TikTok was the sole reason I had to uninstall the automatic pay feature on my phone. It was almost Pavlovian: When I see a video open with, "You guys, I just went to Target and—", my heart rate increases, and my credit card's security code gets stuck in my head like a Taylor Swift song. Beauty product discoveries and their reviews are by far my favorite part of any social media app, but the latest platform I've discovered might just be the best way to learn about potential purchases yet.
Flip is an app that combines captivating endless scroll with in-depth, user-generated reviews and a seamless e-commerce component for a one-stop beauty shopping stop—and it's deliciously addictive. Marked by an emphasis on transparency and authentic user-generated beauty product reviews and demonstrations, it's the social media equivalent to your bestie telling you all about her latest, greatest Sephora haul.
What Is Flip?
To put it simply, Flip is a feed of user-produced beauty, skincare, and wellness product reviews and demonstrations, presented in short video formats, not unlike TikTok or Instagram Reels. As you watch other users' (Flippers?) content, you can seamlessly purchase what they're discussing for yourself—and save some money while you're at it. By voting on a review video, viewers can score up to 30 percent off their total order. And if you choose to get into the review-making game yourself, that content can be monetized into further discounts on Flip or a direct bank account payment.
According to Flip founder Noor Agha, the app was built to meet the new demands of our modern age of e-commerce. "At Flip, we've built an experience that combines the social and commerce worlds in an organic fashion," he says, "offering shoppers a single destination to discover, learn and instantly shop for beauty products."
Agha, who's built successful e-commerce companies in the past, says Flip uniquely combines a streamlined shopping component with refreshingly honest reviews, tying intuitive consumer behaviors together. "We are now in a world of zero credibility, with the trust of influencers plummeting," Agha explains, adding that the influencer economy yields what many followers consider to be inauthentic reviews. It's not necessarily knowledge or skill that scores these influencers their brand deals, but rather their audience metrics.
And he's not wrong—that dwindling trust in stalwart influencers and personalities has left the door open for more democratized (and honest) reviews from micro-influencers as well as regular product users. His theory speaks to a shift I've noted in my own pre-buy research, too. I once ran to YouTube or Instagram years ago for "first impressions" videos from big-name influencers—now, I prefer platforms like Reddit that offer reviews from "real" users instead. Flip is essentially the video-based equivalent, empowering creators to say how they actually feel without the silent, implied cudgel of a brand deal on the line.
How It Works
Like other e-commerce or shopping platforms, Flip operates by courting both brands and new users. On-boarded brands ensure their latest and greatest products are seamlessly shoppable in the app. At the same time, Flip encourages users and creators to react naturally to what they're seeing and feeling—both about the products themselves and the reviews in their feeds.
Currently, well-loved brands—like Kate Somerville, Laneige, Hourglass, Youth To The People, NuFace, Tower 28, and Nécessaire, to name a few—have joined up with Flip for the click-to-buy experience. For brands, the appeal is clear: If you have great products, they'll speak for themselves through enthusiastic peer-to-peer reviews that carry much more weight than paid-for ads. And new features like live shopping events (kind of a Gen Z reverse-engineered Home Shopping Network, in a way) approximate the feel of a mall day with friends.
"What excites brands most about Flip is that it wasn’t built to act as an extension of an existing shopping channel," Agha says. "It was truly built for live and social shopping, from discovery to research, to recommendations. While other commerce platforms have tried to retroactively build social media into their infrastructure, we’ve built ours around the creators from the onset." And to sweeten the pot, he adds, Flip handles both the backend, fulfillment, and shipping for brands.
One thing Agha mentioned stood out to me as I tried the app myself. "As it stands, the path to purchase is incredibly siloed," he says. "Shoppers discover products on one app, research them on another, and then complete their purchases on a standalone e-commerce destination. There was a tremendous opportunity to create a seamless experience that merged all of these touchpoints in an organic fashion."
That's absolutely correct in my experience, too. Usually, if I come across a product on Instagram or TikTok, I race to Reddit or other forums to see what a largely anonymous community thinks. I might even text my friends or brother for extra background research—"Hey, have you guys heard of this??" Then, after rooting around for a discount code that may or may not exist, I'll purchase it off yet another website. But now, my screentime on Flip might start to outpace even those other apps.
While watching Flip videos, I appreciated how—similar to TikTok—the videos are largely unproduced. I like seeing people just sitting in their bedrooms, rambling excitedly about their new favorite lip balm or co-wash. Free from pre-approved scripts or talking points, the narration feels off-the-cuff and genuine, full of plenty of "Oh my god, and I almost forgot the best part!" The less-than-positive reviews are the same snippets of conversation you'd hear among friends browsing the Ulta aisles together. This experience may be purely anecdotal, but from my perspective, even the comment sections are more friendly and inclusive than on other platforms. Because the emphasis is on honest dialogue, users will notice plenty of relaxed but informative conversations about the products in the comments.
Finally, there's the practical standpoint. I love tossing likes to cool videos only to see my discounts racking up in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. They max out at 30 percent off each order of $100, but that's a pretty considerable discount for calming scrolling through lip gloss swatches. Since Flip manages the inventory and fulfillment, the app offers two-day delivery on orders shipped with minimal packaging. Once you get the hang of the interface, the experience is so simultaneously obvious and brilliant that you'll wonder how you didn't come up with it yourself. But that's just a testament to Flip and Agha—necessity is the mother of invention, and it's extremely necessary for me to seamlessly buy every well-reviewed cream blush and light-hold hairspray on the market.