Do These TikTok-Viral Beach Hacks Work? I Tried Them on Vacation to Find Out

With a luxe trip planned and no room for beauty errors, I tried some popular sunscreen and sand-banishing tips to see if they were as good as advertised

<p>Courtesy Melanie Curry</p>

Courtesy Melanie Curry

I’m not a beach girlie whatsoever. Take me to a nice (indoor) pool and I’m all yours. But when I was invited to visit The Somerset Set on Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos, saying no to one of the most legendary beaches was not an option, no matter what my sand standoff situation is.

It's not that I'm anti-beach, exactly, but the last time I vacationed in the Caribbean, in the summer of 2023, I had the worst sunburn and sand stuck in who-knows-where for days. I didn’t want a repeat of that less-than-ideal experience, so like any Gen Zer, I went to TikTok for help. A few quick searches, and I found some life-changing hacks that promised to make me a convert.

These hacks could go either way—extremely useful or woefully disappointing.  But with nothing left to lose, except probably a bill for an emergency visit to my dermatologist, I went ahead and began my experimentation. Here’s what I learned.

Hack 1: Skip Your Hands and Use a Beauty Blender to Apply Sunscreen Instead

<p>Courtesy Melanie Curry</p> Sunscreen application with Beauty Blender, before (left) and after

Courtesy Melanie Curry

Sunscreen application with Beauty Blender, before (left) and after

The first—and the most promising—hack was to use a Beautyblender-style makeup sponge to apply sunscreen. I’ve always struggled with sunscreen, particularly because I’m Black and most lotions and sprays give me that dark purple hue. But this hack promised to 1) eliminate any white or purple casts and 2) make applying much easier.

I tried the hack on my first official day at the hotel, spraying the sunscreen directly on my arms and using the sponge to gently spread and blend the product.

My first reaction was amazement. The product blended seamlessly into my skin and although there were some faint purple casts, it wasn’t nearly as bad compared to no Beautyblender.

It even worked after swimming in the ocean! The hotel scheduled a half-day catamaran adventure with snorkeling and swimming activities. Even after floating in the (basically see-through) waters of Grace Bay, the sunscreen remained properly rubbed-in.

Hack 2: A Sunscreen Setting Spray Is Your Next Best Friend

<p>Courtesy Melanie Curry</p>

Courtesy Melanie Curry

Usually, I don’t wear makeup on vacation, especially if I’m staying in the hot and humid Caribbean, but since the Somerset has so many glam-worthy guest experiences, I decided to indulge and dress up a bit. 

Instead of using my go-to matte setting spray, I invested in a setting spray formulated with SPF. It can layer over makeup, so your foundation or concealer isn’t muddied or streaked.

Naturally, the best time to try this hack was the barbecue. It was hotter than normal, as I was sitting by tiki torches, so I was sweating profusely. However, my makeup remained intact and my skin wasn’t suffering from the overbearing sun. Even after having fire blown in my face—I courageously volunteered to be the fire dancer’s partner—my makeup looked good and more importantly, my skin wasn’t sore or super red. 

I loved the sunscreen setting spray so much that I applied it every day, even times when I wasn’t wearing makeup, like to an early-morning yoga class.  It’s uber-convenient and now an everyday staple in my skincare routine.

Hack 3: Baby Powder in a Sock Keeps the Sand Away

<p>Courtesy Melanie Curry</p>

Courtesy Melanie Curry

If I haven't made it clear, there's a lot to love about the hotel, but its main selling point is the miles-long stretch of shoreline, with all the amenities you could imagine. Sounds heavenly — except for the sand. 

Sand is my biggest enemy. It gets everywhere and is almost impossible to wash off without multiple showers. I needed a sand removal hack or I wasn’t stepping foot on the beach. After scrolling through videos on videos, I discovered an age-old beach hack: baby powder in a sock. 

According to this TikTok, placing baby powder in a sock easily removes wet sand from your body. I usually take TikTok advice with a grain of salt, but since all the other hacks worked, I decided to be a bit optimistic. 

At first, I tried to use the baby powder by itself but it kept flying all over the place because of the wind. Once I placed the powder in the sock, secured it with a twist, and shook it for ten seconds, I began rubbing the sock over my sandy feet. A few passes and the sand was mostly gone. Now, my feet were super ashy, but hey, it’s much easier to wash off baby powder than sand. So, I consider this a small win.


Do I now love the beach? Not really. But I did enjoy it far more thanks to these TikTok hacks. While I won’t ever be a beach girl — pools forever have my heart — lounging at the beach isn’t a complete nightmare anymore. So, while I won’t be at the beach all summer, I’m happy to say I’ll be dipping my toe in the sand here and there.

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