Am I The Only One Not Getting Botox?

Our 45+ beauty columnist Fiona Gibson on why she’s yet to succumb to the needle.

It felt that way at a birthday party last weekend. Women I know to be around the same age as me were eerily youthful – lovely, but definitely ‘done.’ And I’m not, and never will be. Not because I disapprove – we are all entitled to do whatever we want in order to feel good about facing the day. It’s the fact that I can’t accept that Botox isn’t a really big deal.

‘It’s great when it’s done well,’ friends keep insisting. That’s the alarming part, implying that it isn’t always (come on, we’ve all seen the spooky ice-rink faces). And I’m the sort of person to whom things tend to go awry, beauty-wise. Having my eyebrows threaded resulted in the entire lot being ripped off apart from about seven traumatised hairs. I’ve even had disastrous highlights in the form of fat yellow stripes which cost me a fortune to rectify.

Also, if I had Botox and my family found out – which they would, as I’d stop looking so scowly – they would literally collapse laughing. I probably shouldn’t care about my husband and children’s opinions – but I do. I don’t want them to think that ageing bothers me so much that I’m prepared to pay hundreds of pounds for someone to jab their poky needles in my face. I’d especially hate my 12 year-old daughter to grow up thinking that there’s something shameful about ageing. How could I encourage her to feel confident and accepting of herself if I was rushing off to have my lines ironed out?

The crux, I suppose, is that I’m not concerned enough to do anything about them. While I’m not wild about the slight drooping of everything (I am a former beauty editor, after all), I know that to fix all that would take more than a tiny injection here and there. And the wrinkles are fine, really. My face reminds me of our old, cheap DFS sofa – a bit saggy from being pummelled about by the kids, but still comfy enough. I’m neither radiantly youthful not completely condemned (a small miracle considering how much I abused myself in my twenties).

I’ll admit I’m not immune to the odd ‘Hell, I’m so old’ crisis of confidence. It tends to happen after a throwaway remark from my mother: eg, ‘I see you’ve had your hair cut.’ (Poignant silence). She turned up a few weeks ago clutching a glamorous blue and gold pot of moisturiser. ‘This is for your SKIN,’ she barked, peering at me in an odd way. For a moment, I was worried. ‘Christ,’ I thought, ‘I must look like a hag.’ And I pictured the Daily Mail headline: Women are far more knackered-looking than they think they are. Had I been flaunting my crevices without even realising?

Then I remembered that this was my mother talking, and that we are lucky to live in the era of serums, great foundations and Instagram. So there really is nothing to worry about.

Photo credit: flickr / Nathan F

    My anti-Botox kit

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  • Sherry Trifle

    I can so imagine that as a Daily Mail headline ! Botox is madness, be happy with what nature and the Selfridges Beauty Hall gives you.

  • Janesettia

    Thanks for the article. Each to their own, of course, but I feel Botox is a bit too ‘slippery slope’ for me – where do you stop? Plus there will be many other giveaway signs than you are older than your face appears. It is not that much fun watching and feeling yourself age in all sorts of ways (although I know age has its compensations) but it is better than the alternative. And yes, serums, great foundations and beauty halls are my friend.

  • Wendy V

    We have this conversation at pilates a lot and all agree with you. But there’s less pressure to conform round here. Lots of outdoorsy faces: farmers, horse-riders, beekeepers, sailors. No-one minds lines.
    My fave character in Game of Thrones is Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), who’s got a lovely naturally-ageing face – well, it seems natural! I think the GoT casting agent must have said: no-one with botox and no-one with boob-jobs.

  • annie

    love Fiona especially writing for Just 17

  • Rooty Tooty

    I’m in a very similar place age and skin wise I think. I don’t want to have Botox for very similar reasons. But getting to this age s a bit like being on the end of a diving board. I love beauty and make up, want to age naturally and gracefully and yet still get massive wobbles about what kind of ‘face’ I’ll end up having. Here’s hoping for a smooth landing. I love having articles for different age faces. Thank you x

    • http://www.facebook.com/svoyatiskiya.gtl Svoyatiskiya Gtl

      @Rooty Tooty – I have been using a Nuxe serum and I swear I can see an improvement!

