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Minimal aesthetics: why the less is more approach is gaining momentum

Stripped back results are increasingly in demand – we speak to the practitioners adopting this philosophy in their clinics

While injectables such as botulinum toxin and dermal filler are becoming more and more popular as the most impactful aesthetic treatments, there are still some people who are apprehensive about taking the plunge for fear of looking fake.

But it doesn't have to be like that, with the majority of responsible practitioners mindful of you walking out the door looking like yourself, albeit a fresher version.

Working out of her clinic in the Cotswolds, Etre Vous Expert Alexandra Bebb’s approach has always been about enhancing natural beauty. She believes that people are slowly moving away from the overdone look, and takes a measured approach for results that are ‘done but not overdone’.

“I love combining treatments to create personalised results,” she says. “This could be a combination of toxin for the upper face and dermal fillers to lift the cheeks, or skin boosters and chemical peels to soften fine lines and improve skin texture.
“In terms of lip fillers, enough of the over-filled lips of previous years – lips look beautiful when enhanced subtly. Remember, we all have our unique features and full lips do not suit every face.”

Bebb believes that while dermal fillers get a bad reputation, if done correctly they should never make the face distorted. “We want people to think we look great but have no idea why; we shouldn’t notice someone’s cheek filler otherwise we have distorted their face.”

Another practitioner who’s always believed aesthetic treatments should deliver natural-looking results is EV Expert Anna Hemming, who uses the anatomy to detect underlying changes due to ageing before replacing, rejuvenating and lifting areas of loss for a refreshed look.

“I do not want others to recognise that one of my patients has had a treatment or injectable, just that they look amazing,” she says.

“I would be horrified if a patient of mine was singled out as looking unnatural or overdone. Such treatments give aesthetic medicine a terrible reputation and scare people from having toxin and dermal fillers which, in the right hands, are beautifully natural treatments.”

Hemming believes that as aesthetic medicine comes more acceptable, the majority of people will be looking for natural injectors. She feels that this will bring about an acceptance that injectable treatments do not have to make you look 'strange / dysmorphic,’ resulting in more natural-looking treatments being performed.

“I use the least amount of dermal filler to make the corrections that are needed in an individual, in order to lift the areas that have been reduced in the ageing process,” she says.

Dermatologist Dr Ariel Haus agrees that any nervousness in going ahead with dermal filler is mainly due to a fear of looking unnatural.
“I have many patients who, when they first come to see me are incredibly anxious about trying fillers in particular,” he says.

”While their objective is to look younger, they tend to be fearful of appearing augmented, puffy or ‘done’, which is a look associated with too much filler. If you over-fill the cheek and eye area, the eyes tend to appear smaller and set back in the face. This is something that most of my patients want to avoid."

Dr Haus uses a new type of HA filler called MaiLi, which has greater volumising qualities than other fillers. "I found that by carefully placing just 1ml in the temples, the cheeks and the marionette lines, we can see a tangible improvement to the shape of the face immediately.  

“Of course, each patient is different, and some people require more, but I find that often just a small amount will bring about the lift that is required to achieve that youthful appearance, hence the name ‘The 1ml Facelift’ was created.”
When Dr Haus shows nervous patients what 1ml of filler looks like – basically a fraction of a teaspoonful – they are often reassured and comforted knowing that such a small amount is being used strategically.

Aesthetics nurse and EV Expert Julie Scott believes that less is always more, despite the fact that with the growing popularity and availability of aesthetic treatments in the last decade, treatments have been normalised almost to the point of more is more.

“It’s almost become fashionable in some circles to have overt, overly enhanced faces,” she tells us. “However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I have never been an advocate for this look and have built my reputation on the less is more ethos.

“As a practitioner, I have a duty of care to my patients to always act in their best interests, therefore it would never be deemed appropriate to overly enhance or carry out treatments for the sake of it,” she continues.

Scott says that patients don’t want to look 20 years younger, just the best they can for the decade that they’re in. She believes her minimal approach is the secret to this success.

“Understanding that patients don’t want anyone to notice that they’ve had treatments but wanting them to notice they look well is key, and has served me very well.

“People are realising there’s a lot of good work out there that is subtle and well done – it kind of comes full circle, things are calming down and people are stripping it back a bit.”

So does she think the less is more approach is here to stay? "It’s always what I’ve done and it’s not a thing, it’s just meeting personal needs.”

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