How to Get Exactly What You Want at a Botox Appointment

How to Get Exactly What You Want at a Botox Appointment
Photo: G-Stock Studio, Shutterstock

When you see someone with facial injectables you don’t like, there’s something you need to remember (besides the fact that your opinion on someone else’s aesthetic enhancements isn’t relevant): For everyone with exaggerated filler or too-frozen Botox you spot in the wild, there are dozens more people walking around with work so undetectable you’d never know they paid for their face to look how it does.

Whether you want to be clearly done-up or natural-looking, getting your desired results is as much of a delicate science for you as injecting your face is for your provider. Here are a few tips.

Do some light reading on Botox (or maybe don’t)

From the “lip flip” to the “Botox eyebrow lift,” magazines and digital media are always promoting some “new” use of Botox. You’d be forgiven for getting swept up in all the clicky headlines and before-and-afters and marching straight to your nearest clinic.

Before you head in for an appointment, it’s good to do your research, but you should also be aware, as Dr. Schwartzburg, founder of Manhattan’s Skinly Aesthetics, explained, that there’s no real “new” use of Botox so much as there are new trends. Dr. Schwartzburg doesn’t mind if clients come in with printed-out articles about whatever procedure they’re looking for and stacks of reference photos — whether they’re of celebrities or the client’s own face run through an editing app — as long as they’re aware that he might not be able to do exactly what they’re asking.

A Botox brow lift, for instance, just isn’t anatomically possible for some people, he said. Here he used a bunch of complicated-sounding words and muscle names, but his point boiled down to this: Your muscles and facial structure just might not be a match for certain procedures, and you should be open to hearing the injector’s professional opinion.

Dana, a 30-year-old PR executive in New York who’s been getting Botox for four years, doesn’t even bring reference photos to her appointments. She explained her reasoning to Lifehacker, saying, “I don’t bring reference photos because everyone has different facial structures and the strength of muscles in everyone’s face varies, but I am explicit about what areas bother me, what areas don’t, and where I want to retain some movement. For example, I like to have slight movement in my eyebrows, but am comfortable with the mid to top of my forehead being completely frozen.”

Ask your Botox injector for their thoughts

“I’m extremely open-minded, so I accept it all. Some of them come to me and they say, ‘Dr. Schwartzburg, do what you think is best. I trust you.’ Some of them come with a specific request,” he explained.

Dr. Schwartzburg has been in the business for seven years. Dr. Michele Green, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist in New York City, has been doing Botox for 20 years and she said the same thing: “Patients should consult an expert in cosmetic injections and discuss what specifically bothers them and which areas of the face they wish to have treated. I always sit with a new patient and give them a mirror so that we can look at the areas of the face together and decide on the best treatment plan.”

Do your research and make sure your injector has experience. Then, trust their experience and let them help guide you, especially if you’re new to this. If you start small and don’t like your results, you can always go back for more, but it’s harder to undo a result if you do too much. Actually, let’s talk more about research.

Get thee to Yelp to find a qualified Botox practitioner

Getting a great result isn’t just about being open to your injector’s opinion and bringing in stellar reference pics. Before you even think about screenshotting Bella Hadid’s latest Instagram post, you need to find a qualified practitioner who can be trusted with your face.

Dr. Schwartzburg advises prospective clients to spend a lot of time on an injector’s website. Reverse image search their before-and-after photos to make sure they’re original pictures of the doctor’s real clients. Look for “before” photos of people with the same facial structure as you, or “after” photos demonstrating work on the same areas you’re interested in having treated.

After that, look at reviews. He suggested starting with Yelp, which “has this amazing system of filtering out reviews that may be obtained through other means.” That was a gentle way of saying Yelp filters out comments that might not come from real patients so much as, say, the clinic’s receptionist trying to gin up business with bogus five-star reviews. After looking at Yelp reviews, head to Google. If there’s a discrepancy between the Google, Facebook, RealSelf, and Yelp reviews, Dr. Schwartzburg says this should be a red flag. An injector who does consistently good — or bad — work should have similarly consistent reviews.

“Do your research! Botox can do a lot more than just ‘freeze’ your face, so you should go in with an understanding of what it can do and what you want it to do to enhance your look and clearly articulate that to your injector,” added Dana.

Ask questions during your Botox consultation

Dr. Schwartzburg says he encourages clients — especially first-timers — to ask a lot of questions during the consultation before any injecting even starts. He assured Lifehacker he doesn’t mind if this pushes the appointment a little late; it’s better for a client to be completely informed and happy with their decision before the procedure starts.

“The number one thing that I have really appreciated through the years is clear, concise, and straightforward communication,” he said. “Most of the time in the past, when undesired things happened, it was from miscommunication. It was either them not asking enough questions or myself just assuming that I know what’s best and not going into a detailed conversation.”

Dana, who’s gotten Botox two to three times a year since she first started, agreed: “Don’t be afraid to ask your injector questions or pause them if they start to inject an area you hadn’t agreed upon.”

Get your body right

Yes, this appointment is about your face, but your body has to be in a certain condition beforehand so you can get optimal results.

“It is best to book an appointment for Botox for the first time when you have not been taking any blood thinners, herbal supplements, or vitamins which can cause bruising,” said Dr. Green. “It is also best not to have injections right before a big event or party. It is best to have your cosmetic injections of Botox and dermal fillers one month before any important event.”

Be patient with your Botox results

Don’t panic if you don’t see your desired effect immediately after you leave the clinic. Injections can cause swelling and bruising that can initially freak you out. Do not freak out. Botox also doesn’t work right away; it takes time, which is a good thing.

“Since it takes two weeks to see the full effect of Botox, it is important to be patient to see how your results look before you add more Botox to the treated area,” said Dr. Green.

Log in to comment on this story!