Viral YouTube challenges you may have forgotten about


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Before YouTube Originals and high-production streams, many of today’s most famous influencers built their audiences through viral trends and challenges. While some of these challenges continue today, the mid-2000s were ripe with viral sensations like “try not to laugh” or “chubby bunny.” Although the number of viral challenges to choose from is endless, here are 30 challenges that many influencers did and that still pop up online today.

Checkout these 30 viral YouTube challenges

YouTuber Tyler WIlliams does Safiya Nygaard's makeup
Safiya Nygaard / YouTube

1. Significant other does my makeup

Also known as the “boyfriend tag,” there were several variations of the “significant other does my” trend. However, few were as viral as this makeup trend. Safiya Nygaard and now-husband Tyler Williams were among some of the popular influencers partaking in the fun, earning 3.6 million views.

NikkieTutorials YouTube makeup challenge
NikkieTutorials / YouTube

2. Doing my makeup in reverse order

Another popular makeup trend was doing your makeup in reverse order, such as starting with your eye makeup and ending with primer. NikkieTutorials’ version of the challenge got just under six million views.

YouTubers Niki and Gabi eat it or wear it challenge
Niki and Gabi / YouTube

3. Eat it or wear it

With this challenge, participants had to decide whether to eat or wear a mystery food item from a bag. Among the many influencers who participated in this challenge were Niki and Gabi, amassing over four million views for their disgusting but amusing challenge.

Related: The most hated food in every state

Youtuber Morgan Adams 24-hour challenge
Morgan Adams / YouTube

4. 24-hour challenge

This is another challenge that was open to interpretation. Morgan Adams has done a few variations of this trend, with her most recent one being spending 24 hours in the pool of her brother and fellow YouTuber, Ryland Adams. She’s also done videos about spending 24 hours in her brother’s panic room and a haunted apartment. 

YouTuber Liza Koshy yoga challenge
Liza Koshy / YouTube

5. Couples yoga

This trend has recently resurfaced on TikTok as the koala challenge, in which someone has to crawl from a partner’s backside to their frontside (or vice versa) without touching the ground. Originally, Liza Koshy and other YouTubers simply did couples yoga poses together, amassing over 18 million views, in Koshy’s case.

YouTuber Simplynailogical 100-layer challenge
Simplynailogical / YouTube

6.100-layer challenge

Simplynailogical started the 100-layer challenge after putting on over a hundred layers of nail polish, amassing 26 million views. Other popular variations include 100 layers of makeup or tattoos.

YouTuber LaurDIY
LaurDIY / YouTube

7. Letting Instagram buy my clothes

LaurDIYand other YouTubers have been resurrecting this trend during quarantine. The YouTuber amassed over a million views by buying clothes from Instagram ads.

YouTuber Colleen Ballinger
Colleen Ballinger / YouTuber

8. Heads Up

Fans of the popular game Heads Up won’t need this one explained: You simply record yourself playing Heads Up, an app game that requires you to put your phone to your head when a word or name appears. Your partner has to give you hints so you guess that word. Colleen and Rachel Ballinger got over a million views for their take on the challenge.

YouTuber Joey Graceffa
Joey Graceffa / YouTube

9. Order whatever the person in front of you got

This is another simple challenge: Go to a restaurant drive-thru and ask to order whatever the person in front of you got. Joey Graceffa’s challenge earned him over a million views.

Charli D’Amelio’s Draw the Life TikTok
Draw the Life TikTok / YouTube

10. Draw my life

This is another challenge TikTok recently took over. In fact, there’s now a YouTube channel called “Draw the Life TikTok” dedicated to it. TikTok star Charli D’Amelio’s draw my life got 1.1 million views.

Vanity Fair The Box challenge
Vanity Fair / YouTube

11. What’s in the box?

For this challenge, you have to guess what’s in a box simply by feeling it. Vanity Fair had the cast of “The Last Jedi” complete this challenge three years, earning 5.9 million views.

Bill Gates Ice Bucket Challenge
Bill Gates / YouTube

12. Ice bucket challenge

Six years ago, the ice bucket challenge formed to raise money for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The idea was to challenge celebrities to dump ice water on their heads or donate to the cause. Many celebrities, including Donald Trump and Bill Gates, did both. The videos are posted on IceBucketChallenge.

YouTubers Sofie Dossi  and Rosanna Pansino
Sofie Dossi / YouTube

13. Cooking without hands

Many influencers tied their hands behind their backs and tried cooking. Sofie Dossicollaborated with fellow Youtuber Rosanna Pansino to bake without hands. The video earned 3.5 million views for struggling through.

YouTuber AmazingPhil
AmazingPhil / YouTube

14. Punk edits IRL

For this challenge, YouTubers turned themselves into punks “IRL,” or in real life. Most bought hair dye, black clothes, eyeliner, chokers and other punk accessories for the challenge. AmazingPhil’s challenge got over 10 million views.

