Morticians are the profession you’d least except to make it big on social media, but funeral workers on TikTok are doing just that, amassing thousands of views and followers by offering deep dives into the world of the macabre.
Eileen Hollis, a licensed funeral director and embalmer at Hollis Funeral Home in Syracuse, New York, and mortuary science student Mimi who posts under @mimithemortician are among the funeral professionals racking up millions of likes with videos discussing all-things dead bodies.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Wiltshire-based The Mortuary Tech, who cannot reveal her real name for legal reasons, likes to give pointers on the make-up and tools she uses, and counts more than 230,000 followers.
Morticians are responsible for preparing your loved ones for their funeral, and this includes embalming, a sanitary process where the body is preserved from decomposition.
Videos shared by the morticians range from joking about hearing noises in the mortuary, dancing in front of empty coffins or showing how they use make-up to hide the first signs of human decomposition.
American and British morticians are gathering millions of views on TikTok, where they open up about their professions, embalming dead bodies, and share the intricacies of their jobs. Pictured: a plastic head used to practise embalming makeup
Eileen Ellis, pictured, from Syracuse, New York, has her own funeral home and revealed it takes her up to an hour and a half to complete the embalming process for a body
‘If you’re seeing this right now, I’d like to formally introduce you to Death Tok,’ Mimi, 20, said in one of her videos.
‘I’m here to normalise death care, as I’m a normal 30-year-old girl who is currently about to graduate from mortuary school.’
The student, who said on her page she shares ‘ethical content only’ invites people to ask any questions they might have about what happens to a body when you die, and already counts nearly 32,000 followers.
The student shared videos of herself applying specialised makeup onto a plastic head as a way to practise her skills.
Eileen revealed she uses lip wax in order to prepare bodies for their funerals. She said speicalised mortuary makeup should not be used on people who are alive
She also revealed in one clip that morticians wash bodies several times throughout the embalming process, including washing their hair and massaging them while injecting them with embalming fluids.
She also revealed that if a person’s brain is taken out of their skull during an autopsy, embalmers seal it up with gauze, paste and powder during the embalming.
Meanwhile, Syracuse-based mortician Eileen, who owns her own funeral home, said it takes her ‘at least an hour and a half’ to complete a full embalming process.
‘But that timing can increase based on the condition of the body,’ she added.
‘For example, did they die in the middle of summer? Are they decomposing at a faster rate? Did they go through a really tough illness that left their body with a lot of edema?
‘Not two bodies are alike, everybody comes to us with different needs,’ she added.
She also said it is best to ask the family of the deceased if they want to see them clean-shaven or with facial hair for the wake.
Mimi, a 20-year-old mortuary student, showed how she applies the makeup using a plastic head, pictured, and showing the products she has selected
Mimi, pictured, said she is a ‘normal 20-year-old’ and offers to answer people’s questions about dead bodies on her TikTok
‘If the family decides to leave the facial hair, I will scrub it really good, whether it’s a beard of a mustache or a handle bar mustache, and I will put a little of beard oil in it just to hydrate their life,’ she revealed.
She said she rarely sees bodies coming through the doors of her funeral homes all dolled-up, and a large chunk of the embalming process is spent disinfecting the bodies, and getting rid of any remnant of saliva, snot or rheum that might have collected by the nose or glued the eyes shut.
She added that makeup made for dead bodies is different from the makeup you’d use on yourself, because it is ‘very thick’ and feels like wax, and that it would give someone who is alive ‘cystic acne.’
Mimi also revealed that families can request that the deceased’s own hairstylist comes to the mortuary to give them one last haircut before the funeral.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Wiltshire-based The Mortuary Tech, likes to show off the tools she uses, from a mix of specialised makeup and drug store brands to curved needles used to sew the dead person’s mouth shut.
The student showed the pigmented waxes and powders, pictured, she uses to doll up the deceased before their funerals
Mortuary technicians use wax to hide the decomposition that can happen after a person has died. Mimi revealed she also uses a ruler, several pencils and spatulas to apply the makeup, pictured
She explained the needles need to be curved because they have to go from under the chin to the nasal cavity and then back to the chin, so fit through the side of the face like a hook.
In one of her videos, she explained that mortuary technicians like her check hands and feet of bodies to make sure they are not decomposing faster than they should before they are treated.
She also added that mortuary technicians cannot legally stop loved ones from seeing the deceased, but revealed she advises family members not to visit the bodies during the embalming process because it is ‘distressing’ and the bodies ‘don’t look like what they’re meant to look’.
‘And we also have to think about the deceased’s dignity and it’s very, very important that we remember, yes, they may have passed on, but they still have rights,’ she said.
Eileen showed the way she mixes wax with products in order to bring colour to a deceased person’s lips, pictured
Morticians use specialised products but also rely on popular makeup items, like this Glossier pick, pictured
Dodge, pictured, is a specialty brand that sells mortuary waxes and makeup that morticians use on cadavers
Morticians use wax and darker pigment pastes, pictured, to contour the face and preserve its looks
She admitted not all bodies can be ‘fixed,’ especially people who have died in horrific circumstances such as train accidents, and she said families ‘don’t want to see that.’
She added that the loved ones of people who have died by suicide tend to go straight to the morticians to ask to see their loved ones and ask a lot of questions to make sure there was no foul play.
All three of the mortuary professionals assured their fans they never get scared, don’t have nightmares or fear the dead.
However, The Mortuary Tech said some bodies, including bodies of young children or bodies of people who have taken their own lives could be traumatising to see for staff.
A mortician known only as the Mortuary Tech in Wilshire explained that mortuary staff use curved needles pictured, to sew people’s mouth shut