I never loved my nose, but I also didn't majorly hate it. I just wanted the slight bump in the middle of my nose to disappear. And I knew the only way to fix what bothered me was rhinoplasty.
When I was 17, I asked my mother for a nose job. Without hesitation, she said no. A year later, I asked again, and received the same response. My last-ditch attempt was right before graduating from college. As suspected, the response was negative, and this time, my mother also told me she didn't think I should ever touch my nose because it would completely change my face.
Over time, I filed the idea of a new nose in the back of my mind. Until, one day, early in my career as a beauty editor, a prominent dermatologist asked if I was willing to try a liquid nose job as part of a before-and-after series for an upcoming piece. He said I was a perfect candidate — a slight bump, no breathing issues or broken nasal bones, and "good quality" skin. Without thinking twice, I said yes.
The idea of instantaneously changing my nose without going under the knife and enduring a painful recovery process replete with stitches, nasal packing, and all the other nuances that come with a typical surgical nose job sounded like a dream.
I was 26 years old when I had my first non-surgical nose job with Dr. Kenneth Beer, a board-certified dermatologist in Florida. With a few strategically placed injections of hyaluronic acid gel, in just 20 minutes, I went from having a fairly noticeable bump to a perfectly smooth profile that fit my face. While the treatment is relatively painless (numbing cream makes it tolerable), it's mind-blowing that Dr. Beer transformed my nose right before my eyes.
Since then, I've had at least four non-surgical nose jobs over 15 years. Call it anecdotal evidence, but each session leaves my nose looking even more refined and lasting longer than the last. Of course, I always wait until my hump fully re-emerges before he injects my nose again.
For me, a liquid nose job is one of the best aesthetic treatments I've ever tried. And, since opting for a non-surgical rhinoplasty on that memorable summer day years ago, the thought of a surgical nose job hasn't crossed my mind since.
While a liquid nose job isn't surgery, but there's still a lot to unpack about the treatment, whether you're a nose injecting veteran or a newbie. From how it works to how long it lasts and everything in between, we're sharing the nitty-gritty on liquid nose jobs so you can determine if a tweakment is the way to go.
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How a Liquid Nose Job Works
The quick and effective liquid nose job is a mainstay procedure in dermatologists and plastic surgeons' offices — even injectors at medi-spas perform it, too.
"The liquid nose job has always been popular, but it has hit 'critical mass,' and more people are getting it done now than ever. There's also more discussions about it now than when I started doing them 15 years ago," Dr. Beer says. In addition, openness regarding procedures has patients seeking out the surgery-free nose improving treatment trending on social media.
It seems counterintuitive that adding volume to a large nose or one with a hump, bump, or hook can straighten it, but it can. The key to a successful liquid nose job is for your doctor to inject hyaluronic acid filler strategically to camouflage what you don't like about your nose, within reason (more on that in a minute).
Dr. Shirley Madhère, a holistic plastic surgeon in New York City and the founder of Jet Set Beauty Rx, says a non-surgical nose reshaping procedure says a non-surgical nose reshaping procedure aims to improve the overall appearance of the nose. "The issues we can address non-surgically are humps, some forms of a crooked nose, and poor tip definition, amongst other concerns."
Injecting filler into the nose can also straighten it. Dr. Jennifer Levine, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York explains that injecting filler above and below a bump can minimize its appearance. "Also, adding strategic volume to the tip can raise and rotate it slightly and create more definition. Minimizing irregularities makes the nose less distracting and makes the face look better overall," she adds. Similarly, adding height to the top of the nose via filler can create the illusion of a thinner nose.
But, in reality, it's all an illusion.
While you'll see noticeable improvement, the addition of filler creates the look of smoothness or a straighter bridge without physically changing the structure of the nose. "It's amazing how the nose doesn't look bigger even though you're adding filler," says Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, a board-certified plastic surgeon in San Francisco. "By raising the contour above a bump, the bridge of the nose looks straighter, hiding the bump, but again, not making the nose look bigger."
Who Is a Good Candidate For Liquid Nose Jobs?
"If a patient is not a surgical candidate or does not want to have surgery yet has a problem amenable to filler, then filler is a good option," Dr. Levine shares. "If you want the nose to be physically smaller or have an issue that can only be corrected surgically, like a very large or crooked nose, a bulbous tip, or thick skin, surgery is better.
She adds that filler may best treat small irregularities over surgery. More complex issues, like a majorly droopy tip, significant humps, bumps, over projection, or a crooked nose, won't respond well to fillers, and surgery is often the better option.
How a Liquid Nose Job is Performed
Similarly to filler injections elsewhere on the face, those performed on the nose follow the same injection process. Following a consultation with your doctor, the area is first cleansed and sterilized, then numbed. Then, the filler of choice — usually a structural one like Restylane or one in the Restylane family — is injected slowly into the bridge of the nose and then massaged and molded into place. If the tip is an area of concern, your doctor can inject it, too.
"Hyaluronic acid fillers are the only ones doctors use because they are relatively still, do not easily deform, and are dissolvable if you don't like the results," Dr. Beer says. "They are also beneficial because if the filler gets into a blood vessel, it can be digested with hyaluronidase — an enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid — and go away." While some doctors choose to inject with longer-lasting fillers, like Radiesse, Dr. Beer says he rarely uses it in the nose due to its longevity.
