“She got a new nose.” said the girl with long luscious black hair and dainty fingernails polished with French white tips.
“Really? Didn’t she get a new chin like two weeks ago?” said the girl with short blonde-ish hair, reflecting to an almost strawberry tinge, as she responded to the girl with the raven hair nonchalantly.
Strawberry sipped on her venti iced green tea lemonade with a Teavana peach tea bag immersed into it. Raven scrolled down her Instagram feed as she saw endless faces of pretty identical looking girls, giving them two seconds while judging their features out loud.
Raven, or Gianna Yun, 24, from Cerritos, sits with her friend Kayla So, 23, from La Habra at the outside patio at Starbucks near Gianna’s pad. As they are on the panel for who’s pretty and who’s not, the hot topic of facial enhancements aka fillers come up.
“No one goes under the knife anymore.” says Gianna.
“Unless you absolutely need to, if you know what I mean.” Kayla inputted.
“Yeah, unless you need it. Nowadays everyone gets Botox or fillers. It’s not just for wrinkles anymore. You can get a new chin, a new nose, a new everything.” Gianna said as she looked at herself in the mirror.
“I know. It’s so easy now to look good. No recovery time, no knife, temporary results. It’s not even considered plastic surgery.”
“Petit enhancements. That’s what they call it in Korea.” Kayla sipped on her green tea as she looked at another face on her screen.
For a long time, Korean beauty standards has been somewhat of a taboo topic for Americans. The thought that people would slit their eyelids to get a double-eyelid or insert silicone in their nose to make their nose look taller creates two reactions: disgust and fascination.
Why are they trying to change their Asian features?
“It’s not because we want to look White,” says Kayla “that’s a huge misconception.”
“We have our own complexities just as girls from other ethnicities.”
“White girls usually get nose jobs to decrease their nose size, while Korean girls get it to achieve a taller nose bridge. Other than that all girls want the same results. They want to look younger, smoother, and just more symmetrical.” Gianna says.
There once was an article that floated around social media that explained how beautiful you are; scientifically proven. The article went on to explain the method of measuring your facial features and see if they are symmetrical. The more balanced they are the more beautiful you are deemed.
Asians tend to have bigger heads, droopy eyes, and rounder jaw lines. To achieve a symmetrical balance, they want a smaller face by getting a slimmer jawline, wider eyes, and taller knows for a better contour.
Koreans who love to advance in future technology, think Samsung and Hyundai, has grasped the Midas touch with facial feature enhancement and plastic surgery.
But why South Korea?
South Korea has become the number one destination for high quality plastic surgery. South Korea is the number one global city for plastic surgery.
According to the census, South Korea has operated the most surgeries per capita on earth. Gangnam, a district informally coined as the Beauty Belt is a Beverly Hills equivalent city in Seoul has more than 900 beauty clinics alone, and that’s not counting other major cities in Korea.
It has become so popular; the clinics offers tourism packages for foreign tourists to come. The clinic offers to take care of you from start to finish. Some like Seoul Touchup in Gangnam are even official government approved medical tourism agency.
Seoul Touchup site claims, “We combine leisure and peaceful recuperation in your complete anonymity as you will be away from the pressures of daily life. Let Seoul TouchUp guide you in a seamless, hassle-free management where we will care for you from the start to finish of your trip.”
However, surgeries are now becoming a thing of yesterday. There is a new wave in South Korea. A boom for petit enhancements.
Generically speaking, petit enhancements are all non-surgical procedures to mimic plastic surgery like effects. Non-surgical rhinoplasties, non-surgical face lifts, non-surgical v-line jaw line, basically non-surgical everything. Except for really extensive procedures like butt implants or breast augmentation you can achieve fast and satisfactory results with just a syringe.
Plastic surgeons have developed a new way to give girls the enhancements faster, cheaper, lower risk, and satisfied results with FDA approved Botox. Yes, Botox.
Well, okay it’s not that simple.
In America, Botox is usually known to smooth out your forehead or those pesky crow’s feet from smiling too much (as if that was a bad thing).
Not anymore. Korean doctors now perform minor procedures with botox and soft tissue fillers known as Juvederm, Restylane, and Radiesse. These dermal fillers consist of hyaluronic acid and other organic compounds and create temporary “fillings” to give you that higher nose bridge, soften those tight muscles around your jawline for a slimmer face, and get rid of those parentheses shaping your mouth.
