Black women have been fighting for their seat at the table when it comes to representation in the beauty industry for decades, and we have made some strong strides in recent years. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty launching a revolution in shade offerings from other beauty brands and Pat McGrath Labs exceeding Kylie Jenner cosmetics in net worth are just two examples over the last few years of how Black women are carving out a space for themselves in an industry that was never intentionally designed to be inclusive. However, the long held belief that ‘Black don’t crack’ has led many both within and outside of the Black community to believe that we don’t partake in plastic surgery or even non-surgical beauty treatments. Funny enough, though the Black population only accounts for 13% overall in the United States, according to one study in 2017 we spent $465 million on skin care, which accounts for 22% of the overall beauty market. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there was a 56% increase of cosmetic augmentation among Black people between 2005-2013, and of course that number continues to increase.
If you aren’t quite ready to commit to a full face-lift, Botox, or a Kardashian/Jenner-esque 2010 vs. 2020 side-by-side photo comparison, we’ve gathered a handful of nonsurgical beauty treatments that will still give you the results you’re looking for (because a little #selfcare is always good for the soul).
Whether you want to tighten things up or get that post-vacay rejuvenated glow, the options are really endless on what you can do to look and feel your best.
We’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 nonsurgical treatment trends, complete with benefits and budgets.
1. Chemical Peel
Before you picture Samantha Jones à la Sex and the City, just know that chemical peels don’t work exactly they way they’ve been depicted on television. Chemical peels come in various shapes and sizes, including at-home treatments that are more budget-friendly. If you are looking for the traditional procedure, it is important to do your research prior to scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist.
There are actually three types of chemical peels, according to aesthetician Dija Ayodele of the Black Skin Directory. For the most common skin concerns, superficial peels are ideal, as they target the top layer of skin known as the epidermis, and require little downtime (so no sunburn effect when you have a fancy party to attend). The other two types of chemical peels — medium peels that affect the dermis, and deep peels that penetrate through the dermis — are not recommended for darker skin tones as they tend to be too aggressive. The price of chemical peels ranges depending on the type and if it is a light, medium, or deep peel. On the lighter end, these can run around $150, and on the deep end they can go up to $3,000.
2. Gold Facial
Gold has been everywhere, from beauty trends to food (much to Gordon Ramsay’s dismay). Cleopatra was even rumored to have used pure gold to maintain her youthful appearance. Similarly to chemical peels, you can find gold-infused sheet masks, face creams, and under eye masks for some at-home #selfcare. While a 24-karat gold facial can run anywhere from $300 to $1,000, spas boast benefits such as firmer skin, improved blood circulation, reduction of age spots, and enhanced elasticity. The metallic material even made our list of Best Pore Refining Masks in 2018!
If you are someone that suffers from trypanophobia, or an extreme fear of needles, feel free to skip this one. Sheila Krishna, M.D., a member of the American Board of Dermatology, says that our skin contains 80% of collagen. However, we lose collagen as we age, which is why you see it in vitamin supplements. The microneedling procedure uses miniature needles between 0.5 and 2.5 millimeters (for comparison, acupuncture needles are .25 millimeters) to gently prick the skin and generate new collagen. Because the procedure is minimally invasive, there is virtually no downtime. The treatment is considered helpful for improving the appearance of scars. Helpful hint: If you want to skip the trip to the dermatologist, which can run anywhere between $100 to $700, you can get a derma roller to use at home. Check out this in-depth review on microneedling!
4. Lash Lifts
Throw out that old eyelash curler and quit paying upwards of $300 for lash extensions only for them to flake off after a few weeks. Lash lifts give a more natural result, and essentially act as a perm for your lashes. The results last between six to eight weeks, and cost between $50 and $100. A lash tint is also recommended as an add-on service, as it darkens your natural lashes and when combined with a lash lift will give you effortlessly luscious lashes.
While both a chemical peel and a microdermabrasion remove the epidermis through exfoliation, the difference is that a chemical peel is a chemical exfoliation and microdermabrasion is a physical exfoliation. Microdermabrasion machines use tiny crystals to exfoliate the skin, and some machines have a suction feature that vacuums up the dead skin cells. This procedure has been advertised to help with dark spots, hyperpigmentation, acne, dull skin tone, scars, and even stretch marks. Similar to microneedling, microdermabrasion has little downtime, but it does have some temporary side effects such as redness, swelling, and tenderness. This treatment is also a bit more affordable in comparison to chemical peels, ranging from $75 to $200.
One of the pricier treatments on this list, running between $1,000 and $5,000, radiothermaplasty delivers radio frequency energy into the deeper layers of skin, which causes a heating response that activates the collagen in the skin. The goal is to induce collagen tightening, which is why this treatment is used not only on the face, but also on other parts of the body. For those looking for a noninvasive and needle-free alternative to injectable facial fillers, perhaps you should give this a chance!
7. Lip Blushing
While permanent makeup may remind you of your auntie’s tattooed eyebrows, lip blushing is a semi-permanent option. It is essentially a lip stain that can help with color correcting, asymmetry, or just giving your lips a more natural look. You may also find that lip blushing helps give the effect of fuller, plumper lips, too. This is one of the longer-lasting treatments, with effects persisting between two to five years. Many who have had the procedure recommend getting a touch-up every few months, but at $500 to $1,500 per appointment, you may want to budget accordingly.
8. Brow Lamination
Eyebrows have had their fair share of fads and shapes, from pencil-thin in the 1920s (and back again in the early 2000s), to natural and full in the 1970s and again today. For those who do not have Cara Delevigne brows, we’ve turned to options such as eyebrow tinting, microblading, or even using the equivalent of mascara to get the effect. A newer alternative that originated in Russia is brow lamination. The process essentially takes your eyebrow hair and slicks them down, but in an upward direction, which gives the effect similar to that of brow gel and lasts up to six weeks. The result is a fuller, fluffy brow that hopefully allows you to skip a step in your makeup routine! Also, brow lamination is a fraction of what microblading typically costs, hitting around $50 to $150.
9. Oxygen Facials
If you’re looking for another collagen-boosting alternative to age-defying injections, oxygen facials may be up your alley. In this procedure, an aesthetician applies pure, pressurized oxygen onto the skin, that is said to help minimize fine lines and wrinkles. These facials have been reported to help with acne and rosacea as well. They can run between $40 and $300.
If you are a follower of Gwyneth Paltrow or a lover of all things Goop, then you may have heard of mesotherapy. The procedure curates a concoction of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, and uses a mesotherapy gun to puncture the skin and inject the good stuff all over (if that sounds intense, many places will offer a numbing cream prior to the treatment). According to cosmetic dermatologist Maurice Dray, M.D., Paltrow’s personal fave, mesotherapy has benefits including restoring skin elasticity, and reducing signs of aging. He notes that the effects can last for 8 to 12 months. Also, this treatment isn’t just for the face, some even use it as an alternative to weight loss procedures, which typically cost significantly more than this $250 to $600 option.
So if you are factoring some much-needed self-care into your 2021 fiscal year budget, particularly after the dumpster fire that was 2020, check out some of these treatments. See you at the spa!