Let the Surgeon Shape Your Nose, Not Social Media
When the Barbie movie hit theaters in summer 2023, audiences walked out with a glowing sense of nostalgia and a new-found desire to fix their noses. No, literally—requests to get that perfectly delicate, narrow nose with its straight bridge and upward tip, went up in the air.
Social media sites—TikTok in particular—reflected that trend with a surge of nose job-related hashtags and transformation reels showcasing that nose shape. Obviously, people aren’t happy with their noses and want doll-like features.
The problem is that people are basing their nose aesthetics on beauty standards that may not be realistic for them. To make it worse, they’re willing to go to extremes to get it. Here’s a look at why this is problematic, for both patients and surgeons, and why those seeking rhinoplasty shouldn’t take beauty cues from pop culture.
First and foremost, just as Mattel (the toy company who created Barbie) handcrafted Barbie’s nose, nature dictated the structure for your nose before you were born. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with your current nose shape for life, but it does place limits on what surgery can do to it.
Everyone’s nose has differences in cartilage strength and skin thickness, which influences how much a surgeon can reshape or resize the nose. For example, thick skin can make it more challenging for a surgeon to sculpt a rounded nose tip into a pointier one. Ultimately, your face has to support and compliment the desired nose shape, or else it will be botched.
Two Main Factors that Shape Nasal Aesthetics
- Genetics – Whether you’re fond of your nose or not, thank your genes—they’re largely responsible for its shape and size. Researchers have found a few genes in particular (that you can high-five or side-eye) that correlate with nasal development. GLI3 and PAX1 genes are linked to the width of your nostrils, DCHS2 are linked to your nose’s pointiness, and RUNX2, the width of your nose bridge. It all started before your first day on Earth.
- Facial Structure – Of course, your facial structure—which you also can’t fully change—determines what nasal shape looks best on you. Aesthetic rules here are largely subjective but patterns exist (more on this below).
Both genetics and symmetry set the foundation for what your nose can look like after surgery.
Keep in mind too, that corrections have to be functional. A botched rhinoplasty can cause the nose to collapse and lead to breathing difficulties. And then there’s the issue of recovery and complications. Some desired looks may not even take hold if things like scar tissue forms, or if nasal obstructions occur.
The takeaway? Dream big, but don’t get carried away.
Dangers of being enslaved to social media trends
In October 2023, MedAestheticsMag released figures for the most popular cosmetic surgery hashtags used on social media. The hashtags “#rhinoplasty” and “#nosejob” placed 2nd and 3rd, with 39.6 million and 36.7M uses respectively. Considering how the Barbie movie was released just months prior, we don’t think this surge in hashtag use was a coincidence. In fact, surgeons have reported an uptick of requests for Barbie-like features.
But do a quick search for these hashtags in the search bars of Instagram or TikTok, and see what kind of results you’ll get. The “after” photo in almost all posts looks identical—a Eurocentric, pointy nose with the upward tip and narrow bridge. And that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with this look or that it’s unattainable, but the problem here is that rhinoplasty can’t achieve that for every patient. You’re only seeing the success stories.
Demanding a surgeon produce that look can mean more extreme corrective measures, or multiple procedures to achieve it. All because one’s perception of a beautiful nose has been distorted by social media.
One surgeon who noticed an increase in inquiries for Barbie nose, acknowledged that her nasal bridge is too concave and the tip is excessively pointed upward. Trying to replicate that for the average person can lead to dry nose, nose bleeds and sinus issues. She also said:
“This nose won’t hold up over time, takes away from the natural anatomy, and can lead to more serious problems such as breathing issues and even collapse.”
One has to ask themselves if those issues are worth it just to achieve a look that might not even suit your face.
And then there’s the issue of regret.
For example, Bella Hadid wishes she never changed her nose. She had it done at age 14 (which is far too young for a developing face), most likely in an attempt to straighten it being a high-profile model. Bella candidly said:
“I wish I’d kept the nose of my ancestors, I think I would have grown into it,” being a woman of Dutch and Palestinian descent. Ironically, she boasts an Instagram follower count over 61 million, and it’s safe to assume many of them are young women, who want the nose she no longer wants.
And that right there is the danger of social trends.
What’s en vogue today, may vanish tomorrow. The shape you crave now, might not satisfy you after you’ve had it done. Regret can be a side effect of a rhinoplasty if done for the wrong motivations, especially when they don’t align with your heritage and culture.
What rhinoplasty should focus on and what surgeons can do
So if social media isn’t the answer, what should you base your expectations on? Let’s revisit the idea of facial shapes. Everyone’s face tends to fall into a particular shape, although it’s possible to have traits of more than one. However, your facial structure should dictate the way a surgeon shapes your nose.
Facial Shapes in Relation to Nose Shape
- Oval Face—Although seen as the most balanced face, oval shapes best support noses that aren’t too long or wide, or too prominent in general.
- Round Face—Rounder faces best harmonize with noses that have straighter bridges and refined tips.
- Square Face—Characterized by strong jawline and angular features, square faces look best with softer noses that have slightly rounded tips to balance their sharpness.
- Heart-shaped Face—Faces that have a heart shape achieve ideal balance with smaller, delicate noses, namely, ones that have a slight curve and refined tip.
- Long faces—Considering a long face is already, well, long, a shorter nose with a slightly upturned tip creates a pleasing balance.
- Diamond-shape face—Due to the width and prominence of the cheekbones on a diamond-shaped face, a softer nose with a medium width harmonizes best with this shape.
- Triangular/pear-shaped face—These faces have wider jawlines, making noses with wider bridges and prominents tips ideal for this shape, as they balance the lower part of the face.
As you can see, different nose shapes look better on certain face shapes. There is no ideal nose, so looking to social media to shape your nose aesthetics is (excuse the pun) pointless.
A surgeon, on the other hand, will look at your face, and use detailed examinations and take measurements to determine what nose shape you should aim to achieve. That ideal one is the one that will suit your face, and give you results that you can be proud of. These results will also help you retain a nasal structure that fits the ideals of your culture and heritage, not someone else’s.
Our Rhinoplasty Pledge
Remember, the “perfect nose”, like any other body part, is highly subjective. And even though pop culture moments may sell the idea of a perfect nose for everyone, not everyone will look good with the “perfect nose”. Beauty standards are flexible, not to mention, constantly changing.
However, here’s a guarantee—with expert consultation, a surgeon can help you identify the nasal shape that will best suit YOUR face, the one that will look the most natural and symmetrical. That’s the one that’ll compliment your heritage, ethnic tendencies and so forth. You won’t need TikTok reels to get you there.
At the offices of Dr. Rival, we bring years of rhinoplasty expertise and success, and have helped thousands of people achieve the nose aesthetics they desire. If you’re looking to achieve a natural nose shape that best suits your face, get in touch with us—we’re here to help you emerge with results you’ll love for life!