“I think in my generation it is becoming a lot more normalized to have non-surgical procedures. I don’t see the issue with that….. I don’t want to look like anyone else but myself, but I want to be a prettier version of myself”
In the past few years there has been a gradual shift in the perception of beauty, whereby women are opting for a ‘natural look’.
The ‘natural look’ look is characterised by the phrase “less is more”, insinuating women are shying away from traditional plastic surgery procedures and choosing non-surgical enhancements, to maintain a natural look.
The term ‘natural’ is undeniably open to interpretation. Natural is defined as “existing in or formed by nature, opposite to artificial”. This definition is entirely dissimilar to the latest natural beauty trend, which encourages women to have *non-invasive procedures to optimize their qualities as opposed to emulate another’s.
You may have noticed an influx of people with suspiciously plump lips, highly-defined cheekbones and flawless skin. No, this doesn’t mean that Australia’s youth is getting better looking – it means cosmetic procedures have become normalised in our society and has become the key to achieving ‘a natural look’.
*Non-invasive– procedures that improve body’s appearance but remain above the skin. Including fillers, injection, chemical peels, anti-wrinkle and laser hair removal.
So, how has this trend evolved?
If we were discussing cosmetic surgery 10 years ago, these images might come to mind….
10 years ago, society as a whole undeniably stigmatized cosmetic surgery. Bad surgeries shaped these negative connotations, which deterred people from admitting to any cosmetic work in fear they would be socially ostracised or labelled as ‘fake’.
However, now societies attitude and perception has evolved. In 2015, Australians spent over $1-billion on non-invasive cosmetic treatments, reflective of societies change in perception. Cosmetic surgeries are no longer stigmatised or hidden, in fact you only need to scroll through Instagram beauty trends to find thousands of hashtags publicising cosmetic enhancements to produce a ‘natural look’.
Many blame social media for the evolution of this beauty trend, as it has created platforms enabling celebrities and influences to discuss how to replicate a natural look using non-invasive cosmetically enhancements. Resulting in a sense of normality around cosmetic procedures.
For instance, beauty vlogger Jasmine Head posted a Youtube video of her getting lip injections, the video received 1.2million views.
Jasmine’s Youtube blog is one of many (infinite) beauty vlogs glamourizing and promoting their experience with cosmetic injections. Social media influencers have usurped the role of beauty idols from celebrities, due to their appealing relatability to the public. As opposed to mainstream stars’, vloggers/ influences create an aurora of authenticity to their material.
The normalisation of cosmetic enhancements does not stop there. You only need to scroll Instagram’s beauty pages to find thousands of social media posts about non-invasive surgeries. These images almost serve as advertisements to viewers as the open dialogue creates a further sense of normality and acceptance.
Additionally, social media facilitates a culture whereby consumers desire what they see on their phone screens and have a desire to replicate this level of perfection. A recent study found that 40% of cosmetic patients wanted treatments to look better in selfies posted on social media. The continuous pursuit of flawlessness has become one of the main motivations behind cosmetic procedures.
Of course, it would be rude if I were to write an article about social media, trends and cosmetic enhancements and not mention any of the Kardashian/ Jenner clan.
It is no secret that Kylie Jenner has definitely had some ‘enhancements’ and created a billion-dollar empire off her cosmetically enhanced lips. Once Jenner admitted to having lip injections, cosmetic practices experienced a crazy number of young women and men wanting to have lip injections. By admitting to lip injections, Jenner unknowably encouraged many young adults to follow suit.
Celebrities and influencers aren’t all to blame. Over the last 10 years there has been an undeniable advancement in technologies and procedures – making them affordable for the average worker, less invasive and generally non-permanent.
Previously if consumers wanted to ‘enhance’ their appearance, they would most likely have to have an incision underneath the skin which would involve a longer recovery period. Now, consumers can transform your entire profile in your lunch break with an injectable filler.
What are the psychological effects of cosmetic enhancements?
Previously, the youth (or at least I was) were issued with strong warnings about cosmetic procedures. But- now cosmetic treatments are perceived as cosmetic enhancements are designed to enhance not alter. So, are there still psychological effects of enhancements?
Yes, phycologists believe that cosmetic enhancements can create side effects of disappointment, anxiety and depression. It has also become a danger for those addicted to ‘enhancing’ themselves, because the problem may be emotional discomfort from the inside.