This story has a happy ending.
It's also a cautionary tale about the over-use of injectables—which is why I've received multiple requests to do a Before & After on Courteney Cox.
Although the 51-year-old Friends star and former model has been in the public eye for more than 30 years now, the Daily Mail noticed something different about her face recently. Something that rendered her "unrecognizable."
When did things go wrong? Let's take a look at her beauty evolution over the years:
Courteney in 1983
Kicking things off is this '80s-tastic modelling shot of Courteney at age 19. You've gotta love the poodle perm, stripey blush, cool-toned makeup and bushy brows. Oh wait—I actually do love the brows. Judging from her features here, I think she's one of the few celebs who hasn't touched her nose. Lips are another story!
Courteney in 1984
Fun fact: Courteney's first big break was appearing in this Bruce Springsteen video. (No, she wasn't just a random "adoring fan" plucked from the audience.)
Courteney in 1985
Courteney kept the same boyish, layered hairstyle through 1985—I think it's pretty adorable. She traded the pink makeup for more natural-looking tawny shades, although I detect a minor case of The Eagle.
Courteney in 1990
By 1990, Courteney was 26, and it was the era of shoulder pads and business suits as evening wear (PLEASE let that fashion trend not make a comeback!). Frizzy hair was the beauty look, along with marsala lips and no blush.
Courteney in 1992
The '90s skinny eyebrow trend just claimed one of its first victims. Courteney went from full, thick arches in 1983 to these thin and angular ones—and when we get to the more recent photos, you'll see that she never fully recovered. Also note the hair flip, a trend that's right back in style today. I think Courteney must dye her hair black because it looks like her roots are a softer brown.
Courteney in 1994
When 'Friends' debuted in 1994, Courteney suddenly became super-famous. She was 30 here and sporting a version of the mid-length hairstyle she wore through the mid-'90s. I can't believe the obvious bottom lip liner thing was happening even back then!
Courteney in 1997
You can clearly see the Spice Girls influence on Courteney's style here: these chunky burgundy highlights make her resemble a brunette Ginger Spice. I do like the natural skin texture, but the precise brows, white eyeshadow and mocha lipstick are all so dated now! Oh, and it looks like even Monica had the Rachel haircut...
Courteney in 2002
And now for a complete palette cleanse! Courteney was 38 here, and this look is so classic that it's still perfect now, 14 years later. I love the softer brown hair on her; it's less harsh than the jet black. Her "winter" colouring is also beautiful against the raspberry lipstick. She really has the most amazing clear blue eyes, doesn't she?
Courteney in 2005
From The Skincare Edit Archives
I'm not sure what was happening here; I can't put my finger on it, but I probably wouldn't have recognized this woman as Courteney. Maybe because this was pre-Botox and pre-Restylane? Her brows looked great in 2002, but here they're back to a thin and angular shape.
Courteney in 2009
Eeks! Am I horrible if I admit that the first person this photo reminded me of was Michael Jackson? Courteney was 45 by this time, and I think it's safe to say she had now started on the Botox and filler. But it's not just the over-inflated cheeks and frozen forehead that are a shock. It's also the return to solid black hair, which can look a bit wig-like against pale skin, especially when the curls aren't brushed out.
Courteney in 2010
Ahhh... that's better! In 2010, age 46, she turned things back around. I seriously love her style here, from the modern pink makeup tones to the dangly earrings and face-framing hair. Yes, her cheeks still look "done," but the overall vibe is much fresher.
Courteney in 2011
Whatever interventions Courteney's done here look just fine, although the fact that her hair is partially covering her cheeks may be helping her cause. She was 47 at the time, and we can all agree she is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. Her hair is impossibly shiny, and she wears these cold makeup tones better than anyone else.
Courteney in 2012
The following year, she stepped out with barely-there makeup and this amazing air-dried hair texture—those things alone give her such a relaxed, youthful appearance. But her cheeks look unnatural and almost masculinize her face. I'm also perplexed at how her brows are more precise than ever, when 2012 was the height of the bold brow trend.
Courteney in 2013
Courteney's face softened somewhat by 2013, or maybe we're just looking at the natural ebb and flow of injectables (which only last a matter of months before they start to deflate). There is a wrinkle on one side of her nose that may be from Botox impairing the natural muscle movement; it was apparent in 2009 as well. I'm still amazed at how clear and bright her eyes are!
Courteney in 2014
And now she started dabbling in... lip injections! I do think she probably had them before 2014, but it's most obvious in this picture. The lips (and the cheeks) just do not fit her face. That said, I love the pink lipstick and blush.
Courteney in 2015
Here it is... The Scary Photo. Suddenly, Courteney went all Jocelyn Wildenstein on us! It's way too much filler in her cheeks and her lips, and maybe Botox jabs around the mouth as well because she doesn't seem able to smile properly. Instead of making her look more youthful, she looks older and cat-like. When will doctors learn not to do this to people?!
Courteney in 2016
This is our happy ending. I'm guessing Courteney was mortified by her previous red carpet appearance, so she took a big step back on the fillers. Here, her cheeks look more natural than they have since 2009! If there are also Botox and lip injections, they're soft, not overdone. Her skin seems a bit red and maybe that's because she's opting for skin resurfacing procedures instead of the needle—a decision I fully support!
In my opinion, Courteney is one of the most naturally beautiful actresses in Hollywood. Her delicate features and thin lips might not be "on trend" in 2016, but they're still gorgeous at any age (at least when she leaves them alone!).
I think the lesson here is that injectables, done right, can definitely stall the aging process—Courteney's 2016 photo at age 51 is amazing evidence of that. But put too much in, and the filler becomes aging instead of age-preventive. When you use injections to add more volume to features than was ever there to start with, it's a recipe for disaster. Courteney is far from the only one to get that telltale puffy feline face... but you'd think a celeb would know better!
Now, I know some people (even doctors) will say these filler mistakes only appear that way because the injections are too fresh and haven't had enough time to "settle" yet. I give that a big NOPE. To me, it makes no sense to have to live with a puffy face for a month or two before you start to look normal. Better to just get less filler put in, and go back for maintenance more often. Do you agree?
How do you feel about Courteney's beauty evolution?
Which of these looks is your favourite?
What "beauty work" do you think she's had done?