How to get filler without ending up with 'pillow face

Yes, it IS possible

Digital Beauty Editor / July 02 2021

Instagram filters are both a blessing and a curse; sometimes they provide the subtle skin-smoothing effect you need to feel your most confident in front of the camera, and sometimes they go way too far.

Case in point? The 'pillow face' filter, which basically makes you look like you've spent several month's rent on filler, plumping your lips, cheeks and even your eyes up with astronomical amounts of faux injectables.

Sure it's fun to see your face like that fleetingly; celebs from Sophie Turner to Rita Ora and Kate Hudson have all given it a go. Need a reminder of just how freaky said filter looks? Allow us to gift (and frighten) your eyes with these fine photos...




But the scary part is that for some it hits too close to home, either showcasing the way they wish their injectables hadn't turned out or the way they feel like they have to look these days to fit in with the filler fans.

Ashley Benson shared a few choice words for the aesthetic in her caption: "Why does everybody look the same nowadays? Let’s be unique And true to ourselves. This is me using a filter lookin like a blowfish tryna fit in w all the LA girls now," she wrote.

Because while we're all for doing whatever makes you feel the most confident, it's safe to say 'pillow face' is not exactly the goal; though the filter may disappear as soon as you click out, reversing iffy results IRL is a whole lot harder.

So, how do we avoid the dreaded look while still partaking in the odd injectable if so inclined? We spoke to Tayla Ashmore, Nurse Injector at 
Cosmetic Avenue to find out...

What is the 'pillow face' look?

“The pillow face look is the result from overuse of cosmetic injectables, specifically dermal fillers,” Ashmore explains. “Pillow face is characterised by over-filled features with emphasis on the lips and cheeks. The look is associated with an unnatural appearance and poor aesthetic outcomes from treatment, which is why this particular look is being avoided.”

Don't panic though, it would take a while to get there: “The ‘pillow face’ filter is not the only outcome after cosmetic injectables. Natural enhancements are certainly achievable and can be as subtle or as detectable as you choose. It also takes a substantial amount of dermal filler to cause ‘pillow face’ and is not usually achievable in one session. There is no need to be afraid of looking like the Instagram filter after receiving cosmetic injectables if following the below tips.”

How to avoid the 'pillow face' look

#1 Rely on reviews

“Seek out a reputable, patient-focused clinic where you are treated as a unique individual rather than a clinic that adopts a ‘once size fits all’ approach to cosmetic injectables,” Ashmore suggests, noting the importance of “undertaking some research and reading reviews” before booking in.

#2 Try before you buy

“Book a consultation first to get to know your Cosmetic Nurse Injector and ensure you are both on the same page in regards to your aesthetic goals and treatment plan,” she says. “To avoid the ‘pillow face’ face look, you can request a natural result with a conservative approach.”

#3 Always start small

“Less is more,” Ashmore confirms. “Great results from dermal filler aren’t necessarily about the amount of mls put in. It is essential that product choice and anatomical placement of the dermal filler is at the forefront of treatment plans."

#4 Document the differences

“Take before and after photos,” Ashmore advises. “We can often lose sight of results from enhancements after some time and continue to chase a ‘fuller’ appearance, risking the pillow face look. Look at before photos and carefully consider whether further treatment is necessary when you are thinking about more cosmetic injections. And if in doubt, consult with your Cosmetic Nurse Injector.”

#5 Trust the experts 

“If your Cosmetic Nurse Injector advises against additional filler, trust them,” she adds. “There are other treatment options that can be discussed and still achieve aesthetic enhancements.”

Main image credit: @sophiet

Prefer to plump your lips with products instead? Here are our favourite fullness-enhancing options...

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