Sylwia Wiesenberg loves butts. Specifically, her own butt. As a child growing up in Poland, she would stare at her backside, impressed with how its shape moved and flexed with every step. “I never, ever stopped thinking about it,” she told The Daily Beast.
After college, Wiesenberg became a sales trader for UBS. She would do squats at her desk while making calls. “My boss would tell me that it was a little bit weird, but I didn’t want my ass to ever be flat,” Wiesenberg said.
The obsession was strong enough to compel her to quit the world of investment banking and start a booty-centric fitness method called Tonique. Fourteen years later, Wiesenberg is still at it: “If I had to speak truly from my heart and had the opportunity to switch my ass on my face, I would do it,” she confessed.
An impossible dream, perhaps, though Wiesenberg decided to bring some face-love down to her derrière. “I always believed that whatever skin products go on my face, go on my butt, too,” she said. Enter: Wiesenberg's Bawdy Beauty, a line of $9 sheet masks for the tuchus.
The four options—“Bite It,” “Shake It,” “Slap It,” and “Squeeze It”–all promise different fixes for the skin (hydrating, firming, retexturizing, and brightening, respectively).
While ad copy for the vegan masks promises each pick was formulated to “combat gravity, detoxify, and tone,” Wiesenberg errs on the side of realism.
“Nothing will change your butt until you start squatting and lunging,” she said, comparing her masks to face products. “You can’t change the shape of your face with a toner, but you can change the quality of your skin.”
Wiesenberg is not the only entrepreneur with fanny fever. Combine our bare-all world with a booming, $17 billion skincare industry, and you have enough butt wellness products to fill an entire medicine cabinet.
According to Google Trends, searches for “Butt acne cream” and “Butt enlargement cream” are up more than a hundred percent.
When Sol de Janeiro released its cult-favorite Brazilian Bum Bum Cream in an extra-large, $75 container, it sold out within minutes. In 2016, the model Hailey Baldwin listed it as a must-have. (Her reason why had less to do with results and more with aesthetics. “I love this packaging, and it smells amazing,” she told Refinery29.)
On Amazon, the bluntly-named brand Butt Better sells a $13 “Plump Booty Enhancer Lotion” for women and men. “Hot sexy butts are what’s in,” reads the surprisingly captivating product description. “Jennifer Lopez butts have been all the rage for years, so what can us flat butt women do? Butt enhancement creams.” (Naturally.)
326 Butt Better fans can’t be wrong—or can they? Despite the product’s mainly positive reviews (“After a week I def notice something extra in the back!!” one wrote), experts are adamant that no magic cream can replace good old lunges—or plastic surgery.
“Butt creams cannot replace a steady workout regimen, diet, and toning procedures,” Calabasas, California-based dermatologist Dr. Anna Guanche told The Daily Beast. “Butt creams either slightly irritate the skin leading to skin plumping or flushing, or they can act to temporarily shrink fat cells with active ingredients such as caffeine. Most effects are extremely temporary.”
Dr. David Shafer, a cosmetic and plastic surgeon in New York who routinely performs the Brazilian Butt Lift procedure, where fat from other areas of the body is removed via liposuction and injected into the posterior, agreed.
“These brands are certainly profiting off of the current trends of big butts,” Dr. Shafer said. “But I do think they can provide a positive benefit. The butt can sometimes be a neglected area in terms of skincare, so creams can hydrate. That increases the quality of the skin and prevents acne, but that’s a different thing from actually lifting the butt.
Though it’s not “expensive” or “high-tech” and Hailey Bieber would probably not appreciate its packaging, Dr. Shafer recommends his patients slather cocoa butter on their booties to keep things hydrated. “That has vitamin E, which creates a protective barrier to hold moisture in.”
Stephen Pasterino, founder of P.volve, a workout method favored by Victoria’s Secret models, also knows a thing or two about butt-mania. For a man dubbed the “ass master” by GQ, some of Pasterino’s toning tricks are surprisingly unintimidating.
“Even walking up two steps at a time can help fire up your glutes,” he said. This is because it bends and flexes hips, which encourages the body to rely less on thighs, which can become over-dominant without proper butt exercise.
“Glute bridges are a move you can seriously do anywhere—even while watching a TV at home,” McFaden said. “The best part is that you get to lay down for it.”
The trainer recommends lying down on the floor with bent knees and feet planted on the ground, with arms at the side and palms down. “Lift your hips off the ground and gently squeeze your butt until your knees, hips, and shoulders are in line all while keeping your abs contracted,” McFaden explained.
Hold the position for a few seconds, slowly lower your legs, and repeat to your butt’s content.
Should you decide to put on a butt cream or mask post-workout, wear it proudly—just know it is not a miracle solution.