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Suddenly, boobs are back.
Over the last week, while scrolling TikTok and DM’ing videos back and forth with friends, we noticed ubiquitous talk of a procedure we hadn’t heard much about in years: the boob job.
All at once, it was everywhere. Alix Earle has breast implants and talks about them openly, and she, of course, is social media’s reigning queen. A week ago, influencer Kennedy Eurich, got a boob job, documenting the process for her 1.4 million followers. Jazmyn Smith (@justjazzzyidk; 233,000 TikTok followers and a host of the Hot Girl Talks podcast) got hers on Monday. Kensington Tillo, better known as Kensnation on TikTok, shared in a February 20 post that she’s scheduled her breast augmentation. TikToker Becca Moore (@becccamooore, 1.2 million followers) was ahead of the curve and had hers done last March.
Speaking to her followers about her decision, Tillo summed it up well: “I feel like all the TikTok girlies are getting boob jobs right now.” To that end, the hashtag #breastaugmentation has 917.3 million views on the platform.
It’s surprising, especially given that breast augmentation procedures have been on the decline. “For the last couple of years, there’s been a subtle decline in requests, and all of a sudden, boom,” said Dr. Thomas Sterry, the New York City-based plastic surgeon who did Smith’s augmentation earlier this week. Smith echoed the sentiment, noting that, even though she’d planned to get a boob job for ages, and it’s something her mom has done, too, “It had been more top-of-mind for me [lately]; I’d been seeing it all over,” she said.
What gives? According to the influencer sources included in this story, there are a couple possibilities. And the potential Alix Earle effect can’t be denied. “[My social media manager] pointed Alix Earle out to me one or two months ago, and I really didn’t pay much attention because I’m a Gen Xer. But there certainly has been [a spike] in the last few weeks,” Sterry said. “I don’t have a good handle on what may have sparked it; the only thing I can point to is Alix.” Earle now has 4.6 million followers, up from a little over 1 million just a few months ago.
Dr. Sterry’s collaboration, of sorts, with Smith marked his first time working with an influencer, he said. As of now, he does not have any other influencer deals planned. “We’ll see how it rolls out,” he said.
“I don’t think [influencer partnerships] are something we need; we’re primarily focused on growing our [own] social media. But it could definitely be helpful,” said Giselle Torres, Dr. Sterry’s social media manager.
“Alix has a lot to do with the trend,” she said. “And TikTok’s influence … is just insane. [Trends] just kind of flow from there.”
Of the possibility of Earle being a source of influence for other young women, Moore said, “I hope not. I hope people aren’t doing it just because [of her]. Honestly, [they] may be, though. And that’s iconic if they’re doing it because of her,” she said, before adding, “But I don’t think you should make changes to your body based on one person, because things are different on every person.”
It’s odd to think of body parts, body types or surgeries to change the body as trends, but this is very much a reality. As Dr. Sterry noted, “When you start to talk about culture and trends, and what’s hot and new, that’s just how it goes. When the Kardashians came out, all of a sudden, everybody needed a BBL.”
For Smith, her “why” for getting her breasts done was simple: She wanted to. “At my age, I do things because I want to do it — not because I’m doing it for validation from other people, but because I actually want it done,” she said. She explained that she’d rather do it now, at a younger age when she can “enjoy it,” rather than wait until she’s older.
“For most people my age, priorities are different [than they used to be], when it comes to money,” she said. “People used to have kids a lot earlier, and their money was going to [their children].”
She added, “I didn’t get it because I needed it; there’s a very very big difference between needing something and wanting something.”
Moore said she was always insecure about the size of her breasts but assumed she would never be able to do anything about it. “I used to wear two bras when I was in high school, for the entire four years,” she said. “Once I started making money, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I can actually afford to change something I’m insecure about. I have to do it.”
What has changed even more than trends in the shapes and sizes of any given body part is the extent to which we share how we’re changing our bodies. NYC plastic surgeon Dr. David Shafer said this change has been apparent. “We just got an inquiry yesterday from a woman who was referred by one of our other patients, and she said, ‘I want to schedule a breast augmentation, and I want to document the whole thing on TikTok.’ It’s amazing, because in the past, people wouldn’t want anybody to know they’re having surgery. Now, they want to broadcast it to the world.”
In Smith’s eyes, avoiding backlash comes down to transparency. She documented her procedure, including the lead-up to the surgery and the moments just after. “I paid for part of it, but I did get a discount because I posted about it,” she said. “I can’t say what the deliverables were, but I did have things I had to post.” That said, Smith likely would have shared her experience with her followers anyway, she said. “I wasn’t nervous to talk about it, because I put my entire life on the internet. I also feel like people are less likely to give you hate for it if you’re open about it. So that makes it easier to talk about,” she said.
For her part, Moore said she initially did not plan to share that she had gotten an augmentation, but she changed her mind the day before and wound up posting a video explaining why she was getting the surgery. “The surgeon offered me a brand deal, but I decided not to [take it]. In the beginning, I wanted to [hide it] because I didn’t want people to think I was saying, ‘Look, I’m getting my boobs done. You guys should, too,'” she said. “[Ultimately] I was like, ‘Wait, I can’t hide it from people.’ But I didn’t take any discount. I paid for it all out of pocket.”
And she’s remained trepidatious about sending a message that it’s something her followers should want. “This is a popular trend for influencers, but real girls living in, like, Ohio can’t afford [it]; they don’t have $10,000 in their bank account to get a boob job,” she said. She noted that her decision to get a boob job was not widely accepted by her family in Columbus, Ohio.
Indeed, funds are one explanation for the spike in popularity among this niche demographic. “Influencers have a lot of money,” Moore said. “What else are we gonna do with it?”
Spate trend watch: Powder foundation sees a spike
It’s still all about creamy makeup and a dewy look, but according to trend forecasting agency Spate, interest in powders, particularly powder foundation and setting powders, is on the rise. For example, the hashtag #powderfoundation on TikTok has seen a 75.9% increase in views in the last month.
“Despite the sustained interest in dewy makeup, the rise in powder formats may indicate early signals of a larger emerging trend: the return of matte skin. It’s important to note, however, that the matte powder foundations currently going viral — like the L’Oréal Infallible 24HR Fresh Wear Foundation In A Powder — offer a more comfortable matte look than the cakey powders of the past,” said Spate co-founder Yarden Horwitz.
Although searches for powder foundation have decreased by 3.6%, Spate predicts growth of 20.6% in the next 12 months. If the trend continues to gain traction on TikTok, expect to see many more powder foundations in the newly launched section of your favorite beauty retailer.