The type of needle used also makes a difference . "Some providers inject with a needle or a cannula — a long, blunt-needle, which I use — along the bridge of the nose. A cannula allows me to make only one needle hole at the tip of the nose," Dr. Kaplan explains. "Avoiding multiple needle sticks reduces the risk of hitting a blood vessel, which can block it, cause bruising, or lead to overlying skin death. Plus, I can address the dorsum of the nose, radix (where the nose meets the forehead), and tip through one needle hole in the tip of the nose."
Do Liquid Nose Jobs Hurt?
Injecting filler into your nose may sound painful and unpleasant, but applying a numbing cream to the nose first helps make a liquid nose job tolerable. "A dental block and local anesthesia to the tip of the nose also makes the patient comfortable during the procedure," Dr. Kaplan says.
Since a liquid nose job is quick, if you do experience any pain, it will be over before you know it. "The tip of the nose is sensitive, but aside from this area, most patients do well with the treatment," Dr. Beer adds. Plus, as soon as the first drop of filler comes into contact with the nose, the nose will feel more numb since the injectable gel contains an additional anesthetic.
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Is a Liquid Nose Job Anything Like a Surgical Nose Job?
The liquid nose job can produce pretty jaw-dropping results, but it will always present more limitations than surgery. A lot separates the injectable nose job from the surgical one, like cost, recovery, and how each procedure corrects the nose. However, the main similarity between the two is that both improve the shape of the nose and eliminate bumps to some degree, just in different ways.
Both nasal-improving procedures utilize volume. "A non-surgical rhinoplasty changes the nose by adding volume to mask a bump and asymmetries and slightly lift and define the tip," Dr. Levine says. On the other hand, she explains that surgical rhinoplasty can add volume with cartilage, which is stronger, more supportive, and creates definition and long-lasting changes. "Surgical rhinoplasty can make the nose smaller and narrower and the tip smaller and more refined. It can also narrow or straighten the nasal bones, improve breathing, and correct a deviated septum," she adds. The non-surgical version achieves the look of a smaller, narrower nose, but it cannot alter the structure or alignment of the bones nor improve breathing issues.
One of the biggest concerns with patients who consider or get rhinoplasty is that changing their nose will cause them to lose their cultural identity. For those who have reservations about the impact rhinoplasty presents on altering features, a liquid nose job may be a more suitable option since filler allows these patients' facial features to remain unaffected.
An injectable nose job does not require the expense and downtime of surgery. Still, Dr. Madhère says it is a relatively inexpensive way to achieve some aspects of an improved nasal shape. "A liquid nose job, which a non-surgeon can perform, does not involve a scalpel, the removal of tissue, or the fracture of nasal bones. It is thus a purely cosmetic procedure that superficially affects only the nose's appearance. Rhinoplasty is one of the most transformative operations in plastic surgery and remains the gold standard."
Dr. Kaplan shares that even though a liquid nose job is short-lived, it's a way to test drive what a nose job may look like. "Patients appreciate that they can see what a real nose job will look like first with a temporary, non-surgical option," he says. If you like the results and decide to go the surgical route for a permanent fix, Dr. Levine recommends dissolving all the filler before surgery.
Is There Any Downtime with a Liquid Nose Job?
The beauty of using fillers to correct the nose is it's a quick fix with no downtime or recovery. Short of some minor swelling that resolves within the first few days, you can go back to your normal daily activities and immediately show off your new nose. Although filler takes to the nasal tissue relatively fast, if it's your first time having your nose injected, your nose may feel weird or even a little stuffy for the first few days.
"One thing I tell patients is to avoid sleeping with their face down," Dr. Beer says. Another piece of advice: Avoid wearing glasses or sunglasses for the first 48 hours. Dr. Kaplan says they can cause a divot in the bridge of the nose by compressing the filler.
How Long Will the Results Last?
Augmenting the nose with filler lasts a decent amount of time — you can expect your new and improved nose to stay for nine months to one year or longer. There's minimal movement in the nose compared to an area like the lips or cheeks, which equates to longer-lasting improvement.
But, since hyaluronic acid filler dissolves slowly on its own, even if the results exceed the one-year mark, you will need to repeat the treatment to maintain the results.
How Much Does a Liquid Nose Job Cost?
Every doctor charges differently for a liquid nose job, but according to the buildmybod.com procedure pricing tool, the average surgical rhinoplasty costs $7,272; the non-surgical version is about $1,725. Keep in mind that a liquid nose job needs to be repeated, whereas a surgical nose job is usually a one-and-done procedure. So, if you go the non-surgical route, make sure to factor in the cost of repeat injectable nose jobs.
Are There Any Downsides to A Liquid Nose Job?
A liquid nose job is a relatively safe procedure. Yet, there are always potential risks and complications like all other cosmetic procedures — non-surgical and surgical.
"The nose is a delicate and technically a difficult area to inject, so safety is the most important issue," Dr. Levine says. Injecting dissolvable fillers helps keep risks to a minimum. "Some doctors choose to inject other fillers, such as Bellafill or silicone if the patient is looking for a more permanent result, but I do not recommend this," she adds. These fillers are not reversible like hyaluronic acid fillers and present the possibility of complications.
Of course, anyone wielding a needle close to your nose should be familiar with the nasal structure, anatomy, and vascular supply. "Patients who have had previous rhinoplasty can have variable blood supplies and should be treated with caution," says Dr. Levine. "Vascular occlusion and necrosis of the tissue are important considerations, and this treatment should not be performed except by an experienced injector."
As long as you feel comfortable in your injector's hands and have your questions addressed, there's no reason not to give the liquid nose job a shot. It just might be the simple solution that you never knew was right under your nose.