Real Talk: Botox In Your Twenties


As a sequel to our Guide to Getting Good Botox, we've asked a veteran Botoxer to answer questions on the clearly controversial topic of getting Botox in your twenties. How young is too young? How often should you get it? What does it cost? And so on...

How do I know if I need Botox?
Nobody needs Botox and nobody should feel pressured to get it. If you are the kind of person who frowns a lot or wrinkles your nose or consistently makes facial expressions that cause wrinkles, Botox can help eliminate those lines (or stop them before they form).

When did you start getting Botox?
When I turned 25.

Why would anyone get Botox so young?
As a preventive measure. I scrunch up my forehead/brow a lot and started developing lines there when I was young. 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.

How often do you get it?
Three times yearly.

How much does it cost?
Depends. You need to do research and call around, because you can pay anywhere from $300 to $700 for the exact same thing at different places. And you can bargain with a lot of places. Most places charge by the “unit," so you might pay $15 per unit and get 30 units of Botox, which would cost $450. Some places sell units for $10 each. At other places, it goes much higher.

How many units do you use?
What it says above–30 units, $15 per unit. I used to get 25 units, but now I’m old.

How long does the process take?
15 minutes total, but only around five for the injections. First they wipe alcohol on your forehead (or wherever you’re getting injections). Then they usually ask you to make a few facial expressions. Sometimes they make markings on your face with a pen. (Which they wash off after the injections.)

Does it hurt?
Again, depends on the person administering it, but it’s pretty easy. A single injection feels like somebody is pinching your skin with a pair of tweezers for 1 second. Multiply that by the number of injections you’re getting and you have a good idea. (I get 6-12 injections at a time, depending on the person doing it). The area may be sensitive for a day or two after you get injected.

Does it kick in immediately?
No. It usually takes 2-4 days for the Botox to “take”. The first time you get it, you’ll probably be worried that it’s not working. But just wait another day or two and it will kick in. Sometimes it can take a full week to kick in.

How long does it last?
Three months or longer. It wears off gradually.

What should I bring with me to an appointment?
Sunglasses or a loose beanie, depending on where you’re getting injected. If you get forehead Botox, your forehead will look like its been stung by wasps. That lasts 1-3 hours. You don’t want to cover your forehead with anything tight or constricting, but a soft beanie is fine and will save you from getting stares on the way home.

Will I get bruises?
If you do, the bruising will be light and barely noticeable. I usually have a couple of ultra-faint bruises that can be covered with a thin foundation. They disappear after a day or two. If you’re worried, it's best to get Botox on a Friday so you don’t have to deal with going to work the next day. A lot of clinics will tell you that you can get Botox on your lunch break and head back to work immediately, but I would never do that. I always schedule it at the end of the day.

How do I find a good one?
Like any body-related procedure, referrals are best. However, I originally got referred to someone who was far too expensive, so I had to call around until I found one that was cheaper but not sketchy. Never go to a sketchy Botox place. (There are tons of them.) "Sketchiness" is a kind of instinctive feeling and hard to explain, but at the very least a clinic should be spotlessly clean, friendly/polite, and punctual with your appointment. If it feels like a factory with tons of people going in and out, find somewhere else. And do your diligence on Yelp or by Googling around.

Do I need a consultation first?
You don't necessarily need to make a separate appointment for consultation. I didn't—my clinic didn't even suggest it— but then again, I knew for sure that I wanted to get Botox. If you're not sure, schedule a consultation. If the clinic won't accept consultation appointments, find a different clinic.

Will people notice that I look different after I get Botox? Do I have to tell my friends?
No and no. You won't look conspicuously different; you’ll just look slightly better. The only exception is if you go way overboard. Too much Botox is obvious if instead of looking relaxed, the skin looks stretched painfully tight.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • colleenwelsch

    ...I definitely kind of want Botox now

  • Juliet

    Look into Botox and insomnia and anxiety (Google it) before you do anything. I wish I had. Suffering insomnia for a month now. It is NOT WORTH IT.

    • mel

      Wow, I'm really intrigued. Hopefully it gets better

    • Alex h

      I get 32 injections in my face head neck and shoulders for migraines. I am prone to both insomnia and anxiety. I don't think botox was your problem.

