What Is Boyfriend Air – And How Can You Avoid It?

Seriously, it's an epidemic.

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Picture this – you’re heading over to your boyfriend’s house, you’ve just had an everything shower, your hair is freshly washed and blow-dried.

You’ve completed your full skincare routine, moisturised, tanned, curled your lashes, covered yourself in your sweetest smelling perfume, and put on your favourite loungewear set. Perfection!


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And then – over night, something changes.

You wake up to hair that’s newly greasy and stuck to your scalp. Your cheeks are red, skin is oily, and pores are larger than ever before. You smell like a combination of aftershave and the food you ate from the night previous.

There’s a patch on your leg where your tan didn’t develop, but has somehow transferred onto your boyfriend’s arm. You feel filthy, and your whole appearance has completely transformed… not in a good way.

What’s caused this disturbing transformation?

You’ve fallen victim to ‘boyfriend air’. Dun, dun, dun!

@notsophiesilva Where did the bows even go #boyfriendair ♬ Days for Yuo – setiya

So, what is boyfriend air?

While it isn’t a clinically proven pollutant (despite how serious it may feel), the TikTok trending theory comes from women feeling like their appearance gets worse after spending only a few hours with their male partners.

It’s entering your boyfriend’s house feeling like a ten, but something in the air leaving you more like a grimy monster than his gorgeous girlfriend.

Girlfriends across TikTok decided to put the theory of boyfriend air to the test. They documented their appearances before and after spending a long period with their partners – and the results are pretty damning.

@imzaaher Getting ready for nothing #boyfriendair #fyp ♬ Days for Yuo – setiya

But why is boyfriend air so, well, messy?

The exact answer to this question is unknown, though it’s probably not too complicated.

In an episode of her podcast Girl Code, Madison Wooley expresses that she thinks there might be “some firm logic” behind the Boyfriend Air theory.

Madison reasons, “When I go to a boy’s house, I just don’t have all my things there and you’re not really taking care of yourself because you’re hanging out and then you leave like a dishevelled mess”.

@girlcodethepodcast Is “Boyfriend Air” a thing? @Madison Woolley @Kaitlyn Rodriguez #boyfriendair #podcastclips #podcastforwomen #girlcode ♬ original sound – GIRL CODE THE PODCAST

We feel you, Madison. Now what can we do to combat it?

It looks like the best way to fight off this anti-girlfriend air is to bring all of your essentials with you.

It might be helpful to create a little drawer in your significant other’s home, with all the necessities that keep your appearance intact.

Maybe that means bringing over a silk pillowcase and spare PJs for your beauty sleep, or leaving a bottle of your fave shampoo in their shower. Other items that might be worth including are a decent hairbrush, a nice face wash and moisturiser, and deodorant that doesn’t smell like you’re at a teen disco! Sigh.


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At the end of the day, we reckon lying on the couch watching movies is probably going to mess you up a little no matter what. But a well packed sleepover bag could make some difference!

Otherwise, prepare for a different version of yourself to be returning home tomorrow…

Words by Shauna Whyte