I remember the very first time I switched my glasses for contacts. I was shocked at the sight of my under-eye bags. What the hell are those things doing under there? I truly had no idea they were sitting there underneath my spectacles. Soon enough, sunglasses, meticulously applied concealer, and, of course, photo filters, became routine, while eye cream positioned itself as my number one skincare product. But there are certain things that even the most luxurious eye cream can’t fix, especially hollowness. It was time to say bye-bye to these designer eye bags and break out the big guns: under-eye filler.
There’s no doubt that eye filler is rising in popularity and more and more people seem to be considering it. The hashtag #undereyefiller has over 18 million views on TikTok and so many celebrities—most recently Katy Perry—have admitted to getting the treatment done. Since I had finally made the decision to get Botox for the first time, I began to consider getting “just a touch” of filler as well, though I have to admit I did find them more intimidating than toxins. Still, the thought of looking like I got good sleep for the first time in years was hard to resist. A few weeks after getting the ‘Tox, I found myself once again in the hands of Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Ava Shamban, with a whole bunch of questions about this “miracle” treatment.
Also referred to as tear trough filler, under-eye filler corrects the hollowness beneath the eye area that can make your eyes look tired, sunken in, and have bags. “When you have that hollowing there, it makes you look tired,” says Shamban. “So we just re-volumize that little hollow area, and then your eyes are more framed by your lashes and not by a circle underneath. That’s the goal.” Instead of a traditional needle, a blunt-tipped instrument called a cannula is used during the treatment. This makes injecting a lot safer in terms of blood vessels, Shamban says, and reduces the risk of bruising or swelling.
Hyaluronic acid fillers, such as Juvederm, Restylane, and Teosyal, are usually used. Shamban describes them as complex long chains of sugar that are naturally found in the skin. “The difference between the brands has to do with the size and shape of those long filaments, and also how they’re cross-linked together because normal hyaluronic acid is metabolized in a 24-hour period,” she explains. “So that’s why when you use hyaluronic acid as skincare, it binds water, giving your skin a plump, moist look. And then within the skin itself, it serves to bind water and also to provide a kind of ‘spring’ to the skin.” Shamban goes on to explain that the hyaluronic acid used in these fillers is very similar to what we have in our skin; they’re cross-linked together so that it’s not as easy for them to be metabolized in a short period of time. This is why they can last a while, depending on the area of the face.
As I just touched on above, one thing that I found really interesting was how long under-eye filler lasts. But as I mentioned, it all depends on the area. For instance, lip filler usually lasts six months to a year because of how much our mouths move. But since the area beneath the eye doesn’t get much movement, it can last up to two years, according to Shamban. That’s a long time, especially compared to Botox. Also, if by chance you’re not happy with how the fillers look, they can be dissolved with a hyaluronidase enzyme (which is another reason why hyaluronic acid fillers should be used).
I’m not one to be scared around needles, but I was straight-up nervous. One reason was that I was worried I’d look different. Would the treatment change the high cheekbones I inherited from my momma? (It did not.) There was also the proximity of the needle to my eyes, along with a strange, unnerving, crunchy, almost whooshing noise that I heard when the cannula was injected into my face. That might have been the freakiest part, TBH. (If you decide to get fillers, be prepared for that!) It was also more painful than Botox and took a little longer to do, but it wasn’t unbearable. It’s the price we pay for beauty! Shamban ended up using one (1cc) syringe of Teosyal RHA 3 filler for my under-eye area and a little bit in my top lip.
The wildest, most impressive thing about the filler was how instantaneous the results were. During the treatment, Shamban did a “halftime” moment where I was able to see how one side of my face looked with the filler before doing the other side. It was incredible not to see big ol’ designer bags under there for once. Also, it is important to note that the hollowness and eye bags improved a lot, but didn’t completely disappear. While the effects were immediate, it could become more noticeable—Shamban says that over the next few days and weeks because there is an interaction between the filler and your skin, the skin will start to redrape and reposition over the filler.
Aftercare was pretty easy. Icing the area for a few days is recommended to keep any bruising and swelling at bay, but I didn’t experience any of that, though the area was a little bit tender for several days afterward. The hardest part was trying to sleep on my back, because with fillers, you want to keep your head elevated so they stay in place. And forget about using your jade roller or any facial massagers. “It takes two full weeks for the product to integrate between the collagen bundles, so during that two-week period, you don’t want to have any excess pressure there,” says Shamban. “You can still use your eye creams, but don’t massage or put a lot of pressure there.” She also says that because the filler attracts water, your eyes can look puffy, so the aforementioned ice, avoiding salty foods, staying hydrated, and even the old-school chilled-cucumber-over-the-eyes trick can help.
Bottom line, would I do it again? Hell yes! I love how it turned out, and I’m also super stoked that I don’t have to worry about it for at least a year. That’s the definition of low maintenance if you ask me. Though, I’m not ready to part with my precious eye creams just yet, and below I’m sharing all of my favorites.