing we could do!

Ah! Another victim of the baby oil trend. I'm in that camp, too, and paying for it every day.


Ah, yes. The good ol’ baby oil days. We have come a long, scary way!