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Injectables Trends Are Surprisingly Different, Depending Which Coast You're On

What separates New York from Los Angeles? About 3,000 miles and a half syringe of Juvéderm, it seems.
Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Kendra Scott

Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Kendra Scott

Allergan, the maker of Juvéderm and Botox Cosmetic, recently released its 360° Aesthetics Report — a survey of 14,500 "aesthetically conscious consumers" and medical providers worldwide — and the findings are honestly fascinating. Take, for instance, these tidbits: A mind-blowing 73% of consumers plan on getting a "physician-administered aesthetic treatment," like injectables, within the next year. Thirty-four percent of US respondents said they don't post pictures to Instagram without fine-tuning their faces first. And a full 63% of women and men worldwide believe how they look affects how successful they'll be.

While the official report mainly highlights the differences in aesthetics across the globe (41% of Saudi millennials — that's almost half! — have tried wrinkle relaxers, compared to 11% of their US counterparts), Fashionista took a deep dive into Allergan's sea of US-specific statistics to see what differentiates injectables trends on the two coasts. And the data doesn't lie: To make a sweeping generalization, you can probably tell a New Yorker from an Angeleno based on their plumped-up lips alone.

"There is not much difference across the regions on what non-surgical treatments women have tried," Allergan tells Fashionista. In other words, the women surveyed are getting Botox and Juvéderm in droves no matter where they live. Rather, the defining characteristics of each coast can be broken down into three main buckets: how much they get, how often they get it and how open they are about the whole aesthetically-altering-their-appearance thing.

Ahead, a look at injectable trends from East to West, using New York City and Los Angeles as specific touchpoints.

Women on the West Coast look to celebrities and influencers for inspiration, while women on the East Coast look to friends and family.

"Many patients do hear about procedures from an influencer," Dr. Anna Guanche, a board certified dermatologist and celebrity beauty expert based in Calabasas, California, tells Fashionista. The most-cited sources of inspiration? Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Olivia Culpo — which explains the amount of interchangeably-beautiful influencers sporting an "Instagram Face" in LA.

On the East Coast, however, "friends and family are more likely to define beauty,” according to Allergan. New York plastic surgeon Dr. Melissa Doft says this rings true; although, in her practice, patients seem to be most inspired by… themselves. "I more often see photos of the patient that have been morphed with Facetune or Photoshop," she tells Fashionista. "The East Coast client wants to still look like herself — but after Photoshop."

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LA-based influencers favor a more standard look (wide eyes, lifted cheekbones, plump lips), while New Yorkers want to preserve their unique ethnic features.

Instagram Face seems to have infiltrated every corner of the country, but East Coasters have some reservations about adhering to a universal standard. "New Yorkers are very proud of their ethnic heritage," Dr. Doft says. "There is a greater focus here to preserve ethic subtleties. I see this most dramatically during rhinoplasties (nose jobs) and blepharoplasties (eyelid surgeries). The most common comment that I hear is, 'I want to look like myself, but better.'" 

Both West Coast and East Coast women are into lip fillers. In LA, bigger is better; in New York, subtlety is the name of the game.

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Dr. Guance describes her Calabasas clients' ideal lips as "sexy and sultry," while Dr. Doft's patients prefer "subtle." Perhaps the best illustration of cross-country lip filler trends comes care of the treatment menu at NYC's Plump. The aesthetic center offers two distinct options: West Coast Lips, "a voluminous and noticeable plump using Juvéderm Ultra Plus XC using our lift and fill technique," and East Coast Lips, "a natural-looking plump with subtle results using Juvéderm Ultra XC and our soft touch technique."

While the women of Los Angeles use more units of filler, they touch up less often. New Yorkers go for fewer units, but have more treatments.

"The ideal East Coast aesthetic is looking like you have never had anything done," says Dr. Doft. In her practice, the goal is to give clients teeny-tiny adjustments that help them streamline their morning routine. Think: Botox to open the eyes better than a heated lash curler, microneedling for a glowing complexion sans concealer and dermal fillers to lift the cheeks and eliminate the need for contouring. "New Yorkers like to come more often for small tweaks, so during each visit, less is done," she explains.

Angelenos, on the other hand, often opt for a full dose of Botox or Juvéderm at each appointment, which Dr. Guanche recommends having renewed every three to six months (depending on the exact treatment).

Generally, West Coasters are more likely to go for fillers and East Coasters prefer to freeze fine lines.

"Facial lines and wrinkles around the eyes are most concerning for aesthetic conscious consumers in the northeast region," Allergan says, "while women in the west are more concerned about adding volume to cheekbones."

"I spend a lot of time trying to make my patients look more rested using Botox to brighten their eyes," Dr. Doft confirms. On the other coast, Dr. Guanche says fillers are becoming increasingly popular to plump everything from nasolabial folds (the lines from the nose to the corners of the lips) to laugh lines around the eyes, but especially cheeks. "Juvéderm Volume is what we use to enhance the cheekbones," she says. "I call it going from beautiful to bombshell."

East Coasters are more likely to seek preventative treatments.

"Aesthetic conscious consumers of all ages [in the Northeast] are more likely to reach out to a physician or professional preventatively than their counterparts across the nation," the Allergan survey found. That explains the recent uptick in millennials looking to stop signs of aging before they start: According to the 360° Aesthetics Report, 60% of U.S. consumers aged 21 to 35 are down to get wrinkle relaxing injections.

Los Angeles women will livestream their injections. New Yorkers won't tell a soul about them.

"Aesthetic treatments are much more socially acceptable than they were just five years ago," Dr. Arthur Swift, a plastic surgeon, told Allergan. The numbers — and the Instagrams — back it up: 82% of survey respondents think injectable treatments are no longer taboo… and nearly 900,000 Instagram photos tagged #lipfillers prove it. Not convinced yet? Just click over to Dr. Guanche's Insta, where she streams patient appointments (with permission) via Stories all day, every day. Most West Coast clients are happy to oblige, she says, and some even ask to be featured.

This is one area where New Yorkers — normally such trendsetters — differ. As Dr. Doft reveals, "People from New York want to look refreshed and better, but would never tell their neighbors or doorman what they had done."

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