With the beauty world set to reopen soon, after your hairdresser, your facialist or aesthetician may well be one of the first beauty experts on your call list.
For me, it will be Dr Emily MacGregor, at the newly-opened chic Story aesthetics clinic in London's Marylebone. She reports that many of her clients, myself included, are now asking for discreet filler treatments that make a difference, but that are subtle and natural, "that mean they still look like themselves," she says.
Emily is not only an expert injector herself, but trains other doctors in how to administer fillers and wrinkle-relaxing 'tox injections safely and skilfully. I trust her completely with my face. I first went to see her not really knowing what I wanted, apart from a conservative approach that would make me look fresher; more early 40s, less 50s. She told me that filler could help lift my face subtly.
Like many women, I can remember the horror stories of disastrous trout pout fillers of the early noughties and this has made me quite a nervous patient. However, these days filler formulae are nothing to be feared (and they are dissolvable, although that's not the aim). Most are made of hyaluronic acid, a substance that we produce naturally. Fillers can be used in a targeted way to bring the scaffolding and bounce back to the face. As we age, we lose bone around the eyes and cheeks (nice!) which can make our faces lose their contours; and like our sofas, we gradually lose the stuffing in our much-loved cushions thanks to collagen and elastin production tailing off. Emily's preferred simile for filler is "like putting air back into a balloon".
Because my nose-to-mouth lines bothered me, Emily suggested a little plumping in the cheekbone. This would act as a coathanger to peg them back up again. She also suggested padding out the space next to my ear and above my jawline - which we christened the 'ear dip'. As Emily explains in the video, this area, which is about the size of a Hobnob, is not a place that you'd necessarily request help with. Who studies their ear dips, even after hours on Zoom? But a little filler here can help lift the cheek and take some of the heaviness out of the nasolabial folds. If I look at pictures of myself ten years ago, this is padding that I once had naturally. She wasn't going to change the shape of my face, but merely put back what was lost.
Emily used the hyaluronic acid filler Juvaderm which comes in various thicknesses depending on the effect you want. After some numbing cream, she injected three dots onto my cheekbone and then went in at the base of my cheek with a rather long cannula needle, staying just under the skin (you might be able to make out the white outline of the ear dip area she marked up in the picture below).
It hurt a little, but not so that I yelped. I was a little swollen for a couple of days as the filler settled and had a little soreness for ten days. There was no bruising, as can happen with Profhilo, that other most popular hyaluronic acid injectable because Emily used a cannula, which only required one prick.
I loved my results, which should last up to a year. My family didn't notice a thing, but I felt a little more like my younger self. I could even have been a little bolder, perhaps going for a temple filler too to add a subtle lift to the brow. In a similar way, this lifts the tail of the eyebrow and is another procedure you'd never think to ask for, but is a good option if you have hooded eyes or a drooping brow.
Here, Emily she shares these two and one more lesser-known filler spots that bring that almost imperceptible lift - you'll notice, but no one else will. And that's what we all want, to look 'well not 'done'.