      • Atbwin

        I go to my dentist every three months for Botox for bad TMJ (jaw joint) bruxism issues and tension headaches and sinus headaches and migraines and I ALSO have injections into my scalp and neck and back (last time was like 2.5 vials of it!) I'm given Nitrous Oxide to breathe throughout the appointment and I have no idea how many I get it varies every time but it hurts like hell!

        The only facially visible spots are my hairline, a few around each jaw joint, down the sides of my neck (also the back of my neck) and most noticible are the few between my eyebrows (because although I carry my tension at or around my temples and in my jaw (clenching it when tense or stressed) the first time I received Botox I had to go back about five days later to get it between my brows because my tension started to all go there instead!)) Especially, the injections to the scalp ahhhh!

        Worth it for the pain relief it offers though! I would do it cosmetically too if I didn't already get it as treatment for chronic pain.

        I was told that 25 is the age women should go get Botox as a PREVENTIVE measure but I didn't go for it until my jaw got so bad I needed painkillers for it. My former dentist suggested it but didn't know how to administer it so I looked into dentists who specialized in it. Have been getting it 4 times yearly for 2.5 years.

        I actually go in tomorrow after waiting 4.5 months so it is working as a treatment to atrophy the muscles causing me pain which is the point of it since Botox paralyzes them and extended use would cause them to weaken. So if anyone else has bad TMJ or headaches or neck/back pain look into a dentist for it.

  • Laura Mitchell

    I'm 25 and have my second appt tomorrow! I get the smallest amount possible in my forehead. Last time I spent $140. It's not obvious... just makes you look a year or two younger. I like to say I look 21 again.

    • Teckie

      I did the same thing when I turned 29 this year. I went out to dinner right after having it done. I never even experienced anything resembling "wasp stings" and my husband still has no clue I got it. Granted, he's a man. But still. Do your research, remember "all things in moderation" - and if it's worth it to you, go for it.

  • KV

    My understanding, based on conversations with cosmetic doctors, is to only start once wrinkles have formed. According to them, getting Botox solely as a preventative measure can actually cause more harm than good, since the muscles begin to atrophy, which can speed up sagging. You're trading one sign of aging for another.

    • heather adair

      THIS. my mother went through about 6 years of regular 'Tox to counteract the effects of a neuro condition that caused uncontrollable facial twitches. Caused MAJOR atrophy of the muscles around her mouth and eyes -- if the muscles are paralyzed (even temporarily) over an extended period of time, you lose control of those lil guys. They decay. You end up with asymmetrical drooping and loss of autonomous control. Having seen what she went through, I'd be *EXCEPTIONALLY CAUTIOUS* about using on Botox on a preventive basis.

    • therealblonde

      After overindulging in botox for a few years, a friend of mine has developed a DENT between her eyebrows due to muscle atrophy. It's really a good idea to wait for a couple of months and get a little muscle action in between botox appointments.

  • The Beauty Inbox

    Botox at 25!! *Wrinkles brow in confusion* I was thinking I would THINK about it at 40 and maybe have another think a few years after that...

    • Tary

      YES! I tought everyone on the coments would be going like "WHAT? Botox in your twenties? Not making facial expressions so you won't get wrinkles? WTF?"
      But, then, everyone is like "yeah, I get that too once every few months".

      • The Beauty Inbox

        Embrace those lines peeps! (I'm clearly in denial)

    • Crystal

      It depends on the person. Some people wrinkles between their eyebrows as early as highschool. The first time I went in the clinic to inquire about botox, the lady asked my age. I was old enough to have it done, but she said I shouldn't have it done. Naively, I let someone her dictate my life, and allowed her to turn me away. I was self-conscious about my frown lines and wanted them gone, but I figured the doctor would say or think the same thing. So, I allowed her to turn me away when it was what I really wanted and would have made me happy. I guess I was easily bullied! I never saw the doctor. He might have had a different opinion, despite my age, 21 maybe, at the time. The second time, I actually saw the doctor & had it done, but the doctor didn't administer the right dose, so I thought botox didn't work for me. A couple of years later, I tried botox again, at age 27. It works perfectly. I hated my frown lines between my brows. It's crazy what people say. Other people's opinions about botox are judgemental. They probably can't afford to pay to get it done, so they hate on me. They say you are "addicted" when you "only" get that one frown area between your eyebrows done. --- Now that I think about it, if I had been getting it since 21, instead of 27, that would have been a lot of money. It's $150-$250 every 3 months. Maybe I shouldn't hold such a grudge against that lady. It's still my money, though!

