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From perfume to pickles, 'silent reviews' of products are the new viral trend. But here's why the originator wants to step away.

Geoff Weiss   

From perfume to pickles, 'silent reviews' of products are the new viral trend. But here's why the originator wants to step away.
  • "Silent reviews" see TikTokers tapping on items and reacting with exaggerated gestures.
  • The format was born on #BookTok last October, but has spread to other categories.

If TikTok serves as an endless scroll for gossip, storytimes, and other chatter, a new viral format has caught wind.

Part ASMR, part digital rest stop, "silent reviews" call for creators to not speak (for the most part) but instead to "silently" review products with exaggerated facial expressions and dramatic gestures. Like ASMR, the effect then augments the audio of the non-verbal sounds and tics.

The trend originates in #BookTok, but has subsequently rippled across the rest of the app, expanding to different categories like baby toys, TV shows, makeup products, handbags, cups, sodas, pickles, and perfume.

Book review TikToker @stepheadsalot told Business Insider she originated the trend in early October. And while she still proudly stands by inventing format, its fast popularity has made her more hesitant to create more of them.

How a BookToker started 'silent reviews' that's now become massively popular among fashion and beauty creators

@itscassiethorpe A silent review of all my designer mini bags #silentreviews #silentreview #designerbags #bagtok #minibags #luxurybags #designerminibags ♬ original sound - CA$$IE

The 35-year-old stay-at-home mom has shared many silent book reviews since she began posting them on the app in 2021, but last year, a longtime follower suggested she cover multiple books in one video. Stephanie, who declined to disclose her last name, decided to pilot the format for her September book review round-up.

"I didn't rehearse or plan ahead. I just went for it," she said. "The first video really took off. I was compared to Mr. Bean, or the Minions, and — something I get surprisingly often — Ryan Reynolds."


Replying to @ABBIE ROTELLO like this? #stephreadsalot #booktokfyp #BookTok #bookreview #rapidreviews #rapidrecs

♬ original sound - StephReadsAlot

Stephanie said she was instantly flooded with requests for more, and two of her silent review videos accumulated more than two million views — with the famous author Jodi Picoult even trying her hand at the trend in October last year.

"In one week, my follower count grew over 80,000," Stephanie told BI. She attributed the format's popularity to its "universal language" and "spoiler-free" nature.

Some commenters on other silent review videos — particularly for beauty products — have likened the format to ASMR, given that creators satisfyingly tap on items or whisper their thoughts in a lulling hush. Others have taken to spoofing the trend, which some viewers have deemed irritating.


If you decide to unfollow or only watch and support my one silent review per month, thats totally okay. I just wanted to address it because i get comments every day about it. LUVYASOMUCH ❤️ #stephreadsalot #booktok #booktokfyp #silentreviews

♬ original sound - StephReadsAlot

In late November, Stephanie took to TikTok to share some thoughts. Silent reviews had "really blown up" and "expanded way past me," she said, which, on the one hand, was "so cool."

But the ubiquity had also "dramatically plummeted" her own interest in making more, she explained. Whereas it first felt new and creative, she said it was starting to feel "performative" and would be "insincere and inauthentic" to keep churning them out. She said she'd continue making them monthly but begged followers not to request them more frequently than that.

Stephanie told BI she still loves making silent reviews but wants to explore new formats.

@emiliekiser THIS ONE WAS NEEDED♥️✨ INSPO: @Kristen #drpepper #drpepperaddiction #silentreviews #asmr #sodashop #sodaaddict #dayinmylife #fyp #relatable #viral #trending ♬ original sound - Emilie

This isn't the first time a "silent" trend has enthralled TikTok. In September, the term "silent walk" was coined, or walking without music or distractions. While some people celebrated the notion, the trend was also widely scorned for trying to rebrand something so many are already doing.

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