The 'Instagram Face' is officially dead. But is its replacement any better?

"Hello, you've reached the 1800-new-face hotline. This is an automated message. If you would like the 'Hailey Bieber', please press #1. If you would like the 'Zoe Kravitz', please press #2. For 'Bella Hadid', please press #3. Please note, the 'Kylie Jenner' is no longer available."

In 2023, celebrities have a 'new face'. And we need to talk about it.

We're in a brand-new aesthetic era, where we're waving goodbye to the days of excessive filler. The 2016 'Instagram Face', if you will. 

Plump, pillowy lips. Small, perfectly pointed noses. Full, chipmunk-looking cheeks and smooth under eyes.

The heavily filtered look that somehow became the norm in the world of cosmetic surgery for the past seven years or so, particularly through the use of injectables, is officially... dead.

Yes, we're finally moving away from the 'Kylie Jenner' era of aesthetics.

Dr Imaan Joshi from Skin Essentials agrees, and says this movement is reflective of what she's seeing in her clinic.

According to Dr Joshi, these days "there’s more emphasis on the overall aesthetics - that is, age-appropriate aesthetics and long-term tweaks that pay off over time."

"People are recognising that less is more, and that good work is mostly invisible - not 'in your face' as seen on many reality TV shows," she adds.

"Most of my patients want fresh and subtle work over 'frozen' and 'fake'. It’s a collaborative approach where they want me to guide them - rather than a DIY approach where we chase lines and shadows."


Watch: 'I "The Doll Maker" what she'd do to my face'. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

So, where is this change coming from?

Well, it's not so much a sudden switch - but rather, something that's been bubbling under the surface for a while now. 

Really, it's a reflection of the current culture. 

Fuelled by a noticeable shift in almost every aspect of fashion and beauty, we're seeing the birth of a 'new look' right in front of our very eyes. And on the faces of almost every celebrity you follow.

Slimmer features. Defined jawlines. Structured cheekbones. That 'snatched' look you get when you pull your hair up into a tight ponytail. Except... all the time.

You'll see it on the faces of celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen, who has spoken openly about having the popularised buccal fat removal procedure. 

If you haven't heard of it before, it's a treatment that involves removing small portions of the fat pads inside your lower cheeks to slim the face and accentuate your bone structure.

While it's not necessarily a new procedure, it's currently trending with young celebrities on TikTok with the hashtag #buccalfatremoval racking up millions upon millions of views.


To put it simply: People are now taking stuff out of their faces, instead of putting stuff in.

In an Instagram story in 2021, Teigen revealed: "I did that Dr. Diamond buccal fat removal thing here. And since I quit drinking, I'm really seeing the results." 

There are also several other celebrities - including Bella Hadid, Zoe Kravitz, Lea Michele and Sophie Turner - all rumoured to have undergone the cosmetic procedure. 


Dr Joshi said, "I wonder if buccal fat removal is taking off now, notably in younger faces that want to look more structured and less “babyish”, as a means to meet what fillers were meant to do - snatched jawlines, contoured 'top model' cheekbones."

@bekahdayyy Thoughts on this trendy procedure? #TheRealPussinBoots #celebrity #celeb #plasticsurgery #plasticsurgeon #fyp #viral #trending #greenscreen ♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono - moshimo sound design

She goes on to explain this treatment could now be trending as people become more aware that fillers can end up "looking puffy over time", especially in "young faces that didn’t need restoration or volume replacement" to begin with.

It's almost impossible to talk about this shift without going back to the Kardashians. Kim and Khloe, specifically.

Scroll through their recent Instagram posts and it's hard not to notice their changing faces.  Everything looks slimmed down. Hollowed. More angular.

"I think popular trends still have a lot to do with the shift. At present, the Kardashians are into a more natural pout - but equally a hollow, contoured look by way of buccal fat removal is in," comments Dr Joshi.

We asked Leigh Campbell, Executive Editor of Mamamia and host of the You Beauty podcast for her thoughts on the look dominating your social feeds right now.

She's been in the beauty industry for a very long time and - similarly to Dr Joshi - warns people against jumping on another bandwagon.

"I think we need to be careful what we label a 'trend', particularly when it comes to the actual shape of someone's face," she said. 

"Celebrities may have the means or desire to change their face in that way, but I think the everyday woman is less likely to want to change her whole face shape and is more likely keen to learn how to accentuate the features she has."


"A lot of these trends can be mimicked, to an extent, with clever makeup. Contouring and highlighting are surprisingly effective," adds Campbell.

With that in mind, if you scroll through TikTok or Instagram, you'll see an influx of content from creators posting tutorials on how to get Bella Hadid's 'model cheekbones' and contoured features - all with strategic placement of makeup.

@thelaurenphillips how to: model cheekbones contour 🤍#modelmakeup #contourhack #contourtutorial #cheekbones #modelcheekbones #bellahadid ♬ miss bella hadid - gabby ✿

On the other side of it, we have influencers who have had filler and are now getting rid of it, posting 'watch me get my filler dissolved' videos on TikTok (just search the hashtag #fillerdissolving), with before and afters and updates on their new 'snatched' face.

@theplasticboy Dissolving all my filler with Kiss aesthetics in Essex London. #fillerdissolving #cheekfiller #lipfiller #lips #aesthetics #aesthetic #skincare ♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono - moshimo sound design

There are literally MILLIONS of them.

@matthewjamesbeauty Filler dissolving process over 2 weeks #fyp #foryoupage #filler #dissolvingfiller #natural #aesthetics #dissolve ♬ The Catfish - Chunkysdead

As for one of the most common requests from patients, Dr Joshi said, "I’m seeing more requests to dissolve than I was before. Usually [it's] if their prior provider won’t dissolve or they never went back."

"More to the point, I’m also seeing new-to-me patients who developed filler migration or are overfilled without realising it. It’s a delicate topic to raise in an initial consultation where I’m assessing and advising. But adding anything over bad filler ultimately isn’t doing anyone any favours, so it’s important."

People are now looking to refine their features, without the look of unnatural volume.

Enter: A chiselled, 'it's-all-in-the-genes' kind of look. Even if you have to fake it.

While the large number of people getting filler dissolved speaks to this shift, it also reveals just how common botched cosmetic work is - particularly with the rise of chain clinics and inexperienced injectors.


As Dr Joshi suggests, people are also recognising that these are medical procedures - not just beauty treatments. They come with rare but real complications.

"As we become more open about the limitations of non-surgical procedures, especially fillers, and women in their 30s and over are more open about it, I think people are pressing pause on their prior understanding of these procedures."

Dr Joshi says that importantly, there’s also more awareness surrounding cosmetic treatments than there was before, and people are generally more open to being guided than they were in the past.

"Equally, I think some are waking up to the fact that you can spend thousands to look odd or 'wrong'. So, why not seek expert advice to spend some of that money to look 'right' the first time around? It’s definitely a mindset shift and one I encourage."

"Medical aesthetics, done well, should be imperceptible."

As Campbell stresses, "Keep in mind, beauty trends come and go. So before you seek out someone to change your face to look like Hailey Bieber, ensure it's a lifelong and well-thought-out desire and not just because you're seeing it all over Instagram."

Do you have filler? Have you ever considered having it dissolved? Let us know your thoughts on the shift in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty; Mamamia

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