From baby Botox to what is now known as the ‘BBL effect’, we’ve previously witnessed first-hand how some fairly niche cosmetic procedures can suddenly grow into full-blown trends, especially among gen Zers, with the help of the two leading social media platforms Instagram and TikTok. But while it is undeniable that the ‘Brazilian Butt Lift’ (BBL) surgical procedure has become mainstream for some time now, its non-surgical counterpart, strangely, shares little infamy as an option.
Introducing the non-surgical BBL, a safe and non-invasive way to lift and sculpt the shape of your tushie.
Unlike what TikTok users (along with the whole Kardashian family) seem to think, when it comes to butt lifts and building a perfectly perky derrière, you have more than one option to consider. Whether you are more interested in getting a surgery that will give you years of results or you’re feeling more comfortable going for a more simple and subtle procedure with minimal discomfort is up to you.
Unlike a surgical one—where fat is removed from various parts of the body and re-injected into the hips and buttocks using a combination of liposuction and fat-grafting—a non-surgical BBL uses injectable dermal fillers to round out the butt in essentially the same manner that a ‘standard’ BBL would do. Only, one is semi-invasive, the other isn’t.
When it comes to non-surgical butt lifts, there are a few different procedures within this method that are claimed as safe and easy ways to achieve the ‘backside of your dreams’. That being said, we’ll not be developing on vacuum therapy—which involves a harmless suctioning of both skin and fat on the butt, combined with ultrasound waves, that break down fatty deposits, stimulating collagen and elastin production—in this piece, as we believe it doesn’t offer the same results as a surgical BBL does. Our second option, however, does.
Now, before we introduce you to the ‘bumalicious’ world of injectable BBLs, it’s important we first highlight one crucial point: as ‘non-invasive’ as the cosmetic procedure claims to be, it’s still a big step that needs to be seriously considered before being taken. Don’t let short-lived trends dictate your self-image or self-love.
That being said, there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to alter your appearance if it’s made you feel uncomfortable and unhappy in your own skin so far. Just take your time, and you’ll end up making the right decision for yourself.
As we mentioned previously, and as Healthline confirms, “injectable butt lifts use fat transfers or dermal fillers to enhance the shape of your butt, making it appear round and curvy.”
Enter Sculptra butt lifts (also called dermal filler butt lifts), a procedure that, unlike surgical BBLs, doesn’t require anaesthesia nor comes with serious risks. If using the dermal filler Sculptra, your provider will insert polylactic-L-acid deep beneath the surface of your skin. This acid is what is known as a biostimulator, meaning it encourages collagen production. If effective, it will give your butt a fuller, curvier look over time.
In order to go for this option, a patient needs to be in overall good health, without a history of bleeding conditions or other health conditions that can make the procedure riskier.
It should be noted that Sculptra BBLs are considered to be an ‘elective’ cosmetic procedure, which means that your health insurance won’t cover its cost. In other words, you’ll need to put a fair amount of money aside in order to pay for the amount charged for the procedure.
According to Healthline, the average cost for a butt lift using Sculptra fillers starts at $5,000 (£3,845), but this all depends on how many vials of dermal filler product you and your provider decide on using. On average, a filler costs about $915 (£704) per vial, and any given procedure can take four to ten vials.
In comparison, a surgical BBL has a heavier price tag because of the additional process of collecting your own fat to inject back into your buttocks—around $8,000 (£6,155). Again, that rate depends widely on where you get the method done and how experienced your provider is. Though the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) notes that the average cost of butt augmentation with fat grafting is $4,341 (£3,340), it doesn’t include extra expenses like anaesthesia or even the use of a hospital facility or operating room as part of its calculated average. Long story short, make sure to conduct your own research.
Recovery from a non-surgical butt lift is fairly short—in fact, if you’re getting dermal injections in your buttocks, you may even be able to return to work the very same day. No uncomfortable journey back from Turkey for you.
According to Healthline, “side effects of Sculptra commonly include pain and soreness in the area of your injections. There’s a risk of the Sculptra filler product ‘settling’ in a way that makes your butt look lumpy or bumpy.”
The publication also added that Sculptra can’t be dissolved, so if this happens, you have to wait until the injection’s results wear off. There’s not much you can do to correct it. This only goes to show how important it is for you to go for the right provider.
