Beauty trends ebb and flow. From the thick carved-out brows we loved in 2016 to the laminated styles that have taken over in recent years, change is the name of the game when it comes to societal aesthetic preferences.

This is not exclusive to makeup, though, as facial injections like Botox and filler have seen similar shifts in popularity as unofficially marked by the end of the overly-filled lip filler era and a mass favorance for sucking the volume out of our faces à la buccal fat removal. Now, there is a new, more symmetrical procedure taking over both For You pages and medical offices alike. 

Facial balancing is the latest in a slew of hyped-up beauty procedures, promising the appearance of a more evenly balanced face through customized filler placement. These injections are typically applied to the cheeks, lips, nose, under-eye area and chin, but exact placement and volume are dependent on the anatomy of the recipient.

There are thousands of videos related to the procedure on TikTok, the majority being vlog-style or informative videos from patients seeking out the procedure. There are, however, also a substantial number of videos critiquing the influx of facial balancing content, as one creator described it as a one-way street to turning into “handsome Squidward,” a jab at the chiseled effect that can result from misplaced or overdone filler.

Facial symmetry is one of the longest-standing metrics of perceived attractiveness among the general public. In a society that incessantly rewards people based on their good looks, you don’t have to ponder long to figure out why people may feel incentivized to book those appointments. The tailored approach to this procedure, in particular, seems to mitigate some of the risks associated with other “copy-cat” procedures that leave all clients looking the same. 

However, when you watch enough of these videos, you start to notice similar patterns in the results like fuller lips, a more pronounced chin, etc. These are by no means inherently bad traits, but it does seem like the stage has been set for this trend to meet the same fate as many of the other cosmetic enhancements that have run the aesthetic gamut of years past.

This is not to disparage this procedure or suggest it is not a rewarding cosmetic endeavor, as the overwhelming majority of posters under the tag seem to be quite pleased with their results.

Rather, this is a reminder that even new procedural trends that seem to check all the right boxes are not exempt from becoming another cog in the machinery of unrealistic and ever-changing beauty standards. An important consideration before embarking on any injectable endeavor.