What Is a Botox Facial & Should You Try One?

Dec 28, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. ET
Image: StyleCaster/Getty Images

I’ve always had a relatively low-lift beauty routine that basically consists of cleansing, moisturizing, applying makeup then repeating. A combination of laziness and genetic luck has generally allowed me to spend minimal time and money on things like facials, prescription acne treatments or high-end age-fighting products. But after turning 30 last summer, I realized it’s about time I started experimenting with and investing in the latter. Enter the ultimate age-defying treatment: the Botox facial.

This procedure was pitched to me as an exclusive in-office treatment first invented in early 2017 by New York City-based plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe. I was told it would “painlessly and effectively deliver bioactive compounds into the skin, including Botox, dermal fillers, Vitamins A and C, as well as a complex of anti-aging nutrients.” The liquid solution promised to be less invasive than traditional Botox or dermal filler treatments.

This sounded great, but admittedly, I was a little freaked out by the word Botox simply because I was a newbie. Although I’ve interviewed women about their own plastic surgeries, I didn’t have much experience with anything like this myself (and yes, I know injectables aren’t the same as going under a knife). Still, I wondered: Would needles be involved? How would my face feel (and look) afterward? But I described the process to our beauty editor, who looked at me like I was bananas, and said, “Um, that sounds amazing—you should go for it!” So I decided to take the plunge.

Would needles be involved? How would my face feel (and look) afterward?

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When I arrived at Rowe’s office, nurse practitioner Candice Mortimer gave me a full rundown of what I was about to experience as she prepped the concoction that would be injected into my skin. She explained that while there would be needles, they wouldn’t be the kind I was thinking of, but rather a much-scaled-down version. “The Botox facial involves cannulated microneedles, which puncture your skin to trigger a healing response and inject the ingredients in the canister.” After numbing my skin with a topical agent, they would manually “stamp” my entire face twice to make sure they got every little bit of skin.

Mortimer said that because the “cocktail” is mixed specifically for each procedure, it can and should be customized for every patient receiving the facial. The basic ingredients are hyaluronic acid (an intense hydrator that plumps skin) and Botox (which shrinks pores and gives skin a smooth, even sheen), but if, for instance, your concern is acne, they can add in breakout-busting compounds like exfoliating green tea extract or antibacterial enzymes.

I asked her if I would see an immediate difference. “You’ll see the results after about 24 hours, and I’d say it lasts about a month. Your skin will brighten up and your makeup and products will go on a lot smoother. It’s an overall rejuvenation.”

"It was fast, easy and — as promised — painless."

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When Rowe arrived, my face was numb from the topical agent, and he took over for Mortimer and began to stamp my face with the cannulated microneedles attached to the canister, starting with my forehead and migrating to my cheeks, nose, upper lip, chin, jaws and all along my hairline, under-eye area and brow bones. It was fast, easy and — as promised — painless. I went home with a slightly red face (which Rowe accurately compared to the look of a wind burn) that faded after about a day.

When I saw my coworkers a few days later, I asked them if my skin looked any different. “Actually… you do look really well-rested!” said our ever-optimistic entertainment editor. I had to agree even though I hadn’t gotten any extra beauty sleep that weekend. My overall complexion looked healthy, kind of like I imagine it would after getting 10 hours of sleep and then doing a 90-minute workout (ha!). It’s not necessarily the kind of major transformation that would be evident in before and after photos, but I did notice a subtle rosy glow and less evidence of my typical dark circles.

And though it’s a little hard to evaluate the changes in your own skin that you see in the mirror several times a day, considering this is the time of year I tend to be washed-out, dry and generally lackluster, I definitely feel the Botox facial made a difference. In fact, I also noticed I didn’t feel the need to wear quite as much makeup as I usually do since my skin already looked smooth, bright and even.

It’s been about a month since I went to Rowe’s office, and I can certainly see how treatments like this become addictive. While I don’t have the means to get these kinds of facials regularly, I’m getting married next September, and I think getting a facial like this before a big event like that could do wonders, ensuring your skin looks its very best and most photogenic. Conclusion: My fears about the Botox facial were entirely unjustified, and I’d gladly go under the (cannulated) needle again anytime to get that rosy, refreshed glow.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

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