Trend: ’looksmaxxers’, these men ready to do anything to look their best

Trend: 'looksmaxxers', these men ready to do anything to look their best

With their white teeth, athletic bodies, impeccable hair, flawless skin and square jaws, younger generations of men are going all out to improve their appearance and conform to the codes of a standardized, sometimes stereotyped beauty — even to the point of indulging in controversial practices. This trend, known as ’looksmaxxing,’ has now gone viral and has millions of followers on social networks.

Fans of ’looksmaxxing’ are said to be ready to use all possible means — sometimes even the most dangerous — to improve their physical appearance in order to appear more attractive to others, especially women.

According to Urban Dictionary, the term was initially used by “incels”, in other words, involuntarily celibate and often masculinist men. It would have originated on incel discussion forums and in the manosphere before becoming a broader trend on social networks. Since then, younger generations have embraced the practice and made looksmaxxing a trend on social media.

A perfectly honed beauty routine

On social media, countless videos are posted with the #looksmaxxing hashtag, showcasing comprehensive and demanding beauty routines that aspire to a certain beauty ideal.

However, ’looksmaxxing’ isn’t just about cosmetics — although social media users might have you believe so — it’s a much broader process, encompassing fashion, sport and even food.

The past year has been me taking things girls have been doing to look better and telling guys to do the same,” explains Dillon Latham, now followed by over 1.4 million users on TikTok, speaking to the New York Times. His TikTok account is filed with videos aimed at advising those who wish to improve their appearance — or at least who aspire to a certain idea of beauty. How to get abs, how to smell good, what clothes to wear and what not to wear, how to get rid of acne, how to make your features more attractive, or even how to improve the symmetry of your face, are among the tips shared by the social media user.

From the most basic to the most controversial tips

On the whole, it’s a relatively basic, harmless beauty routine that involves relatively standard practices and techniques, such as going to the hairdresser, waxing, teeth whitening, exercising, following an optimal skincare routine, taking up facial yoga, or even indulging in ’mewing’ — tongue posture exercises to achieve a squarer jawline, get rid of a double chin, or make the face look more balanced. These are relatively common practices known as ’softmaxxing,’ and are they’re very similar to the kinds of things women have been doing for years.

But more extreme — and controversial – practices, known as ’hardmaxxing,’ also appear on social networks. This could involve cosmetic surgery, particularly implants, as well as skin whitening and extreme diets.

One such practice, ’bone smashing’, recently went viral. This involves breaking the bones of the jaw to make it squarer, a sign of virility according to some. Still, despite going viral online, this dangerous trend is actually (and fortunately) far from gaining a huge following in real life, even among ’lookmaxxers.’

One thing is sure, the community of men keen to improve their appearance continues to grow, reflecting a willingness to embrace certain norms and imperatives of what masculinity looks like.


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