restin bitch face cartoon

We have all seen the look.  The woman or man who sits there viewing you with disdain or even contempt.  You feel socially uncomfortable and, of course, you don’t warm to them.  If this is in the context of a first date it pushes away the chances of a second encounter or in a business situation it might push you towards a competitor. This is the Resting Bitch Face Syndrome, here’s what its all about.

Yet, this person might not feel any animosity towards you and what you are perceiving as disdain might just be a case of RBF (resting bitch face).  Now we know that whilst cosmetic surgeons sometimes create problems that are looking for solutions, the RBF might actually be a facial disability that a skilled surgeon can correct and that will make you more loveable and approachable.  

Some people’s mouths naturally raise on one side when they are resting, causing them to look contemptuous even though they’re feeling neutral. This can cause lots of problems since people subconsciously have negative reactions to expressions of contempt because it is the universal facial expression for hatred and arrogance. Ageing can also cause extra wrinkling on the brow which can made the face seems scowling or unfriendly.

Meet the Kardashians

Like many new trends there is some suggestion that RBF awareness is ‘Kardashian’ influenced. 

“This is actually a common request from patients — I get several each week,” says Dr. David Shafer, a double board-certified plastic surgeon and medical director of Shafer Plastic Surgery & Laser Center in Midtown.

It’s because of a public shift in focus from the upper to lower face — “popularized by the Kardashians, and their affinity for lip injections” says Dr David Schafer in a recent NYT interview.

He says selfies are also a factor: They force people to “look down at their phone, [which] accentuates the resting bitch face.”

Here’s the RBF Science Bit ..

Jason Rogers, a behavioural neuroscientist ran neutral pictures of celebrity faces through a face-scanning software to discover the differences between those who have resting bitch face and those who don’t. He found that a typical neutral face will only register approximately 3% of hidden emotions. So, their faces do in fact look neutral. People with resting bitch face however show an average of 6% underlying emotions and most of that is contempt. Full contempt is shown when one side of the mouth is slightly raised. 

RBF star
Kristen Stewart is seen as the ‘poster girl for RBF

People are not generally looking for a ‘Joker smile’ but rather a subtle adjustment to their resting face. To achieve the look, doctors use techniques such as the injection of fillers into the face and sometimes Botox, medical experts said. The procedure takes about 10 to 20 minutes, costs between $500-5,000, with top docs, depending on the number of shots. It typically lasts up to two years. A tiny bit of bruising and swelling can occur near the mouth and lips, but “it’s barely noticeable,

Botox or Dysport can wipe out the vertical lines between the forehead. This area is called the glabella. A major contributor to the appearance of Resting bitch face can be attributed to the permanent scowl created from these frown lines. If you have etched lines in the glabella, even at rest, then Botox or Dsyport can help improve RBF.

Do You Have RBF?

If you want a bit of fun you can use an tool to check if you suffer from RBF. There is an RBF test tool available so you can measure your own contempt rating. If you do score high on this tool we suggest that you contact one of the specialised surgeons listed below who will make sure that you project a carefully honed celebrity image to the world.   If you do contact any of these specialists please mention you found them through us rather than from your highly paid publicist. 

RBF Menu of Procedures

Here is a summary of recommended surgeries for ‘expression management’.  Anyway it will provide a basic roadmap for you and your chosen surgeon.

(NB before you go ahead check this Buzzfeed list of reasons to keep your Resting Bitch Face or Bro face).

Lips: Filler or fat injections to restore fullness and soften scowl lines/folds around the mouth or lips – look friendlier, happier.

Eyelids: Botox can make the eyes look more open and rested. An eyelid lift for the upper eyelids or chemical peel or laser for the lower eyelids is the more advanced version.

Nose: Rhinoplasty to feminize the nose.

Brows: Proper aesthetic brow waxing/shaping, or Botox to lift, better shape, better arch the brows or a browlift procedure – all  for a more open, awake and less stressed look

Forehead : Botox works best for smoothing out these classic frown lines.


Please note, this article is just to let you know what RBF is all about.  We are not recommending that women (even celebrities) should be considering expression management surgery.  Every surgical procedure entails a certain degree of risk.


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    • Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue New York USA (approved)
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