How do you do the corn syrup trend?

The corn syrup trend refers to a viral video challenge where people pour corn syrup on themselves or others for fun. It started gaining popularity in late 2022 across social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. While messy, it seems to delight viewers – but is it safe? Here’s what you need to know about properly executing the corn syrup trend.

What is the corn syrup challenge?

The corn syrup challenge involves pouring a bottle of corn syrup over your head or body. It creates a sticky, glossy look as the syrup drips down. The trend started when TikTok user @nicolexx8 posted a video pouring a bottle of corn syrup over her head in a driveway. She titled it “Do not try this at home.” Of course, that didn’t stop other users from trying it themselves and posting their own versions.

Part of the appeal is the dramatic unveiling – people like the shock factor of seeing someone suddenly drenched in syrup. The videos tend to show the person standing still, having a friend pour the bottle over their head, then gasping and laughing as it oozes down. It’s meant to be funny and lighthearted, playing with the gooey texture of the corn syrup for entertainment.

Where did the corn syrup trend come from?

While @nicolexx8’s TikTok video propelled the trend into virality in October 2022, pouring syrup on yourself wasn’t entirely new. Syrup challenges have popped up now and then before, like the maple syrup trend on YouTube a few years back. But corn syrup specifically seems to have taken off thanks to TikTok. Part of what made it stand out was using a full bottle rather than just a drizzle or splash. Doubling down on the sticky shock factor appealed to viewers.

Viral food challenges often start as a kind of one-upmanship, with users trying to outdo each other. Once the corn syrup videos started gaining traction, more and more people wanted to try it and put their own spin on it. Even celebrities like Lizzo filmed themselves participating in the trend. When a trend goes viral, it then feeds on itself – people want to join in on the popular new meme. The cycle continues as more videos spread across social media. So the initial novelty led to a trend that kept snowballing thanks to the collaborative nature of platforms like TikTok.

How do you safely participate in the corn syrup trend?

If you want to try out the trend for yourself, here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Use light or dark corn syrup, not high fructose corn syrup. Look for simple syrup ingredients.
  • Do it outside to avoid making a mess indoors. Concrete or pavement works best.
  • Wear clothes you don’t mind ruining – the corn syrup will likely stain.
  • Tie or pin back long hair so it stays out of the syrup.
  • Have someone else pour the bottle so you can close your eyes and cover your face.
  • Use a funnel or spouted bottle for better aim and control.
  • Wash yourself and your hair immediately after to rinse off all residue.
  • Be careful pouring – go slowly and watch your footing. Avoid driveways or slippery surfaces.
  • Consider goggles so syrup doesn’t get in your eyes.
  • Don’t swallow any corn syrup to avoid overconsumption and upset stomach.

The most important safety tip is to use regular corn syrup rather than high fructose corn syrup. Simple corn syrup is made from corn starch broken down into glucose. High fructose corn syrup goes through an additional process to convert some glucose into fructose. This makes it much sweeter – and consuming too much can be unhealthy. Stick with standard corn syrup to avoid issues.

What type of corn syrup works best?

You have a few options when it comes to which corn syrup will achieve the best effect:

Light corn syrup

Light corn syrup has a light golden color and milder flavor. It will pour smoothly for clean coverage. The lighter color also pops more dramatically against hair or clothing for visual appeal.

Dark corn syrup

Dark corn syrup is heavier and richer with a more pronounced corn flavor. It will create a striking dripped effect against the skin or hair. However, the coloring may stain lighter fabrics more.

Maple syrup

For a seasonal twist, consider using maple syrup. It’s thinner than corn syrup so pours quickly. Pure maple syrup has a distinctive flavor that comes through. But it still provides sticky, shiny results for the challenge.

In general, lighter corn syrups are recommended if you want to minimize stains. Go for darker options like maple syrup if you want more dramatic visuals for your video. Consider using a bottle with a funnel or nozzle to control pouring.

What should you wear for the corn syrup challenge?

Clothing choice is an important consideration for this messy trend. Here are some wardrobe tips:

  • Wear old clothes or items you don’t mind staining. Syrup can leave sticky residues even after washing.
  • Darker fabrics like black hoodies or t-shirts are ideal since they’ll show off syrup dripping without absorbing color.
  • Wear a bathing suit or other coverage you feel comfortable in. Videos often only show a person’s upper half.
  • Bare skin also works well – consider wearing a bikini or shirtless for guys.
  • Accessories like hats, gloves, or glasses can protect parts of your look.
  • Go shirtless and barefoot if doing a full body version to keep your everyday clothes clean.
  • Have a change of clothes ready so you can rinse off stickiness and redress.

Aim for clothes that add to the shock factor without revealing too much. Dark shirts or bathing suits work well. If doing a full drench, stripping down to basic coverage helps limit messiness after. The main goal is pouring syrup over skin and hair rather than clothes. Prepare backup outfits to change into after rinsing off.

Where should you do the corn syrup challenge?

