“You don’t need Botox!” –The sentiment from anyone when I expressed interest in getting Botox in my 30s.
I take my beauty routine pretty seriously. Since the pandemic, I’ve been doing a pretty good job with my skincare regimen. I have more time to commit to it without my daily commute. Still, I am and always will be two things: 1) Curious and 2) Lazy.
Because I’m the human embodiment of the Cheshire cat, it means that I’m willing to try anything, especially if it makes my life easier. So when I stumbled upon the secret to a smooth visage, not once, but twice, I let my curiosity lead me to Botox.
I want your glow, please.
I’ve been curious about Botox since I met my friend (she’ll remain nameless) and couldn’t reconcile her age with the glow of her skin. To be honest, I still don’t know how old she is, and don’t care because she has a kid in college but her skin is always radiant. This means, that at only 32 with an addiction to beauty subscriptions*, I needed to reconsider my strategy if I was also going to glow when my hypothetical kids are in college.
So, I asked. What are you doing that your skin is so dewy? She told me some of her secrets include regular facials and, of course, Botox.
Keeping up with the Kardashians or…?
The Kardashians really ruined parts of the aesthetics industry. Their high visibility to people who aren’t really interested in beauty, skincare, aesthetics, etc., makes them a bullseye. People mistakenly correlate their dislike for a whiney sister with her curated glow-up and photoshop fails. And it’s made people with no stake in the game instantly resent “having work done”. To which I say “pshaw!”
In the same sense, the physically focused conversations inspired by celebrities like Kim K. have also allowed people to stand up to unsolicited opinions. People are allowed to enjoy things! And if Kimmy wants to redistribute her body fat to—um… different assets, who are we to judge?
People are allowed to enjoy things… who are we to judge?
As a result, modifications to our body also benefitted from this collective reminder to “mind ya own…”. Body positivity (and it’s even more nascent friend, neutrality) has become a beautiful concept for people who struggle with body image to embrace, and frankly, I am here for it.
Omg. Is this about body positivity or Botox!?
I’m getting there!
At the end of the day, I still harbored my own institutionalized judgment. And I wasn’t convinced Bo’ was for me until I met my dewy gal-pal.
Recently, however, I noticed some wayward eyebrow action. So I kept an eye (and roaming brow) out for someone who could produce the nearly indiscernible results I desired.
Living in a new city during a pandemic can make finding an injector extra tricky. Luckily, through a BumbleBFF [friend]date, I met a beauty who I simply couldn’t believe was also 32. As I asked for the contact information of the vampire that so kindly preserved her face, she simply smiled and said I needed to see Michelle. Which is how I discovered The Fitz.
Do it for the ‘gram
I researched The Fitz religiously before booking my appointment. I read through the entire website and scrolled every single Instagram post across every account I could find to see examples of their work.
It turned out, Michelle (one of the co-owners) had stunning before and after photos. Plus I discovered she also ‘toxed a mutual friend who also looks like a spokeswoman for the fountain of youth. Seriously, what is it about Chicago where all the women look eternally 22?!
Suffice to say that her roster of bright-eyed and subtlely-enhanced clients spoke for itself. Which meant I could trust her to not make me look “overdone”. I’m happy with my face! I’m not opposed to a little tune-up but I still want to look like myself.
I booked my appointment, filled out the paperwork, and arrived at the chicest little medspa you can imagine. The design of the spa is sophisticated, and the environment is peaceful. There are no tacky posters, there’s a hand sanitizer that doesn’t smell like tequila, and elegant features that tell you attention-to-detail is definitely their thing.
With our masks on, I met with my RN, Michelle, and the NP, Suzie. They made sure to review the medical risks because after all, it is still a medical procedure. This might sound unnecessary, but it’s actually extremely comforting that they don’t take their procedures lightly.
I explained my concerns to Michelle who, while I spoke, analyzed my face (mask still on, of course!). It’s an eerie feeling knowing someone is staring at you when you’re not able to look away, ha. But within seconds of explaining my concerns—which I’ll detail in a moment—I was at ease.
Yin & Yang
I care a lot about my eyebrows. I have dark, relatively full brows and if they’re messy, my whole face feels off. I’ve had them microbladed (checkout Highbrow Studio if you’re interested!). I’ve even had them “laminated” or “lifted” which is a fun way to bring some youth into your face. So you can imagine, when my brows started to ying-yang, I was concerned.
Here’s what my eyebrows had started to do:
When I described (and showed this to) Michelle, not once did I feel foolish. For those not aesthetically inclined, my very random misaligned eyebrow concern is probably 100% frivolous. Even if you are into aesthetics, it may seem frivolous, but instead of laughing at me, she calmly explained how we’d address my rogue caterpillars.
How does Botox work?
