Here’s why I wanted to host the JUVÉDERM® Beauty Decoded Live event in downtown Toronto earlier this month: I wanted to ask about LA Face and why it happens, and I wanted to find out if it’s inevitable. 

LA Face is an expression I started using a few years ago to describe how everyone looks the same in LA – and now beyond – and how LA Face has become the assumed standard for the way people look after they’ve had fillers and other cosmetic treatments. You know the template: cheeks OUT, lips OUT. It looks exaggerated and unnatural and since LA Face is so common, a lot of people think it’s the only result after getting injectables. Is it though? 

For those who want LA Face, that’s their right, nobody is here to stop them. But my question is for those, myself included, who are interested in getting some work done and don’t want to end up with LA Face. Because the thing is… I’ve seen other results, not only in Hollywood but in real life. LA Face dominates the conversation and the public perception though because the people who don’t have LA Face and have had work done don’t talk about it – and we don’t talk about it because the work is done so subtly that we almost don’t notice. I have very good friends who I saw regularly for months who weren’t LA Faced but they did have a glow, they looked really refreshed, and I had no idea until afterwards that they’d gotten fillers. What I appreciated most is that they not only admitted it but were willing to walk me through it, because they’d done the research, they had the information, and wanted to share. Most of the time, though, there’s a lack of transparency. In Hollywood, very few people admit to it. All they ever say is that they’ve been getting good sleep and drinking lots of water. 

Which brings me back to why I wanted to be part of Beauty Decoded Live last week. I'm now 45 years old, and, to be honest, I’m really into my face. I like it – like, I like it right now. So I want to maintain it, I’m considering my options. I don’t want to look younger. I do want to look less tired. I do want to look like I’ve just gotten back from holiday, like I’m on permanent holiday. Can fillers help me achieve those goals? Is it possible to avoid looking like a plastic surgery stereotype? What is the difference in approach between the plastic surgery stereotype and natural, subtle results? 

I was there to ask those questions, to find out if LA Face is a misconception – and, if so, to challenge those misconceptions and see if there are alternatives. To continue my own personal research and gain a more complete understanding of what’s out there so that I can decide what is right for me. And if I DO end up deciding I’m into it, and do it, I’m going to be one of those people who is transparent about it, who tells everyone about it. Because it’s OK to want help, to do something for yourself, to want to look good, to want to feel good. But if all this isn’t your jam, I respect that. You do you. If it is your jam, great – read on! 

The authority on injectables right now is Dr Mauricio de Maio. He’s been called the Bono of fillers by people in the industry after introducing a method called MD Codes™ exclusive to JUVÉDERM® products. Basically he targets how his patients want to FEEL as opposed to what they want to “fix”, in order to develop a customised plan. The MD Codes™ are now considered a game-changer in the world of injectables and Dr de Maio has trained thousands of top injectors who are now using the approach, factoring patients’ emotional goals into their physical outcomes. 

Dr de Maio (his crew refers to him as “MDM”) tours around the world to educate people on the MD Codes™  and June 4th was the first time that he presented at a consumer event in Canada, which included a live demonstration. As in he injected someone on camera so we could see the immediate results after explaining his approach to his work. 

For MDM, the MD Codes™ is not about changing someone’s face. More often than not, MDM’s patients tell him that they actually feel great, that they have the energy and the drive to do more than they ever have. It’s just that when they look in the mirror, they don’t see that what’s on the inside matches up to what’s on the outside. So their goals aren’t always to look “younger”. What they really want is to look “less tired” or “less saggy”. This is what he asks his patients to determine during the consultation process, before any of the work even begins: the first step is to nail down the goals, to really process what his patients are asking for. And that’s where we begin to reframe some of these misconceptions. 

Because the assumption that a lot of people make when they hear about others getting fillers is that they just want to roll back the clock – and they are judged for it. The nuance of it is that there are men and women out there who aren’t interested, necessarily, in reclaiming youth – they just want to look like the best version of themselves! 

That was the case for the woman on whom MDM performed the live demo: she’s 46 years old, she’s worked hard, she’s a mother, and she wanted to look in the mirror and see more energy in her face, to look like she’s gotten more sleep than she’s had in the last 15 years. While MDM was injecting her, Dr Julia Carroll, based in Toronto, who works with the MD Codes™ in her local practice, talked us through the procedure and the importance of patients coming to the consultation having done their homework, with realistic goals. Dr Carroll and many other dermatologists who follow the MD Codes™ aren’t interested in giving people a new face or making people look like someone they’re not. The key, though, she said, was making sure the professionals were qualified and subscribed to the patients’ own philosophies. For example – here’s a tip she offered: when you go to a clinic, look around at the staff, look at their faces. Do they have the look you want? If there are a lot of LA Faces in there, maybe don’t go to that clinic? 

Anyway, MDM did half of the patient’s face first and showed us the results in real time. They were immediate. By the end of it, after less than an hour, using JUVÉDERM® products, this was the final result: 



That’s not LA Face. If you didn’t know her, if you hadn’t seen the “before” photos, you’d pass her on the street and not think to yourself, “well that’s a plastic surgery stereotype”. 

And this, in the end, is the other achievable option. The option that doesn’t get as much airtime as LA Face. The option that more and more men and women are opting for – only we haven’t noticed because it’s so subtle, they don’t have to reveal it. 

If you’ve thought about fillers and are curious if they are right for you, go to and find a clinic near you to book a personalised consultation: 

But again, it’s about what’s right for you. So if you’re interested, do your homework, ask questions – ask pointed questions. Be clear about your goals if you go for a consultation. Be clear about not wanting LA Face if you don’t want LA Face. The point is, after seeing the big picture of what’s out there I now know that there is more out there than just LA Face. Let me know how it goes – and let me know if you don’t. Let me be clear, it’s OK if you don’t. Maybe you’ll come to the conclusion that, like me, you’re not ready… just yet, but check back with me in 6 months once after I’ve done even more research. As I said earlier, whatever I decide, I will share. Knowing me, I will probably OVERshare.