      The thought of choosing to be injected with a poison fills me with horror – lotions and potions seem a much safer way to go.

      • Dolly Bellfield

        which nuxe serum is it you use?

        • http://www.facebook.com/svoyatiskiya.gtl Svoyatiskiya Gtl

          Serum merveillance. Escentuals had a really good deal on French pharmacy products last month so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

  • http://twitter.com/NadiaKamil Nadia Kamil

    As someone in their late 20s I would like to thank every woman who doesn’t have botox for not making me totally fearful of getting older and providing some beautiful but natural faces to look up/forward to.

  • Malin

    What a lovely article – thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jane.porter.7311 Jane Porter

    I’m not at all interested in Botox. I’m sure that eventually one of my friends will do something to their face but at the moment no one has. A close relative of mine has Botox and my mother always comes away saying what’s wrong with her mouth?

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzanne.williams.1447 Suzanne Williams

    ‘flaunting my crevices’ made me laugh :-)

  • Flotte

    Great article. I am reassured that a beauty editor does not feel the need to be all tight and shiny and wrinkle-free. I am luckily surrounded by friends who are happy to make do with a decent skin care routine and some make-up. I hope to age gracefully (well, most of the time).

  • http://www.facebook.com/pearly.pobble Jen Pobble

    Very interesting. I’m 34 and definitely would consider Botox. I have a big, high forehead and if it gets horizontal lines across it I would feel very self-conscious. I wouldn’t have it for crows’ feet or on other parts of my face though. I’m pleased we can have an open discussion about these issues.

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzanne.williams.1447 Suzanne Williams

    i think looking after what we’ve got is a lovely thing to do. I’m not religious
    so I believe we only get one life, one body and so I try to make the best of myself. for me there’s a joy in being healthy, using make up, dressing in a way i feel suits me, whereas there’s something rather cold and joyless about Botox and surgery. But I suppose we all draw our lines in different places (excuse the pun). Nice article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fi.beckett Fi Beckett

    Great piece, Fiona. Personally, I get really nervous where things being injected into people are concerned. I don’t think botox has been in mainstream use for long enough to see what the long term effects may be. Look at the breast implant scandal. Or poor Leslie Ash and her fillers which went wrong. Plus, once you start, you can’t stop or you risk ageing ten years overnight and everyone telling you how tired you look. And anyway, what’s wrong with looking your age? I’d rather not fuck about with my face.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fiona.gibson.505 Fiona Gibson

      Think you’re right, Fi, about the ‘where does it end?’ aspect – and there’s nothing more demoralising than being told you look tired. Even if it’s meant kindly or in sympathy. ‘No I am NOT tired thank you for asking!’

      • http://www.facebook.com/fi.beckett Fi Beckett

        God, I know. And we’re our own worst enemies for that too, Fiona. I’m nearly 44 and every time I look in the mirror I see a deeper line around my eyes or convince myself my face is caving in. But even if I had the money, I wouldn’t touch my face with anything stronger than something which comes in a jar. For me it’s not worth any potential risk, and also, I wouldn’t want to get to the stage where my face and what other people thought about it was all I thought about. How dull would that be?

    • Kay Worboys

      Oh, I’m so with you, Fi. A needleful of poison stuck in your mush to paralyse muscles?? Erm, no ta! Just looking at some of the Hollywood A-listers is enough to put me off, and you have to assume that they’re going to the ‘best’ practitioners to have their poison administered. I’d rather stick to make-up, a good hair cut, bit of exercise and a badly lit mirror to boost my self esteem.

      • http://www.facebook.com/fi.beckett Fi Beckett

        Magic mirrors are the way forward, I feel. I have one in my bathroom, I always look great in it. It is the only mirror I ever look in, obvs.