Outdoors is the ideal location for pouring corn syrup to avoid potential mess and damage. Here are some spots to consider:

  • Driveways, sidewalks, or patios – flat, hard surfaces that are easy to hose off after.
  • Backyards, grassy areas – syrup will soak into soil without pooling.
  • Near outdoor showers or hoses – helpful for rinsing.
  • Poolside – the water makes cleanup simple.
  • Over tile, concrete, wood, or asphalt – avoids carpets or furnishings.
  • Away from furniture, cars, buildings – prevent sticky spills.
  • Garages or barns – contain drips and offer privacy.

The key is choosing a spot that won’t be damaged by residual syrup. Avoid porous materials like unfinished wood or drywall. Concrete, tile, or linoleum flooring is ideal. Have a water source nearby to aid removal after filming. Or do it poolside for easy diving and rinsing.

How do you get corn syrup out of hair?

Once you’ve completed the challenge, you’ll need to wash corn syrup out of your hair right away. Here are some tips for removal:

  • Rinse with lukewarm water first to dilute and evenly distribute the syrup.
  • Massage shampoo thoroughly from roots to ends to lift out sticky residue.
  • Use clarifying shampoo to remove buildup from repeat washes if needed.
  • Consider a vinegar rinse – the acid helps break down sugars.
  • Baking soda also lifts away stubborn syrup leftover in hair.
  • Brush wet hair gently with a wide-tooth comb to detangle.
  • Shampoo twice if needed – don’t leave any syrup sitting.
  • Pat dry hair gently instead of rubbing to prevent frizz.
  • Style hair as usual – but avoid heat tools until fully dried.

Washing immediately is crucial so corn syrup doesn’t dry in the hair. Use warm water and repeat shampooing until all stickiness is gone. Vinegar or baking soda help remove traces left behind after rinsing. Brush carefully and allow hair to air dry to avoid damage to damp strands.

Can you rinse corn syrup down the drain?

A common concern with the corn syrup challenge is whether pouring the syrup down drains or pipes can cause clogs. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Small amounts of diluted syrup can rinse safely down most drains.
  • Run very hot water to help dissolve sugars as you wash off.
  • Avoid pouring thick globs directly into sinks.
  • Wipe up excess syrup outside before rinsing indoors.
  • Use a hair catcher over shower and sink drains to minimize buildup.
  • Flush pipes with boiling water mixed with baking soda to clear any deposits.
  • Use enzyme drain cleaner regularly if syrup frequently goes down your drains.

The small amount of syrup used for the challenge rinses away safely when hair is washed. Just avoid dumping entire bottles down the drain at once. Run hot water to dissolve sugar and keep syrup diluted. Monitor your drains and use drain cleaner to prevent any future clogs from buildup.

How should you clean up after the corn syrup challenge?

Cleaning up corn syrup residue after the challenge requires some work. Here are tips for tackling cleanup:

  • Rinse outdoor areas thoroughly with a hose.
  • Use hot, soapy water and a stiff brush on hard surfaces.
  • Change out wash water frequently so it stays warm and sudsy.
  • For porous surfaces like unfinished wood or concrete, lay down a tarp first to contain drips.
  • Scrape off thick globs carefully with a plastic scraper before rinsing.
  • Use an all-purpose cleaner like Mr. Clean for tackling set-in syrup on floors or furniture.
  • Launder stained clothes separately with stain remover and very hot water.
  • Discard heavily soiled clothing that can’t be fully cleaned.

Be prepared for some elbow grease removing stickiness outside and on surfaces. Work promptly before syrup dries. Soaking in hot, soapy water helps dissolve sugar residues. Harsh cleaners or plastic tools can lift stubborn drips without damaging surfaces. Consider doing the challenge over old towels or tarps that can simply be discarded after.

Can you recycle the empty corn syrup bottle?

Once you’ve finished the corn syrup bottle for your video, you may be wondering if it can be recycled. Here’s what to consider:

  • Give the bottle a good rinse and remove any remaining residue before recycling.
  • Check if your local recycling program accepts #1 PETE plastic bottles.
  • Recycle loose plastic caps separately or screw tightly back onto bottles.
  • Don’t put syrup-coated bottles directly into your home recycling bin.
  • Bring sticky bottles to a public recycling drop-off center for proper cleaning.
  • Consider repurposing empty plastic bottles for DIY projects instead of recycling.

Cleaning is key for recycling corn syrup containers. Thoroughly rinse away stickiness that could contaminate other materials. Call your local program first, as not all accept #1 PETE plastic. Or reuse creatively around the house – empty syrup bottles make great crafty vases!


Trying the viral corn syrup challenge is a sticky experience – but a hilarious one to share if done properly. Choose safe syrups like light or dark corn syrup rather than high fructose versions. Conduct outdoors and away from anything easily damaged. Wear old clothes and prep a washer hose for easy cleanup after. Shampoo hair immediately to avoid residue. Diluting syrup down drains prevents plumbing issues. With some preparation and care, you can totally tackle the trending corn syrup videos!

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