If you've been on TikTok in the last couple months, you've probably seen that "mewing" is the latest craze. If that sounds bizarre, let me explain.
"Mewing" is a trend where people essentially do tongue exercises in order to get a snatched jawline. It involves pressing the tongue up toward the roof of the mouth and pushing, as a way to "work out" the jaw.
But there's a shady history behind this trend. According to WebMD, "The ideas behind mewing come from the work of British orthodontist John Mew, who is now in his 90s. He and his son, fellow orthodontist Michael Mew, promote a form of orthodontics they call 'orthotropics' that focuses on 'jaw posture' including retraining the position of the tongue. Britain’s General Dental Council recently stripped the elder Mew of his dental license."
Still, people are raving about this trend, so I decided to reach out to Dr. David Shafer of Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue in New York City. He's a double board-certified plastic surgeon whose specialty is aesthetic and cosmetic surgery.
"In the extreme, mewing can help with the jawline by strengthening the underlying muscles and repositioning the resting position of your tongue in your mouth in a more forward and superior position which results in a tighter jaw and neckline. However, even if effective, this can take months if not years of dedication and continued effort to maintain," Dr. Shafer said.
Dr. Shafer said essentially, mewing is about as effective as doing some strategic posing/adjusting your face for a pic, which I'm a master at. "For most people, the effect is B.S. as a permanent solution. If you want to mew while posing for a picture, it can help your jawline appearance slightly. But so can stretching forward your jawline, slightly sucking in your cheeks and pursing your lips."
Ultimately, the craze is resurfacing again because people are obsessed with two things — quick fixes and jawlines. "People are obsessed with their jawlines, and the appeal is understandable. But if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is," Dr. Shafer said.
So, what does work for achieving a snatched jawline? There are two avenues. "My advice is healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and routine skincare," he said. And then, if someone did want to cosmetically enhance their jawline, like I did for a BuzzFeed post a few months ago, there are a few options.
"There's Volux, the first FDA-approved hyaluronic acid-based filler, which is great at defining the jawline and improving the appearance of the neck. The results are instant and long-lasting. Chin implants are also a great treatment for enhancing the lower face. The choice between chin implant, injectable fillers, and surgical procedures should be made in consultation with your board-certified plastic surgeon."
So, the TL;DR is: Mewing is as good as adjusting your posture and posing for a pic. And if you do want a snatched jawline, there's no quick fix. Ultimately, it's whatever YOU want to do. But it's important to know that a lot of these trends are usually too good to be true. And when in doubt, ask a doctor.
And you can book an appointment with Dr. Shafer here.