Gritty Pretty Reply All: Botox

Welcome to Gritty Pretty Reply All – an email thread where the Gritty Pretty team discuss a (very important) topic.

Beauty isn’t a one-size-fits-all equation. What works for one woman, might not work for another. That’s why we have a job – as a beauty publication, we’re here to help you, dear reader, sort the must-haves from the maybe-nots, and make informed decisions in the cosmetics aisles of your local department store.

While the beauty industry often gets a bad rap, we also know that there’s a lot of good out there, too. In many neighborhoods, hair salons double as community centers – we swear, hairdressers know everybody’s secrets. And we challenge you to find a woman who hasn’t dropped way too much cash in Mecca after becoming instant best friends with the sales assistant.

We wanted to create a space where we could discuss some of the more hairy beauty topics (pun intended) – plus, the funny and relatable stuff too.

And the best way to start a conversation? Just hit ‘reply all’.

Our first topic: Botox

Hi team, it’s your friend (and colleague) Erin here. Let’s talk about Botox. Whether you’ve had it or not, what is your relationship like with Botox and ageing? Do you believe in this ‘preventative botox’ bizzo?  

I’ll kick things off.

A few years ago, when I was starting out as a Beauty Editor, I really didn’t understand the appeal of Botox. To me, Botox was all frozen foreheads and suspiciously young-looking skin with weird facial expressions. When quizzed about Botox, my standard line was: “You’d be better off spending the money on therapy to learn to like yourself.” (I know, I know, what an asshole).

Fast forward to, ahhh, now and I’ll be honest, I’m starting to change my tune. I had Botox once for a story last year for a story that I was researching. (Hey, I can’t write about a treatment without trialing it first ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). I got it in my forehead because I raise my eyebrows a LOT and there are a few lines forming. I didn’t expect to like the look of it but I really did. Now, I almost wish I didn’t try it. I know too much!!!! Having said that, personally, I’m still on the fence about whether I’ll do it again.

Do you guys have any strong feelings about Botox? It’s such a nuanced topic.

I agree — Botox and injectables in general is a really nuanced topic — I change my mind on the reg about it.

On the one hand, I fully believe that everyone should have the right to do whatever they want to their body without judgement, so long as they are fully informed about the procedure and its consequences. In years past I’ve seen some Botox horror stories, but both formulation and technique have advanced so much in the last decade. Now, it is often so subtle that I’ve been #shooketh when people tell me they’ve had it.

Interesting topic. My relationship with ageing has changed as I have gotten older.

When I was younger, in my 20s to mid-30s, my skin appeared fairly wrinkle-free. People would comment ‘you look younger than you are’ and my thoughts were ‘love the skin you are in’ and ‘no way would I ever have Botox!’

Then came my late 30s and early 40s and yep, my attitude changed. I felt really conflicted with my new thoughts! I was now noticing my wrinkles – and I don’t mean when you laugh or smile or deliberately frown. They were affecting how I saw and felt about myself. As much as I love technology and social media, I think having Instagram on hand 24/7 definitely played a part.

Social media can be hard sometimes. I think it’s important to do a cull every now and again and unfollow any accounts that are no longer serving you. If the content in your feed is affecting your self-esteem, it’s gotta go!

What did you do, Erica?

Well, I started to have conversations about it with people I knew and surprisingly learnt that quite a few of them had been using Botox and for some time. I realise now that injectables have come a long way from the days where it was so over the top that the person looked robotic.

Now being in my early 40’s, my attitude towards ageing and injectables has changed. (Shock horror!) I think everyone should decide what is right for them, there should not be any judgement. You do you.

If you do choose injectables, you should do a lot of research on the clinic and therapist that will be performing the treatment; have a consultation and make sure you feel totally comfortable with what you are going to have

And whilst my attitude is more open, I have also gone back to my younger self’s attitude. Ageing really is a privilege – wrinkles show events, experiences, life. Why is that a bad thing? It should be a celebration that we have lived! That we are living!

I really liked what you said about ageing being a privilege. If you’re not ageing, you’re dead; we’re all so lucky to be here.

Needles in my face? No thank you.

Amen sister! I can confirm that getting needles in your face does, in fact, hurt – and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is lying.

Sorry, just me coming in late hot (as usual)…

When it comes to Botox, I admit it’s a procedure I haven’t had done – not because I don’t want to, but rather because of a needle phobia that started at age 17 following a nasty blood donation experience that left me passing out in an Australian Red Cross van, and would likely cause me to unintentionally karate kick a beauty therapist faster than you can say ‘dewy dumpling’.

Fast forward 14 years and my opinion of Botox is this: your face is yours — and yours alone. Personally, I like my face as it is but like anyone, I have my own insecurities and for me, my gripe is not specifically wrinkles or even a lack of collagen but rather the P word: PIGMENTATION. Bah! Blast!