Botox is essentially a way to freeze your muscles. It stops you from exercising a muscle that might be creating a definition where you don’t want it. Think of it like working out your core to get abs. You work the core muscles, your abdomen gets defined. You work your face muscles (like your forehead or eyebrows and violà! Definition (albeit undesired)!
…in rushed and untrained hands, you could look like a cheap Joan Rivers.
It’s a neurotoxin and that sounds dangerous. In the right hands, Botox can really be a wonderful chemical that can smooth out brows or even relieve jaw tension. But in rushed and untrained situations, you could look like a cheap Joan Rivers.
While not permanent, you could see results for 3-6 months depending on how your body metabolizes the injections. Which is why it’s important that you find a credible and trustworthy injector!
It’s often recommended that you start Botox early. This is to prevent deep wrinkles that will require more aggressive treatment (potentially including fillers). I got Botox in my 30’s but honestly, I would have probably started in my 20’s if I could have afforded it!
How much does it cost?
The cost can vary depending on where you go, what you’re treating, and who’s doing the treatment.
- Where you go. Remember that small businesses often have to charge more to allow for the boutique experiences that enable a personal touch. And while this may not always be true, you should always review the reputation to make sure that you know what to expect.
Still, while bigger businesses have economy-of-scale on their side which will lower costs, standards and outcomes may vary depending on where you go. Do. Your. Research.
- What you’re treating. Your treatment will vary based on you and your musculature. You may be able to get an estimate through a Zoom consultation but ultimately your provider will need to get a good look at how your specific movement will need to be addressed.
- Who’s doing the treatment. Everyone has to start somewhere! New providers will often get to offer specials or discounts on their rates to help build their experience and their client base. Make sure you research their work beforehand, or that they’re supervised by an experienced injector. Regardless, don’t let time fool you. There are plenty of careless injectors out there so make sure you find someone you can trust!
I’ve seen specials as low as $6/unit, and as high as $12. Ultimately it will depend on the number of units you as an individual will need.
The Fitz did a series on their providers to share how many units they’ve had injected in various areas of their face and I think this was absolutely genius. Peep the posts here: Nusha, Mai, Suzie, Brittony, and Michelle! It’s hard to know for certain how much you’ll need until your visit, but don’t be afraid to get a consultation and ask questions before you take the leap!
How did it feel?
This is the easiest procedure I’ve ever had.
Michelle mapped my brows, had me exercise some movement and talked me through the amount she’d be injecting. Then, she cleaned the area, and away we went.
She said it’d be a few pokes. But I kid you not—this is the easiest procedure I’ve ever had. Botox is easier than getting my eyebrows threaded or lip waxed. And really, neither of those descriptions truly do it justice. It’s practically painless and explains why Botox is legitimately the gateway drug of cosmetic procedures.
I am not afraid of needles. If you’re nervous about something smaller than a small sewing needle, close your eyes, but don’t back out. I think I had about 5 little pokes. I say “about” because it was that fast, and so painless I think I miscounted.
We talked through post-care and how long it’d be before I saw results. Post care is easy, just a little bit of movement, and no rubbing the area for a bit and you’re good to go. And in case you forget in all your post-treatment glee, The Fitz sends you post-care instructions so you can review them later!
At first, my forehead felt heavy. I certainly noticed a difference. Was it because I was very aware of what I had just done? Maybe! Or maybe it was because of the liquid that was just added to my forehead. It’s hard to say. It wasn’t bad, just different.
Then I forgot about it.
It can take between 10-14 days to see full results, and since it was my first time, I didn’t know what to expect. So when day 10 arrived, I was incredibly pleased to note that my brows had finally given up their imbalanced dance!
I set my second appointment for January, but even now (in mid-December), the results are still at 100%. When I frown, I feel a slight resistance, but I don’t feel restricted from emotions. I don’t get an uneven heavy crease anymore, and my eyebrows remain faithfully aligned!
I don’t take a lot of selfies frowning, but to be true to this post, I wanted to show my results at 15 days post-Botox. Fortunately, I have this horrid photo from the Jameson shot we took on my husband’s birthday, and if this literal cringe doesn’t convince you that my brows are here to stay, I don’t know what will!
So what next? Kylie’s lips?
Lol, no. However, I won’t knock the magic of fillers! I’ve seen the magic done by the hands of the Fitz fam up-close, and if a refresh is in order, I’d absolutely put my trust in their ever-capable hands.
As with anything good, however, great results take time. So I’m pacing my glow-up. I’ve started a skincare journey with Courtney from The Fitz to work on my stubborn hyperpigmentation, so there will absolutely be more to come from my experiences at The Fitz!
In the meantime, I’ll be looking ahead to turning 33, and not [visibly] aging a day. And what’s a better birthday gift than that?