  • Dana

    Throwing this out there--I have hereditary dark, dark circles, combined with deeper set eyes, and I heard fillers are good for plumping up that area and making the circles less noticeable, anyone know about that?

    • Sam

      A friend of mine had this done (she's 25) and I know that it helped her quite a bit. It's worth looking into.

      • Dana

        Thanks, Sam.

    • Anna

      Yes and no, apparently! I read this interview with this Indian girl who had fillers for her dark circles (it's a common Indian / South American / general Latina concern) and she said that while fillers made her look slightly more well rested, what really helped was this treatment where they put CO2 into your circles through needles! Anyone else tried this? Here's a link to the piece if you want to read it:

      • Dana

        So interesting, thanks for the link!

  • billyidol929

    I am turning 28 next month and already went for a consultation with my plastic surgeon for botox and a little filler under the eyes. I can't wait!

  • Jenny

    It's funny ITG - you talk about feminism and that sort of 'Intellectual Stuff' and then you turn into apologists for the sort of internalised misogyny which demands women turn into this ageless simulacrums of an absolutely ridiculous aesthetic paradigm.

    And oh - women who get Botox don't necessarily look younger or like they are 18/21 whatever. They just look like women who've gotten Botox. You're not fooling anyone. 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.

    Just so that ITG doesn't turn into an echo chamber, here are some articles people would do well to read, just to get a different perspective on Botox:




    • swoonbaby

      Agreed. Anything on this interview beyond the opening "Nobody needs Botox" is irrelevant.

    • totallyagree

      THIS. I would simply never get botox. I'm from a specific area in Seoul, South Korea (ever heard of gangnam?) where getting "preventative" botox in your twenties was quite common and considered normal until recently, when people started notices that the city was being filled with really scary looking women walking around with the same SCARY looking face. Now people are starting to go to clinics to UNDO injections, although I'm not sure how that is done. There are so many side effects that I see and these people are NOT getting cheap botox because the doctors here have a reputation of being the best in Asia and most of the people who live here a rolling in cash... (people come from all over Asia to see our plastic surgeons)

      NOt only is it damaging to promote this idea that wrinkles must be prevented at all costs but I feel like there isn't enough information our there about the side effects. NO ONE I know who has had jawline botox (botox that is supposed to shrink your jaw by paralyzing the muscles that DEVELOP your jaws) looks normal. They have completely asymmetrical faces. It also seems as though botox is addictive... There are so many things to consider and while I understand that a little injection here and there is probably harmless, there are most definitely dangers to consider.

      On a side note, WHO CARES ABOUT A FEW WRINKLES HERE AND THERE?? I'd rather have some laugh lines, I would rather walk in the sun and go to the beach, I'd rather have a forehead that moves. I'd rather have BETTER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT AND DO.

      But that's just me.

      • Charlotte – CURATOR OF SOKO GL

        i also heard that people who get jawline botox cannot chew properly because their muscles that assist with chewing are paralyzed. scary!

        • ddg

          Actually I got jawline botox, im perfectly fine, maybe cuz my units were smaller? I don't know what kind of botox I used I forgot but I got it done for unevenness and though my face is not perfectly symmetrical (cuz of my chin) my jawline it's self is a bit better.

  • Justine

    I am really disappointed with this article. A lot of girls who read this blog are impressionable and may think getting Botox is a solution for wrinkles. Botox is dangerous and a toxin. Eating healthy and drinking lots of water and fresh juice is one of the best natural remedies for aging skin. Also, embrace your expression lines-they give you character!

