Ashley Benson, Sophie Turner and more call out plastic surgery trends popularized on social media with Instagram filter

Sophie Turner and Brooklyn Decker use the
Sophie Turner and Brooklyn Decker use the "Pillow Face" filter. (Photo: Instagram)

A new filter is taking over social media feeds and being deemed the "Instagram face" made complete with puffy lips, high cheeks and a smooth forehead to mimic today's most popular cosmetic procedures.

The effect, called "Pillow Face," was created for Instagram by Jonathan Augusto, who has been making filters since 2019 that alter the way a user appears on the platform, often for fun. With this particular filter, however, the Brazilian creative tells Yahoo Life that he was inspired by the plastic surgery that we're so frequently exposed to these days.

"I see a lot of pages on Instagram talking about plastic surgery — gossip pages talking about what certain influencers or celebrities have done with their faces or advertisements about procedures and doctors showing before and after results," Augusto explains. "On Instagram, the more we see something, the more relevant it becomes. So it's a very popular theme right now."

The filter itself and the enhancements that it makes on a user's face was inspired by the name that doctors use when classifying "overfilled faces," he says. "Celebrities like Madonna, Courtney Cox, Dolly Parton and others already had the pillow face caused by bad filler injection. They usually end up with almost the same face with distorted lips and puffy cheeks."

Plenty of other celebrities gave the modifications a spin by using the filter, including Sophie Turner, Heidi Klum, Rita Ora and Brooklyn Decker. Plastic surgeons — including Dr. Kirk Lozada, based in Philadelphia, Pa. — also used the filter to caution Instagram users of the importance of choosing the proper doctors and procedures without going overboard.

"This filter highlights the excessive overfilled look of lip filler and cheeks that has become the 'Instagram' look that some people are trying to achieve," Lozada tells Yahoo Life. "There are many in the industry that are trying to achieve natural results that enhance someone's natural features but there is a trend of people trying to achieve unnatural and excessive features, especially with lips."

Lozada goes on to explain that current plastic surgery trends are fueled by the exposure that the industry has on social media. "Procedures like the fox eyebrow lift, buccal fat and even lip lifts have become trendier due to a large volume of content on social media that people are becoming exposed to," he says. "Now, people have seen something on social media or a celebrity on reality TV that exposes them to a new procedure and it takes the aesthetic world by storm for a period of time," making note of Kylie Jenner's role in the popularization of lip filler.

This filter uses that same method of exposure to allow people to see the limits of plastic surgery by catching a glimpse of what it looks like to have gone "overboard." And while Augusto admits that he didn't make the filter with the intention of starting a productive conversation about plastic surgery trends, he's happy to see that it has.

"I think people are using the filter to criticize the excess of plastic surgery that we see on social media," he says. "I mean, I'm not against filters because I create them. I think the fight is against the unnatural looks that we see on celebrities and on Instagram."

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