Some women will go to great lengths to perfect their image. Whether it involves performing DIY plastic surgery or living off of cotton balls–the quest for perfection has truly reached new heights of ultimate lows.

Body Dysmorphia is a mental illness commonly associated with weight loss obsession, but more accurately the disease encompasses a disillusion with one’s appearance, specifically with skin, hair, and nose. Those that suffer from body dysmorphia constantly attempt to improve what they view as a major flaw, even if others are unable to detect their “glaring” flaw.

We all have our own ideas of what constitutes beauty, but what are we willing to sacrifice to become picture perfect? At what point do we question society’s unhealthy beauty perceptions and obsession with the allure of supermodels or video vixens? Obviously not everyone who seeks to improve his or her appearance suffers from body dysmorphia. Working towards looking your personal best can be a positive thing, but only when enhancing your natural beauty is the ultimate goal as opposed to recreating yourself by any means necessary.


It has long been reported that when women seeking cosmetic enhancement want to fly under the radar, a trip to South America is the best way to go. Surgeries performed in countries like Argentina or Brazil occur at a fraction of the cost, but often at greater risk. For women of color, healthy body proportions have always been seen as a symbol of beauty, but the accessibility of cosmetic surgery has tainted perceptions of when enough is enough. In an effort to plump their derrieres, some women seek the help of “doctors” willing to inject them with silicone, a procedure that is illegal in most countries. Butt implants are also popular, but if done improperly can lead to death. Solange Magnano, a former Miss Argentina, died because of complications from a botched butt enhancement procedure performed in Argentina. More recently Tameka Raymond, Usher’s ex-wife, revealed her experience with a liposuction procedure performed in Brazil that temporarily left her in a medically induced coma.

The Cotton Ball Diet

When Sessilee Lopez’s mother, Janice Celeste, came out with the book Making a Supermodel, it was meant to be a guide for aspiring models. Undoubtedly the book is chock full of juicy tidbits about breaking into the industry, but what shocked many was Celeste’s candidness about the ugliness of beauty. As detailed in the book, the cotton ball diet consists of models dipping cotton balls in orange juice and swallowing them to feel full. Although Celeste has tried to keep her knowledge of the diet’s followers discreet, some wonder how close to home Celeste’s experience with this diet could be?


Being born with a set of naturally thick eyebrows is seen as advantageous in the beauty world. When thick brows are properly groomed, they have the ability to add symmetry to the face. Unfortunately, not everyone was blessed with a set of Jourdan Dunn brows, so leave it to those with a daring heart to reinvent uses for the potent topical medicine Rogaine. To plump sparse brows, it is suggested that applying Men’s Extra Strength Rogaine makes brows grow supermodel thick. Of course there is a catch. Besides the fact that the product is not approved for eyebrow growth and the potential danger of getting the product in your eyes, if Rogaine is accidentally spilled on other parts of the skin, you can potentially experience hair growth on the affected area. Did somebody say, chick moustache?

Botox and Fillers

In 2002, when Botox was approved by the FDA it was marketed as the magical solution to wrinkles. Restylane and Juvederm were soon added to the market, and with that a shift to using fillers as a preventative measure for women as young as 20 became the new trend for the beauty obsessed. With the rise in popularity of doctor performed filler treatments, it was only a matter of time before patients found a more cost-effective alternative: self-injection. Women who want the look of fillers without the cost have turned to filling their own wrinkles with commonly used cooking oils and silicone. Not only is this practice potentially life threatening, but it can also be disfiguring with unlicensed medical practitioners injecting themselves, and potential victims, in the wrong areas. Although some fillers are absorbed into the body (still a scary concept), others leave remnants of the product in the form of plastic particles trapped in your body. Aspiring hip-hop dancer Claudia Aderotimi died of a heart attack shortly after receiving silicone injections in her butt by a traveling unlicensed medical practitioner. What could have caused a 20-year-old to seek such drastic measures? Aderotimi wanted a more pronounced behind so that she could pursue a career as a hip-hop video girl.


It used to be that eating a well-balanced diet, drinking a plethora of water, and saying a prayer before bed was the best shot at experiencing hair growth. Though many vitamins, potions, and lotions claimed to work wonders, few (if any) ever lived up to their claims. Viviscal hair vitamins have a cult like following, with fans of the product claiming that the miracle vitamin can apparently make your mane strong and long… but what’s the catch? Although Viviscal’s ingredients trump natural vitamins, minerals, and extracts–it also contains a “Marine Complex,” a blend of cod, English whiting, and shark. Viviscal’s tagline is say goodbye to thinning hair- but maybe vanity at the sake of endangering a species would be more appropriate.

– Abiola Fasehun

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