Behind every luminous star on the red carpet, there is a team of people who help to keep them looking their best. But alongside the personal trainers, make-up artists and facialists getting their shout-outs on Instagram, there works another, more anonymous behind-the-scenes expert who is absent from the tags: the aesthetic doctor.
Yes, the person who wields all manner of needles and lasers is often the unheralded saviour of a famous face. The best in the business tweak, enhance and hone, but their efforts are barely detectable—it’s a common misconception that you can always tell when a celebrity has had something done. Actually, that’s only when they’ve had something done badly.
Dr Wassim Taktouk is one aesthetic doctor who has tended to well-known faces, and while naturally he won’t go into details about exactly who, his client list includes movie stars and ambassadors fronting major fashion campaigns—and you’d certainly not be able to tell which treatments they have undergone. “I’ve always championed a natural aesthetic,” he tells me candidly over the phone. “If anyone asks if my clients have had things done then I know I’ve gone too far. The trick is that they should always look well and be told so—that’s all that anyone wants to hear.”
Here, he shares the inside scoop on the tweakments the stars really get—the ones you might not have heard of and certainly don’t notice—because, yes, there is a reason why so many people in the public eye seem to age so well…
Skin health comes first
The key to looking good now is to look really “well”, and for that skin health is key, says Taktouk. While he offers mesotherapy (which involves a bespoke cocktail of vitamins being injected into the skin), and Profhilo (more on which below), in his clinic to help make skin look healthy, he is also one third of a 360 Skincare programme alongside facialist Teresa Tarmey and nutritionist Rose Ferguson. As a trio, they cater to all aspects of skin health. While Tarmey works on external skin health via facial treatments, incorporating lasers and good skincare advice, Ferguson looks at diet and nutrition to ensure the skin is being nourished from the inside. And finally, Taktouk tweaks away with needles.
Exaggerated lips are out
As filler technology has improved over the years, so has the way it’s delivered into the face. Today it is all about a natural look. “The filler companies are not only looking at volume replacement, they’re also looking at how the face moves,” explains Taktouk. “They now create fillers that stretch, so when you smile, for example, the filler moves with your lip, and you don’t get that lumpy pout. The gel integrates beautifully into the tissue, replicating your own.” Taktouk says he also deploys more watery fillers into the lips (which are typically used to fill smaller lines within the face), to ensure there isn’t an excessive (read: obvious) amount of volumising. “It’s the smart way of doing it, because it just looks like they’ve got lip balm on,” he says.
Ever heard of temple filler?
While most of us barely give our temples a second thought, they are a prime area for tweakments on the world’s most beautiful faces. “You can do a fair amount of work in someone’s temples and it gives nothing away,” says Taktouk. “As you age you start to lose fat (or volume) in your temples, which leads to dents on either side of the face—and that can be quite ageing.” As volume is lost, the tissue on top of sits on less scaffolding, and so the face starts to drop. Softly and slowly inflating the temples using filler can totally revive it. “It gives that healthy fullness—I’ve done this treatment on a lot of big names, and no one ever notices,” he says.
Glow with Profhilo
One of the treatments du jour, Taktouk is also a big fan of Profhilo—an injectable hyaluronic acid treatment—to hydrate the skin and boost luminosity. “It gives you that dewy, post-facial glow—think really plump, hydrated-looking skin,” he says. “It’s a great one before an event. We tend to do the first treatment about six weeks before and the second two weeks before the event. The skin looks sensational.” While it is an injectable, it doesn’t volumise the skin like filler, which makes it a great entry-level treatment for those dipping their toe into the world of tweakments.
To open the eyes
Since eyes are a huge focus now thanks to protective face masks, there are ways of opening up the area while creating a “soft plumpness” to the forehead at the same time. Taktouk applies filler directly onto the skull at the forehead (which sounds much worse than it is), which draws attention to the eyes and is an excellent alternative to Botox. “Our faces are so expressive and every micro-movement in the face is how we communicate—especially now, because you can’t see our mouths anymore,” he says. “The last thing we want to do is blow natural expressions out of the way. This is a treatment that won’t meddle with them.”
Botox is still used…
… But in really small quantities. While there has long been a movement for “baby Botox”, where tiny sprinklings of the toxin are deployed in specific areas, Taktouk says he uses even less than that in his treatments. “I really dilute it and trickle it into very key positions so that the face still moves. That’s the most important thing—you can’t block someone’s movement. The idea is to tackle the power muscles in the face and weaken them a little bit, rather than focusing on the line itself.”
It’s all about proportions
“I do hundreds of liquid nose jobs, they’re great for the profile,” says Taktouk of the treatment, which involves injecting filler into the nose to balance facial proportions. It offers an excellent, far less traumatic alternative to the nose job itself. He also explains that working on a client’s chin can have a knock-on effect on the nose and “harmonise” their profile. “When you inject filler into the chin, you can align the nose within the face really beautifully without having to touch it. It’s sort of an optical illusion.”
This article was originally featured on Vogue.co.uk
7 non-surgical skin-lifting and glow-boosting skin treatments you can try in 2021
Every question you may have about Botox, answered
The deal with lip fillers: Should you get them?