10tBuZa6HHjZWQx8iL-vleA

Guys Are Gnawing on a Fat Rubber Ball to Try to Grow a Chiseled Jaw

If you work out every other muscle in your body — why not your face? This question led Brandon Harris, the 34-year-old former cage fighter and mixed martial artist, to invent Jawzrsize, a silicone ball molded to your teeth that claims to chisel your jaw, reduce double chins, boost metabolism, reduce food cravings, and create a “natural glow” by drenching 57 muscles in the face with fresh, oxygenated blood.

Prior to Jawzrsize, Harris would strengthen his jaw by gnawing on a chunk of nylon. It was no match, however, for a folding chair he took across the face during a brawl with a rival fight club after a match. It “mangled and dismantled” his lower jaw, which needed to be wired shut for months. “My masculinity was gone,” Harris tells me. “My self-confidence was gone. My masseters were gone.” He’s referring to his Masseter muscles — pound for pound the strongest in the body — responsible for chewing, clenching and stabilizing the jaw. They’re arguably the manliest muscles in the body, and disconcerting to go without.

Aspirations for an alpha bite are hardly new. As David Puts, a professor of anthropology at Penn State, told me back in 2016, millions of years ago male primates competed for mates via biting, so fathers passed down their fortified chompers to their sons. “Robust jawlines were probably evolutionarily maintained because thicker mandibles were less likely to fracture during fights over mates,” Puts explained. In other words, when two males got in a fight over a female, the ape with the glass jaw lost not only a date, but the opportunity to pass down his weak-ass chin to the rest of us.

While some shell out thousands of dollars for implants and volumizing injections, others, like Harris, opt for a slightly more primitive approach. After two years of struggling to recover from the brawl — and with limited gains to show for it — he dreamt up and designed a simple “boil and bite” prototype that would eventually become “Jawzrsize, Fitness for Your Face.” A Kickstarter campaign promised to “create the ultimate jawline.” Three hundred and fifteen backers and $16,145 later, Jawzrsize was born. Now, two years after that, 150,000 units have been sold and shipped to customers worldwide — including me.

“We’re not making any medical claims — by any means,” Harris tells me, repeatedly. This is evidenced by the stunning lack of science that informs Jawzrsize. It’s essentially a block of rubber with silicone bite parts molded as you would an over-the-counter mouthguard. I order the blue starter pack. (They come in four increasing levels of resistance: blue (slimming and strengthening); pink (tightening and strengthening); purple (toning and strengthening); and green (bulking and strengthening) — buy the whole set for $99.95!) As directed, I boil the hunk of blue rubber for 20 to 24 seconds and bite down to (presumably) customize it.

After Jawzrsizing for the past month, my face muscles are undeniably…sore. The entirety of my masticular region is currently enveloped in a steady, dull throb. Some, like San Diego MMA fighter Steve “Thunderbeast” Kozola, say that’s how you know Jawzrsize is really working. “I definitely feel like I’ve gotten my jaw stronger,” he explains. “Because there’s an intense soreness in my mouth. It’s working the exact muscles I want it to work!” Matt “The Immortal” Brown concurs, adding that he can “definitely tell the difference” in the way his jaw feels.

Kozola tells me he reflexively bites down on his mouthpiece when he gets hit in order to limit the range of motion in his neck. That way he’ll be less likely to get knocked out. (Since, he explains, knockouts occur when the neck is aggressively snapped back and the brain shuts down to protect itself.) Mostly, though, Kozola says Jawzrsize has given him more confidence in the cage.

I ask Thunderbeast if the dearth of scientific testing gives him pause, but he just shrugs. “My wife has worked for a dental office her whole life, and she didn’t have any pressing concerns.” Nor, apparently, did the authors of 378 5-star reviews on Facebook and 363 5-star reviews on Amazon, most of which claim their “smiles are stronger,” “jaw muscles miraculously improved,” and double chins “significantly reduced.” (When asked if any of those reviews are fake, Harris recoils: “All authentic, bro. We’ve never faked or bought one fucking review, guaranteed.”)

For Jackie, a 32-year-old model in Maui with a chronically clicking jaw, Jawzrsize has been a godsend. For as long as she can remember, her jaw clicked “loudly and embarrassingly” whenever she’d chew food. “One day with Jawzrsize and the clicking stopped,” she writes over email. Jackie’s also digesting food better, she says, since she’s actually chewing it now (which she previously avoided to mitigate the click).

Moments into Jawzrsizing through my first morning commute, the bite strips dislodge permanently — a common refrain in 67 one-star Amazon reviews. A sampling of such reviews:

  • “The biting tips keep coming off which could choke someone as it just pops off.”
  • “The plastics it has on top and bottom where you bite keeps coming off. I changed them with the ones that come extra but the same thing keeps happening.”
  • “15 secs and these things pretty much melted wtf.”
  • “The mouth guard bits tend to fall off. So I just super glued them in place and it’s good to go!”

Because Harris is quick to explain that he consulted zero medical professionals in developing Jawzrsize, I thought I’d run it by a few local dentists to get their take on it. Robert Merrill — a practicing dentist and director of UCLA’s Orofacial Pain Program — says for patients presenting jaw problems the first step is actually to reduce jaw activity, since pain is usually due to too much contraction of the muscles. He wouldn’t recommend anything that would strengthen the jaw, he says, since most people do that already by eating food thrice daily and grinding their teeth every night. Jaw muscles, particularly in men, get overused and lead to hypertrophy, he explains, often resulting in brutalist facial features that patients aren’t anticipating.

Further concerning to Merrill is that Jawzrsize only engages the front teeth — not the molars — which puts tremendous strain on the condyle, the rounded projections on the jaw bone, which can lead to TMJ. “As far as I’m concerned,” he says, “this is a bad idea.”

When I ask Harris to respond to Merrill’s claim that Jawzrsize could cause TMJ, he laughs and corrects: “Bro, it cures TMJ.” While prefacing, again, that he “doesn’t know anything about medicine,” Harris tells me that “every single customer who had a locking, popping or clicking jaw” reported it stopping within a week of using Jawzrsize.

Laurel Henderson, a resident in orofacial pain and oral medicine at USC is similarly squeamish about Jawzrsize, which she agrees is unnecessary since our jaw muscles get plenty of exercise already through smiling, talking, speaking and normal chewing. As for the claim that it will reduce your double chin, Henderson rolls her eyes. “There’s no such thing as targeted fat shaping,” she explains. Fat loss is simply about the number of calories going in versus the number of calories going out. As such, Henderson says Jawzrsize “wouldn’t make a bit of difference” in a person’s body fat percentage. “It’s not working any of the muscles that support the floor of the mouth,” she notes, since those muscles aren’t activated by chewing.

But what of these fearsome fighters evangelizing Jawzrsize? Are they — and hundreds of 5-star reviewers on Facebook and Amazon — blindly drinking Harris’ Kool Aid? No, Henderson says. “The claim that it’s strengthening the muscles is absolutely valid,” she says. It’s just pointless to do so, she adds, and potentially dangerous. “It can cause inflammation of the joints to a point where you can’t chew foods properly or even speak and smile without discomfort.”

Consider safer ways to change your aesthetics, she suggests. For example, if a double chin is bringing you down, swallow whenever a photo’s being taken to automatically lift the floor of your mouth. “Something as simple as that would have no long-term consequences,” she explains. Before we hang up I mention to Henderson that I’m still Jawzrsizing, at least until this story runs. “Be careful, man,” she warns. “I really hope you won’t need any of our help.”