Move over, Kinder Eggs: There’s a new obsession on YouTube and Instagram — and it has nothing to do with toys or makeup. Soap cutting is the new viral phenomenon that people are latching on to because soap, as one woman puts it, “make[s] a good sound when they drop.”
What is soap cutting?
Soap cutting is exactly what it sounds like: People cutting up bars of soap on camera.
“When I first started, I would get two, three hundred followers and I would get super excited,” Kaelin Brady told ABC News. “And that number just started getting higher and higher.”
The #soapcutting tab on Instagram has nearly 91,000 posts and shows people making tiny soap cuts in a number of different ways — all to give people the satisfaction of seeing them drop.
Why is soap cutting so popular?
For some people, viewing soap cutting videos is simply a relaxing activity. For others, it gives them “braingasms.”
Those who experience ASMR — Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response — feel pleasurable tingles in their bodies when they see or hear certain things.
“ASMR is a deeply relaxing and comforting feeling, usually accompanied by tingling sensations in the head,” Craig Richard, PhD, an ASMR researcher and founder of ASMR University, told Refinery29.
Soap cutting is one trigger for the ASMR community, as are other acts like head massages, tapping fingernails against a glass, whispering, scratching, ear brushing, hair play and turning pages.
Squeezing slime is also an ASMR trigger, which partially explains that crazy on Instagram and YouTube.
To date, there haven’t been any in-depth medical studies into ASMR, but the relaxation people experience is likely due to a release of feel-good chemicals in the brain like oxytocin.
“In infancy, it’s a parent’s touch and voice that are most effective at comforting a stressed infant, and it’s likely that these pathways of being comforted are still important in those experiencing ASMR,” Richard told Refinery29.
Though Brady told ABC News that she doesn’t experience ASMR, she does enjoy scouring shops for more soap to cut up for her adoring fans.
“Just the simplicity of it,” Brady said of why she loves being a part of the soap cutting trend. “There’s no gimmicks. I just cut the soap, it’s relaxing, and we’re good.”