Needles are the new lipstick.


Needles are the new lipstick. Yes, while you were sleeping, female standards of beauty have once again shifted beneath your feet. Or rather, your face.  Somehow in the past few years, injectibles have become as common as cosmetics and it’s messing with my mind. Possibly yours too, even if you don’t realise it.

It’s not just Botox. Paralysing facial muscles with botulism is no longer enough. Now you must also inject fat “fillers” into lines, wrinkles and any bastard area on your face that dares lose its youthful plumpness. Even if you’re only in your thirties. Or twenties.

For some women, fat reconfiguration is virtually a fulltime job. If they’re not trying to strip it off their body, they’re sticking it into their face.

But here’s the worrying bit: if so many women are getting regularly jabbed but so few admitting it, how can we trust what we see on the red carpet? Or in real life?

It’s fairly easy to spot a woman who colours her hair and it’s a rare one who denies it. Most of us trade details of our colourists as enthusiastically as our nannas traded recipes. “You MUST go see Roz,” we gush. “She’s brilliant with blondes.” Sharing is caring. And deception is redundant. Who CARES if I colour my hair?

But there’s a conspicuous cone of silence over Botox and fillers. The vast majority of women won’t admit to having their face injected. Not to their friends. Not to their partners. And certainly not when they’re famous.

In fact, most women, if asked directly, will not only fail to acknowledge the role of needles in their beauty routine, they’ll actively deny it.

Courtney Cox admitted to using Botox but “very sparingly” compared to most.

So why have so many celebrities suddenly begun to confess? Not to fillers – not yet –  but to Botox. Jennifer Aniston, Dannii Minogue, Sophie Monk, Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford and Courtney Cox are just some who recently admitted to having botox. Co-incidentally, most of them insist they’re not doing it any more. And remarkably, most swear they only “tried it once” and didn’t like it. Ahem. Once?  A week?


Sorry, that was mean. But frankly, the lying is getting tired. We all have eyes and the signs of injectibles are becoming more recognisable as they become more ubiquitous and overdone. Stick whatever you like wherever you like it but please stop pretending you look that way because you drink lots of water. It’s insulting to the rest of us who try the water thing and find nothing changes except the amount of time we’re on the loo.

Of course, it’s not always water. Sometimes it’s “macrobiotic food” or “yoga” or my personal fave, “fresh air and laughter”. All fabulous but not an accurate description of your beauty routine if you’re also using injectibles.

Some of this comes down to semantics and your definition of cosmetic surgery. I’ve noticed that all the women who do have Botox and fillers define surgery as something involving a scalpel. How do you define it? Must surgery involve cutting? An anaesthetic? My litmus test has always been blood. Is there blood? Does something puncture your face? Then I consider it surgery. Or at least a cosmetic ‘procedure’.

Celebrities who squirm animatedly when asked about surgery and insist they would never cut their face often omit the fact their faces are pumped full of fillers.

Sophie Monk, before & after

This is problematic. Not because every woman is not entitled to her privacy. I believe she is. And this is where my argument falls down a bit, admittedly. Even in my own head.

It’s just……well, what about the sisterhood? What disservice are you doing to other women when you lie about your life – pretending you don’t exercise or that you don’t have help with your kids or that you baked that store-bought cake from scratch or that fresh air is your beauty secret?


It’s a bit like celebrities who gush about their ‘miracle’ pregnancy at 48 when (in most cases) the only miracle is that so many people believe them. Obstetricians offices are full of anguished couples who had no IDEA it would be so hard to fall pregnant in their forties. “But Geena Davis had miracle twins at 49!” they insist. Sure she did.

Yeah, I know lying about your face isn’t as serious but it is crap for women’s self esteem which does it tough enough thanks to retouching gone mad.

But wait. I’m not writing this column from on top of a soap box. Maybe a shoe box. Or a matchbox. It’s not my wish to demonise anyone for doing anything to their face.  I know dozens of women who’ve used injectibles, I certainly think no less of them and one day I may even go there myself. It doesn’t make you a bad person, just a human one who’d like to see something different in the mirror.

I just worry that the line between natural and surgical is slowly being erased by a syringe. As Sophie Monk told Who magazine this month, “I get (Botox) around my eyes and my forehead. Everyone in LA gets it so it becomes very normal.” Is that the world we want to live in?

So. Just to recap. This is in no way a diatribe against individuals who choose to inject their faces with filler or Botox. What concerns me is the changing, not altogether honest standard of beauty. What’s ‘normal’ is changing. And now it seems to be including syringes.

What do you think? Have you used injectibles? Might you one day? How do we balance an individual celebrity’s right to privacy with the recalibration of female beauty?