Pin It

These people like watching videos of scratched dandruff

TextTom Rasmussen

Not for the squeamish

From Instagram clips of people destroying their lipstick to those pimple popping videos that exist in the dark recesses of the web, we all have those things that make us tick. Beauty Fetish is a regular column where we uncover the weirdest beauty trends the internet has to offer and meet the people behind them.

It was a Wednesday afternoon in December when I put up an Instagram story asking people who love dandruff ASMR to get in touch with me for this very important piece of investigative journalism.

Now, not to brag, but my stories usually get up to three responses (all from my housemates, and this one iconic girl who sends unprompted pseudo-sexual literotica twice daily). But this snowy story caused a divide on my social media like I’d never seen. First, I lost six followers (thanks Dazed Beauty); next, I received approximately fifteen judgemental responses telling me that this was gross, questioning what I do for a living, and asking why on earth anyone might be into listening to – and watching – the intense moment where scalp becomes druff, where follicles shed flakes, where the skin around one's hairs sheds like that of a snake. “Well,” I replied, “that’s why I’m asking!”. Three more followers gone.

But, as with any divisive ASMR trend, I found myself with five responders, all with deeply impassioned reasons for loving listening to the sound of dandruff being shed.

“It feels like a release, and frankly a sexual one,” my literotica fan responds when I probe a little further into why she “can’t get enough” of the druff. A sexual one? “Yes, it’s like the utter gobsmacking catharsis of an orgasm, with the same kinda build up – slow slow slow, then a big release.”

I had to find out more: and so I trawled YouTube for increasingly intense examples of people scratching their scalps off. Now, I’ve had dandruff – hell, I’ve bleached my hair for eleven years – and I’ve even had scalp psoriasis so bad I was problematically recommended the sunbed by a doctor back in the early noughties. The idea of dandruff doesn’t freak me out.

But these video accounts have 20k - 80k strong followings, invested fanbases who watch them scrape off their scalps. It turned my stomach – a video entitled Big Dandruff Flakes – and the more I watched the more I was convinced I couldn’t get on board with what some 2 million viewers evidently could, and had to switch it off.

So I had to ask those impassioned responders in order to understand. And it helped: for some it is sexual, for others, it’s about family, for one it was about order and for another it’s just because she loves picking her own head scabs.

G, 26, Australia

Why do you like dandruff ASMR?
I find it very hot. I like gross things, like wanking to the idea of pegging incels and teaching them a fucking lesson or, I guess, like dandruff. It’s so weird that it makes me feel so bad for watching it, knowing nobody ‘normal’ enjoys it, and so it just gets me: it both soothes that bit in my back that ASMR hits but also — this is anonymous right? — makes me like instantly want to touch myself. God I’m so weird.

What makes the perfect flakey video? Big flakes, light snow, etc. And why?
I am quite particular about the flakes: I either want huge flat flakes that come off like wallpaper, or tiny, snowy heaven. I find them the most extreme and I work in extremes. Ugh, I wonder what would happen if I put loads of dandruff in my vagina? I’m always thinking of things to put in my vagina.

Who are the best accounts? Why?
My fave account is ScratchingMyScalpOff because the name is so visceral. She’s always got nice nails too.

Do you find it gross or beautiful or anything else? Why?
I find beauty in gross shit, I find that part of myself beautiful — the part which always wonders what the dandruff in the videos tastes like. I mean why the fuck not? I eat my own, and my earwax — have you ever tried your own earwax? It tastes either very bitter or like hairdressers smell.

Do you tell people about your love for dandruff ASMR? Why/why not?
No. You are the first person I’ve ever told about this. Not gonna entrap me a man and take all his money if I’m like ‘hey boy can I eat ur druff?’.

A, 27, London

Why do you like dandruff ASMR?
I find it incredibly soothing - I guess as someone who’s quite controlling, it feels incredibly satisfying to see dandruff be cleared off a scalp. The act of cleansing and getting rid of it feels very rewarding. My house is incredibly tidy – I Marie Kondo-ed before you bitches even heard of her – and so I need something to go from dirty to clean and this is it.

What does it make you feel?
It makes me feel lighter and satisfied - there’s a level of empathy to it as well, as I feel happy for the person doing it.

Is there any part of it that’s sexual for you?
It’s not sexual but it definitely affects me physically - the ASMR element does affect my senses for sure. It’s doesn’t turn me on in the slightest but it definitely has a chemical impact on me.

What makes the perfect flakey video? Big flakes, light snow, etc. And why?
I like all flakes! Pan-flake!

