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12th November 2023

The art of the GRWM: Why we love such a simple trend

Why is the GRWM format so popular?
The art of the GRWM: Why we love such a simple trend
Credit: digital piece created using a photo by Polina Tankilevitch @ Pexels and graphics by Sketchify Korea @ Canva

“Bonjour maman, coucou ma chérie.” Chances are that if, like me, you’re chronically online, you will have had the wholesome GRWM (Get Ready With Me) videos of the French mother-daughter duo plastered over your For You Page. If not, you’ve probably seen the parodies – excuse the horrific French accents. Where the duo has come from? Who knows. All I care about is their love for a Zadig & Voltaire bag and their ability to create a coordinated ensemble right down to the brand.  

These videos make up just a tiny fraction of the collection of videos under the GRWM format. Everyone’s getting involved – from celebrities, resident influencers and, to put it bluntly, your average Joe. The hashtag #GRWM now has over 150 billion views on TikTok.  

GRWMs are a comforting phenomenon. Ultimately, in life people are always trying to find an affinity or similarities with other people. Relatability gives us a great sense of comfort. In this way, GRWMs make you feel like you’re part of someone’s day, night-out, or evening wind-down routine.  

It’s incredibly inviting to see someone’s routine. What would normally be reserved for a friend on FaceTime is now broadcast online for whoever to consume. Half the fun of a night out is the process of getting ready, pulling pieces out of your wardrobe, and transforming your bedroom into a catwalk for you and your friends. If you’re anything like my house, it’s usually pure chaos, likely ending in a hasty Uber to wherever we’re headed. GRWMs mimic this private but frankly universal process.  

The format also taps into a natural curiosity we all have. Be honest – you have wondered what shade of blush that girl in your lecture wears, or the toner that your friend used to achieve glowing skin. Fear no longer: you don’t even have to ask. It’s a secretive, yet accepted, insight into the lives of strangers. Some might even say GRWMs are educational within the realm of beauty secrets – so use that for your next excuse as to why your TikTok screen time is higher than your weekly university contact hours.  

The format is a celebration of something a little ‘extra.’ People are so commonly criticised for supposedly putting “unnecessary” extra effort into their appearance. Why should we care if your razor-sharp eyeliner meant you were late to your seminar? Going to the effort of breaking down an extensive routine from start to finish should demand your applause, rather than disdain.  

Whilst TikTok GRWMs aren’t anything new, the organic nature of TikTok’s algorithm means that genuinely anyone can create accessible content with the possibility of it being seen by thousands, or even millions. They’ve been around since the golden age of 2010s YouTube, and now the format is used by publications like Vogue, in their Beauty Secrets series.  

GRWMs arguably form part of the “de-influencing” trend, where social media content creators actively avoid promoting products they don’t use, routines they don’t stick to and generally unrealistic beauty standards. Why do we want to see Kim Kardashian get her makeup done by Mario Dedivanovic for the 100th time, when we know most students are conversely filling our shampoo bottles with water to make the product go the distance?  

However, this new age of GRWMs is merely an extension of the often-oversharing tendencies of social media personalities. Please break the stigma, but I really didn’t need to know that you’re off to your Nan’s funeral. And let’s get one thing straight – social media personalities are not your therapist and certainly not your friend, even if they refer to you as “bestie.”  

As with any trend, it’s oversaturated. Realistically, once you’ve watched one, you’ve watched them all. The phrase “get ready with me to [blank]” will forever haunt me in my sleep. It’s verging on unrealistic too. The very premise of a GRWM is to see the process from start to finish – imperfect skin, bedhead, brain fog. Don’t lie about getting ready in 30 minutes when we all know that it took you that long to set up your ring light and tripod.  

Regardless, it is promising that the creators who are coming to the forefront of this format are people like you and me. Influencers, despite their best attempts, will always live in their own bubble of society. No one has the time in the morning to do a full face of makeup and mess around trying on half their wardrobe. But, if we keep finding those people who promote the reality of getting ready, then we can strive towards a more comprehensive outlook on fashion and beauty.  

So, don’t hang your GRWM video in the Louvre just yet. But do keep telling me how you picked your outfit for the day.   

Jacob Robinson

Jacob Robinson

Head Investigations Editor 2023-24 | Former Head of Talk Shows and Deputy Head of Podcasting at Fuse FM 2022-23

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