  • Kelly

    I'm going to give my Rx tretinoin (retionol) until the end of the year and if these fine lines my in forehead are still apparent I think I'll jump on the Botox train :s

  • therealblonde

    If your face looks like it's stung by a wasp, your doctor is not the best 'shooter' (or you're super sensitive, but so am I, and you never see a thing). You may see a tiny prick (which you can cover up, but it's hardly noticeable), I've never seen my friends with bumps either (I'm an old so have quite a few friends who do botox, and I go in once or twice a year myself too).
    I dunno, it still sounds like nonsense to me to have botox that young. Nothing wrong with a few wrinkles, plus they will also disappear when you're older. I had very deep frown lines between my brows, and after my first botox at 42, they completely disappeared.

  • Sara C

    I follow this site religiously, but I am very disappointed in ITG lately, especially because this is the second of two recent Botox articles. I am sure this is useful information for those who are interested. That said, just putting this information out there on a beauty blog carries a lot of normative weight; even if ITG does not intend to send the wrong message, it is implicitly endorsing it.

  • Erin H

    Does anyone have any suggestions of good clinics in NYC?

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I'm 35 but I haven't considered it. I'd be more likely to get filler for the TT's then anything else.

  • Lilli

    I know a lot of people are not happy about this post but how can we expect a beauty blog in the present day to address all aspects of beauty and completely ignore something that is clearly abundant in this industry??

    • NPR

      I had mixed feelings about this post, as well, but the truth is, that there is a way to address it without necessarily endorsing it and that's by doing a post that is more balanced. This Q&A with a so-called Botox veteran is one perspective, and that could be fine to include, but you could balance it by including other opinions about the potential downside, side effects etc. ITG doesn't necessarily need to adopt an editorial position on this - we've seen a broad range on the site, and if you include the "crunchy granola use coconut oil for everything" approach it would make sense that you would also include the other end of the spectrum. BUT when it comes to medical procedures (and Botox is quasi-medica; it's regulated by the FDA) a more balanced approach is warranted in my opinion. Take for example the blog (which i'm not affiliated with in any way). This blog is the most pro- procedure you could imagine, and yet it provides a fairly balanced account of pros and cons, risks etc.
      With all that being said, I completely understand that certain readers of the blog feel a bit cheated, for lack of a better word, because it has seemed at times that the editorial voice here strives to be empowering to women, fostering an approach that uses beauty and makeup as a tool to have fun, and love yourself, and I would agree with those readers that this post about getting Botox in your twenties seems inconsistent with that narrative. Which is not to say ANY post about Botox is inherently inconsistent, as some are suggesting.
      I know the ITG editors read the comments, and I would not at all be surprised if they address the feedback on this post eventually. I am curious to see where they fall.

  • Lo

    I don't have forehead wrinkles fortunately, but I DO have pretty bad smile lines around my mouth at 27 years old. Is Botox used for that too?

  • Crounchy

    Girls, and what if you lose your job? Once you start, it's an on going maintenance - so will you choose Botox over food? So not only will you be unemployed but all of a sudden you will "age" overnight and feel even worse about yourself. Try Frownies instead - those paper patches that you put on your forehead. They look goofy but are effective & much cheaper.

    At any rate, this is why I loved living in Europe - they are so much more relaxed there about aging.

    • Lexi

      My mom uses tape, regular masking tape like what you have at the office. She's 72 and has done it for years. It actually really does work. It's an old Hollywood trick (like rubber bands for a quickie "plastic surgery").

  • AniaAla

    has anyone ever tried "face aerobics" (not sure how to call that..) I'm 20 and already have few wrinkles (under eyes and around lips from laughing) and so I'm pretty scared how my face gonna look like in next 20 years. I wouldn't use Botox, but have heard lots of good things about exercising face muscles. Maybe some article? That alternative might be interesting.

