An honest review of the ‘Hollywood Lift’ facial treatment

Could the ‘Hollywood Lift’ change a cosmetic cynic’s mind? One Body+Soul writer tries the non-invasive skin treatment tightening skin from LA to Sydney.

At 43, I’m interested in pursuing as much lifting and tightening as possible when it comes to my face. I’ll happily let it go near a needle (and have dabbled in Botox over the years), but knives or invasive procedures are off-limits; men’s visages, I have been told and also truly believe, don’t tend to “present” the supposedly positive effects of cosmetic work in a very elegant way. Case in point: Google “Carrot Top”. My apologies in advance.

In May, and across a two-week span, I was set to celebrate two birthdays – my own, as well as a milestone for my partner, and in accordance with our inability to sit still, we made big plans for each date. Burnt out, exhausted and probably a bit too worn down from a lot of late dinners and copious wine at work events (or simply on the couch watching old sitcoms), I was determined to look fresher than I felt by the time they rolled around.

So I settled on a two-part approach to help me achieve a brighter and more energetic appearance. To start, I visited North Shore Aesthetics, an all-rounder clinic located in the Sydney suburb of Gordon that was founded by good friends Anne Grobler and Janeen Brown and provides a range of services that target everything from your face to your fat.

I started with a combination treatment: The AQUAPURE Hydrafacial mixed with some Mesotherapy. The tenets are pretty simple: for the facial, Anne gave me a three-step treatment that exfoliated my skin, worked on controlling my sebum and ignited the production of collagen, the magical protein that plenty of people who have aged out of their 20s will tell you they wish their body would produce more of as their face grows into its years. The mesotherapy portion of my visit involved slathering my skin with just the right amount of NCTF, a patented liquid formula consisting of 59 ingredients that aims to leave skin looking hydrated and glossy.

Within less than an hour, I was out of the clinic and at my desk working, and my face both felt and looked fresher than it had in months. But before I left, Anne made a suggestion that was hard to ignore: follow up the treatment in a week or two with the so-called “Hollywood Lift”. Now, Hollywood’s relationship with “lifts” has historically been complicated at best, so the cynic in me worried that phrase might be a bit of a misnomer. That said, vanity won the battle and I agreed to give it a go, particularly when Anne explained the entire procedure would be over in a half-hour.

On arrival, I laid back under a warm blanket and was told to relax, as Anne prepared to work on my face using the Ultraformer III system, which is essentially a wand-like device that she applied to targeted areas that needed the most help: my cheeks, chin and eyelids. The goal is to lift and tighten the skin in those zones by stimulating my body’s natural regenerative processes by way of laser-focused ultrasound technology that sends “bursts” of energy deep into the skin, working through all three of its layers.

The feeling is not exactly pleasant, but it is also far from painful. The wand is heated to a comfortable degree, and Anne applies it with a fair amount of pressure. The bursts themselves induce a mild sting, which means they’re doing their job: the tissues being targeted are essentially being thermally injured (not as bad as it sounds!) and therefore causing my collagen to contract. What this does, with time, is force the production of newer, stronger collagen, which ostensibly results in a smoother, healthier and younger-looking face.

So, you wonder: did it work? Well, yes – but you may want to ask me that again in about two more months. Immediately after leaving the clinic (and I was able to get right up and walk out, given there is no downtime for healing or recovery from this particular procedure), I looked at my face in the rearview mirror and noticed a definite difference: it already said “rested and rejuvenated”. That evening, about eight hours later, I was sitting in the chair at a local hair salon and snapped an image of myself for no good reason other than vanity, and the brutal truth-teller in me will tell you that I knew for a fact I looked younger than 43 in that shot.

I don’t deny that there is only so much I can do to my face to stave off the realities of ageing and its ongoing morph into a carbon copy of my father’s – it is soft and round like his, and short of spending thousands of dollars to let somebody carve it up, it will never be the chiseled stuff of Viggo Mortensen fans’ dreams. And that’s OK! It’s possible to love and accept the face you’re born with – but to also tend to it from time to time via treatments like these, all in the name of giving it some refreshment.

One of the key benefits of a treatment like the “Hollywood Lift” is that it provides two-tiered results. It is vastly popular with a wide range of people is because the ability to see immediate effects means those of us with big events on the horizon – weddings, ceremonies, formals, birthdays – get to swan into them looking (and feeling) a bit better than they did just days before. But the sagging and drooping and dulling get staved off in the long(er)-term, as well: new collagen continues to be generated weeks after you leave the treatment room, which means tighter and toned skin that lasts.