BAD news about my 2023 beauty goals: thanks to budget restrictions, I was forced to delay my exhaustive wishlist of cosmetic surgeries yet again.

But with the scant $38 left after I paid January’s bills, I ordered some Amazon products to transform my face on a budget.

The US Sun

My normal face, before applying an assortment of scary Amazon products[/caption]

The face-shaping technology I used instead of plastic surgery to alter my face
The US Sun / Hattie Hayes

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Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little.

I’ve considered plastic surgery as much as any woman who’s in her twenties and has access to Instagram.

But of course, plastic surgery is a commitment. Would a nose job be worth it or would it be a $5,483 cost I’d regret?

Would filler and Botox make me happier? Could a dentist give me extra teeth if I paid enough?

I’ve asked myself these questions over the years, yet I’m too scared to go under the knife. And I don’t have the budget.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the procedures I picked cost nearly $10,000 total (I use their average costs throughout this article).

Luckily, my idea of “reckless spending” is logging into Amazon and buying beauty products with fewer than 250 reviews.

Instead of paying thousands for plastic surgery, I decided to stop at plastic.

For under $40, I found products that promised to mimic the result of lip fillers, chin augmentation, and even a nose job.

Of course, I only had one week to try them, but I was shocked by where I saw a discernible difference in that time.

But if you’re too squeamish or sensitive for plastic surgery, beware: one product left me with dark bruises for days.

Chin Augmentation

Long ago, I read a brilliant piece of wisdom – I think in Reader’s Digest or the comments of a mommy blogger.

Anyway, to paraphrase, it said: “In the right lighting, at the perfect angle, everyone you love has a double chin.”

This was enough to solve my feeling bad about my chin, at least 99 per cent of the time.

But every now and again, I’m tagged in a photo that has me frantically searching for “chin augmentation near me.”

Like its trendy sister, buccal fat pad removal, chin augmentation aims to give you a chiseled jaw.

The surgery usually requires an implant and, in many cases, your doctor may need to reshape or remove your bones.

Amazon does not sell an at-home bone-scooting kit, but it does sell a handy bandage to mimic the effect of chin augmentation.

I have this weird hangup about not wanting to get any bones sawed down, so I went ahead and ordered the “face belt.”

Putting it on was easy enough. I basically rested my chin in the material like a hammock, then yanked up.

The pink elastic strap sat under my chin and fastened over my head with a patch of Velcro.

That Velcro did – ouch – grab a few strands of hair every single time I used it, but it stayed firmly sealed.

However, a crucial element kept the squeezing bandage from popping off my head: my ears.

There are two “ear slits” in the bandage material. While they’re not comfortable, I quickly discovered they’re necessary to a successful experience.

Per the strap’s instructions, I wore it for 30 minutes every day.

I didn’t experience pain or discomfort

The strap did leave behind red marks on my neck, which remained for several minutes after I removed it.

In the few hours after using the bandage, I did think my chin looked more slender.

That result wore off pretty quickly – but I could see myself re-using this face belt in the morning on a day when I know I’ll be photographed.

I also noticed the chin strap seemed to improve my posture, which could also be the reason my jaw seemed more angular after each use.

Were I seriously considering chin augmentation, I would try this first, for several weeks.

I have a feeling that in conjunction with facial exercises and a good firming cream, this cheap product could work wonders.

The Real Deal Costs: $3,137

I Paid: $12.99

The US Sun / Hattie Hayes

I slipped my ears through the holes in the strap, which helped keep it in place[/caption]


Growing up, I was always self-conscious about my nose.

The shape always felt “off” to me, like someone had copy-and-pasted it from a different face.

As an adult, I think I’ve grown into my features, but I still had to scratch that itch from my youth.

In just two days, Amazon shipped a little metal-and-rubber clamp to my house, and I was ready to reshape my sniffer.

That’s a far cry from the months of recovery most rhinoplasty candidates prepare themselves for.

But after a week of sitting with my nose clamped shut for 30 minutes a day, I didn’t see any changes.

The only evidence of the clamp was pretty gross: it made my nose run constantly.

I tried bending the metal to tighten the clamp, hoping that might help make the nose shaper more effective.

I even tried wearing it upside-down. But it just popped off, or slid off due to snot (EW), or fell off while I walked around the house.

After a full week of use, I didn’t see a difference – and I’m hard-pressed to say anyone would after long-term use.

Save your $12.99, and put it directly in your plastic surgery fund.

The Real Deal Costs: $5,483

I Paid: $12.99

The US Sun / Hattie Hayes

The nose clip wasn’t tight, but it wasn’t comfortable, either[/caption]

My beauty rituals included the chin strap, nose clamp, and a novelty plumper
The US Sun / Hattie Hayes

Lip Fillers

Back in 2012, these apple-shaped lip plumpers were all the rage.

The premise is simple: you stick your lips into the suction cup, give it a squeeze, wait a few minutes, and presto.

Kylie Jenner lips in a matter of seconds.

I was eager to try a trend I’d missed out on years ago, but I quickly found out why this fad has died off.

The first session of high-octane lip-plumping action saw immediate, dramatic results.

My normal, un-plumped lips, minding their business with some plain balm
The US Sun / Hattie Hayes
My plumped lips approximately four minutes later
The US Sun / Hattie Hayes

After just a few minutes, I had plumper lips with no discomfort. I couldn’t wait until the next day for my second session.

But when I woke up and looked in the mirror, I was aghast – my lips and the area around them were ringed with bruises.

The purpleish bruises were too dark to cover with concealer. I had to spackle on foundation to hide my shame.

My horrified friends and family asked if I was okay, but I quickly developed a boilerplate response: “Not hurt! Just ugly.”

The US Sun / Hattie Hayes

I saw bruising on and near my lips that lasted days – foundation covered it[/caption]

After the first few days, the bruising wore off, even though I used the lip plumper diligently.

Much to my surprise, it worked – the first plumping session only lasted around two hours, but by the end of the week, it would last half the day.

Still, I was left with some light cupping marks around my mouth, which was a little annoying as I got ready.

But I was impressed enough with the results that it didn’t matter.

Both this lip plumper and actual filler are temporary.

While filler lasts six to eight months, the best you can ask for with this plumper is six to eight hours.

It’s also much easier to reverse, though, making this a great purchase for anyone curious about fillers, but not ready to make an appointment.

The Real Deal Costs: $600 per syringe

I Paid: $11.99

My bizarre beauty routine wasn’t much to look at when I lounged at home
The US Sun / Hattie Hayes

Total Savings

My three “substitute procedures” saved me a total of $9,182.03, but they weren’t all effective.

I would suggest the lip plumper and chin lifter to anyone who is considering plastic surgery, but still on the fence.

These tools may help you decide if going under the knife is what you really want.

But you can skip the nose-shaping clamp entirely. It’s a waste of money, and I feel guilty tossing it into a landfill.

Maybe I’ll use it to clip a bag of chips closed.

In any case, this experiment confirmed that I won’t be looking up the Real Housewives’ favorite doctors anytime soon.

I’m not always satisfied with my face – but I always like having the option to look like my normal old self.

The Real Deal Costs: $9,220

I Paid: $37.97

At the end of the week, I liked my face – way too much to alter it permanently
The US Sun / Hattie Hayes

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