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Why do Asians want a slimmer face? |

Fashion and Beauty

Why do Asians want a slimmer face?

#NOFILTER - Chonx Tibajia - The Philippine Star

TOKYO, JAPAN — Research only confirms what we already know: we want what we can’t have. The white want to be brown, the brown want to get white, and people with slits for eyes (present!) have mastered the art of making them appear bigger. At a recent scientific presentation held by Clarins in Tokyo for about 300 members of Asian press, it was established that it is indeed an Asian thing to want a smaller face — a desire that has been sitting in the gut of our culture for decades, maybe even longer, but has gained more press recently, mainly because of the rising number of celebrities admitting to have gone under the knife to get a smaller, V-shaped face. Technically, it’s a corrective jaw surgery, a painful, complex procedure for misaligned teeth — with the aesthetic consequence (slash, benefit) of having a “V-line.” For those who’d rather DIY, many Korean beauty brands are selling “jaw slings” or face slimming belts that you wear overnight to contour the jaw and slim lift the face.

This ideal of beauty is not limited to Koreans, or this generation. In Japan, the expression kogao, meaning “small face,” became popular in the mid ‘90s and was widely used to describe models with faces perfectly proportioned to their bodies, which by strict Japanese standards means having a head that makes up one-eighth of your total height. The term is hattoshin, which literally translates to “eight-heads-body.” Forget the Golden Ratio, by Northeast Asian standards, the ideal proportion is having a head that’s smaller than the head nature gave you. Makes you want to measure your height in terms of volleyballs, right? Before you do, know that this ideal is no longer realistic in our time. Faces evolve as lifestyles do. We live in a time when milk is served in Oreo cookie shot glasses, when burgers are served with rice buns, and cupcakes are impregnated with cream fillings. Are we really that surprised our faces are — pardon the term — fat?

This year, Clarins conducted a morphometric study in China, in collaboration with independent Asian experts. The results reveal the consequences of new eating habits on facial contours, particularly on the width of the face, thickness of the dermis, and ptosis under the chin. Their findings are conclusive: the Asian face has a tendency towards heaviness from the front and in profile. Dr. Olivier Courtin-Clarins, managing director of the Clarins group, says: “Being overweight leads to an increase in the volume of fatty tissue and accentuates the natural roundness of the face, particularly the lower half.” (Read: double chin and disappearing jawline.Yikes.)

However, even women who are not necessarily overweight, but have a poor diet that’s rich in fat and sugar, can also have a heavy, bloated face. “It’s too easy to take too much sugar, too much fat, too much salt. But sugar is worse than fat. Yeah, sugar’s pretty bad,” he adds.

The study backs a new product evolution from the brand — the fourth version of the best-selling Clarins Shaping Facial Lift, now called “Shaping Facial Lift Total V Contouring Serum.” The Total-V part is really what the new product is all about: contouring. It claims to enhance facial features where excess fat and puffiness are located, which is mainly on the cheek and chin, and give a slackening face some much-needed definition. It is anti-fat, anti-sugar, and anti-fluid — basically a woman’s best friend, if used right. But how exactly does it work?

“This isn’t an anti-aging product,” says Eric Gooris, head of Clarins Laboratory. “Asian skin doesn’t get wrinkles, whereas Caucasian skin gets wrinkles at age 30 or 35. The usual problems of Asian skin are uneven complexion, dark spots, sebum and roundness.” The product addresses the last, being essentially a shaping product with the new “Total V Contouring Power,” which involves three actions that refine the face: First, an anti-fat action on the adipocytes (fat cells) of the face using guarana extract and caffeine; second, an anti-fluid action to optimize the draining function of tissues with the zerumbet ginger extract; and third, an anti-sugar action that tightens facial contours and prevents slackening with kaki extract. Some additional incidental benefits of the Shaping Facial Lift include an immediate “lift” effect (the organic oat sugars in the formula have the ability to tighten the skin so facial features appear lifted), and boost in moisture.

The Shaping Facial Lift may be used in tandem with the Clarins-developed Manual Auto-Lifting Method, a two-minute practice that drains the face of fluids. (See sidebar for step-by-step guide.) “A cosmetic product is not enough, you have to help yourself,” says Dr. Olivier, who demonstratesthe process onstage during the press conference.

Members of the media experienced first-hand the new Total V Face Shaper skin spa treatment at the Clarins Skin Spa at Isetan Shinjuku, where Clarins beauty therapists use ClarinsPRO products, including the Shaing Facial Lift Professional Formula. The experience consisted of several phases, first of which was a foot and arm massage to relax the body, followed by a 75-minute facial that included massage techniques that made my face feel lifted, less heavy and fresh. The new treatment will soon be available at the Clarins Skin Spa in Rustan’s.

I always thought I had a round face, until a hairstylist pointed out that my face is actually oval, it’s just that it’s…fat. (Oh, yes she did!) I remember downloading the app Perfect365, the one that allows you to adjust the size of your eyes, face shape and skin tone, and never using it because made me feel guilty. Blurring a fine line here or a dark spot there is one thing, but going from a Drew Barrymore to a Rachel McAdams in terms of face shape for the sake of Instavanity felt wrong. Cutting down on chips and donuts couldn’t hurt and there’s no harm in sticking to a regimen of massaging my face with a shaping serum while I’m at it — I’d rather take actions actually rather than virtually. Maybe my oval face will finally show itself, maybe it won’t — but in the process I would have improved circulation on my face, firmed my skin and reduced my facial fat cells, whether dramatically or by the minutest percentage. At least something changed in real life. I never dreamed of having a smaller face, or bigger eyes for that matter, but if my face is unnecessarily on the heavy side (okay, fat) because of water retention and there is something I can do about it, then  maybe I’ll massage and slather away.

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Clarins Shaping Facial Lift Total V Contouring Serum will be available at Rustan’s The Beauty Source in June 2014.

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