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Why “de-influencers” are the new Tiktok trend-setters

by Gaby Agbulos

WE’VE all heard of influencers. I’ll admit it: I’ve bought a thing or two online after seeing some TikTok videos about it, even though I may not need it. 

The main job of an influencer is in the name: to influence people to purchase things, even if they don’t need them. And if you look at this on its own, it doesn’t seem that bad. But at a larger scale, that is when you start to see the problem.

Many have grown tired of the advertising influencers constantly pushing online; do you need another tube of mascara or a lip gloss in a shade you don’t even like? This is why de-influencers were born: to combat the constant mantra of influencers going “buy, buy, buy” and instead telling people that materialism was so last season.

What is it?

Michelle Skidelsky, a 20-year-old student from Canada who makes de-influencing content on Tiktok, describes the practice as the opposite of influencing. 


i could talk about things we don’t need all day (yes i am talking to myself) #deinfluencing #overconsumption

♬ original sound – michelle

“While influencers are constantly peddling products and telling their viewers what to buy, de-influencers are taking a stance against the unrealistic overconsumption we see on TikTok and telling people what NOT to buy.” 

De-influencing often comes from customers of the item, beauty bloggers, or professionals that dispel the myths that many of these products promise (even though they cannot deliver.) Michelle’s videos, for example, list items that her followers may be tempted to buy but do not need. She taps into the person’s rational mind and reassures them that they should be saving their money instead of spending it on a hundred-dollar hoodie or a new lotion just because it’s on sale.

“I hopped on the trend not thinking anything of it,” she said. “I owned a lot of Glossier products after spending ridiculous amounts of money on their makeup and skincare. I figured people might appreciate hearing someone’s honest review of them before the brand comes to Sephora, so they could avoid falling into a trap of useless products like I did.”

“I realized I wasn’t the only one with a bad spending problem, and being open and honest about that might help others come to terms with their spending addictions and change for the better.”

Why are people doing it?

When asked why she got into the de-influencing lifestyle, Michelle talks about her past of buying things just to feel better about herself, even when she doesn’t have the money to do so. “It’s a dangerous vice; there have been times when I’ve shopped myself into barely being able to afford my rent. I needed to hear the message coming from my videos more than anyone. Most of the things I discuss are things I’ve considered spending my money on, though I really can’t afford it.”

“I’m being more conscious of why I want to purchase things I see online. It’s forced me to confront the fact that I was willing to spend my hard-earned money without a valid reason — on a certain level, I was very aware that influencers are being paid to sell me things, and yet I still wanted to buy trending things just because they were trending.”

Many people out there buy things they don’t need, and we can’t deny that influencers play a huge part in that. Around 93% of marketers use influencer marketing, and 8 out of 10 consumers often buy something when they see an influencer recommended it. 

This not only negatively affects our carbon footprint but also negatively affects our spending habits. This is why people have started asking themselves: Do I need this? Can I afford to buy this? Do I even want to buy this?

“Understanding my own cognitive dissonance has been a huge wake-up call for me. When I say “you don’t need it,” I’m talking to myself. So far, the message has stuck.”

Why do we need to start doing it?

Shopping addiction is just as serious as any other, and it should be treated as such. We need to start taking better care of ourselves, including being able to say no to things when we know we don’t need them.


Replying to @oattoad just wanted to share some things that i wish i had known around this time last yr. mental health is health! be kind to yourself!!

♬ original sound – michelle

“It’s not easy to quit any addiction,” Michelle said. “Finding new coping mechanisms is difficult enough as is — without the added layer of not being able to log onto social media, without having an influencer advertise you a product, by telling you that you should “run, not walk” to buy it and that it will “change your life.” But, for someone like me, whose finances are suffering significantly due to my overconsumption, it’s a necessary change. As they say, the best things in life don’t come easy.”

In a survey done in the U.K., 3 in 5 regret purchases influenced by social media. People often chase the thrill of being able to say that they’ve spent their money on the product, and then later on, when the product arrives, it is either barely used or never used at all. 

“Reducing your spending can benefit the planet and your mental health, but really it’s all about protecting your finances and changing your habits before you’ve racked up thousands of dollars of debt and it’s too late.”

We need to start applying the practice of de-influencing into our own lives and look towards de-influencers like Michelle because they are the ones that sell us nothing but the truth.

Where do we start?

If you’re still a little lost on where to start, Michelle recommends confronting your overconsumption as an excellent first step. 

“If you’re struggling with a spending problem and looking to reduce your overconsumption, forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Dwelling on how much money you’ve wasted on things you didn’t need, or how much you could have saved by now, won’t do you any good. You’ll end up resorting to shopping to make yourself feel better about that guilt.”

“Understand that the past is in the past, and show your past self some kindness. Recognize that they were struggling, and they did what they needed to do to make their life tolerable. Your past does not dictate your future; it’s all in your hands now, and while it may not be easy, it’s definitely possible to change your habits for the better.”

“You don’t need to quit cold turkey — set financial goals for yourself and reward yourself for sticking to them. Eventually, the reward won’t be so necessary anymore, and you’ll feel more than enough gratification from seeing how far you’ve come and how well your finances are doing.”

Remember: it’s okay to start slow. It’s okay to relapse. What’s important is that you’re trying.



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