Every so often, Simon Ourian braces himself for an onslaught of super-wealthy people in search of aesthetic perfection – like the private jet-load of patients from China who flew into Los Angeles a couple of months ago specifically to see the illustrious Beverly Hills cosmetic dermatologist.
Sixteen women, two men, and a gaggle of their friends had each booked a few procedures; they had them done over the course of a week, shopped a bit, and then flew out.
“It was all hands on deck,” said Ourian, known for his high-wattage celebrity client list, which includes virtually all the Kardashian/Jenner clan, Lady Gaga, Salma Hayek and Olivia Culpo.
“This group was supposed to come before [the pandemic] and had to wait a whole year. When we knew they were finally coming, we kept everything open, and had the entire team available to them.”
Although 18 people in one international group at one time is a lot, it’s also par for the course for Ourian, who fields 200 requests a day from potential patients, many of whom wait for up to two years to be seen by him.
After all, the Iranian-born doctor is known not just for his sense of symmetry – he shapes faces and bodies with precision and an unerring eye – but also for his ability to elevate someone’s looks without having to wield a scalpel.
He is a proponent of the surgery-free nose job; instead of the conventional way of reshaping a nose, he adds fillers to the tip and the bridge, especially his proprietary filler, Neustem, which he also uses to treat dark circles, enhance a jawline, lift a cheek, add volume to lips.
He is also known for his refusal to create cookie-cutter faces, rather aiming to have his patients look like a more youthful and healthier version of themselves.
Ourian typically is asked to replicate a famous face, with people walking in asking to look like Kim Kardashian , Kendall Jenner, or Megan Fox. In the past few years, his client base from Asia has exploded – Chinese lead the way, followed by South Koreans and Indonesians, many of them celebrities.
He’s noticed that patients from each country have a specific set of criteria; those from China don’t want an upwards tilting nose, instead seeking something more chiselled. His Korean patients ask for slimmer faces, so Ourian reshapes the jawline.
“Every face is different, but regardless of cultural preferences, beautiful is beautiful no matter where you go,” he said. “Beauty comes in all different shapes and forms. A person from India doesn’t look like a blonde, blue-eyed person, and shouldn’t want to.
“They have their own blueprint of what they look like. My job is to choose the most beautiful outcome for a given face. I follow that golden ratio of proportion and symmetry, of left and right.
“If you follow those basic techniques, and stay true to the anatomy of a face, the outcome is always good. And it doesn’t have to be painful or complicated; 90 per cent of the procedures we perform are done within a day.”
Ourian is routinely summoned to this country or that to work with a royal family or celebrity. His interest in cosmetic medicine was sparked by his viewing, when he was a child, of the movie Ash Wednesday , where Elizabeth Taylor’s character emerges from cosmetic surgery looking brand new.
After he moved with his family to Los Angeles from Iran, he explored an interest in sculpture but went on to study medicine. It was his appearances on Keeping Up With The Kardashians that solidified his reputation as the cosmetic dermatologist to see.
But still, there’s that pesky waiting list. His team includes cosmetic surgeons, and it’s the most demanding procedures – the facelifts, tummy tucks, breast augmentations – that have the longest waiting lists; others that are less complicated, such as fillers or acne treatments, can be dealt with much more easily.
He gets unusual, unnecessary requests, and has to tell one out of three potential patients that he won’t work with them because whatever they think needs to be fixed, does not.
He tends not to work with anyone under the age of 18 because their face is still changing and he doesn’t want them to get accustomed to the idea, that early on, that their appearance can be constantly changed.
“Someone might come in here to get their lips enhanced, but I will tell them not to, their lips are fine and match the appearance and proportion of the face. Maybe they want a nose job, but the nose is the right size for the face, and instead we can work on the chin to change the proportion,” he says.
“I try to guide people into liking what they have, or to consider having the same results but with a different approach. But in the end, if someone has new confidence after leaving here, then I’ve done my job.”
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.