TikTok has become a platform for all kinds of viral trends and challenges, some fun and creative, others strange and even dangerous. One of the latest odd trends gaining traction on TikTok is the “shower onion” challenge, which involves people filming themselves showering with onions.
Origins of the Shower Onion Trend
The shower onion trend is believed to have started in early 2022, but it did not gain widespread popularity until mid-2022. The original shower onion videos featured people holding onions or onion slices while taking a shower or bath.
The onions would then get wet and slippery, often resulting in the person dropping them or struggling to hold onto them.
Some of the early shower onion videos were posted with captions like “it’s an onion shower kind of day” or “when you want to cry in the shower but the tears won’t come.”
This suggests the trend may have origins in the myth that onions cause people to tear up and cry. The idea was likely to evoke an image of someone crying in the shower by literally showering with onions.
Spread on TikTok and Other Platforms
As more TikTokers started participating in the shower onion challenge, the trend spread rapidly on the platform. By June 2022, the hashtag #showeronion had over 8 million views on TikTok. Some videos showed people rubbing onions all over their bodies in the shower, while others featured elaborate onion showers with dozens of onions.
The shower onion videos appealed to TikTok’s young user base who are constantly looking for new meme-worthy challenges. The absurdity and randomness of the trend also contributed to its virality. Outside of TikTok, shower onion videos spread across Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites as well, gaining tens of millions of views.
Several TikTok influencers and online celebrities helped popularize the trend by posting their own shower onion videos. Their large follower counts brought mass exposure to the shower onion challenge. Some brands like Betadine even joined in on the trend by posting educational shower onion videos related to skin care.
Shower Onion Challenge Complications and Controversies
While many participated just for fun and to hop on the viral trend, the shower onion challenge has led to some issues and controversies. Dropping onions in the shower can actually be dangerous, as they become extremely slippery when wet. Multiple people slipped and fell in the shower while attempting the challenge, resulting in injuries.
The challenge also wastes large amounts of food, given the number of onions being used and discarded solely for social media videos. Environmental activists have criticized the trend for promoting food waste.
Moreover, some doctors and skin experts have advised against showering with onions. Onion juice can irritate and dry out the skin, especially for people with sensitivities. Dermatologists recommend avoiding showering with onions as it provides no real skin benefits.
Variations on the Shower Onion Trend
As with most viral challenges, TikTok users have put creative spins on the shower onion trend resulting in some popular variations. Some alternatives to showering with whole onions include:
- Rubbing sliced onions all over your body in the shower
- Mixing onion juice with bath water to create an “onion bath”
- Floating a bunch of peeled onions in your bath tub
- Making body scrubs or skincare products out of blended onions
- Filling up ziplock bags with sliced onions and using them like bath bombs
Onion shower cooking challenges have also emerged, with people attempting to cook meals like omelets, stir fries, and onion soups while onions fall around them in the shower.
Psychological Explanations for the Trend
Psychologists who have studied internet challenges and trends believe a few factors drive participation in absurdist trends like showering with onions. The sheer randomness can be funny to both the creators and viewers.
Getting reactions and going viral gives creators notoriety and dopamine hits. Some use challenges to signal nonconformity. For young users, it may also be about seeking attention from peers and testing one’s own boundaries.
Of course, the primary reason the shower onion challenge took off was the bandwagon effect. When a certain number of influencers embraced the trend early on, it motivated others to participate as well in hopes of gaining social media reactions and fame.
Most internet users are highly susceptible to the bandwagon effect when they see a trend spreading, which helps bizarre challenges go viral rapidly.
Decline of the Shower Onion Trend
Like most viral internet fads, the shower onion trend has started to fade in popularity after reaching a saturation point. By late 2022, fewer TikTokers were participating in the challenge.
Hashtag views and video mentions of “shower onion” have steadily declined since peaking over the summer.
The novelty has worn off for both creators and viewers. Some have moved onto “weirder” or more extreme challenges to gain attention. There is also a sense the trend has run its course and become too mainstream at this point.
However, that does not mean shower onions are gone from TikTok for good. Viral challenges sometimes come in waves, disappearing for a while before suddenly resurging if influencers breathe new life into them. If a new meme or twist on the trend catches on, shower onions could once again invade TikTokers’ bathrooms.