Hunter eyes, prey eyes, negative and positive canthal tilt…these are all terms that may sound ridiculous on first impression, but are well-known on TikTok, where they fall under the category of “looksmaxxing.”

TikTok has sprouted a large number of unusual health, beauty and cosmetic trends — from more harmless skincare routines like skin cycling, to some more questionable ideas like bone smashing.

It’s no secret that the platform is particularly obsessed with aesthetics and maximizing one’s level of attractiveness by making changes to the face and body — hence the looksmaxxing term.

Now, a recent trend on TikTok related to the canthal tilt has taken off, spurring an increase in plastic surgery and triggering some backlash over its link to body dysmorphia.

What is the canthal tilt?

The canthal tilt refers to the angle of the eyes if a line were drawn connecting the outer corner of each eye. A negative tilt has, for some reason, been deemed unattractive on TikTok, while a positive tilt is considered attractive. A neutral tilt, meanwhile, is considered to be fine.

There are countless TikTok videos that appear under the canthal tilt search in which people use a canthal tilt filter that draws a red line across their face based on their eye angle. Videos using the filter show people saying “it’s over” if they have a negative tilt — or rejoicing when they have a positive tilt.

One video by breaks down exactly what the filter shows. 

“A canthus is the corner of your eye,” he explains in the video. “The canthal tilt is essentially the angle between a line drawn between those two points.”

What is your canthal tilt and how can things like makeup affect it? #canthaltilt #makeup #eyemakeup #plasticsurgery #doctortok #nowyouknow #fypシ

♬ original sound – Chris P., MD

Should we try out more TikTok filters with Dr. B? 👀 8WestWay TiltEyeFilter PopularSurgeries TrendingFilters

♬ original sound – 8 West Clinic – 8 West Clinic

“Your eye area makes or breaks you,” another video dramatically states. “The eye area holds a pivotal place in determining facial attractiveness. The shape, position and the canthal tilt are crucial factors that can significantly impact a person’s overall appearance. A positive canthal tilt is considered more desirable, as it imparts a youthful, alert and healthy impression. Conversely, a negative tilt can create a fatigued or melancholic look that can undermine your attractiveness.”

The video further states that the user focused on nose breathing and tongue posture to improve their overall facial attractiveness.

The canthal tilt effect

Some of the other videos are more harmless, with many women using the canthal tilt filter to help them draw their winged eyeliner along their canthal tilt direction.

However, many people concerned about canthal tilt are seeking plastic surgery or Botox to “correct” it, even though there’s not necessarily any evidence to support that a positive canthal tilt is any healthier or more beautiful than a negative or neutral one.

In one video with more than 90,000 likes, TikToker @adixovic suggests “eye pulling,” or regularly pulling the corner of your eyes up to somehow mold your face into a positive canthal tilt.


negative canthal tilt? Eye pulling (Eyelid pulling) tutorial, looksmaxers are familiar with this technique to improve (not change) #eyepulling #negativecanthaltilt #looksmax #selfimprovement #fypシ

♬ push – –

“The outer corner of your eyes is the lateral canthus, and the inner corner of your eyes is the medial canthus,” explained Dr. Stafford Broumand, a board-certified plastic surgeon at 740 Park Plastic Surgery in New York. “To have a slanting or sloping up from the medial to lateral canthus is thought of as being attractive.”

There are, of course, different degrees of canthal tilt, depending on facial structure. Broumand said that patients often seek Botox to uplift their eyes or change the position of their brow via surgery.

Canthal tilt itself is part of a much larger trend of “looksmaxxing” on TikTok, which can take various forms. 

Looksmaxxing could mean something as simple as changing your makeup, skincare routine or hairstyle. It could also refer to far more drastic physical changes, like plastic surgery and rearranging the bone structure in your face. 

The goal of looksmaxxing is to be as attractive as possible, fueled by the use of “beauty” filters that smooth out skin, make eyes bigger and brighter, make lips plumper and make imperfections disappear.

