I Tried Kim Kardashian’s Favorite Laser Skin
HomeHome > Blog > I Tried Kim Kardashian’s Favorite Laser Skin

I Tried Kim Kardashian’s Favorite Laser Skin

Apr 27, 2023

By Jessica Radloff

I've never seen an entire episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but I've seen enough photos of Kim Kardashian West to appreciate her exquisitely sculpted face and cheekbones. As a kid growing up with so-called (my words) chipmunk cheeks that my grandmother's friends loved to squeeze like play dough, cheekbones have always been a foreign concept to me.

And yet all I've heard from friends and strangers over the years is that I'll appreciate the extra padding on my cheeks when I'm older. But those comforting words don't do much when I watch myself on TV and think, Perhaps I should have used that jade roller a few more times this morning.

My no makeup, no smiling, resting chipmunk cheeks

That's why I can't say my interest wasn't piqued when an Insta Story of Kardashian West getting the Exilis Ultra 360 laser skin-tightening treatment popped up on my phone. I googled it immediately, and the buzzwords had me sold: "tighter skin," "firmer jawline," "little downtime" and "noninvasive." Yes, please.

A couple of weeks later I found myself in the Beverly Hills offices of plastic surgeons Deepak Dugar and Raj Kanodia (the same clinic visited by Kardashian) ready to watch as a laser helped my face get a bit more taut.

This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

It wasn't without some real consideration, though. You see, plastic surgeons' offices scare me. Will they tell me I should really think about using fillers? Or that Botox would help? While I'm sure I could look a bit more smooth and firm with the help of whatever's on the market, I don't want a professional to make me doubt myself. I've always relied on skin care, clean eating, and exercise to help keep my skin healthy, and so far it's worked. However, as I approach four decades on this earth, I'd like to see at least a sign of a more defined cheekbone. Or two.

Thankfully, my fears were quickly put to rest. When I walk into Dugar's office, the staff couldn't be more to down-to-earth (a selling point when you're in Beverly Hills). If anything, I'm impressed that the doctor's mantra isn't "anti-aging" anything. Instead he prefers the term antigravity. "You’re never going to be 20 again. You’re never going to look 30 again. It's not the goal to reverse yourself," he tells me. "The goal is just to maintain yourself and fight the thing that's causing most of our damage, which is gravity."

At this point I'd hang upside down for 10 minutes if he told me to. I'm on board and ready to start this thing.

Dugar explains that the Exilis Ultra 360 uses penetrative technology to reach deep into the layers of your skin to tighten it with heating and cooling energy. The radio frequency then stimulates the collagen in your skin to retighten areas that have lost their elasticity. Best of all, he says, the entire treatment is noninvasive, safe, and effective with little pain and very minimal downtime, if at all.

When I settle into the "operating room" (what else do you call a sterile, all-white room at a plastic surgeon's office?), the nurse applies alcohol to clean my skin before securing a grounding pad to my back. Then Dugar applies ultrasound gel to my face before slowly moving the laser over my cheeks and jawline. He says it will feel like a hot stone massage. I've never had one before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But my best description now is somewhat like static electricity. "There are moments when you really feel the heat, but just for a second," Dr. Dugar says. "Otherwise, 90 percent of it is painless, 8 percent is a little intense, and 2 percent is a sharp twinge here and there when the heat kind of gets you."

By Bella Cacciatore

By Perrie Samotin

By Jake Smith

I tolerate pain pretty well, but the sharp twinges really hurt. "It's actually the ultrasound gel popping," he tells me. "Like if you put oil in a frying pan, and the oil pops." I squirm, but I'm determined to be as tough as I can in the name of a firmer jaw line.

Thankfully the pain lasts only for a moment, and by the time I feel I can't take much more of it, he's moved the laser on to a different part of my face. I'm normally a talkative patient, but even I am not up to being too chatty. This is new to me.

I know what you're probably thinking: If you're going to submit yourself to any kind of pain, what does it cost? The price differs depending on whom you go to, but Dugar says it's around $800 a session for your face (Exilis laser skin tightening can be performed on other body parts as well). As with most procedures that recommend multiple treatments, the more you sign up for at a time, the lower the cost. So far I'm just doing one session, but if I notice a visible difference, I'll consider coming back for more—pain be damned.

Dugar likens the frequency of visits to when you were a teenager and could go to the gym once a week and stay in shape. Of course, as we age and metabolism slows, it takes more effort to maintain your physique. Dugar says I'll see results for a few weeks at least with one treatment. After that, "the key is repetitive treatments"—usually one a month for six to 10 sessions. It's costly, but perhaps you’d save that much by swapping out biweekly facials, regular blowouts, and expensive skin creams.

About 20 minutes later, the whole thing is done. He says he spent eight minutes on each side of my face with the laser, applying the highest intensity of the wattage to treat my jowls and jaw line. This is done in order "to get a little bit more stimulation of the collage to tighten." My face is pretty red, but Dugar says that will reduce dramatically over the next few hours.

By Bella Cacciatore

By Perrie Samotin

By Jake Smith

While Exilis prides itself on requiring no downtime, I also wouldn't necessarily want to go out to a big event or on a date the same night. If there was ever an excuse to stay in and watch TV, this is it. Still, Dugar tells me that I shouldn't be afraid of doing my nighttime skin routine. "You can do everything normal because this is not a resurfacing laser," he says.

Puffing up my face so you can get a clearer look at the redness in the immediate aftermath

Before I leave, Dugar applies a gold cooling mask to help calm my skin (which has been breaking out pretty bad these last few days). The cooling sensation is so calming, I'm tempted to stay here all day. Also, C3-PO has competition.

By Bella Cacciatore

By Perrie Samotin

By Jake Smith

I say my goodbyes and thank Dugar and his staff; he says to call or email with any questions, and instead of pushing a second treatment on me, he says to take a few weeks to see how I like the results. It's up to me if I want to continue for more. By the time I get to my car, I notice the redness in my face has disappeared quite considerably. (I'm still sticking to my plan of ordering in and watching TV, though.)

The next day, aside from a patch of red skin near my chin, there's barely any noticeable trace of the treatment. And if I forgot to mention, once the treatment was done, any sharp pain that I felt was gone. So if you can tolerate a few seconds of extreme heat, you'll be okay.

The morning after the Exilis 360 laser, with just a bit of redness by my chin. The treatment is not recommended for anyone pregnant or with a metal implant, like a pacemaker.

The next day, with makeup on

By the afternoon I've applied a full face of makeup, and as crazy as it sounds, I actually feel that my face is a bit firmer. It looks it too. I feel as though I've gone off to some five-star resort and spa for the week, and I honestly can't remember the last time I said that (or even meant it). In other words, I'm a fan.

Two and half weeks later, I'm still noticing the effects. And I've already decided I'll go back for a second session next month. This time, though, I'm taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like Aleve. If you can handle a bikini wax—and the hit to your bank account—you can handle this.

Jessica Radloff is the West Coast editor at Glamour. Follow her @jessicaradloff14 on Instagram.