Three images from School Air TikToks.

School Air / Boyfriend Air

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School Air and Boyfriend Air are internet slang terms referring to the theory that the air at school or when you're with your boyfriend accentuates flaws in your physical appearance, for example, giving you messy hair, causing your skin to break out and ruining your makeup. The term "school air" became popularized on TikTok in later 2022, with the term "boyfriend air" becoming popularized in January 2023.


On October 26th, 2022, TikTok[1] user @kumahto posted a video captioned, "school air rly be doing smth," showing herself first outside and next in class, her hair looking flatter than before, garnering over 5.6 million views in four months (shown below). This is the earliest known video using the term.

@kumahto i should redo this 💀 #fyp #fypシ #07 ♬ Spawn – Fourezine


The term "school air" spread across TikTok over the following weeks, with many users showing themselves outside of and inside of school as evidence that school air damages their appearance. For example, on October 31st, 2022, TikToker[2] @livelaughzeus posted a video about school air, garnering over 3.5 million views in four months (shown below, left). On November 30th, TikToker[3] @carlazombek posted a video about school air, garnering over 19 million views in three months (shown below, right). The term was first defined on Urban Dictionary[4] that December. On January 19th, 2023, Twitter[8] user @esotericeros asked users if they believed in "school air theory," garnering over 2,600 likes in a month.

@livelaughzeus #school #schoollife ♬ Please Me – Cardi B & Bruno Mars

@carlazombek School air &lt&lt&lt&lt #fy #fyp #schoolair #foryou ♬ original sound – a

Boyfriend Air

On December 27th, 2022, TikToker[5] @h0neyymel posted a video using the term "boyfriend air," writing, "boyfriend air be messing my hair and makeup up so bad," garnering over 140,000 views in just over a month. This is the first known use of the term. The term became notably popular on TikTok[6][7] throughout January 2023 as users shared videos claiming that "boyfriend air" makes them look worse (examples shown below).

@seanna_oconnor i get all pretty for nothing #boyfriend #fypシ #foryou #foryoupage ♬ original sound – 222


♬ original sound – a

Various Examples


♬ stream escapism – #1 the thrill is gone stan

@logan.rickrds It’s a real thing I swear #schoolair #boyfriendair #makeup #fyp ♬ original sound – ash


♬ original sound – a

@fil0mustard Forgot bout this #schoolair #school #transformation #fypシ #fyp #indian #asian ♬ original sound – E3

Search Interest

External References

[1] TikTok – kumahto

[2] TikTok – livelaughzeus

[3] TikTok – carlazombek

[4] Urban Dictionary – school air

[5] TikTok – h0neyymel

[6] TikTok – seanna_oconnor

[7] TikTok – eleeenab

[8] Twitter – esotericeros

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