The demand for nonsurgical procedures have skyrocketed in the U.S. and the Korean doctors are feeling the heat with an outpour of patients who want them done.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeon Association there are about 7.6 million people who get botox, 2.4 million people who get soft tissue fillers in 2015.
Dr. Charles Kim from CK Plastic Surgery in Koreatown Los Angeles said non-surgical procedures are becoming the norm for many of the girls here as well because it is so easy.
“It’s not permanent. You can get it and see if you like the look and if not it will go away in 6-8 months.”
These procedures are like getting a facial mask at a spa or getting some highlights. It’s instant beautification.
“I think it’s a gateway to surgery. It’s also instant gratification with low risk and lower cost. People who are fearful of surgery lose their fear after non-surgical procedures.” Dr. Kim says.
The patient comes in and the doctor gets a syringe needle filled with about 1cc of Juvederm or Botox and insert it to the area that is getting treated.
The results? Natural. It is not the no-makeup makeup look anymore. It is the no-surgery surgery look.
The side effects may be slight bruising and little swelling but you can totally go out and about in the next couple of hours.
“All Korean celebrities get these Botox fillers. Every year they look younger and better.” Gianna says.
“They call it camera massage. They get Botox and fillers to help contour their face to look better on camera.”
Gianna woke up at 9AM. She allowed herself to sleep in today because it was a Saturday. It wasn’t just any other Saturday.
It was a special Saturday. A new day for new chapter in her life.
Gianna took a long hot shower as she used her favorite rose scented Crabtree Evelyn products. The heavenly fragrance of the flowers made her feel like a goddess.
She stepped out and looked at her reflection in the foggy mirror.
Ugh. Only if she looked as pretty as she felt. But it was okay today was going to change that.
Today, she was going to get a new nose.
Gianna wasn’t an insecure person. She did love her eyes. It was uniquely almond shaped and had a dark chocolate tinged gleam under her long lashes. She had creamy fair skin without a hint of a blemish. It was just her nose that messed up the symmetry.
“It looks like a bulb of a shallot. I hate it. I always hated it.”
Today she had an appointment at a prime spot aesthetic clinic in Koreatown. Cha Min Young Skin Care was a hot spot for what she just needed: a non-surgical micro nose job.
Instead of having extensive surgery all she had to do was go in get couple shots on her nose bridge and she was going to get a whole new nose.
Fifteen minutes and her onion shaped nose will become that of the one she saw in those Instagram girls.
Gianna wore a sleek black sweater from Vince and her favorite pair of Joes skinny jeans. She didn’t wear any makeup except some mascara and lipstick. She decided to forgo her foundation since she might get the procedure done that day. Though it was just a consultation she already made up her mind.
“I thought about this for years. I mean everyone has it done these days. Every Korean girl I know at least. They just don’t admit to it because there’s no need to. It’s just that natural.” Gianna says as she looks into her compact mirror from all angles.
It was special Saturday and she was feeling different inside. Outside? Not just yet.
Gianna glided into the passenger seat as soon as Kayla rolled up in her new white Honda Civic. Kayla who already had gotten the procedure done before was going with her for moral support.
“You ready to do this babe?” Kayla asked ecstatically.
Gianna just nodded and continued to look in the mirror.
“Do you think it really is going to look different though? What if it hurts?” Gianna whined.
“Trust me girl, it’s only a pinch. It hurts less than getting a flu shot.”
The girls blasted on their favorite K-pop artist, and rode their way on the 5 freeway heading towards Koreatown.
The place wasn’t hard to find. It was on 6th Street and Virgil Ave, a prime spot for diverse medical needs. It was a tall grey medical building with five floors. There was an internal medicine clinic on the first floor and a nephrology center on the second. All privately owned by different doctors but all the same Korean.
They valeted their car and headed towards their destination: suite 503. It was located at the top of the building. The penthouse floor.
As they got off the elevator the bright pink and flashy clinic immediately caught their eyes. Compared to the other boring sterile white rooms that occupied real sick people, this place was like a hip lounge. Pop music softly played as a big screen t.v played the latest K-pop music video.
Mia, the receptionist, greeted them as they walked in. She was a short girl, with no makeup on, thick black glasses. In Instagram terms she was a little below a four.
