Is Botox Worth It? A Newbie Weighs In

by Aimee Harris
Originally Published: 
A woman getting botox
HconQ / Shutterstock

I never understood why women would willingly inject poison into their faces. Why can’t we just grow old gracefully, dammit? Then I turned 34. I had taken a selfie of me and two of my children, and all I could see was the enormous wrinkle in between my eyes.

Aimee Harris

The offending photo

I’d like to say that I did a ton of research before injecting my face with poison, but I didn’t. I was at my “well woman” check up with my primary care doctor and saw a sign for Dysport, a Botox competitor, at her office. We chatted for a few minutes about our lives and families, and then I asked her about it.

I was a little — okay, very — nervous at the thought of freezing my face. After all, I have three kids and they need to know when I’m mad at them!

So, I left without making an appointment. A few weeks later, I called back to get one. As soon as I did, the Botox butterflies came back. What if I ended up looking like a jack-o-lantern? What if she accidentally put too much — or not enough — in? Would everyone at work know what I did? What if I loved it so much I became addicted and this was the gateway drug to a lifetime of surgeries? And most importantly, how bad would it hurt?

Botox Injection Day

The day of my appointment, I was a wreck. I ended up taking half a Xanax to calm my nerves. I made a feeble excuse to my boss about going to the doctor (technically true) to get rechecked for a cough I’d had for a few weeks (technically a small lie).

I checked in at the doctor and sat in the waiting room, trying to calm my nerves by manically scrolling through my Facebook feed. After just a few photos of babies and puppies, my name was called. I walked back with the nurse, and as she asked me to step on the scale, I nervously blurted out “But I’m here for [stage whisper] Botox.” She smiled and still made me step on the scale. I asked her if she had ever done it, and she said yes. I asked her if it hurt, and she said yes. I asked her if the numbing cream that she put on my forehead would help, and she said no.

Then she left me and my pounding heart to wait for Dr. Ashley. After what felt like an eternity but was probably five minutes, she came in. Dr. Ashley spent a good 15 minutes explaining to me how the injections work (by essentially paralyzing the muscles), where she was going to put them (five different injection sites — one in between my eyes and two on each side above the brow) and what to expect (not much immediately following the appointment but a smooth forehead within 14 days).

Then she grabbed the syringe and asked me if I was ready. Let’s do this. I held on to either arm rests like the plane was about to go down and held my breath.

“Squint,” she commanded. I did, and then the first injection went in. I’d like to tell you it didn’t hurt, but ladies, it did. The best way to describe it is like a deep muscle flu shot, but directly into multiple areas of your face. It also stung as the medicine was being injected.

Luckily, Dr. Ashley is quick. After a few more commands to squint and raise my eyebrows, she was done. All in all, it took about 30 seconds — a painful 30 seconds, but still only 30 seconds.

Then she handed me a mirror and reminded me that it takes a full 14 days for everything to take hold. She was right — immediately after the appointment was anticlimactic. The nurse was also right: The numbing cream didn’t help. I headed back to work with a killer headache.

That night, the headache was so intense, I told my husband (who had no idea that I got Botox) that I had to lay down and let him take care of putting the kids to bed.

1 Day Post-Botox Injection

The next morning when the alarm goes off, I immediately jump out of bed instead of hitting snooze I run to the bathroom mirror. Has my forehead become smooth and paralyzed overnight? Do I have the skin of my 20-year-old self? A look in the mirror tells me the answer to both is no.

2 Days Post-Botox Injection

Again the alarm goes off, and again the first thing I do is try to move my face. It feels significantly harder to move, so I excitedly run to the bathroom. Already I can see that the line between my eyes is a little less harsh.

Putting on eye makeup proves to be a bit of challenge as I can’t fully raise my eyebrows. The headache comes back, and I Google “botox headache” the minute I get to work. Less than 2% of people experience an ongoing headache for several months after getting injections. I pray this is temporary.

3 Days Post-Botox Injection

Putting on my eye makeup goes a little easier than yesterday, but now I feel like I have a line of cement running through my forehead. It definitely feels weird.

Later that night after the kids are asleep, I’m watching TV with my husband (who still doesn’t know), and feel like I look permanently bug-eyed. It’s like my face won’t relax. That killer headache comes back, and I wonder what I’ve done to myself.

5 Days Post-Botox Injection

I’m totally feeling myself. My eyebrows have the slight arch that Dr. Ashley promised, and there’s that little “I feel good and I look good” pep in my step.

7 Days Post-Botox Injection

Still feeling myself, but a little worried that the smooth center of my forehead is just pushing the wrinkles to the outer corners. I have just enough movement to not feel like a frozen icicle.

14 Days Post-Botox Injection

Still feeling myself! The middle center of my forehead is nice and smooth, but the wrinkles do seem to have moved to the outer sides, which is fine. I’m happy with the movement that I do have and for the fact that my face isn’t so frozen that my kids still know when I’m mad.

The Verdict: So is Botox Worth It?

It took a few days for my face to adjust and for the botox to “settle.” Once it did, I was extremely happy with the results and plan on doing it again.

Aimee Harris

Frequently Asked Questions First-Timers Have About Botox

Did it hurt?

Yes, it sure did. But it was very brief. Like a bee sting right in the middle of your eyes.

How much did it cost?

I’ve seen all different types of pricing and specials with the average being between $200–$500. I paid $200.

Where did you get it done?

I got mine done at my doctor’s office. You can also get it done at the dermatologist and even at some spas and salons. Who can administer Botox can vary by state, so you may want to do some investigating before you RSVP “yes” to your friend’s in-home Botox party.

Did you notice a difference?

I did. It took a few days for my face to get used to it and for the Botox to settle, but when it did, I definitely looked and felt much better.

Are you happy with it?


Would you do it again?


Can you like, move your forehead?

Yes, I can! I was a little scared that I wouldn’t be able to and would be like one of those actresses in Hollywood who look like they’re permanently in a car with the window rolled down.

How long will it last?

Between 3 to 4 months, and then you will need a touchup. Since I’m pretty cheap, I’m going to see how long I can ride this first round out.

What are the side effects?

Disclaimer: I’m a blogger, not a doctor, so if you’re worried about side effects, I would recommend speaking directly to a trained professional (not Google). I personally experienced little to no side effects other than a nasty headache.

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