"I've been getting Botox for 10 years. Here's what I tell people when they ask me about it."

This wonderful nugget of beauty wisdom comes courtesy of Mamamia’s shiny new beauty podcast, You BeautyTo ensure you never miss an episode, subscribe to You Beauty here. It’s a blast.

Mamamia’s executive editor Leigh Campbell’s been a beauty journalist and editor for 15 years.

For 10 of those, she’s also been getting Botox. Not religiously – her relationship with wrinkle reducer injectables has been more on and off than monogamous – but enough to know what she’s talking about.

Leigh gets asked about Botox and cosmetic injectables a lot. Over the years, she’s not only picked up knowledge from experts, but learnt some Botox lessons the hard way (i.e. freezing her face).

Here’s what Leigh tells people when they ask her these common questions about Botox.

Side note – Mamamia and the You Beauty podcast are no judgement zones. Botox isn’t for everyone, neither are fillers, but we believe you can do whatever you want with your face. Our job is to provide you with the best information.

What is Botox?

The first thing to know about Botox is that’s a brand name, and just one of many brands of wrinkle reducers on the market.

“Botox is a brand name, it’s a type of wrinkle reducer, there are others on the market… it’s a bit like saying Kleenex instead of tissues,” Leigh explained to co-host Kelly McCarren on Mamamia’s You Beauty podcast. (You can get the full episode in your ears below.)

“Botox is basically a bacteria (botulinum toxin) that blocks nerve activity and paralyses all your muscles. There are 140 strains of the bacteria, and one strain is so potent, it’s under lock and key with the federal reserve because 50mg of Botox would kill the entire planet. What you’re using in your face is diluted, but you’re using the tiniest, tiniest amount.


“There are lots of different brands out there – a common one is Dysport – which is why it’s hard to talk about it in general. You need to understand what [your injector] is using because that will vary how much it will cost, how many units you need.”

How much Botox do you need?

How much Botox or Dysport you’ll need depends on where in your face you’re looking to inject.

“Generally for Dysport, you need two or three times the amount of Botox,” Leigh said.

“For example, if you’re getting it between the eyes, the frown lines they call the 11s, you’ll generally need 11 or 12 units of Botox to treat those muscles in there. If you’re using Dysport, you’ll need around 40 units, so it’s not apples for apples.”

How much does Botox cost?

Leigh said you can expect to pay around $12-20 per unit of Botox, and you’ll pay anywhere between $3-7 per unit of Dysport.

“Dysport is much cheaper but you’ll need a lot more. There are no set rules, there is no recommended retail price, so the cost depends where you go.”

“Botox is not the kind of thing you want to save a couple of hundred bucks on. Getting Botox between the eyes should only cost you around $200-300, so save your money elsewhere. Go to a really reputable place with a qualified doctor or nurse.”

How long does botox last for?

“Botox lasts around 12-14 weeks, Dysport is slightly less, 10-12 weeks. This is very dependant on your metabolism,” Leigh said.


“If they say don’t exercise for 24 hours, they really mean it because it takes 24 hours for the cell they’ve injected to lock onto the muscle nerve junction, so if you go to hot yoga right after you’ve had Botox, you’re basically washing it away.”

She also explained Botox takes a week to kick in, so don’t wake up the next morning and expect it to have kicked in.

Does getting botox hurt?

This is completely dependant on your own pain threshold and perception.


Leigh doesn’t think it hurts more than a blood test, however Kelly feels like it hurts more depending on what time of the month she had it administered. (Hot tip: Don’t go while you’re on your period.)

Whether or not it stings depends on what your injector has diluted the Botox or Dysport with.

“There’s a general solution that [injectors] dilute Botox with – if it’s a good quality solution, you’ll get no sting, if it’s they use a more affordable solution, it will sting more,” Leigh said.

How much Botox should I get?

Everyone’s needs will be different, and it really comes down to where you’re going to get it done and who will be injecting.

