The Rise of the Aesthetic Lifestyle Tiktok

Finn Witham, Editor

Over the past few years, Tiktok has been woven into the everyday life of many young people. Whether you’re in a classroom, a waiting room, a living room, or really anywhere, you’re likely to hear the constant blare of noises and voices coming from a phone as someone scrolls through their For You page. As Tiktok has grown, it has evolved, with trends coming and going all the time. Yet, a particular niche of Tiktokers seems to continue steadily gaining and maintaining popularity: the aesthetic lifestyle accounts. 

These accounts, usually run by young women, feature the routines, recipes, products, apartments, and places that help these women craft–at least the image of–perfect, organized, and aesthetically pleasing lifestyles. Their videos feature morning routines complete with a workout or a skincare and makeup routine or a healthy recipe–smoothies are a favorite–or all of it packaged into one “morning routine” or “get ready with me.”

@virgohabits, a Tiktok account that started in September of 2020, perfectly exemplifies this trend. It is run by Alexa, a high school senior, and often features her productive morning routines. One video has 1.6 million likes and follows her as she wakes up at 4:35 in the morning and proceeds to make her bed, do a yoga workout, complete her homework, put on skincare and makeup, eat breakfast, get coffee, vlog, and read; all before her school starts at 8:30. 

Some lifestyle accounts are more distinctive. @okcallie is run by Callie, a law student who lives in New York City and specifically struggles with anxiety. Her videos are similar to Alexa’s, yet many of them feature pasta recipes or warm bath routines or workouts that help Callie minimize her anxiety. 

@emilymariko, who has over 6.7 million followers, favors food over routine, showing off recipes, restaurants, and farmers’ market visits in her videos. 

Combined, just these three lifestyle accounts have millions of followers, and many more millions of likes. So, what makes videos of people going through the mundane tasks of daily life so popular? 

Junior Kindal Ferrens said, “I could watch people do their routines all day. It’s really relaxing and fun to see people being productive and organized.” 

Senior Carson Garcia agrees: he said of Emily Mariko specifically, “watching her step-by-step recipes and high-quality tools almost makes me feel like I’m that put together too.” 

Beyond being relaxing, these videos are also just beautiful. The rise of social media has fueled many to meticulously craft an appealing, luxurious, and clean aesthetic. We’re attracted to the aesthetic of these people, so we stay watching. 

However, not everyone gravitates towards the “perfect” lifestyle Tiktokers. Fruita Monument Senior Abby Deeths said, “I like to imagine how much of their time they are wasting by making such a carefully formatted Tiktok. They could be using that time to actually be productive in the way that they portray.” 

The idea that these Tiktokers are merely portraying perfection strikes at the heart of the criticism against these accounts: This perfection can often seem flat-out unattainable. For one, lifestyle videos are often chalk-full with products and services that, while they help build an aesthetic, are expensive. 

As Garcia went on to say of Emily Mariko, “I think a lot of people like watching her because they want to feel rich.” 

Additionally, for people with mental health issues (and really a lot of us in general), sticking to such rigorous, manicured routines is simply not realistic. While aesthetic lifestyles are calming and affirming to some, they make many others feel left out. 

Yet, whether or not you like this particular genre of Tiktok, lifestyle videos can teach us all an important lesson: beauty comes from simplicity. So much of our lives is spent doing the little things: bathing, exercising, cleaning, cooking, self-care. Thus, we should try to make these seemingly insignificant tasks as beautiful, novel, and enjoyable as possible. While we may not all have thousands of dollars to spend on creams and gym memberships, and some of us may be incapable of not having a constant mess, we can all find joy in the little things. After all, they make life worth living.