I consider pigmentation to make skin appear dare I say ‘older’ than wrinkles and deep crow’s feet. I take a lot of time caring for my skin with a healthy diet (including pre- and probiotics) but also topically (my morning and evening skincare routine is my favourite time of day!), however, I also admit I also have Asian genetics on my side, which means I will develop wrinkles later in life than those with Caucasian skin. The downside to being naturally dark-skinned like me is I’m more prone to yep, you guessed it, pesky pigmentation.

From the moment we are born, the ageing process commences. Yep, it sounds morbid but we come into this world, we live (and age) and then we die. Personally, I’ve always thought there is something really beautiful about ageing and I’d love to see society’s perception of ageing (especially when it comes to females ageing) shift because I think there is something really beautiful and attractive about a person’s smile lines (hello Helen Mirren, anyone?). At the end of the day, I’m a huge advocate for every woman not just being comfortable but confident in oneself. It’s the ultimate journey many of us find ourselves on, isn’t it? And, it’s a path that isn’t always easy; often full of all sorts of turns and blind corners to arrive at that destination of ultimate self resolution.

Ultimately, this is how I see it is – if a woman chooses Botox as a beauty treatment, who am I to criticise? It’s not my face and it’s not body. Technology in injectables today has undoubtedly improved over the past 10 years (although governing over who can administer Botox absolutely still requires regulation) and while it’s unlikely Botox is a procedure I’ll personally experience for myself (hey, never say never!), it’s certainly not one I will ever judge women for having. If, by having Botox, a woman feels her skin texture improves and she doesn’t just look fresh but she wakes up feeling fresh too, then all the more power to her!

*Mic drop*

Hi guys, just picking this up now.

I confess I am a user of Botox and have been for a number of years now. Given that I am at the upper end of the team GP demographic, I have no shame in embracing any and all treatments that ensure I continue to put my best face forward.  My family don’t know I’ve been doing it for this long as it’s something that I have always done for myself.

I’ve always looked after myself through exercise and diet and take pride in my appearance so I don’t see why this has to change as you get older. Yes, it’s uncomfortable but it’s only for a very short time and then it’s all over. I would like to point out that whilst I am a big Botox fan, I do draw the line at other treatment options – i.e. filler – as don’t want to get that ‘done’ look.

Sue, can I just say that whoever is doing your Botox deserves a pat on the back because, girlfriend, your face looks fre$h.

In typical ‘me’ fashion, I have a lot of mixed thoughts about it.

While ‘your body, your choice’ is something I fully believe in, I can’t help but notice that the bulk of people who consider Botox are women. I’ll hazard a guess that the men in our lives would never even mildly entertain the thought of getting Botox (hell, my dad still uses a bar of soap to wash his face), yet I’m 25 and it’s already on my radar, in addition to an eight-step beauty regime. It’s expected that men will go grey (it’s even considered attractive) yet it’s assumed that women colour their greys for as long as possible. And I get it — for women, it’s hard to escape the conditioning that we’ve grown up with in, that the younger we look, the more attractive we are. However, it shits me that women have a minefield of decisions to make about ageing that aren’t even on mens’ radars — especially as most women carry the mental load in our households and earn on average 24 percent less than them. Yet, we’re expected to spend much more of our (lower) incomes and our already-stretched time to look as young as we possibly can. Can you tell I have a lot of feelings about this?

I’m picking up on a lot of feelings! You have some really good points on gender. I recently had to explain to my 35-year-old brother (hey Patrick!) how to apply moisturiser. He definitely ain’t considering Botox.

Do you think you’ll get it in the future, Hannah?

I’d say for now that I’m going to focus on preventing sun/environmental damage and ensuring my best skin health with topical skincare, while letting those lines come through — ageing is a privilege that not all people get, after all! But hey, I’m only 25-years-old, who’s to say I won’t change my mind?

In all seriousness, I recently turned 31 and a few new lines have definitely started to show. It’s a little confronting and to be honest I am still coming to terms with it. Why do I suddenly look so tired? All. The Time. When I look in the mirror, I find myself deliberately averting my eyes to another, less dull, more supple part of my face. But I know they are there. Honestly though at the end of the day, I am not sure I entirely care? (Gasp!)

In the last few years, the idea that as I grow older I either have to disguise myself with fillers to remain youthful or else I just give up altogether and let the ravages of time take their toll, has been… stressful. Both seem rather dire, no? I feel like nothing ages a women more than pretending to be young. We are only given one body, why mess with nature?  I just want to look like me.

Yes, I’ll be likely to cry about my crow’s feet but isn’t it time to positively shape our perception of age and encourage a future when we can look forward to growing older?

Wow guys, I feel like we’ve really opened a can of worms here (in a good way)! I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who doesn’t have a stance on Botox, even if that stance is to be fervently against it.

Thanks for sharing!!!

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This was a great discussion - wondering if there's any chance of getting a post on recommended places for botox/cosmedical procedures. My friends and I are in our 30s and 40s and botoc use is common amongst our age group. There are a lot of places offering injectibles currently - but not qll of these are reputable/safe etc. Would be fantastic to have a list of top trained practitioners in Sydney and Melbourne who are trust worthy and deliver natural, high-quality results.

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