TikTok Mirror Reflection Trend Explained

tiktok mirror trend

TikTok has these big viral moments from time to time. Moments that make you say “no way”, get up off the couch and actually check something is real. The latest of these trends is the TikTok mirror reflection trend. Needless to say, the answer is science, but let’s just get on with explaining.

What is the TikTok Mirror Reflection Trend?

There’s two ways I can explain the trend to you. The easiest way is for you to pop on over to this video and check it out for yourself. Or I can explain it.

Basically, this mirror trend on TikTok is an example of people learning some science by observing something that doesn’t immediately make sense. People are placing a small object, like a pack of chewing gum, against a mirror. The trick is that they’re placing a piece of paper in between the mirror and the object. On the surface, the shock comes from being able to see the item in the mirror despite the paper “blocking” it.

Now, TikTok is full of videos saying “what, no way?” as people replicate the test, trying to understand how it works. As I said, it’s science.

How Does the TikTok Mirror Reflection Trend Work?

When you look at an object in a mirror, you’re actually seeing its reflected image. This image appears to be behind the mirror, but it’s not actually a physical object – it’s just an optical illusion created by the reflection.

When you place a piece of paper between the object and the mirror, the light reflecting off the object still reaches the mirror and is still reflected back towards you. The paper doesn’t block this reflected light, but instead becomes a part of the background that the reflected image appears against.

Diagrams for science

So even though there’s a piece of paper between the object and the mirror, you can still see the reflected image of the object because the light reflecting off the object is still able to reach your eyes after being reflected by the mirror. The paper simply becomes a part of the background that the reflected image appears against, and does not interfere with the reflection itself.

This TikTok mirror trend is really just a secondary school physics experiment out in the wild. I’m viewing this as a massive positive. Lots of people are learning things like the laws of reflection without even knowing it. This might be the first time I’ve seen social media indirectly making people smarter. The U.S. really can’t afford to ban this app!

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Founding Editor of Goosed, Marty is a massive fan of tech making life easier. You'll often find him testing something new, brewing beer or finding some new foodie spots in Dublin, Ireland. - Find me on Threads