It’s what’s on the inside that matters, right?

Apparently not, according to the viral TikTok shopping hack in which people are buying the cheapest thing on the Chanel website — mostly for the luxe packaging, two free product samples and designer clout that come with it.

What is the cheapest thing you can get with the double-C insignia? It’s called Le Coton, French for “cotton,” and that is exactly what you get. The box contains 100 cotton squares made for washing your face or removing makeup, and costs a grand total of $20.

While this is a lot more than your average package of cotton pads, these “exquisitely soft, tri-layer cotton pads” just hit different, according to the Chanel website and diehard fans of the brand.

“I use them everyday actually when doing my skincare routine. They’re super nice and so soft,” said TikTok influencer Erin Smelcer, who went viral after posting her three-part unboxing video of the Le Coton pads.

Smelcer, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin Madison, runs the popular TikTok account @theerinmarie. To date, her Part 1 video has been viewed over 7 million times.


“It’s currently my most viewed TikTok. I think it really took off because designer brands are considered supertrendy and it’s something a lot of people want,” she said. “Being able to get a Chanel product at an affordable price is definitely pretty cool. I think a lot of people relate to this and that’s why the video became so popular.”

But let’s be honest here: The classic Chanel box in sleek black and white definitely is the big draw. The brand knows this all too well, and even features a fully produced video on their website about the boxing process. The clip showcases a pair of well-manicured hands carefully placing Chanel products into the box, on top of a cushion of course. The hands then place a white card into a white envelope before sealing the white box with more white tissue and a stark black sticker, resembling a wax seal.

The video then reverses, showing the unboxing process, not too unlike the ones featured on TikTok after receiving the famed package in the mail. Heavy on clean, crisp aesthetics, maybe beauty only runs box-deep after all.

TikTok user Amya Williams (@myxva) has also tried this trend — admits she “really just wanted the box. Like the box just looks fancy, and it just looks like I have money, so,” she said in her unboxing video with over 305,000 likes and 1.1 million views.

“I have not used one single cotton pad; I’ve let guests in my home touch the cotton pads to feel the softness but I haven’t used one,” said Williams, 20, from Baltimore. “The cotton pads are definitely worth the purchase if you’re extra like me. When I initially placed my order it was on back order because they had sold out since they went viral. I waited about 2 1/2 months for them to arrive. Chanel even contacted me to ask if I wanted to cancel the order.”

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