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Summary: When a familiar face changes in a noticeable way, it can be difficult to track down the cause. This is especially true with celebrities, if only because we don’t have a direct line to their brain (that would be bad, in any case). So if you want to know what else it could be, whether it’s plastic surgery or makeup, you aren’t alone.

Plastic Surgery or Makeup?

Celebrities have a very specific way of engaging the world. Whether through their social media following or through highly choreographed publicity events, celebrities tend to be in control of that engagement. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just the way that it’s worked for some time now. (Imagine if you had to work in public when you weren’t prepared for it… I mean, how messy is your closet right now?)

That’s why, when a celebrity goes dark for a few days or weeks and then re-emerges looking better than ever, we often leap to the conclusion that plastic surgery must be involved. And part of the reason for that is that we wonder what else it could be. What else could produce that kind of transformation?

Well, that’s precisely what we’re going to explore. And luckily, that means we can also benefit from the same non surgical techniques.

Option #1: Filters!

Perhaps the most accessible way that celebrities make themselves look great in social media is through the use of various filters. Social media platforms such as Instagram and SnapChat offer in-app filters. But there’s no way of knowing whether an image has been subjected to further editing.

In other words, there’s no guarantee that an image has not been Photoshopped (to coin the popular usage of the word) to remove wrinkles or make other changes. In other words, it’s completely possible that a given celebrity looks significantly different because of manipulation of the photo.

Now, it’s more difficult to make that claim when photos have been taken and published by third parties. But when someone posts to his or her Instagram, it’s unlikely you’re seeing the original, raw photo all the time.

Option #2: Makeup!

The second option is in the use of make-up. You might think (and you wouldn’t be totally wrong) that sometimes the change is too significant to be explained by something as superficial as make-up. Now, if you find that difficult to believe, you might not be up on the latest make-up trends.

In fact, there are two major ways that you might be able to affect major change with your make-up:

  • Contouring: This relatively new make-up trend takes the application of makeup to the extreme. Contouring is when you use makeup to create shadows in strategic places. These shadows can make your skin and your body look different in certain lighting conditions (one of the most common uses of contouring is to make the cleavage between breasts look more pronounced).
  • Going without: When the world is used to seeing you with your makeup on, they might notice a sudden difference when you go without that makeup. This is especially true if you’ve been using make-up to make your eyes look more open. Any change might be read as a trip to the cosmetic surgeon’s office.

Modern make-up is great at changing the way people look. Think about it this way: if makeup didn’t change the way you look, why would people wear it?

Option #3: Non Surgical Procedures!

Sometimes when a celebrity says that he or she hasn’t had “plastic” surgery, they are right, but only technically. Sometimes celebs will opt for non surgical cosmetic procedures. In other words, they’re making small and subtle changes to their bodies without the need for surgery. There are actually many popular options to accomplish this these days:

  • Botox: One of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures on the planet is the injection of Botox. This injectable is great at getting rid of wrinkles and lines around the face without the need for a surgical procedure.
  • Dermal Fillers: Dermal fillers complete the same objective that Botox does: getting rid of wrinkles. Only dermal fillers, such as Juvederm, work in a completely different way, by filling the volume in the skin. Results are temporary, but you get to avoid surgery and you look more youthful.
  • Kybella: This injectable is hot off the presses, if you’ll forgive the parlance. Kybella is an injectable that will actually melt away fat (in small amounts). It’s currently approved to treat submental fat (in other words, it eliminates the double chin).

We Don’t Have to Know Everything

Sometimes, it’s better that we don’t know what this or that celebrity has been using to look younger (or look different). Sometimes we should just give them the benefit of the doubt and refrain from invading their privacy. After all, if we wanted to look younger, we’d want everyone to respect our privacy and just focus on how good we look.

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