Who are the best accounts? Why?
PitaFlakes on Youtube. He’s cute and I love how red raw his scalp gets afterwards. It’s like a purge, and it’s so satisfying.

Do you find it gross or beautiful or anything else? Why?
I don’t find it gross as it’s all quite a natural thing that a lot of people have and it’s just skin - I find it very satisfying.

Do you tell people about your love for dandruff ASMR? Why/why not?
No, because I mean it’s quite obviously embarrassing because sadly I do feel a lot of people would be very judgmental about it.

K, 24, Liverpool

How does dandruff ASMR make you feel?
It makes me feel fab when you can pick a bit out especially if it’s somewhere you definitely should not be picking your head at, like on a busy train.

Is it sexual?
It isn't sexual just something I shouldn't find joy in.

Do you pick your own?
Yeah. I think I find it a bit of a hobby and something to do and when I am stressed out. When my blonde side is bleached I get scabs and can pick them out. I fucking love pulling them through my hair. I wouldn't say they’re beautiful though and I hate seeing druff just in my hair. It's definitely about pulling them out.

Do you have dandruff?
Yes, I have it all the time but mainly when I've picked at my scalp and when it’s been dyed. It's not really bad though; I think I cause it by picking at my scalp. I'd hate to have it in my hair for anyone to see though, which is strange because I will openly say, ‘I fucking love the druff’.

T, 19, London

How did you discover dandruff ASMR?
Okay so I’m an only child raised by a single mum and we are really close. And because I’m gay and she’s fab we used to do these beauty regimes where we’d pick each other’s dandruff and squeeze each others’ spots and stuff while watching Great British Menu. And then one day when I was in Mykonos my mum called me and was like ‘it’s urgent’ and it was to tell me that she’d found this thing about dandruff. And since then we were both hooked.

Is it sexual?
No, it makes me think of my mum. But I guess it’s weirdly primal – much like mother and I’s dandruff practices – like a mother grooming her young, I’m kind of so desperate and happy for someone when they clear a little bit of their scalp from dandruff. It’s like a moth and butterfly, but like, a scalp.

What’s the best account?
GirlFlakesWorld for the good stuff.

Do you tell people about it?
I mean yes, I’m fairly open because it’s hardly that bad, just quite funny. Sometimes when I go home and my nanna comes round we’ll all eat our tea and Mum will put the videos big on the TV, one after the other, and we will just relax and watch dandruff and eat. That’s such a funny story, why wouldn’t I tell it?

Do you listen to it to go to sleep?
No, it doesn’t really move me in an ASMR way – I don’t think I have that. But weirdly, okay so I’m scared of flying, and when I went to Texas last year alone for a weird job I was really nervous so I downloaded like ten dandruff ASMRs so I could think about my mum if we hit turbulence and I decided to put them on before takeoff. And I slept sound the whole way there. What the fuck? Druff all the way.

Read Next
Holly Dillon
Why I turned to traditional Chinese medicine to cure my psoriasis Tried and Tested
Gucci Thomas de Kluyver
Thank god for Gucci and its trowelled-on Cosmogonie make-up Beauty news
The Black-owned beauty brand mixing Scandi minimalism and African tradition Beauty Feature
Kiko colourful brows
Curl up and dye: the idiot’s guide to dyeing your own eyebrows Beauty School
Here x Haeckels x Tetsuo Lin
Fragrances made from extinct flowers may soon be a reality Beauty Feature
hair cut
What’s behind the sudden rise in hair growth products? Beauty Feature
Screenshot 2022-05-11 at 11.27.40
What’s in an accent? How class hierarchy enacts its power through voice Beauty Feature
Fitch Lunar BTS
Hairstylist Fitch Lunar’s creations are sexily imperfect Spotlight
Screenshot 2022-05-03 at 10.47.54(1)
‘Not ugly, just poor’: how the beauty industry is widening the class divide Beauty Feature
May 2022 horoscope: expect immense change this Eclipse season Horoscopes
The latest nail trend proves that everyone wants to be a 90s child Trending Beauty
DB 03
Supercuts: a tribute to subcultural hair styles through the ages Photo story
This Ukraine fundraising event has all of your favourite beauty creatives Beauty news
Seth Rogen
Everyone loves Seth Rogen’s gloopy acrylic manicure Beauty news
Goodnight Mommy
The women getting cosmetic procedures in secret Beauty Feature
Gilded Met Gala inspo for celebs who won’t get the memo Beauty Feature