YouTuber Bretman Rock
Bretman Rock / YouTube

15. Guess the song

This is another self-explanatory challenge: Play bits of a song and guess what it is. Whoever has the most correct answers wins. Bretman Rock got almost seven million views for his version of the challenge, which he completed with his sister.

Related: ‘Offensive’ songs you won’t believe were banned from the radio

YouTuber Markiplier
Markiplier/ YouTube

16. Try not to laugh

For this challenge, influencers watched funny viral clips and tried not to laugh. Markiplier, who has done many try not to laugh videos, had one video alone earn 21 million views.

YouTuber Annoying Orange
Annoying Orange / YouTube

17. Speed drawing

This is another simple challenge. Pick an image and draw it in a short amount of time, usually a minute. Annoying Orange got two million views for their challenge video. 

Jimmy Fallon and Rebel Wilson
Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

18. Chubby bunny

Jimmy Fallon did this popular challenge with Rebel Wilson five years ago. Players must put a bunny marshmallow in their mouths and say chubby bunny until they can’t say the word anymore. Whoever had the most bunnies in their mouth won. 

YouTubers Good Mythical Morning
Good Mythical Morning / YouTube

19. BeanBoozled

This game is based on the Jelly Belly BeanBoozled candy, which has mystery jelly beans that either taste like traditional jelly bean flavors or gross ones, like toothpaste or dirty dishwater. Good Mythical Morninggot over a million views for their challenge.

YouTubers Try Guys
Try Guys / YouTube

20. Ghost pepper

Try Guys and other popular YouTubers took up the challenge of either eating a ghost pepper or eating food, such as a chip, made with ghost peppers. 

Gordon Ramsay on YouTube Channel First We Feast
First We Feast / YouTube

21. Hot sauce challenge

First We Feast made the hot sauce challenge popular with their original version of it, called hot ones. This channel invites influencers and celebrities to eat various hot sauces that get hotter and hotter. Kevin Hart and Gordon Ramsay are some of the many celebrities that have appeared on the channel.

YouTuber Alisha Marie
Alisha Marie / YouTube

22. Pause challenge

For this challenge, you and a partner decide who will be the pauser and who will be paused. The pauser can say “pause” and make their friend freeze wherever they are for 60 seconds. Alisha Marie amassed over three million views for her challenge video.

YouTuber James Charles and drag star Trixie Mattel
James Charles / YouTube

23. Drag challenge

The purpose of this challenge is to dress either yourself or a partner up in drag makeup. James Charles did this challenge with famous drag star Trixie Mattel, which got over five million views. 

YouTuber  Corrine Leigh
Corrine Leigh / YouTube

24. Baby food challenge

For this challenge, all you need is various baby foods and a strong stomach. Either by yourself or with a partner, you eat baby food and film your reaction. Corrine Leighgot over a million views doing this challenge four years ago. 

Buzzfeed generic or real challenge
Buzzfeed / YouTube

25. Brand name or generic?

Can you identify if a cereal is a brand name or generic? Buzzfeedput that to the test six years ago in a video that has almost five million views. Other challengers did this with cookies, chips and nearly any other popular snack food.

YouTuber Rosanna Pansino
Rosanna Pansino / YouTube

26. Pizza challenge

This challenge requires a bit of creativity. You and a friend set out to make either the best or worst tasting pizza with non-traditional ingredients. YouTube baker Rosanna Pansino and sister Mo got over 60 million views for their pizza challenge.

YouTuber Collins Key
Collins Key / YouTube

27. Extreme sour candy

Grab some friends and extremely sour candy for this one. The goal is to see who can handle the sourest candies. Collins Key got 13 million clicks for his harrowing experience.

YouTubers Mark Fischbach, Ethan Nestor-Darling and Tyler Scheid
YouTube / Markiplier

28. Pancake art challenge

For this challenge, find a friend and try to make art out of pancakes. Influencers Mark Fischbach (Markiplier), Ethan Nestor-Darling (CrankGamePlays) and Tyler Scheid got over 10 million views trying to make cartoon character-shaped pancakes.

YouTuber Rob Czar
Rob Czar / YouTube

29. Oreo challenge

Given the number of flavors Oreo has available, it’s not surprising that many YouTubers have challenged themselves to try and rank as many as possible. Rob Czar tried to guess the flavors of 20 Oreos blindfolded, earning himself two million views.

YouTuber Jeffree Star
Jeffree Star / YouTube

30. Going to the worst-rated place

Many YouTubers went to the worst-rated restaurant, hotel, nail salon and more for this challenge. They found the shop or store on Yelp or another customer review site and tried out some of the worst-rated services in their cities. Jeffree Star visited the worst-rated tattoo shop in his area. The video got over 13 million views.

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Kaitlyn Farley

Kaitlyn is MediaFeed’s senior editor. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, specializing in social justice and investigative reporting. She has worked at various radio stations and newsrooms, covering higher-education, local politics, natural disasters and investigative and watchdog stories related to Title IX and transparency issues.