Botox and Fillers

2012 July 10, Tuesday

Earlier this year, I experienced yet another high in my career.  I was invited by Allergan to Cebu, Philippines, to be a guest speaker during the Asia Pacific Medical Aesthetics Congress, simply known as APMAC to the pros in the medical & aesthetics industry.

This annual event is attended by highly skilled plastic surgeons, aesthetics doctors and dermatologists.  It was a first for me and apparently a first for them to have a makeup artist on board too.  Thus I felt very honoured.

I was excited because as a makeup artist, it would be a very good opportunity to know more about what the doctors can do to make a person look better and how we can compliment each other to bring out the best in a person’s looks.

Then I was kinda nervous as there will be close to 400 pairs of eyes on me from countries like Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, etc.  And I was to speak alongside renowned plastic surgeons from Australia, Brazil, India, Thailand and Singapore.

After  I arrived, I went to meet up with the doctors I had to speak with to discuss how we should go about the presentations.  As it turned out, the first doctor I had to meet with was a very well respected plastic surgeon who is world renowned.  Dr. Mauricio de Maio from Brazil.

He is a pioneer of using fillers like Juvederm™ and Juvederm Voluma™ for enhancing facial contours by filling them up.

The following day was the first day proper of the congress and Dr. de Maio and I were going to talk side by side at the very first presentation of this year’s congress on eye beauty.  Imagine how nervous I was.

On a live model, he would assess her face and tell the audience how he can use injectables to enhance the appearance of her eyes.

Then I would explain how I can make her eyes look more attractive and younger using makeup.  Although I’ve been in this industry for 2 decades, I was still rather nervous to have to speak in front of so many beauty experts.

And during this session, Singapore’s Dr. Woffles Wu was also doing the same on another model with different concerns on the eyes at the other end of the floor and I too had to do the same with the other model.

After I was done with my part, they would do a live demonstration of the botox and filler injections to show the effects it would have on the respective persons.

During the session, Dr. de Maio made a very interesting point.  During this visit, he asked a local lady what her main concern was of her face.  She told him her crow’s feet.  But for him, the area he most wanted to fix was he lack of cheeks that caused her to look tired and aged.

He pointed out that her crow’s feet were minimal and they are nothing compared to those of a Caucasian’s.  So for him, improvement on the cheeks would be priority on this lady.

My next session was to speak about the Perspectives on Female Aesthetics with Australian plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Liew and Indian aesthetics doctor Dr. Jamuna Pai.  Both very well respected doctors in their fields.

In this session, I would first assess the model’s face and describe to the audience what I could do with makeup to improve her looks while Dr Liew was out of the room.  It would be his turn after I was done.  That was to show to the audience if our ideals of a beauty would be similar enough.

As it turned out, we both had very similar concerns on the exact same face.  Almost all of our points matched!

In a woman, whether you are Asian, Caucasian, African American or any other ethnic background, the most popular face shape would be the oval shape.  Somehow, that is the face shape that is most pleasant to the eye.

The widths between top of forehead to the brows, brows to tip of nose and tip of nose to base of chin should ideally be similar.  That would give the face a very good balance in terms of proportion.

Below are a few points to note.  Otherwise it can make a face look more masculine and hard.

Hairline along the forehead should be rounded so as to get an oval shape.

Eyebrows should be slightly arched to “lift” the eyes and neither too thick nor close together.  But also not too thin as that will make a face look bigger and not too arched or you can looked “shocked”.  Botox can lift the brows if they’re too straight.  A pair of straight brows can “pull” the eyes down resulting in lifeless looking eyes.

Cheeks should be projected slightly forward to give a fuller more youthful look instead of sideways.  Cheekbones too high on the side will make the face look big and hard.  There are people whose forward cheeks can become a little concave due to age or lack of cheekbone support.  Not sure if you’ve noticed, but one of the conditions that is most common amongst Indians is sunken area around the undereye area that makes them look tired.

Fillers would be able to help plump up that area to give a well rested and more youthful look.

Lips would look better fuller for a more youthful look too.  But bear in mind not to have the cheeks and lips too full for I have seen too many cases of over filled cheeks and lips and they look like aliens.

The angle of the jawline should preferably be not too squarish.

I’m sure some of you have heard of the Golden Ratio.  It is something that has been used for centuries by famous architects to design attractive structures and buildings.  You’d be surprised to know that it works well for our faces too.

If your features and facial structure coincides very much with the Golden Ratio of 1:1.6180339887…, then you are most likely to be a very attractive person.

Dr. Liew made a very good point.  A toddler would not be able to tell who has good or bad personality but they would be more attracted to people with better facial balance and features instead of the opposite.  When a kid looks at a picture book or watches cartoon, the characters with unbalanced features would be seen as “baddies”.  For example, a big crooked or hooked nose, very thin lips, slitty eyes, overly long chin, etc.  Whereas the ones with balances features will come across as “goodies”.

During our assessment of the model’s face, Dr. Pai was also contributing and supporting the points we made and answering questions from the floor.

Then I did a live makeup demonstration to show what can be done to support my points and the audience was amazed by what makeup can do.  You see, even though they were experts in the cosmetic world, some of them have never seen a live demo and how makeup can instantly enhance features with clever use of products and a few strokes here and there.

That was it for me for the first day of the congress.

On the second day, I was to again speak with Dr. de Maio and Thai plastic surgeon, Dr. Russapoom.  This time, it’s about the Perspectives on Male Aesthetics.