Now, the question you’ve all been ready to be answered, how good will it make my butt look? Because we prefer to err on the side of caution, here’s our answer: results will vary. It will take several months for the Sculptra fillers’ results to settle, and you may also need a couple of additional treatments spaced out across weeks, or even months, in order to see a noticeable change.
Furthermore, results from this specific treatment aren’t permanent, which is the beauty of non-invasive procedures. Some people see results that last from two to three years, while for others, these can last for up to four years. Not bad, huh? Well, unless you’re unlucky enough to get a lumpy dump truck.
On that note, whether you decide to go for a non-surgical butt lift or not, we’ll leave you with the iconic BBL wave of TikTok’s beloved Antoni Bumba:
Blackfishing has permeated through modern (especially celebrity) culture over the last few decades, hitting its peak within the last few years—in fact, there is an infinite number of celebrities who are guilty of it. From accusations against Rita Ora to, more recently, Jesy Nelson’s ‘Boyz’ controversy, blackfishing felt like an inescapable phenomenon.
Led by the experts in the ‘art’—the Kardashians, obviously—the rise in dangerous procedures like the Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) to co-opt the features of black women have impacted the lives of many. The fastest-growing cosmetic procedure comprises a fat transfer—fat from another part of the body is surgically removed and commonly implanted into the butt. The aestheticising of the features of black women and black culture as a whole, by public figures like the Kardashian family, has pushed those unable to afford such surgeries to cheaper and more dangerous techniques like the ‘slim-thick’ drug Apetamin.
Such procedures have been stringently denied through the years by the KarJenner family despite the very valid criticisms and evidence against them. Therein lies the problem: deniability. Refusing to be open and honest about their methods as well as their absolute refusal to account for the claims of cultural appropriation (from which they have profited) is criminal. Who can forget Khloé Kardashian’s infamously terrible statement shared with Jay Shetty, “I can’t stand people that are like eating a bucket of Häagen-Dazs ice cream and they are like ‘I am so fat’ and they won’t work out, they won’t change their diet, they won’t drink more water.” To make light of people unable to change their bodies, while such people are able to do so with the click of a Facetune button is laughable, to put it mildly.
Now, there seems to be a shift in the air, as eagle-eyed TikTok users noted a possible scaling back of what we know as the modern-day blackface. The days of the BBL appear to be numbered and while that may mean a positive easing back on the influence of dangerous surgery, the damage has still been done. It indicates two prevailing issues: first, the commodification of the black female body for costume and profit and second, the trending of body types or features.
Let’s address the first. There are speculations surfacing that those guilty of such practices, namely Khloé and Kim Kardashian, are having reversals or removals of previous surgeries. The dramatic change in appearance (regardless of the actual proven method) still showcases a shift in aesthetics because that’s what blackness is in celebrity culture—an aesthetic. Black culture is out and manic pixie dream boy culture is in. And just like that, the tan fades, the Bantu Knots unravel and the accents change as cosplaying black women is no longer the ‘in’ thing.
Black culture and its aesthetics have often been used in the advancement of a person’s career and once a level of success has been reached, it conveniently falls away—take Awkwafina’s controversial disappearance of her ‘blaccent’. Other examples as listed by Screen Shot on Instagram detail additional celebrity examples like Ariana Grande’s diminishing tan and Miley Cyrus’ comments on hip hop after appropriating the genre.
The second issue, the disappearing BBL, highlights the objectification and trending of female-presenting body types although, of course, we know this not to be new. Much like the trend of the moment, we find ourselves—our actual bodies—as trending products. The historical list is obscenely endless. The replacing of the era of the BBL appears to be tied to the Y2K revival and it’s not as innocent as bicep bracelets.
Twenty years later and low-rise jeans are back with a trending vengeance for the return of the flat stomach. Coming right alongside it is the inescapable thigh gap. And when we aren’t resurrecting old ones, we invent new toxic ones like the ‘BBL body’, the bikini bridge trend and the ‘clean look’. Like House of Sunny’s Hockney dress, we’re worn by supermodels one minute and in charity shops the next. Or more specifically and importantly, black bodies are worn by celebrities one minute and then conveniently shed the next.
The body-positive movement’s brief moment in popular culture was just that—brief. Rather than doing away with trends and actually altering our bodies to them, we could just exist as we are regardless of our body type. What the Kardashians may be doing is reinforcing this idea. Morphing ourselves each and every time a new aesthetic arises. While the BBL trend is beginning its decline, we are reminded that what’s left is merely a vacuum that will soon be filled by the next toxic ideal.