The Hustle

💉 ‘Brotox’ is just the beginning

Plus: Catch up on our finest YouTube vids, bee mayhem, an archive of old ads, and more.

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November’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix will see Formula One drivers racing down the Strip — if the city can first win its civil-engineering race. A $560m project to overhaul perma-busy tourist thoroughfare Las Vegas Boulevard, including repaving streets and constructing temporary bridges, is entering its home stretch.

Also: We’ll be off for Labor Day on Monday, but we’ll see you right back here on Tuesday.

In today’s email:

  • Student loans: A long freeze thaws and most borrowers feel lost.
  • Wrinkle resistant: Men are flocking to cosmetic procedures.
  • YouTube and chill: These videos will complete your long weekend.
  • Around the Web: Vintage ads, a chill bunny, an AI guessing game, and more.

👇 Listen: Confronting the $1.8T problem that is US student loan debt.

The big idea

Student loan repayments are back and more confusing than ever

The return of federal student loan payments brings borrower stress and economic uncertainty.
Sara Friedman

After a 42-month freeze, interest on federal student loans will begin accruing again today following Congress’ vote in May.

The pause, which was instituted in March 2020 as a form of pandemic relief and has been extended 8x, affects ~44m borrowers who owe an average of ~$38k.

When the pandemic hit, the Department of Education automatically paused loan payments and suspended interest, saving borrowers a combined $5B per month.

Along with resuming interest accrual today, payments are set to restart in October. (The exact date will vary by borrower.)

The change has left many in the lurch

  • Millions of borrowers graduated during the pandemic, making this their first experience with repayments.
  • Changes to repayment plans from the Biden administration, while helpful for some borrowers, have added complexity to the process.
  • Four in 10 borrowers’ loans were transferred to a new service during the pause, and many are receiving payment schedules via email from providers they’re unfamiliar with.

The biggest issue: Only half of borrowers know how much they’ll owe when payments start back up.

The confusion has led to long wait times and dropped calls for many when trying to reach loan representatives.

This is no pocket change

Student loan debt is the second-biggest consumer debt category (following mortgages) and it’s approaching $1.8T, of which 93% is federal debt.

Plus, inflation has driven up housing and food costs since 2020, making the average debt payment of ~$500 an even bigger burden than before.

This has real economic repercussions

  • Student debt accounts for an estimated 20% of the decline in homeownership for young adults.
  • Borrowers contribute 6% less, on average, to retirement savings than those without student debt.
  • For every 1% increase of a consumer’s debt-to-income ratio, their consumption declines by up to 3.7%.

Some experts predict that consumer spending could drop $27B per quarter, and that certain industries — such as ecommerce, retail, and hospitality — will be especially hard-hit.

The silver lining? More companies are offering student loan repayment benefits to attract top talent.


Buzz: Beekeepers near Burlington, Ontario, were called in to contain 5m angry bees that spilled from a truck Wednesday morning — so many that “the sky was dark with bees,” one said. Ultimately, beekeepers were able to reassemble the boxes to help the bees relocate their hive.


The unlikely couple-of-the-year award goes to Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, who just moved in together. The voice-activated duo will be shacking up in JBL’s retro-style smart speakers, a first for any speaker brand.

Trader, no! Grocery chain Trader Joe’s issued its sixth food recall since July. So far, the recalls have been over issues like metal in its crackers, rocks in its cookies, and… insects in its soup.

Dollar General’s stock tumbled after the retailer slashed its sales and profit forecast for the second straight quarter, citing rising labor costs, weakened spending, and theft.

The Eras Tour economy continues with AMC shares popping ~9% following the announcement of a Taylor Swift concert film debuting Oct. 13. The Exorcist bumped its release ahead a week to avoid competition.

A US Labor Department proposal would bump the salary threshold at which workers are automatically eligible for overtime from ~$35k to ~$55k, affecting an estimated 3.6m people.

Neat: India’s mission to the moon’s south pole found traces of sulfur, suggesting the presence of water ice, which could be used for drinking water or fuel if humans were to build a lunar base.

Gannett, America’s largest newspaper publisher, will suspend its test of AI-written high school sports recaps because, well, the articles were really bad.