Full tilt against the canthal tilt

Still, with more and more videos and beauty filters like the “bold glamour” filter taking over TikTok, there’s also been a backlash to some of the content.

One video by @tylerperryshauntedgraffi enthusiastically opposes the canthal tilt trend, arguing that it can be harmful to young people’s mental health and body image.

“You all need to get off social media doing [stuff] like this, because you are furthering people’s body dysmorphia,” she says in the video. “I promise you, whoever’s watching this, whoever feels weird about their eyes, I promise you: No one is looking at your eyes and going, ‘Ew, your outer corner of your eye is lower than the inner corner of your eye.’ No one’s doing that. I promise you. I promise you.”

She also notes that the entire idea of canthal tilt — as with most of looksmaxxing — comes from what she calls “incel forums.” Of note, looksmaxxing has its origins well before the take-off of TikTok, when young men were flocking to the Internet to create unrealistic and toxic beauty standards for themselves, as detailed in this 2018 Vice article.


#stitch with @Dr Monica Kieu im drained. *also, I meant surgeons attacking female celebrities appearance.

♬ original sound – Mr. Socially Inept

One September 2023 study published in Body Image found that short-form videos on social media that included “appearance ideals” were harmful to women’s self-image, and that women perceived the content as being unedited or unenhanced. The study also found that women reported less appearance satisfaction after seeing ideal beauty standards in videos.

Another recent survey out of beauty and hairstyle app StyleSeat found that 72% of Gen Zers reported that beauty filters on social media like the “bold glamour” filter were damaging to their mental health.

According to Broumand, there’s nothing wrong with seeking ways to improve appearance, whether it’s through makeup, skincare or even simple cosmetic procedures like Botox.

However, he cautions against young people seeking serious plastic surgery that alters their face significantly, and instead encourages them to receive guidance from a trained professional — like a mental health therapist or a board-certified plastic surgeon — before making rash decisions based on TikTok trends.

“If they ever have that concern, they should speak to a qualified professional, whether it’s a doctor or psychologist,” Broumand said. “There are things one can do to enhance body shape without going through a treatment or surgery. This is the discussion I have with all my patients, so they have an understanding of what they’re asking and what the reasonable expectations are.”

As with many questionable health, wellness and beauty trends on TikTok, there is a lighter side. Many people realize how ridiculous the canthal tilt obsession is and have tried to turn it into a joke to take away its power.

In one video, a user jokes that he’s about to get canthal tilt surgery, then the reveal is a goofy filter that makes his eyes huge and have an exaggerated positive tilt, pointing out how silly the idea is.

“Your canthal tilt really doesn’t matter bro, trust me,” another TikToker says in a video. “Instead of worrying about your canthal tilt, how about you get up and get a cup of water. Because I know you didn’t drink seven cups today.”

Broumand noted that while he hasn’t necessarily seen an uptick in people seeking canthal tilt procedures specifically, he does see patients consistently who bring in examples from social media with a desire to look like them.

He believes plastic surgeons and other healthcare professionals have to continually educate and remind patients that the beauty standards seen on social media or on television simply aren’t real.

“I see a lot of actors and people on screen, and the reality is in person they never look like they do on screen,” Broumand said. “That realization is not necessarily transmitted to the general population; they think those people always look that good, when in reality, they don’t. It’s all makeup, filters and Photoshop. That’s the discussion that needs to be had and it’s what I discuss with my younger patients. They bring in photos or images on Instagram and say, ‘I want to look like this.’ Well, those aren’t real.”

Broumand added that the canthal tilt filters on TikTok in and of themselves may not be harmful, as long as people are seeing it as fun and not taking it too personally as a reflection of their own attractiveness. Makeup, he said, is quite an effective way to tweak your eyes that doesn’t require any surgery or procedure.

If it does develop into something more serious psychologically, like body dysmorphia, Broumand encourages people to speak to a professional.

“It’s an ongoing discussion,” Broumand added. “I can only go through one patient at a time. But to get that message out there is important.”

For a March 2024 article on #BabyBotox, click here.