As a person who lived 22 years of her life in New Zealand, a place that’s culturally progressive though cosmetically restricting (a bottle of L’Oreal foundation costs upwards of $30) there are things about living in giant cities that still shock me. Seamless? Down with it. Bodega cats? Saves me a shit ton on vet bills. But Botox at 25? Not since I saw Macaulay Culkin‘s pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band play live in Brooklyn have I had such a geographical awakening.
I’m not stupid, I know people are doing this. I read the stories about the crazy mom who supposedly stuffed her eight-year-old’s face with toxins to prevent wrinkles. I am aware of the culture of celebrity. I’m 26 and use two forms of retinol face cream to stave off wrinkles. One of my beauty editor friends back home got free Restylane at 23 and spent the next four years lamenting not being to afford buying it herself. But while doing my daily scroll-through of Into the Gloss, this Botox post caused me to raise my eyebrows so high it probably erased the effects of an entire tube’s worth of Neutrogena Ageless Intensives.
That Botox is the thing everyone’s doing and no one’s talking about is a fact that’s talked about enough to make up for not talking about doing it. But there’s a difference between reading articles on the dangers of getting Botox too young and reading comments from peers (arguably ones I’ve never met before) that have been up-voted 25 times by 25-year-old advocates of Botox with the disposable income and job stability to not worry about dropping $400 per treatment.
I scrunch up my forehead/brow a lot and started developing lines there when I was young,” the still-young Botox veteran being interviewed tells. “Getting Botox made it physically impossible to scrunch my forehead, which stopped the wrinkles from forming. It also trained me out of the scrunching habit — so even when the Botox wears off, I’m still less likely to frown. I think of it as insurance against future wrinkles.
The idea is intriguing, and at an estimated $15 per unit it’s hard not to think that a small 20 units isn’t completely out of my budget if I postpone the weekend away I was planing to take this summer. But it’s also impossible to ignore all the information about Botox that hasn’t been given by unidentified young people on beauty blogs. Like that it can cause atrophy of the muscles, particularly noticeable around the eyes, where the face can appear inadvertently aged. As one commenter says, “if Nicole Kidman, Kim Kardashian etc, with all their wealth and their connections, can’t pull it off, then the odds are the neither you nor me can.” Ooh, burn.
Cosmetic specialist Darren McKeown also pointed out to the Telegraph that many women don’t grow into their looks until they’re out of their twenties:
When Elizabeth Taylor died in March newspapers were filled with photographs of the Hollywood legend, with editors using pictures of her at each of her eight weddings (almost consistently five years apart), which neatly documented the evolution of her looks.
While Taylor was clearly always a beautiful woman from her teens onwards, arguably her looks did not reach their peak until she was in her mid-thirties. Had Botox been available to Taylor in her early twenties, would she have ever reached that same level of mature beauty for which she will now always be remembered? I suspect probably not.
I don’t give two shits if a woman has cosmetic work done or not. I wear makeup, I dye my hair, I buy expensive face cream, and I’m no stranger to feeling like a mother at events where I’m forced to be surrounded by 16-year-old models. And hell, if I’m ever on the cover of Vogue, please photoshop the fuck out of me. But I’d find it a slightly bizarre if my go-to place for hippie talk, organic makeup, and Sunday food prep tips started dishing out advice on home abortions, and just because Botox is common doesn’t change the fact it’s a poison.
Was anyone else so blissfully unaware that this was a thing? Maybe the thing that scares me is being a gross, deteriorating 29-year-old next to my baby-faced friends. Or maybe I’m just naïve to the hot new trends on the lean, mean, glossy-foreheaded streets of the big city beauty industry. Thank God I didn’t move to Los Angeles.
Let’s just not drag feminism into it…