“I often get asked if it’s better to see a doctor or a nurse, but I don’t think it’s about that, it’s about how long they’ve been injecting. Go to a reputable place,” Leigh said.

“You really don’t want that frozen look, that’s not what Botox and wrinkle reducers are for. If you get that, they’ve used way too much. Ideally you just want to reduce the look of the lines.

“I’ve been going to my doctor for 10 years, Dr Jeremy Cumpston, he would never freeze me, he just lessens the lines. Botox is also accumulative because what’s actually happening is, they muscles are experiencing less movement, so what should happen is you’ll need less Botox over time because the muscles aren’t moving as much.”

Leigh emphasised how much Botox you want to get and the look you’re after is a completely personal choice, however, she’s learnt the hard way that less is more.


You Beauty Cheat Sheet

Other questions Leigh and Kelly answered, as well as their ‘spendys’ and ‘saveys’ (and where you can buy them).

“Is it OK to shave your toes, or will the hair grow back thicker or darker?”

  • Firstly, we’ve all asked ourselves this before, no?
  • Leigh said one of the biggest myths out there is that shaving will make hair grow back thicker and darker… it’s a complete lie. Phew.
  • Think about shaving like cutting off the hair at the surface of the skin – nothing you do on the surface of the skin can affect the bulb of the hair at the root of the follicle.
  • The reason the hairs might feel thicker is because they have a blunt end from being cut, rather than a wispy end.
  • If you’re still not convinced, Leigh said she shaves almost everywhere, arms included.
  • Alternatively, you could get laser hair removal or try waxing for longer lasting results.

Leigh’s Spendy: Beaute Pacifique Clinical Super 3 Booster, $104.

Why she loves it:

  • Leigh uses this most nights – only catch, it isn’t available online, you have to get it from a salon.
  • It’s a retinol and vitamin A product you can’t really go wrong with.
  • Some products with active ingredients can leave your skin flakey and peeling if you go overboard, but this one is unstuffupable.
  • Pop one layer on at night after cleansing with nothing on top, four nights a week and you’ll wake up glowy.
  • No flaking or peeling, it’s marketed as being 100 per cent pregnancy safe but check with your obstetrician first.
  • It’s expensive, but some retinol and vitamin A products are $200-300.
  • Tip: Leigh uses it on her décolletage too.

Kelly’s Spendy: Zoeva makeup brushes, between $79 – 250.

Image: Sephora.

Why she loves them:

  • They're the makeup brushes Kelly reaches for over other brushes all the time.
  • She loves them so much, she washes them more delicately than she washes her cats.
  • They're so soft, but still pack on pigment... there's not one Zoeva brush Kelly's found that she doesn't like.
  • You can get all sorts of different kits depending on your budget and what you need.
  • Leigh loves the Bon Voyage Set ($75) for travel and the 312 Detail Liner brush ($15).
  • Kelly is obsessed with the 104 Buffer Brush ($32).

Leigh's Savey: Pure Bronze Pure Bronze Gradual Tan SPF 15, $17.95.

Image: Myer.

Why she loves it:

  • It's not free, but under $20 for a really great product is a bargain.
  • Has added SPF 15 for if you want to use it as a moisturiser (has a good glow for a gradual tanner, so perhaps not for everyday use).
  • It does have that fake tan smell but only really a bit, feels super nourishing, not drying.
  • Leigh puts it on at night if she wants to look nice the next day.
  • Great gradual tan for lazy girls because it's much more forgiving of mistakes than a full-on fake tan.

Kelly's Savey: B. Tan Tanned AF Self Tan Mousse, $14.99.

Image: b.tan.

Why she loves it:

  • Kelly said she was, indeed, tanned AF.
  • It's the best formula she's ever used hands down - nourishing, glided on with the feel of a lotion in a foam.
  • Smooth and beautiful consistency, no streaks or patches.
  • It's a rapid tan, but Kelly wore it to bed and loved the results.
  • Cost effective for a big bottle.

Until next week, stay lovely.

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