How 'get ready with me' videos became a social media trend that won't go away

Credit: TikTok @alixearle @overcoming_overspending / @katiefanggg

Internet trends rarely remain relevant for more than a few weeks, but there’s at least one that has stood the test of time across decades and platforms — the “get ready with me” video. Also known as the GRWM, these posts show people putting on makeup or picking out clothes while they talk to the camera.

What began as a trend on YouTube in 2011 has evolved into a staple of internet culture. As of 2023, the #GRWM hashtag has more than 165 billion views on TikTok, roughly 100 billion of which were accumulated in the past year as part of a recent resurgence. You might get a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to get ready for a breakup, a significant other’s funeral, a party with Miley Cyrus, a concert you don’t have tickets to attend or just a regular day of work or school. GRWM videos show what goes into the “getting ready” process, both physically and emotionally.

One of the first creators to share a GRWM video (and call it by that name) was beauty YouTuber Shaaanxo. The intimate posts, which have evolved to include a storytelling element, show creators talking about their personal lives while they get dressed. They helped launch the careers of many YouTubers in the 2010s. Now, TikTokers with millions of followers like Alix Earle and Katie Fang have risen to fame in recent years through the same kinds of posts.

What is the appeal of GRWM posts?

So what about the GRWM post format is so appealing that it transcends time and platform? Katina Bajaj, a well-being expert who co-founded the mental health company Daydreamers, told Yahoo News that the videos provide a wealth of inspiration.

“You’re observing the world around you to cultivate wonder and connection,” Bajaj said. “Instead of saying ‘Why can’t that be me?’ you might ask, ‘What part of this routine feels energizing and exciting to me?’”

As Christian Allaire wrote for Vogue in January, GRWM videos are “voyeuristic fun.”

“I find them equal parts educational — I’ve been taking notes on how people do their hair and makeup! — and comforting, making you feel like you’re chitchatting with a real-life friend over FaceTime during the process,” he wrote.

Watching GRWM videos gives fans insights into what their favorite creators wear and how they do their makeup, which they can then use in their own lives. Since creators speak directly to their audience in those videos, it can feel to many viewers like an intimate exchange that eliminates the unattainable vibe that social media posts often give off.

Though the GRWM format itself might be relatively standard, you’re getting different information from every creator, delivered in their unique voice. Earnest Pettie, a trends insight lead at YouTube, told Fortune that GRWM videos are essentially a storytelling vehicle. According to Bajaj, the storytelling element is key to our enjoyment.

“The content of the stories being told doesn’t have to be novel or deeply insightful ... [but] when we get immersed in a narrative, it makes us feel seen and sticks in our brain for a long time,” she told Yahoo News.

Brands are aware of this too. GRWM posts are often sponsored, as product recommendations fit seamlessly into videos discussing a routine. It caused a stir online when it was revealed that Earle makes “between $40,000 to $70,000” for a single sponsored post.

At the same time, they’re also a huge part of the de-influencing trend, in which creators discuss the products that they don’t recommend. Though speaking out against certain items might not make creators any money, it builds their reputation as a trustworthy source with their audience, which might add to the intimacy of these videos:

GRWM videos are not just beneficial for the audience. According to Bajaj, they’re an important form of creative self-care for the people who make them. “Caring for ourselves through creative habits helps us feel less burned out, more fulfilled and ultimately more alive,” she said.

The “trend” — if you can call it that since it’s been around for 10-plus years — can be lucrative and arguably restorative for creators, as well as informative and fascinating for consumers. It’s no wonder it has such staying power.