The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday
THE BEST FACELIFT I NEVER HAD
Fiona Golfar opts for a treatment that’s a little less invasive than going under the knife
In another life, I was a make-up artist. The first lesson I was taught was: “The eyebrows are the window to the face, if you get them right the rest follows.”
I never forgot it. A well-shaped eyebrow is everything, and if like me you “suffer” with fine, wispy, fair ones which seem to have no outer edge to them, you may also share my seemingly endless cycle of tinting and pencilling, and generally making sure they are visible. But until recently and despite thinking I know everything about everything, I had never considered how, in the right hands, a strategically shaped eyebrow can also do the job of a mini facelift.
The couture brow has changed my face. It is an unavoidable truth that for all of us things are going to go south. It’s not the end of the world; it’s life. The good news is there are ways of slowing the journey down. At 52 I had a lower facelift. I’ve written about it endlessly and apologies in advance if you are reading this and think you’ve heard all this before – but wait, I have more to say.
Having the operation was liberating. My neck and jawline looked tighter and I felt refreshed. I don’t really wear make-up so I had very little maintenance to think about after. I’ve always had regular facials with Joanne Evans at Skin Matters. I like the way she uses technology: IPL, lasers and LED light keep my skin clear and healthy, and lately she has started to use a microcurrent machine to re-educate the cells and tighten the muscles.
I also have the odd tweak. Recently my friend (and The Guinea Pig podcast partner) Dr Maryam Zamani, an oculoplastic surgeon, and I were chatting and she murmured something about my eyes being ready for a bit of a tweak. I don’t know why I was surprised. Seven years ago the wonderful and realistic Dr Rajiv Grover had told me that although my lift would take around 10 years off me age-wise it wouldn’t stop time doing its thing. And so it did, a gentle downward trajectory and my eyelids, which I had not touched, are getting heavy and the rest of my face is slowly following suit. I nearly said saggy!
I parked the conversation; I don’t want more surgery. I have never regretted doing what I did, but I don’t want to make a habit of going under the knife.
However, there are alternatives. Recently I was with my friend Alex Eagle, whose superpower is tracking down people who are excellent at what they do. You name it, she knows it. I was commenting on her fabulous eyebrows – they are everything mine aren’t: thick, bold and a beautiful shape. “Suzanne Martin,” she said. “The best brows in London.”
I immediately paid a visit to Martin who divides her Couture Brow service between Eagle’s new state of the art Health Club at 180 the Strand and the Lanesborough Hotel Club and Spa. It takes one to know one and I really loved how she uses all her expertise as a trained make-up artist formerly working with Christian Dior to draw and shape the brow with make-up as a template to work from, taking many pictures as she worked before going on to create a semi-permanent brow using an assortment of different-sized needles to introduce a cocktail of carefully-mixed pigments into the skin and creating super-fine hair strokes.
The result was really refined. My brows looked incredibly symmetrical and natural and most impressively she lifted and accentuated the shape of my outer brow which opened up my eyelids. It took a couple of appointments two weeks apart but the result was a dramatic improvement. I felt as though I had had a mini facelift.
As we get older our skin loses volume and our facial muscles sag. That’s when many of us start to think about having surgery, but there are so many clever options which are subtle and really effective that are worth considering before anything as radical and expensive as going under the knife. I really like the idea of working around the edges of the face to create a sculpted shape.
A couple of times a year Maryam gives me an injection of Radiesse along my jawline. It it is made from calcium hydroxy apatite and has a very soft texture that is subtle and particularly good to help contour jawlines and support the laxity of skin in the neck and chest. I don’t want to pump lots of filler into the middle of my face resulting in cheeks that look like I’m storing nuts in them, but I want to look hydrated and that’s what I get from Profhilo injections. As we age we get hollow due to loss of volume in areas like the temples, so Maryam uses a hyaluronic acid filler diluted with saline to create a soft improvement.
“Subtle is what people are looking for,” says Olivia Falcon, beauty editor and founder of The Editors List, a bespoke service which helps people to find the best treatments available on the market and the best practitioners to deliver them. She works with a generation of doctors who favour a soft, thoughtful approach: Dr Sophie Shotter, Dr Wassim Taktouk, Dr David Jack.
Falcon is finding that “the doctors I recommend to my clients are excited about and investing in a new wave of rejuvenating injectables often called “biostimulators”.
For example, Nucelofill, an injectable gel that helps aging skin not only look but actually act younger as it hydrates, stimulates collagen and actually lifts skin. It is a newer addition to injectables and it sits between Profhilo and a dermal filler, so the result is softer.
These biostimulators are often used in combination with the latest energy-based devices such as Softwave, a non-invasive tissue tightening and lifting ultrasound device that targets the dermis, causing small injuries that trigger the body to produce new collagen and tighten the tissue. It’s a treatment which works to tighten skin immediately, but it also incites cellular activity to stimulate collagen production that continues long after your appointment.
Ultimately I want a face that looks like me, looking my best. I don’t want to look frozen, tight and lineless. That would be weird. But when there are so many ways of keeping your face looking healthy, sculpted and fresh, you might think twice before putting the knife in...
There are many effective options worth doing before surgery