Look, I’m not one to tell people what to do to their bodies. How a person decides to use a concealer stick has no effect on my life. Should you choose to recreate the viral TikTok “nose job dupe” or follow nose-contouring tutorials on Instagram, I will likely never know nor will I care; I wish you nothing but success and happiness in future endeavors. As someone who’s contoured, poked, prodded, wished away, and almost taken a scalpel to her schnoz, I suggest taking a step back (and away from the ultra-magnifying mirror) to ask yourself one question: Is it time to give your nose a break?
Perhaps you’ve seen Russian content creator lera_valesta’s recent TikTok — about 5.5 million people have, myself included. In fact, the algorithm must be bullying me, because her account is all the app has fed me lately, including various duets that show other people trying out the supposed “nose job dupe.” It is, essentially, contouring — you know, that thing Kim Kardashian would want us to believe she invented, but really came from the first celebrity makeup artist, the late Way Bandy.
After applying foundation, nose job dupers use a darker shade of concealer to apply a v-shaped line from the tip of their nose to the tips of their inner brows. They then switch to a lighter shade of cover-up, which they use to trace the nose’s outer regions. After some blending, there you have it: a more narrow-looking nose.
If American society’s warped, oppressive, and honestly quite boring beauty standards are to be followed, I am a great candidate for this dupe. Or, you know, an actual nose job. I have been aware of this since elementary school, when a neighborhood boy generously offered to break my nose “so they could make it smaller when I went to the hospital.” Instead of seeing my Aquiline profile as a gift from my ancestors, it became my worst enemy: I remember spending hot summer days sitting across from an oscillating fan, slowly inching closer, wondering if the blades could cleanly clip off a few inches from its tip.
Luckily, my nose stayed intact. Despite the years of abuse and self-hatred I put it through, including a brief post-college stint when I aspired to save up for one (I spent it all on frivolities — you know, like rent and groceries), these days I fully appreciate my nose. It’s one piece of the whole that makes up me. Still, my middle school insecurities arise when someone snaps a photo at the wrong angle or whenever a makeup artist, seemingly on autopilot, starts to contour my nose.