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I Tried Facial-Balancing Fillers as Part of My Pre-Wedding Beauty Prep

Nothing makes you reevaluate every last wrinkle on your face quite like a looming wedding. I’m 34 years old and getting married next October, and while I don’t consider myself old by any means, I joke that 32 was my last good year, facially.

For the past year, I’ve looked in the mirror and wondered when I started looking so old. On a particularly vulnerable day, I watched a TikTok about how a strong chin can change your appearance, and suddenly it was all I could think about. I’ve been getting Botox in my forehead for years to prevent against emerging fine lines, but I’d never even considered the power of the chin.

Since I watched the TikTok video about 500 more times over the course of 24 hours, I started getting served more and more chin-filler posts. I learned about the “facial balancing” approach, in which doctors use a mix of Botox and filler to plump, enhance and balance the contours of the face. This makes up for volume loss that can occur in the aging process as well as natural asymmetry, giving a more youthful and symmetrical appearance. 

It can also be used to specifically address the appearance of the profile — evening out how far the chin and nose protrude from the face, for example — which is something that interests plenty of brides in particular, since that’s the angle guests likely stare at during a wedding ceremony; and those gazing-lovingly-into-one’s-partner’s-eyes photos often work best in profile.

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I convinced myself that facial balancing, especially chin filler, was a pre-wedding nonnegotiable, and began evaluating every photo of myself through that lens. With my fall wedding five months away, I knew I needed to give myself an ample buffer in case I didn’t end up liking the results; I booked a consultation with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman at the Shafer Clinic in New York City.

“As individuals grow older, they may naturally lose both bone and soft tissue surrounding the jaw, which ultimately leads to retrogenia, or a condition that occurs when the chin slightly projects backward towards the neck,” says Dr. Engelman. “Jaw misalignment or an overbite can also be the catalyst for retrogenia.” This makes a lot of sense to me, since I also have an overbite my dentist has been begging me to fix. But I’m not alone: “A receding chin is a natural part of aging for both men and women,” she notes.

A (triggering, for me) before shot.

Photo: Courtesy of Macey Hall

At my consultation, I gave the context that I’m in my mid-30s, a 2023 bride and had self-diagnosed myself with a “weak chin.” (And of course, I showed her the TikTok!)

Dr. Engelman typically suggests a combination of dermal fillers like Juvéderm for clients looking to replace lost volume and create a stronger jawline. “I also use it around the cheekbone area when someone is wanting a contoured look that adds definition and plumpness. For those looking to reduce the appearance of under-eye bags, injecting Juvéderm into the padding can minimize dark circles, as it camouflages the hollowness,” she explains.

For me specifically, Dr. Engelman recommended a combination of various treatments. This included Botox injections in my forehead and “11s”— the lines between my brows — for wrinkles and to raise my naturally-heavy eyelids. She also suggested filler in my cheeks to replace lost volume, as well as in my chin and along my jawline to balance and sculpt my face.

The injection process was pretty straightforward: Dr. Engelman numbed my skin for 30 minutes with a topical lidocaine cream, and then she did her thing, starting with the Botox and ending with the filler. In my case, I had less volume on the left side of my face, as I tend to sleep on that side, so it required more filler. She took her time and stopped to evaluate after each step, which made me feel totally comfortable. Dr. Engelman was conservative with how much of the filler she used, cautioning that it’s best to start slow and add more later, versus doing too much at once. I also got an IPL laser, to address some hyperpigmentation on my forehead. (It was a good wake-up call to be even stricter with the daily sunscreen.)

Before and (Immediately) After Treatment

Photo: Courtesy of Macey Hall

Photo: Courtesy of Macey Hall

When she was done, she handed me the mirror, and the results were pretty much instantaneous: I felt like myself, only better, which was of course the goal to begin with. My fiancé, who was worried about me coming home with a “Jay Leno chin,” said he wouldn’t have even noticed if I hadn’t said anything; he was relieved that overall he thought I just looked “refreshed.”

One week post-treatment

Photo: Courtesy of Macey Hall

Photo: Courtesy of Macey Hall

Over the next few days, my chin did bruise slightly, which Dr. Engelman had cautioned might happen, especially since the chin is a strong muscle. (I also tend to bruise rather easily, so I’d anticipated it.) Once the Botox had fully settled in, I truly felt like a better, younger version of myself — and I wasn’t the only one who noticed: I went to an event the next weekend, and multiple friends commented on how good I looked. 

For those considering a similar procedure, it’s important to find an experienced injector because improper injection can lead to drooping, lumpiness and, in extreme cases, necrosis, or death of skin cells. Other temporary risks beyond bruising include swelling and redness.

I came to appreciate the extent to which even small, subtle tweaks can make a major impact on confidence and the way we carry ourselves. (And who wouldn’t want to bolster that before their wedding?) At this rate, Dr. Engelman might even be invited to my wedding.

Editor’s Note: The writer received all treatments mentioned throughout this essay gratis.

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