Trending

ASMR makes watching a facial video as relaxing as having one yourself

The ASMR fad is as strange as it is enjoyable, but what exactly is it about these beauty videos that make our brains tingle?

29 March 2019 - 00:00 By Nokubonga Thusi
Face touching, lotion sounds and brushing are all elements of a facial that could trigger an autonomous sensory meridian response, often referred to as a 'brain massage'.
Face touching, lotion sounds and brushing are all elements of a facial that could trigger an autonomous sensory meridian response, often referred to as a 'brain massage'.
Image: 123RF/vadimgozhda

The internet is a weird and wonderful place, filled with content that satisfies in very odd ways. One of the latest trends to fit this category is ASMR.

When singer Cardi B mentioned that it was her latest obsession in an episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden: Carpool Karaoke, ASMR sparked our interest.

WHAT IS ASMR?

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. It is sometimes described as a “brain massage”. It involves listening to sounds, such as chewing, whispering or the fizzing of a soft drink, at very low volumes. This triggers calming, pleasurable feelings, often accompanied by a tingling sensation.

Sounds strange, right? Strange, but true. ASMR is a science which has been around since as early as 2007 but the use of it in YouTube videos and popular culture is only now gaining traction. 

ASMR videos have become a popular, birthing a special community of YouTubers who take their job very seriously.

The trend has even caught the attention of brands such as beer company Michelob Ultra. One of their latest ads features actress Zoe Kravitz whispering into a set of microphones, while clinking on the side of a beer bottle. Then there’s a satisfying fizz when she opens it. Listening to it is strangely calming.

WATCH | Michelob Ultra's ASMR ad starring Zoe Kravitz

ASMR IN BEAUTY

With ASMR being a natural stimulus which promotes a feeling of wellness in body and brain; it’s no wonder it has found its way into the beauty world. You can apply ASMR concepts to pretty much anything, from a makeup tutorial to a beauty product unboxing video.

Have you ever watched an ASMR facial? There’s something about listening to the therapist explain the procedure step by step in a soft, calm tone, tap their nails on the side of products, or shake the bottles, before applying them with light, massaging movements that makes you as the viewer feel as relaxed as if you were the one having the facial. 

WATCH | ASMR facial - wear headphones for the full effect. (NOTE: This video is over 25 minutes long)

IS THE ASMR TREND HERE TO STAY?

Although these videos have some merit in that they are relaxing, even sedating, the jury is still out as to whether the ASMR trend has longevity. There is no doubt YouTube will remain focused on it for while longer than the rest of the world as it is turning out to be a lucrative niche online community.

However, whether your next spa treatment will see the beauty therapist whispering sweet nothings in your ear, while giving you a facial massage, remains to be seen.