Remember 20 years ago, when we all thought 2022 would bring with it futuristic innovations like widely available flying cars and teleportation capabilities? Who would've thought, instead, that we'd be verging on year three of a global pandemic and watching videos of TikTokers peeling raw eggs? The latter activity is real, FYI. Almost every night since mid-December 2021, like clockwork, I've come across several TikTok Live streams on my For You Page during which clearly nimble TikTokers are peeling a raw egg with a level of laser focus and care I've never given anything in my life. Yes, the entire thing is as perplexing as it sounds, and yes, other users have noticed a global rise in these types of videos, too.
What some have deemed the "TikTok egg peel challenge" is pretty straightforward: the objective is to peel a raw egg's shell, separating it from the egg's inner membrane completely and leaving behind a pudgy little egg sac perfectly intact. The videos start with the egg peeler ever so gently making the first crack on the raw egg, typically by tapping the shell with a small tool or carefully cracking it against a plate. Then, using small tools like tweezers or extractors, they'll slowly separate the membrane from the shell, breaking off small pieces. Successfully peeling the entire egg without bursting the membrane is one hell of a feat, and the frenzy of comments on these live streams and videos proves it. But . . . why is raw egg peeling on TikTok a thing, and why will we stare at these videos in silence for hours?
It's unclear where or how the raw egg peeling challenge originated on TikTok specifically, but this activity technically isn't new. A quick search on YouTube shows some egg-peeling videos uploaded as far back as five years ago. While more recent videos show anyone trying their hand at peeling an egg, several of the older videos center on surgeons and other medical professionals peeling eggs, presumably as a dexterity exercise to demonstrate how delicately one must approach certain medical procedures.
As for why you see these videos on your TikTok FYP one minute and find yourself still watching hours later? Well, it could be for a number of reasons, but generally, these raw egg peeling videos verge on "oddly satisfying," not unlike videos of people cutting kinetic sand or squishing slime. "These videos are strange, but relatable," Rachel Wien, NYC-based clinical psychologist and founder of Milestone CBT, tells POPSUGAR. "It's not something you would ever think of yourself, but it's something that you could easily try at home."
These types of slow, mundane, repetitive motions could trigger a pleasant autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), which some researchers have found combats physical feelings of stress in our bodies. "Similar to the popular pimple-popping videos, these types of videos satisfy us and also tend to relax us — when we watch, we are just focusing on this simple activity and not thinking about all of the stressors around us (work, relationships, etc.)," says Wien. On the flip side, the high (relatively speaking) stakes that come with handling something as fragile as an egg — and the unlikely potential of emerging from the challenge victorious — can be hard to peel yourself away from, so to speak.
Of course, there's always the collective confusion driving us all to watch and search for these videos to figure out WTF all the hype is about, subsequently giving them an algorithm boost. Regardless, watch the oddly satisfying egg peeling TikTok videos ahead.