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Why Are Gen Z Men Spending Thousands On ‘Lookmaxxing’? Can This TikTok Trend Get Them A Perfect Appearance?

Gen Z men are spending thousands on a trend driven by social media to achieve a chiseled face through diet, exercise, Botox, and plastic surgery.

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Representative image Photo: Pinterest
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Gen Z is highly influenced by social media trends in almost every aspect including health and fashion. And so, Gen Z men are spending thousands of dollars and taking look enhancement to new heights with a new social media trend known as "looksmaxxing."

 This trend promotes a perfectly chiseled face through various methods, including diet, tongue exercises, Botox, and plastic surgery.

"We have a lot of men in our practice seeking facial balancing. For most, this involves creating a strong jawline and a sculpted look," Dr. Jennifer Levine, a plastic surgeon on the Upper East Side, told The Post. Since 2020, Dr. Levine has seen a 400% increase in 20-something men seeking jawline treatments. "Having a square jaw is considered masculine," she explained. "Think [Patrick] Bateman [from 'American Psycho']. Definition and angularity are the goals."

Lewis Friedenthal, a 23-year-old Tribeca resident aims to look more like the square-jawed Australian fashion model Jordan Barrett than Bateman. "I wanted a sharper everything," Friedenthal said. "I was looking at all these male models and popular looksmaxxing threads. I wanted bone structure like them."

Friedenthal attempted "softmaxxing" methods initially to achieve his desired look without surgery. He tried tongue exercises called mewing and chewing mastic gum to sculpt his face. He then spent $1,000 on Botox to lower his eyebrows and make them look more symmetrical. "My eyebrows were super uneven. I wanted them to be straighter and lifted at the end," said Friedenthal, a public policy student at New York University, adding that he will get touch-ups as needed.

Representative image Photo: Pinterest
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What is Lookmaxxing?

Looksmaxxing has recently gained popularity over TikTok. It is part of a broader "maxxing" trend among young men, which includes smellmaxxing (spending hundreds on designer fragrances) and gymmaxxing (intense workout routines). While rooted in the "incel" (involuntarily celibate) community, where men blame women for their poor sex lives, maxxing has now gained popularity among a wider audience.

Kareem Shami, a 23-year-old from San Diego, is prominent in the "softmaxxing" community on TikTok, where he has 1.6 million followers. Using the handle @syrianpsycho, a nod to his Syrian heritage and Patrick Bateman, Shami explained that he began investing in skincare and working out as a teen to improve what he could control about his appearance. "It's essentially self-care – it's anything you do to improve your presentation and the way you appear," said Shami, who plans to attend law school.

Friedenthal consulted with Dr. Levine and finally decided to go for "hardmaxxing" by undergoing surgical procedures to achieve more symmetrical look. The surgery includes buccal fat removal, chin fat removal, and chin and jawline augmentation and costs around $7,000. "I didn’t need it, but I wanted it," Friedenthal said. He paid for the procedures with money earned from paid internships and working at a spray tan salon. "My inside is good. I’m very comfortable with my personality," he added. "To me, it was subtle changes."

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