        • Kay Worboys

          I always look great in mine, too. No grey hairs, no crows’ feet and not a chin hair in sight. Then I happen upon another mirror (usually in the loos of a ‘trendy’ establishment with a, ahem, younger clientele) and I recoil in horror and wonder how I could let myself go out like it. Or a photo gets taken and reality hits. I’m finding that not wearing my contact lenses to be a better ploy. (God, I really am in denial about being marginally closer to 50 than 40!)

          • Fi Nightingale

            I’m booking an opticians appointment soon. Dread to think what I’ll look like in the mirror if I end up wearing glasses and see everything properly. Lol.

          • http://www.facebook.com/fiona.gibson.505 Fiona Gibson

            Getting my reading glasses was a little shocking, I have to say…

    • http://www.facebook.com/flojo.gtl Flojo Gtl

      I love this – especially your last sentence Fi. When you say it like that, who would want to fuck about with their face?

      • http://www.facebook.com/fi.beckett Fi Beckett

        some people look great, Debbie Harry is a great advert for it, but then she can afford the upkeep. And is probably too old to care about long term side effects.

  • http://www.laurengracejewellery.com/ LaurenGrace

    Great article. I have friends my age who botox regularly, but I would definintely much rather keep my little wrinkles than have a deadly toxin injected into my head!

  • Beklet

    I’m in my early thirties and had assumed that botox would be part of my ageing story. Not because I want to do it, but because I don’t really want to be thought of as “having let herself go” at just 40. I’m now thinking that this is a ridiculous reason to do something that is after all quite risky. Food for thought. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sequinator.gtl Sequinator Gtl

    Really lovely piece, thank you. However tempting it may be to have a jab or two to halt the progress of time, I know that I would get caught up in a cycle of endless tweaks/improvements/procedures that would be impossible to halt once I started. So for me it’s about being holistic: hair, clothes, makeup, attitude. This is what conveys my personality and experience. And yeah, my wrinkles and my saggy arse are part and parcel of the past/present/future me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fiona.gibson.505 Fiona Gibson

      I love your philosophy and couldn’t agree more. x

    • http://www.facebook.com/pepita.caviar Pepita Caviar

      Sequinator, please write a book. Most of your comments could be set in stone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kate.crowther.165 Kate Crowther

    I would love to be rid of the pesky 11 between my eyes. It makes me look permanently cross and tired. But ultimately, when in comes down to it I’m not bothered enough to do anything about it. I’d rather buy a new pair of shoes. What?!

    • http://www.facebook.com/fi.beckett Fi Beckett

      Same here, Crowther. Life’s too bloody short to go down that route with any conviction innit? x

    • Almost Summer!

      Kate, if you don’t mind feeling a bit daft with a little triangle of paper stuck between your eyebrows for a few nights, try Frownies. You can buy them on line, and they really work a treat!! So easy!

  • Dolly Bellfied

    im just about to pop to libertys for their hourglass ambient lightning powder so that will light over the cracks… great article. thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rosieglowstar Rosie Wright

    I agree with Fi. I don’t think Botox has been around long enough to see what the long-term effects will be. What if something horrid happens to your face after 10-15 years of using it. Also I’m a bit freaked out that effectively you’re injecting Botulism into your face. That can’t be good – it’s a poison!!

    I can see the point of using it non-cosmetically for migranes and the like but just to make your face look a bit flatter? I’d rather age (un)gracefully and spend the money on shiny things!

