beauty

Your no-judgement guide to botox.

“Botox me, baby!” says Janet on The Real Housewives of Melbourne.

There’s nothing wrong with getting botox. There, I said it. The beauty procedure, which sees to the disappearing of wrinkles and the lifting and smoothing of lines, involves the injecting of the botulism toxin into certain areas of the face.

You can use all the creams and potions you want, but botox is often the one thing which will truly erase the marks of time from your face (for a brief period anyway).

Related: Two weeks after having rhinoplasty surgery, Roxy Jacenko shows the world her new nose.  

I haven’t tried botox – and I’m not saying that everyone should get it – but I’m definitely open to the procedure in the future. Because we’re not about judging, here at The Glow, I wanted to present you with two voices to help you decide if you want to try it: someone who has it done regularly, and someone who administers it.

The botox administer.

Dr Joesph Hkeik

Dr Joseph Hkeik. Source: allsaintscosmedical.com.au

Dr Joseph Hkeik is the cosmetic physician responsible for the natural-looking botox on the face of Shelly Horton, who is one of Mamamia's senior editors. I sat down with Dr Joseph to get the lowdown on this popular, yet controversial, procedure. He’s been administering botox since 1999.

What happens during a routine botox treatment?

Dr Joseph recommends that a doctor should administer the botox, following a full consultation with the patient. There are certain patients – such as those with muscular problems, like muscular dystrophy - who would not be suitable for botox. Dr Joseph also prefers not to administer botox to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, just because he feels that there hasn’t been enough research into that area.

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This is how your first consultation will go.

If you're keen to get botox, the first consultation will involve the doctor examining your face and listening to your concerns before recommending where they will administer the botox.

After signing a consent form, the patient will lie on the bed, and the doctor will explain the possible side effects. These are: feeling the injection, experiencing slight bruising and redness, headaches, and possible sensations of “heaviness” particularly on the brow.

Kylie Jenner hasn't been shy of injectables. (Post continues after gallery.)

How will the procedure go?

“Once the patient is on the bed, it takes 10 to 15 minutes maximum to complete the procedure,” explains Dr Joseph. He uses an extremely fine needle to administer the botox. To rid a patient of frown lines, for example, Dr Joseph will use approximately five injections between the brows.

The patient will apply some foundation to cover the injection site, and then they are ready to leave.

Are the results instant?

Botox takes about five to seven days to take effect, and no recovery time is needed. Many patients have botox treatments during their lunchtime. The botox lasts 12 to 14 weeks.

Where are common areas to get botox?

Janet and Gamble from The Real Housewives of Melbourne love their botox.

The most common area requested for botox is between the brows, to treat frown lines. Following that, patients request that their “crow’s feet” (the fine lines fanning out from the sides of eyes) are treated. The forehead is also a popular areas, to eradicate the horizontal wrinkles known as “surprise lines”.

How can you achieve a “natural” effect with Botox?

For Dr Joseph, the key is to start with small, conservative doses of botox. Dr Joseph describes this effect as “relaxing” the muscle, rather than freezing it, so that facial expressions are maintained. “If you lose your expression, you lose who you are,” says Dr Joseph. “It’s very important to preserve a person’s character.”

Is there such a thing as “preventative” botox?

You may have heard of using “preventative” botox on young faces, to prevent future wrinkles. Of this, Dr Joseph says, “It’s for specific patients, and specific areas. Each case should be assessed differently.” In fact, he describes himself as “anti” giving botox to patients in their late teens and 20s.

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Related: Does ‘preventative-Botox’ really work?  

For younger patients of those ages, Dr Joseph prefers preventative skin treatments instead. However, he does note that frown lines may require botox. He says, “If people are getting frown lines at 20, it’s not going to be any better by 30.”

Heidi Montag from The Hills famously had 10 surgeries in one day - including botox - at the age of 24, in 2010.

What are some other uses for botox?

Dr Joseph describes himself as an “advanced” administer of botox, as he also uses it to “shape” and “sculpt” the face. An example of this is his use of botox above Shelly Horton’s brows, to create a lifted effect. Dr Joseph can also use botox to shape the eyebrow itself (e.g. to create an arched or straight effect).

Related: ‘Botox bunny lines': the side effect you didn’t realise had a name.  

Botox can be used all over the face, including under the lower lip, on the chin, below the corners of the lips to create a subtle smile, in the lipline to treat “smoker’s lines”, on the “chewing muscle” to slim the face, and even in the neck muscle for a “Nefertiti lift”.

What does it cost?

For the forehead “surprise” lines, a botox treatment can cost between $150 and $200. For the frown line between the brows, it’s $250 to $350. And for the “crow’s feet” around the eyes, a botox treatment will set you back $180 to $350.

The botox user.

Shelly Horton

Mamamia senior editor, Shelly Horton. Source: Supplied.

Shelly Horton always looks bright, cheerful and fresh, and one of her secrets to looking this way is botox. Well, actually, “secret” is the wrong word to use, because Shelly has always been open about her 8-year-long love affair with botox.

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“I love botox and it's the one beauty product I will never give up,” declares Shelly. She has botox every three months, and likens it to having her hair dyed.

Why did you get botox?

Shelly says that she developed a “very, very deep wrinkle” in the shape of a Harry Potter-style lightning bolt (her words!) between her brows.

Related: This moisturiser will give you wrinkles… and we want to bulk-buy it.  

“I’m a very cheery, happy person, but I still had ‘resting bitch face’. I looked cranky when I wasn’t. That didn’t reflect my insides. So, I had the botox for a story, and then after it started to work, all of a sudden, I felt that my insides and outsides matched. Because I’m not a frowny, grumpy person,” explains Shelly.

Where is the botox injected into your face?

Shelly has botox in between her eyebrows, and three injections “on the side of my outer eyebrow” to create a lifting effect, “because I’m 41 now, and I’m feeling like I’m getting a little bit of a hooded eye. It just opens my eye up a little bit.”

Shelly Horton shows off her "lifted" brow. Source: Supplied.

Does it hurt?

“Yeah, of course it hurts! It’s needles into your face!” Shelly reminds me. Ice is usually rubbed on Shelly’s face prior to the injections, and she has been given a stress ball to squeeze. Her dermatologist also gives her a vibrating pen, which she can put on other areas of her face, to distract herself from the pain.

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Related: “The gory beauty treatment that made my face go crazy.”  

For Shelly, the pain is worth it for the results. “I hate needles, but I’m willing to put up with it, because I like what it does to my face.”

How does your face still look “natural”, when you’ve had botox?

Shelly has the most natural-looking botox I’ve ever seen. She can still move her face around and make facial expressions – the only change is that a deep frown line between her brows has been erased, leaving her with a relaxed expression.

To achieve a natural look with botox, Shelly believes it’s important to know what you want.

“I’ve always maintained that I wanted to keep some form of movement in my face,” explains Shelly. Source: Supplied.

Shelly has requested that her doctors only administer small amounts of botox to her face. Facial agility is important to her; she says, “I’ve always maintained that I wanted to keep some form of movement in my face.” She says that her natural look is also due to the fact that she hasn’t had botox injected into her forehead, which she believes can create the “frozen” look which you will recognize from many a Hollywood star.

Have you tried botox? Have you thought about it? Or, is it a "never, no way!" thing for you?