  • AtLast

    A couple of weeks ago I was freaking out about a few fine lines on my face (I'm 23), so much that I could hardly sleep. I woke up the next morning to find out that 4 of my friends had died in my hometown the night before. They were my age too, and all so beautiful. They don't get to grow to have lots of lines and wrinkles, to show their emotions through facial expression so much that their incredible life stories are etched into their beautiful faces. I do. You do too. I have honestly never worried less about the lines on my face, because now I realize how lucky I am to have them. I am lucky that there have been experiences in my life that make me want to express how I feel through my face, and I'm lucky to continue having those experiences. It's okay not to look like an 18 year old. It's okay not to look like a 23 year old. It's okay to look like yourself, and it's okay to feel grateful and amazing because of that. Life, experience, and expressions are nothing to be ashamed of. It's something to be incredibly proud of, and grateful for. OWN IT.

  • a67penguin

    Botox in your 20s for cosmetic purposes only? Sheesh. I can think of so many other reasons for spending your hard earned money than this. Wait till your in your late 30s and enjoy your youth.

  • Jessica

    I saw some childhood friends recently, three lovely sisters, all so pretty and sweet-natured, three of the kindest people I have ever met.

    When the sisters smiled at me, their faces just lit up, incandescently. And I saw that all three had crows feet around their eyes, heavy crows feet too. Or, "smile lines," because that's what they were. Lines from smiling.

    I've been so worried about looking older but after seeing those three women with their luminous smiles and kind faces and lines and wrinkles, I remember what character those lines sometimes have.

    I'll probably give in to getting Botox eventually, because the pressure will be too much, but it doesn't feel very good. I want to be more like those girls.

  • Mika Martyniuk

    Hey, don't forget about Evelyn Mayer, Nick's beautiful grandma and the rest of the pretty, self-confident and sophisticated (older) women featured here on ITG. I'm very into aging in a cool, not artificial, time-consuming way. Wrinkles and et cetera can be also seen as curated witnesses of one's life.

  • dana

    I am so glad for commenters like Jenny and NPR because I have been struck completely speechless by the appearance of this article. I'm sad to read that some commenters in their 20s now think they might need botox and I'm disappointed in ITG for putting it out there. I have to think that the ITG editors are deliberately trying to stir up controversy by posting something so ludicrous. Dear ITG, you obviously have intelligent readers. Please treat them with more respect.

  • Ophelie Lechat

    I'm 27 and don't want Botox, but I'm sure everyone's been curious about it. This post does exactly what it suggests — it answers the questions many of us have about a popular procedure.

    Have it, don't have it, but don't rant against ITG for writing about it. Props to them.

    • Soph

      Can you tell me where you go for the Botox? Are you in NYC? I'm in my late 20s and starting to see the furrow brow line!

  • Ruby

    @colorcodedlife:disqus Or just age gracefully? Denial or botox aren't the best options...

  • Huh?Wha?


  • Crystal

    I've been getting botox in that area for 4 years. Prior to getting it done, customers would assume I was mad. I can tell you for certain that I wouldn't continue to get it done if it didn't make a difference. I wish I would have started sooner. For the area between the brows, it's recommended to get at least 24 units for females. Doctors try to give you a little less than that to save money, and if they don't give you enough, then you can make a follow-up appointment and make an adjustment with adding the units needed for no additional cost.

  • Lila

    I'm 27 and my fiance didn't seem too happy when I told him. But they wouldn't notice anyway! :)

  • Glow On

    I've been getting botox since I was 26 and I'm very happy with my decision. I think it is a great wrinkle-preventative.

  • Alex h

    I am 27 and get botox for migraines. It's probably diluted as it lasts barely 3 months and I have complete movement in my forehead. Having that said, I have NO lines in my forehead and I don't appear frozen or worked on. My insurance pays for it. Today I am going to my local plastic surgeon to get it in the 11 spot in between the eyebrows and a little around my eyes. I think when done in moderation (like my migraine shots) that it's a great wrinkle preventative. So is prescription retinol, but I can't use that as it causes horrible breakouts, or else I'd go that route.

  • Vaniessa Chit

    I have a big jawline and I've spoke to my doctor and she recommended botox. Getting it done this weekend and looking forward to it! =)

  • Mario – sunflowerdermatology.c

    Well, Botox in twenties surprised me. At least thirty something, that's my previous thought. And I just realized that many people started very early to use Botox, it seems the price of doing it is not becoming a problem afterall.