  • mimi smith

    Love this, thank you. At nearly 57 I will admit to being tempted, but in a weird kind of way I am really not bothered by my wrinkles. Although of course I am not critical of anyone doing anything to make
    themselves feel good, but I am kind of proud to say ‘no not for me’

  • Hildyjohnson

    I think when you say you’re just not bothered enough you state my view exactly. I take care of myself, I want to look as good as I can at my age, I enjoy skincare and makeup (more since discovering Sali and her chums) but it’s not the be all and end of of my life. Think how many good books, meals, wine, times with friends and family that Botox money could pay for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracy.kidner Tracy Kidner

    Is it too late to say I LOVE YOU, ACE FIONA GIBSON!
    That was from my 15 year old self, but it still holds true.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fiona.gibson.505 Fiona Gibson

      Ah thank you Tracy. *heady eighties flashback*

      • http://www.facebook.com/tracy.kidner Tracy Kidner

        I have said it before, though the thread had to be deleted, your J17 columns made me feel it was ok to be a bit gauche and a lot uncool, that it was fine not to be conventionally pretty and too clever by half. Can’t emphasise that enough xxx

        • http://www.facebook.com/fiona.gibson.505 Fiona Gibson

          That’s great to hear xx

  • http://twitter.com/kristianamaseyk Kristiane Worsdell

    HHhhmm although I don’t want anyone feel bad about wanting to make themselves look good, botox smacks to me of stylised aging one the same mindless conveyor belt as stylised sexuality. Not a good message for young women or our daughter who I want to feel beautiful without being designed.. Aging isn’t ugly

    • http://www.facebook.com/fiona.gibson.505 Fiona Gibson

      Agree totally Kristiane. You only had to see Julianne Moore and Annette Bening in The Kids Are Alright a couple of years back to how beautiful natural older faces can be

  • Kath GTL

    At 42 my face is slowly sinking South, but Botox is a step too far for me to contemplate. I’d rather spend the money on face cream and wine, so I can’t see the wrinkles so clearly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/betty.chickens Betty Chickens

    Totally agree! It is so wrong that women seem to feel they can’t show any sign of age. As far as I can see women with Botox don’t really look younger, they just look like older women with Botox. It looks ok in a photo but when you watch someone in real life it just looks odd. I love Madonna but am always sad that she didn’t blaze a trail as a real 50 plus without “help”.

    • Cuntpuffin

      I feel the same about madonna. I love her but I’m scared to look at recent pictures because she looks so wrong. Such a shame, she would be beautiful with wrinkles.

  • CarolineP

    I had Bells Palsy ten years ago, which left the right side of my face completely paralysed, so the thought of getting something injected in my face that would paralysed for *just* beauty doesn’t work for me. Also men generally have no pressure to get botox, so why should women? My husband married me “in sickness and in health”. He doesn’t mind the lotions and potions I put on my face, but medical-type procedure? A step too far here.

  • Betty Chickens

    Totally agree. I always think that women with Botox don’t look younger, they just look like older women with Botox. I’m always sad that Madonna didn’t blaze a trail for older women who haven’t had “work”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fi.beckett Fi Beckett

      Yes, me too, Betty. She could have been such a torch bearer for ageing gracefully, it’s not like people would suddenly not buy her records because she looks her age in her face. She still kicks ass better than women half her age.

  • Marjory

    A great article, Fiona. I am a somewhat older than you and have never considered Botox or anything else involving injections or invasive surgery because I am a coward. I think that my equally ” pummelled”, “saggy” face looks better than the consequences of a procedure which might go wrong ( even if I could afford it). The article made me laugh and think a bit…. Great stuff, looking forward to more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennie.jordin Jennie Jordin

    Awesome piece, at 37 I feel like my face is ageing, but that’s just life, right? The thought of injections petrifies me

  • Shirl

    Some of the most beautiful faces i have ever seen are those that have spent their lives laughing into the sunshine. Let’s celebrate our faces, and thank the eco warriers for low energy light bullbs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pepita.caviar Pepita Caviar

    I’m 36, although my last pregnancy made me look about twenty years older. What I fear about treatment such as Botox is the slippery slope effect, so that even the best application will turn me into one of those weird looking women we all know of. Plus, I think there has to be a point at which I have to turn my attention to things other than physical appearance.

  • yen

    Thank you Fiona, you echo my thoughts on the subject totally.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fi.beckett Fi Beckett

    Also, unless it’s done really well, women who’ve had botox just look like women who’ve had botox. They don’t look younger or fresher, they have that weird lizard eye thing going on where it looks like their eyebrows have been moved an extra inch apart.