Federal investigators are looking into Tesla’s secretive “Project 42” — a glass structure in Texas rumored to be a home for Elon Musk — to ensure the automaker didn’t misuse investor funds on the project.

Remote work perks: Here’s how to capitalize on the benefits of remote work to inspire your employees and better your team.

Olivia Heller

‘Brotox’ is just one sliver of the men’s cosmetic procedure boom

Aesthetic treatments have long been associated with women, but men are catching on to trending beautification procedures.
Ben Berkley

Sure, Barbie is the hit of the summer. Sure, Ryan Gosling looks dreamy in it.

But don’t be fooled by those blaming Ken’s chiseled looks for a sudden rise in male aesthetic procedures like “brotox” (botulinum toxin injections, but for men).

Dudes had already been making smooth moves in that direction, per American Society of Plastic Surgeons data.

  • American men opting for “minimally-invasive” cosmetic procedures increased 29% between 2000 and 2020, long before Gosling added a new wrinkle.

Where’d this come from?

It’s a comparative drop in the bucket — over the same period, women notched a 114% uptick — but female dominion over the aesthetics business is nothing new.

Male cosmetic enhancements, on the other hand, make for a stigma-busting trend.

  • A med-spa owner told the New York Post she has “observed a steady increase in male patients,” crediting it to a “changing attitude towards self-care and grooming.”
  • The Guardian cheekily, but accurately, notes the beauty industry is resetting men’s standards because it’s “reached a point of total saturation when it comes to making women feel insecure about their appearance.”
  • One plastic surgeon put it simply for The Post: “Men want to look good too!”

Back to “brotox”

While treatments like laser skin resurfacing and microdermabrasion have also taken off, “brotox” — a play on popular injection brand Botox — is the most common cosmetic procedure among men.

  • American men had 265k+ total botulinum toxin injections in 2020 — a 182% increase compared to 2000 — adding to a $6.4B Botox market.

Dousing this trend in gasoline: TikTok and celebs, naturally. On TikTok, the hashtag #brotox has accumulated 18.1m views, while Joe Jonas is playing spokesmodel, saying injectables are “not a big deal.”

Oh, but they are, Joe: Patients can’t lay down for 2-4 hours after getting Botox shots. The Jonas Brothers must not be big fans of napping like we are.

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Plump your pillows, throw on a blanket, immediately throw off that blanket because it’s too damn hot, and cozy up to catch our channel’s latest:

  • To understand a criminal underbelly: In the dark and mysterious labyrinth of pipes and steel lurking beneath your car, there’s something called a catalytic converter. Here’s why thieves love them so much.
  • To join a birthday celebration: Hip-hop recently turned 50 and we brought in an industry expert, Trapital’s Dan Runcie, to sum up the business behind the game-changing genre that’s transformed fashion, media, and culture over the last five decades.
  • To fuel your ice-cream cravings: There’s a good chance you’ve had ice cream served to you in a Joy cone. But how did Joy Cone Co. build a monopoly that supplies ~70% of America’s ice-cream cones? Join us inside their factory to find out — but be warned: you’ll need ice cream by the end.
  • To take yourself to court (the fun kind): Pickleball is America’s fastest-growing sport, with ~27m people in the US playing at least once last year. Might as well get on board now and study up on the economics behind the pickleball phenomenon.

🚗 On this day: In 1998, a law requiring airbags in all cars and light trucks sold in the US took effect. Seat belts have been required since 1966.

👀That’s cool: Browse the Antique Advertising Association of America’s collection of vintage ads.

🍬 Blog: Why is social media looking like a candy store?

🔍 Cure boredom: Can you guess which person is real?

🐇 Aww: TGIF, am I right?

  1. We’re all environmentalists until our straws get soggy. SOURCE

  2. Internet in our pockets made life an open-book test. SOURCE

  3. As you get older, you begin to suffer the occasional series of increasingly humiliating micro-injuries. SOURCE

  4. Forty is the only number that’s in alphabetical order. SOURCE

  5. It’s impossible to be a teenager for half of your life. SOURCE

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Today’s email was brought to you by Juliet Bennett Rylah and Sara Friedman.
Editing by: Ben “Needle in a face crack” Berkley.

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