The age of inflation is over in Tinseltown, where the over-plumped faces of yore are leading to increasingly diminished returns for celebrities and surgeons alike. The new beauty ideal is easy, fresh, and relatable. The prototype could be a mash-up of Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Blake Lively, and Zoe Saldana, all of whom are gorgeous, but none of whom conform to Hollywood’s cookie-cutter beauty ideal. Neither Aniston nor Lively have perky button noses. Additionally, their chests are appropriately sized for their athletic builds, and each of them has laugh lines when they smile.
But don’t be fooled. Screen-worthy beauty is more than ever the craft of plastic surgeons, dermatologists, aestheticians, dentists, makeup artists, and hairstylists. It’s just that the art is changing. The natural-looking beauty standard requires aesthetics professionals to have a deft touch and a keen eye. Unlike some reality stars whose anatomy appears purchased off the assembly line, actresses and actors of substance don’t want to look like they’ve popped out of a plastic mold. They want to retain their individuality and look like refreshed versions of themselves so that they seem immune to the worst effects of aging.
What Has Changed?
Plausible deniability—or the art of fine-tuning in the range of the genetically probable—is the objective. Moderation is critical to success today. “Celebrities want to portray themselves as natural, so they claim that they don’t have plastic surgery. The fact is that they do,” states plastic surgeon Renato Calabria. “Plastic surgery has a bad rap because you see some celebrities that have overdone it.”
- Vertical facelift: New surgical techniques are being used to prevent the tight, wind swept look of the past. Dr. Calabria performs what he calls a vertical facelift, in which he pulls the skin straight up rather than at a diagonal.
- Volume restoration: Rather than using facial implants during facelift surgery, many surgeons today tend to strategically reposition fallen facial fat and tighten the layer beneath the skin to add volume to the upper middle of the face. This method addresses both volume and skin-quality issues simultaneously.
- Stem cell fat grafting: Fat—a dirty word in Hollywood—is also being looked at in new terms, particularly fat grafting to improve facial volume and restore a youthful appearance. The process takes expert extraction, washing, and insertion of the fat. Stem cells found in fat could be the next revolution in cosmetic medicine, if not almost every medical discipline. Fat is concentrated with stem cells that can be purified and injected into recessed areas during a stem cell-enhanced facelift procedure. The stem cells signal blood vessels to grow into the fat, and the fat flourishes to encourage lasting volume.
Facial fillers are being treated with much more discretion than before. Lips pumped up from one end to the other are too extreme for the emerging aesthetic. A new approach focuses on accentuating the peaks of the upper lip (Cupid’s bow) and amplifies the middle of the lower lip before tapering filler out to the corners of the mouth.
Breasts are also being downsized, and implants are kept more proportionate and conservative. When Kate Hudson reportedly decided to celebrate her 31st birthday with breast augmentation, the results were subtle. For women with athletic builds, Dr. Calabria recommends no larger than a C cup regardless of height. “Big breasts are completely out,” he says. “The look is in proportion with the body frame.” Surgeons are also vigilant about preventing breast scarring that can be a dead giveaway for surgery, and more women are opting to place implants under their pectoral muscles for a natural-looking breast slope.
Rhinoplasty procedures that produce a scooped-out, turned-up, and pinched nose are out. Many patients who underwent rhinoplasty in the past complain about not achieving a natural nose. Some surgeons adhere to a scar-free closed rhinoplasty method without cutting at the columella or base of the nose between the nostrils to create subtle improvement.
If this all sounds high maintenance, it’s because it is. These days, as a new aesthetic takes hold in Hollywood, it’s getting harder to tell who has undergone what. Call it the dawn of a deflationary era, a time during which the pushed, plumped, plucked, and pulled Hollywood ideal is yielding to a natural aesthetic. Exaggerated lips, taut foreheads, jumbo breasts, and higher-than-high cheekbones are now reserved for reality television spectacles. The bottom line is that the emergence of a new beauty standard doesn’t mean the efforts of the old disappear.