  • Eustacia Vye

    Great message to share! Agree that a good attitude, thoughtful skincare regime and a positive outlook are more beneficial than a serious intervention like Botox. And I agree with @betty . There are recent pictures of Courtney Cox knocking around at the moment and she really does look a bit odd. Still stunning and beautiful, but it is clear that she’s had work done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/samantha.messer.3 Samantha Messer

    I am 45 in 4 months and really do not feel under any pressure to have crap injected in my face. I don’t move in a circle if friends who have either. We are more concerned with dancing and having fun. I agree that Botox doesn’t make you look younger you just look your age with a bit of Botox injected in. Look hiw beautifully Audrey Hepburn aged

  • Ruby Tuesday

    We are constantly bombarded with these images of scarily line-free, shiny- foreheaded women and are told that this is what we should do to ourselves if, heaven forfend we start ageing.I will be 40 next year and have no intention of looking like a fembot!

    I agree with @FiBeckett, in that we do not yet know enough about the possible long-term side effects. of Botox.I find the whole idea of injecting my face (for non-medical reasons) totally abhorrent. I cannot understand why anyone would pay money to have this done to them.

    On a lighter note, I am also feeling the 80s love for Fiona Gibson, from my teenage J17 reading days.

  • AgnesD

    I loved the pictures of Carola Bianchi in The Sartorialist recently. She looks like an older version of Audrey Tatou, and a bit fierce, and totally magnificent. She’s just eye-balling the camera dead-on and hasn’t bothered with makeup. She has wrinkles, the shaggiest, most un-tended brows I’ve ever seen on a fashion person and fantastic dress sense. Every now and then I start fantasising about a neck lift, because my jawline is not all it might be, and my neck is getting saggy. But I don’t think I could ever go through with it, because it’s such a big step, and as much as I love makeup etc, it’s always better to feel good than look good. I don’t know how I’d feel about myself for getting it done, and I’d rather spend the money on a trip to Italy. Am trying to remember that feeling of being totally ‘in my body’ that I had as a child. I wasn’t obsessing about appearances, because I was having too much fun just running around. Maybe that could be one of the benefits of getting older…

  • wiiaholic

    Great piece. I’m just far too cowardly – low pain threshold. Not keen on the signs of ageing I can see in the mirror but more scared of having poison injected and definitely fear it would be slippery slope towards ending up like Sly Stallone’s mum!

  • http://www.boutiquearomatique.com/ Shelly Preston

    Botox = smoother but weirder. I’ll take the wrinkly road.

  • http://www.facebook.com/audrey.ryan.735 Audrey Ryan

    Very nice article, Fiona. I really do believe that beauty comes from within. If you don’t want to submit yourself for botox injection then it’s alright. It’s not right to compare yourself with others because you’re beautiful and you look so happy too. That’s what matters to me. -http://www.esiw.com/

  • http://www.lasertouchsoho.com/botox.html Lorraine Seth

    Totally agree with you, everyone gets old, in my opinion there is nothing wrong in having wrinkles on your face, it is all natural.

  • http://www.myethosspa.com/botox/ Sandra Patrick

    It depends what makes you happy, a lot of people go for this treatment because they want to look younger and than there are those who always wants to look natural no matter how old they get.

  • momof321

    My neighor is an older yet attractive lady. She had her share of wrinkles and gray. I ran into her the other day and the only thing I thought was “what did you do!!”. She went botox crazy, most of her wrinkles were gone, replaced by a taught feline like cheekand lip filler, her hair no longer had gray but alternating black and orange stripes. Sometimes it is just better to grow old gracefully. A little help here and there is ok, but some people become addicted to this stuff and they don’t realize that they don’t even look like their old (yet more attractive) selves, and even worse some of this stuff actually makes people look older!!!

  • http://anaramedspa.com/botox/ jimmy

    Thanks Fiona For Sharing your thoughts!

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