THE RISE OF THE “CHIN BBL"
Last year, TikTok creators Victoria Paris and Antoni Bumba both got chin liposuction in March. Instead of taking a vague and secretive break from social media, the friends went out for dinner with their full head bandages on and posted their post-op dining. “Besties that get chin BBLs together, stay together," Bumba cheekily wrote at the time. Paris herself had been referring to the facial liposuction as a “Chin BBL” while posting about the process to her audience, and thus the cute and catchy phrase quickly took off online. Implying that the results offer the slimming effects of the popular Brazilian butt lift—but for the face— the phrase, “chin BBL” captures the current facial beauty standard fixated on a shapely, sculpted, and snatched jawline.
Antoni Bumba is known for bringing the “BBL effect” to life via acting out everyday scenarios, with the mannerisms and quirks of her characterization of someone with a Brazilian butt lift. In the viral series, she may be exiting an Uber, drinking from a straw, or just doing laundry, but always with a dramatic flourish and confidence. Now, this “BBL effect” has taken a new meaning when it comes to the jawline. "I believe everyone desires a more sculpted look, especially one that accentuates their bone structure,” Bumba tells NYLON. “Despite the term 'BBL' suggesting addition, it's actually about subtraction and enhancing your facial features to ‘yassify’ your face.”
Like the “yassification” memes (which gained popularity in 2021), the idea of a “chin BBL” has injected humor into the conversation about facial surgeries and liposuction online. Along with referencing today’s jawline obsession, the term also reflects the increase in open and candid discussions about plastic surgery on the internet. “I'm happy that it can also represent being transparent about making personal enhancements and not feeling any shame about it,” says Bumba, who says she and Victoria felt like “two little Teletubbies” walking and posting openly post-op after their procedures.
The desire for a strong jaw is not new (it’s been a signature movie star feature for decades) but the lower face and chin has previously been primarily a concern an older demographic interested in face and neck lifts. The current fixation, however, is reaching younger people in their early 20s, says Nicole Frontera, nurse practitioner and founder of Nicole Frontera Beauty. Chin and neck liposuction she says, “has always been a consistently popular treatment, but now younger people are doing it more because it’s more socially acceptable to do and talk about”. The hashtag #ChinBBL now has over 1.4 billion views on TikTok, with creators like Erica Stolman Dowdy also using the term to share their liposuction recovery process online.
Where Botox and fillers were previously the low-risk, low-cost first-time cosmetic surgery gateway for young people, the current desire for a more sculpted appearance is pushing lipo to the forefront. For another example, look to the internet’s recent obsession with buccal fat removal, cheek fat liposuction that went viral after a number of celebrities allegedly got the procedure. It’s also leaking over into areas of body liposuction. Thomas Su, M.D., ArtLipo Lipedema and Cosmetic Surgery, Florida, says he recently witnessed an increase in arm liposuction requests from young women who said they just watched Barbie (somewhat ironically considering the movie explores the patriarchy and touches on women’s beauty standards).
With more people talking about liposuction online, there’s obviously a domino effect that can encourage others to look into the procedure. However, it also may also seem like even more people are getting “chin BBLs” than they actually are because of the now open online discussions. “People were always doing these procedures but it wasn’t acceptable to talk about lipo. But now people are more open about sharing what’s out there,” says Frontera. Despite this, Frontera herself admittedly isn’t a fan of the term, “chin BBL”. “It doesn’t really make sense,” she adds.
It’s true that liposuction and fat transfers (both of which are involved in a BBL) are two different procedures. However, even after some have declared the BBL era to be “over”, the concept of a body modification fixated on a particular aesthetic is lingers on. But as what always happens with trends, the pendulum of interest has swung. While the initial excitement about the BBL was about augmentation via fat transfer, now liposuction and the idea of removing fat is the focus of current interest.
“Because the BBL has become such a hot topic it's not surprising that people use it as a term related to any liposuction,” says Sergio Alvarez M.D., board-certified plastic surgeon at Mia Aesthetics in New York City. Recently he observes, “there has definitely been a rise in the demand for overall liposuction even with a decline in the requests for BBLs”. This is something he credits to a “younger crowd who is open to sharing their journey on social media” making for a more educated—and therefore more willing—population of potential clientele.
The desire for a more sculpted look it not limited to those with the cash for a “chin BBL”. At-home facial exercises aimed at slimming the jawline have also been going viral as of late, although these exercises for most people are overpromising and under-delivering. A rise in interest on TikTok in a fringe orthodontic technique called “mewing” (which involves pressing your tongue up and flat against the roof of the mouth in efforts to change your facial shape) and the popularity of facial tutorials from experts like Koko Hayashi aka @kokofaceyoga only further confirm our current cultural reset towards an obsession with definition. This phenomenon, says Dr. Alvarez, is part of the current push for an “athletic-looking” face, as part of the current thin-is-in-shift in celebrity culture and away from the look of overfilled lips and soft features.
Many young people may be currently focusing their jawline for the first time—and choosing liposuction to do so—but it’s important to remember that definitions of beauty are going to change with time and the sculpted look is nearly impossible for everyone to achieve despite the promise of IRL facial “yassification”. What is here to stay is the more candid and humor-filled approach to plastic surgery online, going from one viral procedure to a new viral procedure. So be warned, as is the case with all cosmetic trends, this year’s “chin BBL” will soon give way to another hyper-specific (and probably BBL-referencing) surgery or treatment.