I got Botox for the first time recently, after many years of staring in the mirror at my wrinkles.
At 34, I decided it was time to stop talking about it and to just give it a go – you only live once, right?
The truth is, there are lots of great pieces about what Botox is, which I trawled through in the days leading up to my appointment. But IMO, I felt the internet lacked an honest opinion of all the weird things you experience the first time you do it.
Certain side effects I experienced, for example, were not exactly expected – from how it feels during the procedure to what happens immediately after.
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What can I expect at my first Botox appointment?
With that in mind, here are the 5 things I wish I’d known before I got Botox for the first time – all of which may help you if you make the decision to move forward with a Botox appointment (read our beauty editor’s full Botox guide here if you’re still undecided).
1. If you choose to have Botox in three different places, that doesn’t just mean three injections
Botox tends to be injected and priced per area of your face. The most common areas are frown lines, crow’s feet and the forehead. What I hadn’t realised is just how many injections of Botox go into each area. I naively assumed one area meant one injection – but I couldn’t’ have been more wrong!
I chose to get three areas treated, but as I lay back on the practitioner’s chair, I was surprised to feel just how many injections were going into my face. I had approximately ten to fifteen injections in my forehead, six on my frown lines and five to ten around each eye.
Each area requires several units and injections depending on the severity of your wrinkles and the strength of your muscles. On reflection, it makes sense given the intricacies of the movements in your face, but for any fellow needle-phobes, just be aware that it is quite intense.
2. Your eyes will probably feel like they are going to drop
A week after my first appointment, I found myself in a deep state of panic, sensing my Botox had gone very horribly wrong.
I felt as though my eyelids were dropping and that they would continue to do so until my eyes closed – just the chic look I was after!
I wasted a whole day Googling horror stories and asking all my colleagues to stare at my eyes to tell me if they were on their way out. The resounding answer was that they were not; in fact, nobody noticed a difference.
As you begin to lose movement in your forehead, you just start to feel a heaviness across your eyes, which is of course mildly alarming. In reality, it’s a very subtle change that feels much bigger to you than it actually looks and seemed to be a universal side effect amongst my other Botox friends.
A few days later, the feeling totally disappeared.
Whilst a completely dropped eyelid can be a negative side effect of Botox, it is relatively rare and if you see an experienced practitioner, you hugely reduce the risk. If you are unsure, contact your injector after the fact for reassurance and/or a checkup.
3. The rest of your face also feels weird
It’s not just the eyelid situation that slightly freaked me out; over the first two weeks, my whole face just felt rather strange.
My friend who had Botox injected at a similar time described it as a “panic-inducing face squishing feeling.”
Another said: “I had one wrinkle in my hairline and it was so weird. But a few weeks later – gorgeous!”
As for my most modest friend? “My face felt like it was closing in on itself but a week later, I looked like a model,” she announced.
Every expression I was making felt strange to me as I was getting used to moving my face in a different way. It made me feel self-conscious but in a similar way to my eyes, when I asked friends no one could actually notice a thing.
After two weeks everything settled and all those feelings went away, so I cannot stress enough the importance of being patient and giving yourself that period of time before you start to panic! Everything is working and relaxing at slightly different times so to feel the full effect, you need to let it run its course.
4. You might get unexpected extra results
The main area I wanted to zap was my forehead, but the one with the results I adore the most is around the eyes.
I have slightly hooded eyes and the injections administered around my eyes had the effect of slightly lifting them.
I was also bothered by the shape of my under-eye bags when I smiled as they were very uneven but now, they are symmetrical and rounded.
I had no idea Botox would improve this and it has been my favourite (unexpected) thing about the whole experience.
5. Yes, you can get really natural looking results
My main concern with getting Botox was that I didn’t want to look frozen, but I was so pleasantly surprised at how natural the results were.
I still had movement in my forehead and just had lots of compliments from people telling me that I looked really fresh – even on the most savage of hangovers!
In short, after just one appointment, I am a real convert and have been incredibly impressed with the results.
There are lots of clinics to choose from but I can highly recommend Therapie, who have over 65 clinics across the UK. For more information on how to find an injector that works for you, check out this Botox guide.