One writer’s inaugural adventures in Botox, from the procedure to the after-party.
By Allison Young
I’m 35. I just had Botox. I loved it. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.
I’ve been seriously considering getting Botox for awhile — my squint is causing a massive crevice between my brows — but hesitation has been holding me back. There’s the fear. Who likes getting needles? There’s the stigma. What will my au natural friends think of me going under the needle (not to mention my hubby who loves me just the way I am)? And then there’s the aftermath. Will I turn into a vain, face-freezing fake after I get a taste for the fountain of youth? Still, every time I look in the mirror all I can see is the Grand Canyon glaring back at me snickering, Do it! Do it! I finally bite the bullet and booked an appointment at a reputable med spa on the recommendation of AZ Spa Girls. What am I waiting for, anyway? I’m certainly not getting any younger.
The day of reckoning
My first time in a med spa, I half expect an alien-looking receptionist with over-inflated lips. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The front-end manager, Kathy, welcomed me with a warm, natural smile and immediately makes me feel at ease. Curious if she’s dabbled in Botox herself, I can’t help but ask. “Sure,” she says, proud of her crease corrections. She even points out her previous problem areas like she’s showing me vacation snapshots. I’m in awe. Kathy could be my mother, yet her forehead has way fewer peaks and valleys.
Once I finish filling out the paperwork, I’m greeted by Gail, a former intensive care nurse who opened Glow with her physician husband four years ago. Like Kathy, she has an easy demeanor you can’t help but like (and an enviable forehead!). She leads me back to the cozy consultation room and asks if I have any questions. Slightly embarrassed, I voice my biggest concern: ending up with evil arched eyebrows like Kate Gosselin or frozen face like Nicole Kidman. Gail assures me that with her “less is more” approach, this won’t happen. “You can always add, but you can’t take away,” she says. I couldn’t agree more.
Gail also gives me a quick lesson in Botox 101. Here are the highlights: Botox is a purified protein, it blocks the nerve signal that causes the muscles to contract, it has more than 200 medical uses from treating migraines to excessive sweating, it lasts three to six months and it can take two to seven days to take full effect. I’m all about instant gratification, but I’m glad the effects are gradual rather than wham, bam, thank you Mam. This way I get a chance to ease into my new face and my husband won’t mistake me for another woman.
Next up are the “before” photos, a necessary evil to determine exactly what areas are bugging me, how far I want to go and what fits into my budget (Botox goes for $10 a unit and the typical face can take anywhere from 26 to 50 units). This is by far the most painful part of the procedure. Don’t believe me, see for yourself. I know. Ughhhh. That forehead muscle looks like a wild beast ready to attack. But the purpose of the photos isn’t to torture, it’s to teach. You see, Gail has me pose in various expressions so that she knows exactly which animals to cage, namely the vertical line running down the middle of my forehead and the horizontal stripes above it. BTW Botox can also zap crow’s feet, but I decide to pass. Less is more, right.
Without further adieu, I take a seat in the treatment chair. Goodbye Grand Canyon, I say to myself as Gail gently pokes the needle into various points in my forehead. For those of you who are squeamish, it’s not like getting your blood tested; it feels like tiny pricks or pinches, not painful at all. And two minutes later I’m done. “Wow, that was fast,” I say as Gail hands me a mirror. Based on an episode of Real Housewives, I expect the needle points to look like bee stings. Not at all. My forehead is slightly red, something Gail assures me will go away within the hour.
I thank Gail, book an appointment in two weeks for the “after” photos and promise her I’ll practice making faces in the injected areas for the next hour to help the Botox bind. Now all I have to do was wait for the results.
As soon as I wake up, I sprint to the mirror to study my face. The beast is still there, but it looks like it’s sleeping. Definitely decreased. And I’m not sure if my eyes are deceiving me, but my eyebrows looked ever so slightly lifted, in a good way. Things are definitely headed in the right direction.
I meet up with the gals for our weekly volleyball game and figure they’ll to take one look at my forehead and gasp. But no one even bats an eyelash. Could be because I haven’t admitted to going under the needle.
I’m in front of the mirror for my daily forehead inspection and no matter how hard I try I can’t pull my eyebrows together. So long squint! I still have a slight line, but I’ve halted any future folds. And the horizontal lines have practically disappeared. Mission accomplished. So why hasn’t my hubby noticed?
Went out for dinner with friends and almost spilled the Botox beans, but didn’t. For some reason I’m still not ready to come out of the closet.
My forehead doesn’t bug me any more (I hardly even notice or think about it), but that fact that my husband hasn’t said a thing is driving me nuts. So I ask him. “Oh yeah,” he says, focusing in on my forehead. “Looks pretty natural.”
And it does.
I decide I don’t need to scream my secret from the top of Squaw Peak, I can revel in my wrinkle-free forehead all on my own. I did it for myself, after all, and I’m the only person I need to answer to. And heck, if I decide to go back in six months for a touch up, so what? It’ll just be our little secret.