17 Women On Botox

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Chemists and doctors call it botulinum toxin, but you know it as Botox—or maybe you refer to it as "never" or "someday" or "too expensive" or "nunya business." The wrinkle-smoothing, skin-tightening injectible, which has skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade and change, continues to polarize and intrigue—the most hot-button question in beauty, as the New York Times' Vanessa Friedman points out, is usually "to Botox, or not to Botox." But the questions don't stop there. Does it hurt? How much is it? Is my face ruined forever? Will I become addicted to it? Culled from ITG's interviews, friends, and commenters, the dialogue starts here:

"I started getting Botox in my forehead at 30 because I was vain. I kept getting it because I'm still vain, and my hideous tension headaches all but disappeared. It’s worth the money for that alone." Megan Duffy, Pathologist

"We would like to change the conversation about injectables so that it’s not Botox shaming and injection shaming for people. I want people to see you and know it's you and your unique look—not think you're Olivia Munn or someone.... The first thing I tell every new client is that I have to undo what you were sold…I know you were sold Botox for wrinkles but try to think of it bigger. Try to think of Botox for lift.” Lisa Goodman, Founder, GoodSkin Los Angeles

"I think as I get older and older, I’m going to be like, 'Damn, I wish that line wasn’t there.' But I'm not going to get Botox—I’m going to gut this one out. I'm pretty hardcore, so I’m going to see what life is like without all that stuff.” Josie Maran, Model, Actress, and Entrepreneur

"I'll brush my face, too, with the Clarisonic. I like that it gives you a massage, and it helps because I need a natural lift. I don't do any Botox or any of that... Not yet, because I never say never. But it tones out your face and your facial muscles." Maria Cornejo, Designer

"“I do Botox. It’s not because I don’t want to age…I actually don’t mind wrinkles or anything like that. But my face is like a frown. My whole life people are always asking me if I’m OK, so now I look less frowny. Everyone asks me what I’ve been doing differently and the answer is that I stopped plucking my eyebrows and got a lot of Botox.” Pia Arrobio, Designer, LPA

"My derm uses this analogy that I respond to: Your face is like a house, you want to maintain the integrity of the base and honor the original design. Not that there is anything wrong with changing [it]. You do you! But it has stopped me from comparing myself to others, or looking in the mirror for perceived imperfections and flaws." Rinat, ITG Commenter

"I’ve had Botox. It hurts, a lot, but I like it. [If] I’ve had Botox and I have a bruise or something, I’ll use Nars [concealer] to cover it up.” Pamela Hanson, Photographer

"Lately I’ve been using the Fillerina, which is a hyaluronic acid that’s apparently just as good as fillers. It has a patent in Switzerland and just came over to the U.S. It looks like a syringe, but it’s just a topical—I put it around my nasolabial folds because my dad has really deep smile lines and I don’t want to get them. And then I’ll pat the excess on my forehead to prevent lines there." Ashley Weatherford, Associate Beauty Editor, The Cut

"I haven’t done anything to my face like fillers or Botox, but it’s fine if people want to do that. For me, if you’re trying to do something that doesn’t look obvious, why are you even doing it? I went to a party recently and two people that had just moved to New York were talking, and I had no idea who they were—I’m not exaggerating. Then when I heard their voices, I was like, 'Oh my God. I know you!' Their hair was dyed, their faces just disappeared—they looked fantastic, but it just canceled out their features so nothing stood out. I’m just afraid I would get it and just want more and more and more. But who knows? Maybe 10 years from now I’ll want some voodoo done, and I’ll like it." Amy Sedaris, Actress

"No doubt there's stigma [toward Botox], but it's an attitude that might be cemented in fear. Maybe it's the beauty industry's uncanny ability to make you feel ugly before promising to make you beautiful again. And the less people talk about it, the more people are subject to getting bad Botox. And nobody deserves bad Botox.” Emily Ferber, Senior Editor, Into The Gloss

"I’m not going to lie… I get 'done.' I go to Pat Wexler for Botox. I started young, and I think that’s really helpful, but I’m not trying to push people to do it. Someone suggested it, and it really helped with the wrinkles. I really believe that.” Jennifer Fisher, Jewelry Designer

"I have had Botox and I liked it when it was good. It’s hit or miss... As an actress, I really need to have the facial movement and Botox takes it all away. But I actually metabolize the stuff really quickly, so it only lasts three weeks to a month. Why bother paying all that money?" Debi Mazar, Actress

"I won't try injectables for the same reason I won't try heroin, because I'm afraid I won't be able to live without it the rest of my life. And I can't afford either habit." Lauren Belfoy, ITG Commenter and Writer

"The only thing I really don’t like is the puffy eye. But surgery or Botox, I can’t imagine doing. I was talking about it with Christy Turlington once, and she was saying, ‘Yeah, if you do all that, you will never know what you would look like old.’ And I agree with that actually. It’s true." Inez van Lamsweerde, Photographer

“The thing that interests me most [in beauty] is, to Botox or not to Botox, to facelift or not to facelift. It might be my stage in life. I tend to think that if you can get through middle age, and you develop the face that you were born to have, it usually looks better than the face that you've changed.” Vanessa Friedman, Chief Fashion Critic, The New York Times

"I’m in my 30s, so the tightening products seem like a good investment for me, because I don’t ever want to do fillers or Botox. Laser and anything that helps your body regenerate itself I’m totally down with, but I don’t want to add anything in. I take the money I would be spending on that, and I put in my skincare instead." Fara Homidi, Makeup Artist

"I used to say, ‘I’ll be happy when I’m sixty and have no wrinkles.’ Well, that was a bit over-dramatic. Not there yet and I do have some, but not huge crevasses I’m overly concerned with. I mean, there’s a little Botox here and there—I do it probably once a year. I get it in the middle of my forehead, and in between my eyebrows. I don’t have an eleven, I just have a one. [Laughs]" Jane Larkworthy, Beauty Writer

Photo via ITG.

You can learn a lot from a Top Shelf. Next up: Read here for all the different ways women wash their faces, as mentioned in their Top Shelf interviews.

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