I was to start the ball rolling that morning and highlight to the audience how I see an ideal male beauty.  Then I demonstrated on a man how I can make him look more feminine and more masculine using different makeup techniques on either side of his face.  There was really good response from the audience and that made me even more confident.  Perhaps you’d be able to guess by now, it’s somehow the reverse of what a ideal female beauty would be.

Hairline along the top of forehead can be less round and more angular.

Eyebrows less arched and definitely bushier than those of a woman.  If there were an arch, I personally feel that the arch should be more towards the outer corners of the eyes.

Cheek can be raised a little sideways and not too forward although if there were a case of the sunken part under the eyes, a little bit of fillers could be administered there to help fill up the hollow a little for a more rested look.

Unless you have uneven lips, eg. Upper lip much fuller than lower lip or vice versa, guys normally don’t need too much filling done there.

The chin can be less pointy.  In fact a little wider chin would be more masculine.

As with the female face, the Golden Ratio would apply to men as well.

Next, Dr. de Maio took over and started talking about how a man’s looks can be improved.  He then asked me to put on makeup to make the model look older and tired so as to better show the reverse of what we would do to improve his appearance.  The crowd got excited upon seeing that.  I guess all this while, they might have only seen there patients’ looks get better and not worsen that quickly.

Then three more men of Caucasian, Indian, Chinese descent came in and Dr. de Maio and Dr. Russapoom talked about how each ethnic background had their unique characteristics on their faces and would be treated on differently.

Caucasian men would usually have higher forehead, stronger brow bones, deeper set eyes, and thin lips.

Indian men would have somewhat similar features except for the sunken undereye area and that they generally have fuller lips than Caucasians.

Then comes the Chinese guy.  His forehead was less projected as compared to the 2 other guys. Eyes less deep set.  In fact, they can appear to be puffy for many.  This is because the Chinese bone structure is such that the eyes are more forward, resulting in the puffy eyed look.  Which also makes the nose appear to be flatter.  Because, from side profile, the distance between the eyes and the bridge of the nose has become lesser.  So sometimes I will have to explain to some people that they do not have puffy eyes when they think they do. Chinese men generally tend to have higher cheekbones and fuller lips in general as compared to Caucasians too.

So it was interesting to see the different characteristics of different ethnic backgrounds.

It goes to show that not everyone looks better with a higher bridge on the nose or more deep set eyes.  It very much depends on our individual bone structure and contours of the face.

After that session, I had some free time as I wasn’t involved a few of the other presentations. There was one session I was particularly interested in.  Two French doctors in Toulouse were going demonstrate, on a big screen via a live feed, on a fresh cadaver how to inject onto a face.  The face of the cadaver was cut up in the middle down the forehead following the bridge of the nose to the chin. The skin was lifted to show the layers of muscle and fats under the skin so as to clearly show the audience where is best to inject botox and fillers to the face for best results.

You must be wondering it must be very gruesome to see something like that.  Yes, I felt rather eeky at first.  But after a while, I got used to it and thought to myself, “Hey, that’s what we are all made of.”  And I took out a piece of gum and started chewing.  Haha

It was really interesting to see the layers beneath our skin.  If you felt your forehead, you’d never think that under the skin, there is actually a thin layer of muscle.  Then it struck me, how else would we be able to frown and raise our forehead if not for the muscles, right?

And under our eyes and on our cheeks, there can be quite an amount of fats deposited.  So when a lot of fats are deposited under the eyes that’s when eyebags occur.

A very interesting insight for me indeed!

At the end of the congress, there was a closing presentation.

Dr. de Maio hosted the event talking about the evolution of the Asian look and where do we go from here.  Most of the speakers during this congress were invited on stage to voice out their opinion on the future of aesthetics.  I was surprised to be one of them as I regarded myself as just a “supporting cast” and not one of the “leads”.   Nevertheless, I was honoured to be in the line up.

During the congress, I have learned some things from the doctors as well as have imparted my knowledge in beauty to them too.  I used to think that fillers were just some foreign substance injected into the face to enhance our looks but I found out that they are actually made out of hyaluronic acid which is what is in most skin care products to help retain moisture and improve skin quality.  So they are very safe.  And fillers these days feel so natural.  They used to feel kinda like hard lumps under the skin but now, they feel so soft just like the muscles and fats under the skin you can hardly tell they are there.

Some of the people there let me touch their faces and tested me to see if there were fillers in their faces.  It was really hard to tell.  But I got most of it right anyway.  😉

Fillers are a good way of improving your facial contours in a safe and semi-permanent way these days.  Hardly any down time, very little swelling, no need to hide from people for days or weeks after the treatment.  And if you are not completely satisfied with the result, it will eventually be absorbed into the body allowing you to look like your original self again after about one year, depending on the dosage.

My debut at the congress went well and the audience seemed to have understood me well too.  Phew!

In between sessions, I had several doctors from various countries coming up to me and asking for my contact.  They said they were impressed by my presentations and thought I was a regular at such kind of events.  I managed to disguise my nervousness well I guess.  Haha

I’m looking forward to be involved in more of these events from now and gain a lot more knowledge from the other side of the beauty industry so that I can further enhance my skills and observations on people’s faces so as to be able to make them look even better!

I’m sorry we couldn’t take pics of the presentations as we had to respect the volunteers/models/patients’ privacy so there are no pics to share except this one.

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