“Um, shouldn’t they use prettier girls out front. I mean technically she is the face of the clinic.” Kayla whispered to Gianna.
“Shut up. You’re such a bitch. She looks fine.” Gianna gently hit Kayla with her Tory Burch bag.
Gianna did think it was weird that Amy was the main girl at the front. She was expecting someone more… fake looking. After all this was a beauty clinic. Mia wasn’t ugly; she just was too au natural.
Because of these procedures girls like Mia, and even Gianna herself who has never gotten anything done to their face are getting insecure about their looks.
“If about four or five years ago I was considered an 8, now I am barely a 6.” Gianna says.
When these procedures weren’t common or available most Korean American girls didn’t have the means to get beauty enhancements.
“Girls here are far more conservative than the girls in Korea. No one will get obvious plastic surgery here because then you’re not pretty you’re just fake.”
Now petit enhancements gave girls the secret magic of getting prettier without drastic changes in their appearances.
“These girls are so pretty now. No one can tell if they really did get the done, we just assume. In a way though we all know because they didn’t look like that couple of years ago. That’s for sure.”
“Camera360 also does help.” Kayla laughed.
“Oh yeah, you can live without coffee but you cannot live without Camera 360.”
Camera 360 is a popular camera app in the Asian community that you can download on your phone. It allows you to take pictures and edit them with various filters and effects. It has a beautifying feature that allows you to Photoshop your facial features with just a touch of your finger.
Thirty minutes has passed and finally it was Gianna’s turn to go in for the consultation.
As Gianna stood up to go, a lady that looked about in her late forties came out laughing and joking with Ms. Lee. She had long straight hair and bangs that made her look like she tried too hard. She talked to Ms. Lee as if she was her younger sister.
Ms. Lee herself looked very scandalous herself. Her long brown hair was perfectly curled and Gianna finally found the familiar face she assumed would be at the front. Tight forehead, overdone lips, and a way too obviously fake nose.
“I hope that’s surgery and not the fillers.” Kayla would whisper as Gianna would hit her again.
Ms. Lee led the girls to the consultation room. It was a small and cozy place with all white furniture.
“So what do you want to do today.” Ms. Lee casually asked in a way it didn’t even sound like a question. It was more of a mere statement.
Gianna hesitated. Not only was it because she didn’t know what to say, she was caught off guard by this cold welcome sentiment.
“I wanted to see my options about getting nose fillers.” Gianna stated in a small voice that sounded more a like a question.
“Yeah. $350 for nose.” Ms. Lee stared at Gianna with blank expression and bored eyes like. To her Gianna was just her 50th customer that day.
“Um.. To be honest I came in because I don’t really know if I need to get it. I want to but I’m scared. Does it hurt?” Gianna asked trying to get the conversation going.
She was a bit shocked by the lady’s attitude but her nose was at stake here.
“High school kids get it. Not a big deal. So yeah or no?” Ms. Lee said as she smiled a smile that resembled a smirk.
Gianna’s mind went black. Her determination to get the procedure done this morning seemed to fly away.
Her special Saturday was turning out not to be so special anymore.
Gianna kindly asked that she think about it and come back. She got up with Kayla and left the room.
Ms. Lee didn’t even greet them out.
“We didn’t even see Doctor Cha. Are you sure you just want to go?” Kayla asked. Kayla was shocked as well so she didn’t even question Gianna’s move to leave.
Gianna didn’t know anymore. She thought about getting this for years. She was getting older, girls were getting younger and prettier, she really wanted this for herself.
But maybe she wasn’t ready yet. She didn’t know if rude Ms. Lee killed it for her or if she didn’t actually want to go through with it all along. Ms. Lee was just the anti-hero that pushed her off the line.
Outside, the girls gave the valet guy his tip and got into their car.
After a silent ten minutes Kayla broke the ice.
“So no new nose no more?” Kayla playfully but carefully asked.
“No.” Gianna replied disappointedly.
She went through her picture album on her phone to look at the selfies they took earlier while waiting in the waiting room.
Swipe. No. Nope. Swipe. Ugh. Swipe. Okay I can work with this, Gianna thought.
She opened the image onto Camera 360 and started to edit the image.
The first thing she did was to enhance her nose with the touch of her finger.
“Okay. Yes, just not here.” Gianna saved her edited image and went back on her Safari to do a new search.
Best place to get nose fillers in ktown with friendly staff.