by Jolene Edgar
Interest in plastic surgery is at an all-time high, but stigma and misinformation still surround the industry and the patients. Welcome to Life in Plastic, a new series by Allure that aims to break down cosmetic procedures and provide all the information you’ll need to make whatever decision is right for your body — no judgment, just the facts. Here, we’re covering everything you need to know about the “mommy makeover.”
Since the birth of Botox, interest in the surgical brow lift (aka forehead lift) has waned considerably, its popularity dropping 69 percent between 2000 and 2019, per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. But suddenly, it seems, the procedure has captured the attention of a new generation, one far younger than the 50-something women who once dominated the demographics: millennials.
“It’s all because of Bella [Hadid],” board-certified Beverly Hills facial plastic surgeon Sagar Patel tells Allure. Indeed, the model’s unmistakable feline gaze could very well have inspired thousands of brow lifts in recent years, our experts concur.
In the Beverly Hills office of board-certified facial plastic surgeon Sarmela Sunder, “the most popular variation [of the procedure] is a lateral brow lift, or what I call a cat-eye brow lift, where I elevate the lateral third of the eyebrows, or the tails. Second to that is more of an overall brow lift — raising the eyebrows from the arch out to the tail — and that creates a peaked look more in line with that of Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid,” she explains.
The pandemic has only fueled the trend. “With compulsory mask-wearing, there is more focus than ever before on the upper third of the face,” says Lara Devgan, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City. Many of her patients largely desire “fuller brows with a classic lateral third arch” — much like what Sunder describes.
An Unconventional Choice
Perhaps more surprising than the age of these patients is their willingness to go under the knife for an effect that could be at least partially achieved with injectable neuromodulators (aka botulinum toxins), like Botox, Xeomin, Dysport, or Jeuveau. “Traditionally, that’s the route patients would take — try a chemical brow lift [with toxin] first, and if that doesn’t work, go for surgery — but a lot of millennials are already savvy to the surgical brow lift,” says Sunder, noting that roughly 35 percent of her prospective brow-lift patients in their 20s and 30s go straight for the operation without ever experimenting with injectables. “From the patient’s point of view, they’re impatient with the idea of repeat treatments, and they like that immediate satisfaction and lasting results,” she says. Sunder adds that “a decent number of this younger population” also turn to surgery when brow-targeted thread lifts fail them.
Interestingly, she notes, these patients don’t typically take a surgery-first approach to achieve other cosmetic goals: For fuller lips, they use fillers before signing on for a lip lift; to correct eye-area issues, noninvasives precede blepharoplasty. “But with the brow lift, there’s definitely a [relatively] larger population that comes in asking about surgery before trying nonsurgical options,” Sunder says. “Perhaps the surgery itself is not as off-putting as others, because the incisions aren’t on the face but rather hidden [in the hair],” she theorizes.