Thanks for welcoming Scott Barnes to PEOPLE StyleWatch! The celebrity makeup artist has been hard at work lately, releasing his second book, Face to Face, and blogging for People.com. This week, he dishes on his regrets over the touchy topic of injectables:
I know we’ve been having a lot of fun together, but this week, I want to talk to you about something very serious.
Seriously. I’m not even kidding. It is one of the most popular questions I get these days, right on the heels of, “How do I find mascara that doesn’t clump?” (A tip: It’s not the mascara. It’s how you’re applying it. Stay tuned, or see my book Face to Face for more on that.) But women always ask me: Should I start doing fillers? Do I need a peel? Everyone these days is obsessed with anti-aging. That’s why it’s entirely possible — and here in L.A., too often probable — to go overboard. It’s addictive!
But in my opinion, there is nothing worse than applying makeup to a face that’s been overfilled and frozen. It’s smooth, sure, but it’s expressionless, and it’s too obvious. You don’t want your enhanced cheekbones or your unnaturally pouty lips stealing the spotlight away from the rest of your beautiful face. The point of cosmetic procedures, as far as I’m concerned, is to make you look refreshed and well rested.
The irony, of course — yet what makes me even more qualified to dish out this advice — is that I recently fell into the same trap I’m here warning you about. I was making all these media appearances to promote Face to Face and I was so anxious about looking good for the cameras. I went in to my dermatologist (who’s a dear friend) and demanded: Fill ‘er up! She advised me, more than once, to go more “natural,” but I didn’t listen. I told her the camera adds 10 years.
And then I started actually seeing myself on TV and in magazines. I started hearing from friends and fans who wanted to know what I’d done with my lovely face. And I started to realize, maybe they were right. I looked a little puffy. I had no more angles. I was actually giving myself under-eye bags. And you know what? I’d earned those wrinkles, dammit!
So I went back to my dermatologist and I had most of the fillers dissolved. Did you know you can do this? It’s true. Not so much with Botox, which will dissolve on its own in a few months. But fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm can most definitely be flattened. Of course, a better option is to practice a more moderate approach from the get-go, and listen to your doctor if she’s telling you you’re getting a little insane. Injectables most definitely have a place in beauty, in my mind. But let’s look at them as enhancements, and not time machines.
Which brings us back to the original question: How do you know if you should get fillers? These days, here’s how I answer: Take a look around you. Where you live, and who you surround yourself with, really do matter. Here in L.A., there are more of the extremely groomed, plucked, augmented and bleached, but there’s also more of the extremely natural, the women who eat vegan, do yoga for three hours a day and would never inject anything. In New York, there are more professional women who’d opt for injectables, but do so generally in a more natural, subtle, “I don’t want anyone to know” way. In L.A., there’s a tendency to want everyone to know everything.
Once you know the sort of look you might prefer, find a good, American Board of Dermatology-certified doctor (I’ll always steer you away from “quickie” med spas). Describe to your doctor the look you’re going for, and ask when she thinks might be a good time to start. A more natural look can often be achieved by starting out early to work more preventively: a little — and I mean a little — Botox in your late 20s or early 30s can nearly prevent those wrinkles from ever developing at all. Then maybe you smooth the laugh lines or those folds near your mouth as you get into your mid-30s, using injectable fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm. You might also consider chemical or laser peels. But don’t over peel — once every-other month is usually quite enough.
And if you’re still not sure whether you should get treatment, or how much you might need, ask your mother, or sister or a trusted friend. Who will be honest with you? This is especially crucial if you’re not sure that your doctor is on the same wavelength as you. There are some dermatologists, for example, who feel that a more dramatic look is attractive. You may not agree with that.
I hope you’ve learned something today — I have! And in a few weeks, you can catch me on The Jeff Probst Show, where I’ll talk about my new book and my (mis)adventures in fillers. I’ll keep you posted when it’s going to air. Don’t miss me!