Midlife and cosmetics: the Botox dilemma (part 2)

Remember this post where I admitted my struggle to shape my eyebrows since my teen years? I left a little cliffhanger at the end, where my beautician Eva uttered a single word. πŸ˜›

Here are the final few paragraphs of that post, and the continuation of what happened next.

One day well into my late 40s, I asked Eva what she can recommend to hide some irksome wrinkles between my brows. Was there a type of make-up I could use that would minimize this self-perceived flaw that had bothered me for as long as I had been plucking my own eyebrows? That’s a lot of years of constant zooming in on that one point in my face. The wrinkles resembled a scar (I don’t even know if it is a scar, or if it is, how I got it) and I became increasingly self-conscious about it as I aged.

In fact, this scar/wrinkle was, at one time, the reason I desired bangs. (Never ever again.)

Eva had me lie back on her table and inspected my upper face under a bright light with a magnifying mirror.

Then, she said one word:

“Botox”.

Well, we all knew she was going to say this, didn’t we. πŸ˜‰

I wasn’t surprised although I did expect a more elaborate response. She was a beautician, couldn’t she tell me more about lotions, fillers, make-up?

Looking back, this is where my fascination about cosmetic alterations began.

As I illustrated in the first part of this story, I was in my late 40 at the time. As I type this today, I’m 53. I’ve been coming across the Botox option and its relatives several times in the past few years, but never really gave it more than a passing thought.

But it’s a preoccupation, isn’t it. Every time I see someone very obviously cosmetically altered, I wonder immediately what their reasons behind it are. It may seem obvious, on the surface:

  1. the desire to fight age
  2. the perception women are more attractive and therefore more desirable to men
  3. to diminish unsightly scars

There’s a woman on a local news network who is around 60 but looks much younger. I mentioned this out to my mom one time when we watched the evening news together.

“Her whole face seems altered,” I said. “She’s much older than she looks.”

I went on to point out how smooth her skin looked, how flat and unmoving her forehead appeared, how there were almost no wrinkles. She obviously has a professional make-up team who prepares her before filming as well. To me, it looks unnatural, but simultaneously, I can appreciate her desire to look a certain way; she’s a local celebrity and recognized by many people in this city, and has an audience and fans.

The most fascinating part for me is the stoic, frozen appearance of her face when she talks or smiles. Literally almost no part of her face moves.

This is the mental image that popped into my head when Eva mentioned Botox.

There’s another thought that percolated through my brain: the cost for cosmetic treatments.

Cosmetic alterations, injections and surgeries are expensive. The average woman in my orbit not only can’t afford it, nor would she choose to. Instead, copious amounts of cash is fed into the cosmetic industry into products which promise to diminish, even hide or reduce altogether, wrinkles, laugh lines, crows feet among others. Which is, when you add it all up at the end of the year, probably just as costly, if not more so.

(I have a freshly emerged from lockdown teenaged girl, let’s not talk about the amount of makeup she plays with. πŸ™„πŸ˜³πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜)

After Eva dropped the Botox word, I left and didn’t give it much thought over the next few years. I had no extra disposable income to consider such frivolity anyway, and I wasn’t particularly interested in marketing myself to others. At the time I was a stay at home mom with kids in competitive sports requiring a lot of bundling up (I spent/spend a lot of time in cold rinks); cosmetics in general didn’t really play a very big part in my life. I’m a less is more kinda gal: foundation, maybe powder, eyeliner and mascara. And Shea butter as moisturizer.

But that pesky wrinkle/scar between my brows continued to disturb me. What’s more, Eva moved away and I was unsuccessful in replacing her talents elsewhere. The two other salons I went to didn’t do a very good job, so I bought a better tweezer and some depilatory creams and shaped my brows in front of the bathroom mirror myself.

The scar however continued to mock me.

To be continued…part 3

17 thoughts on “Midlife and cosmetics: the Botox dilemma (part 2)

  1. I had Botox once as is supposedly helps with migraines and my doctor told me about a study and mentioned that the NHS in Britain funds it for people with a history of migraines. So, let me tell you my firsthand once-only experience. It hurt a lot. It cost a lot (at least a couple of hundred dollars for 10 minutes’ worth of pain and about 3 months’ benefit, and this was maybe 5 years ago). It did not help my headaches in any way. It froze me forehead in the way that you describe, so that no matter how much you try, you can’t frown or raise your eyebrows. It DID help diminish the frown lines I too hate (mainly from squinting into the bright Aussie sun without sunglasses I think). None of this was enough for me to go back for seconds though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hola. I have used it for years to get rid of wrinkles around my eyes…In small amounts, but that didn’t prevent some mishaps, like one Christmas years ago, when a drop infiltrated my eyelid and I couldn’t open my left eye properly for weeks. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Doctors suggested botox for me as a way to relax some of the knots in my shoulders. I never got the injections, insurance wouldn’t pay for them.

    Isn’t it funny how when we have a perceived flaw, that’s all we see when we look at our reflection. No one else notices, but we can’t see anything except the “flaw”.
    I was very focused on my freckles as a teen. I hated them, wanted them gone. I bought “liver spot” creams, wore tons of foundation…πŸ™„ Now I don’t even see them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I doubt any insurance would pay for Botox no matter what medical issue it solves but don’t quote me on that. I don’t know.

      I can see the benefit of relaxing knots in muscles. Botox’s primary function is freezing the area to prevent muscle movement, just as Ashley described (frowning).

      Thank you for sharing, Angie. Until I started this topic I didn’t know the many uses Botox had in the medical community.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. See, I find this incredibly illuminating. A friend of mine mentioned some people get Botox to treat excessive sweating.

      Most people I’m aware of consider Botox to reduce the appearance of lines on their faces. Some of them got hooked and turned into a Barbie… Many who keep it manageable enjoy a sudden influx of confidence they didn’t know they had.

      So yes, on the surface, Botox seems a quickie solution for the rich and vain, yet when you investigate a little, some interesting tidbits appear…

      Thank you for sharing, Ashley.

      Liked by 1 person

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