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Before the Wedding: If You're Thinking About Botox

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Screen capture of Bridalplasty via <a href="http://www.youtube.com/show/bridalplasty">YouTube</a>
Screen capture of Bridalplasty via YouTube

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One of the biggest bridal trends to emerge over the past five years is the inclusion of plastic surgery as de rigueur in the windup to the wedding. Which, on the face of it, seems rather strange. Like, ladies, if he wants to spend the rest of his life with you, shouldn't you look more like YOU than something else? But we get it and we understand the appeal of a tonic that eradicates years and soothes and smooths out all the wedding day stress that went straight to your face.

Hello, Botox!

While not getting married ourselves, we were recently offered a free Botox session, and we thought, why not -- why not DO IT FOR SCIENCE? We have a few friends who do the face-botulism, and there's more than enough material, including horror stories and persuasive before and after pix, out there on the web, but we've never actually heard or read a comprehensive, objective account of what the hell it's all about. We chatted with a few friends, aged 23 - 43, all of whom reported the same high level of curiosity. And with that, we decided to offer ourselves up as a guinea pig.

So we scooted on over to the Celebrity Laser Spa in chi-chi Brentwood. Pretty nice part of town. There's subterranean valet parking, and the building itself is light and airy.

One disclaimer is that since we went in a press capacity -- on our birthday, no less, these people had an obligation to be nice to us. But the receptionists were really friendly, and we barely had to wait five minutes before we were ushered in to sit with Dr. Alex Kaplan, the spa's founder. Again, another helpful, pleasant person.

He asked about our concerns, if we'd had experience with Botox or other cosmetic procedures, the areas for which we were seeking treatment?and then he started in on all of our problem areas. Which, frankly, prior to the visit, we hadn't seen as problems. Hell, we barely even saw them. But cosmetic surgery practitioners don't rake in the dough by making people feel good about themselves, know what we mean?

At which point we were handed over to a physician assistant, who would dispense the tonic. Another big point in the spa's favor: physician assistants are actually pretty close to being doctors themselves; so it's not like going to a salon and getting the procedure from someone who does manicures. We were opting to get the worry lines over our brows injected, since we basically came out of the womb as a ball of existential stress -- a nearsighted one at that, so there's been a lot of squinting that's left its mark.

The needles are small enough that you don't need anything beyond a little ice cube-induced numbing to deal with the shots. They administered a series of five little shots to places on the forehead, then massaged the area briefly. We asked a few questions -- should we do anything (don't touch the area, expect a little bruising), not do anything (don't lay down for at least 4 hours after the procedure)?and then we were turned loose. The entire visit, including filling out a ream of paperwork, was about 40 minutes.

Here's one misconception to clear up: it isn't an instant miracle. For whatever reason, we thought it would be instantaneous. We were told that it usually takes between 3 - 7 days for the Botox to do its job, and up to ten days to see full results, but we thought we'd see something right away. Alas, no.

About a half hour after we left the office, we had a mild headache. About an hour after that, the headache subsided and what we felt instead was like the gnarliest case of brainfreeze ever.

We spent a couple of days walking around, looking into every reflective surface we passed?

It's been almost two weeks: we can totally see a difference. Not huge, but it's enough for friends to comment on how "refreshed" we look. We know a couple of ladies who also get the face-poison shot right into their foreheads, and the look produced is as smooth as a cueball. We kinda wish we had THAT effect, though we know that this looks a tad unnatural, unless you're doing the rest of your face. So we totally give props to Celebrity Laser Spa for an even hand and a conservative approach.

One thing we hadn't counted on: we are ALWAYS aware of its presence. It doesn't hurt, and it's not like our face is totally paralyzed (just a little paralyzed: our capacity to vigorously lift our eyebrows is at maybe 60% percent). But it alternately feels tight, just a little inanimate, or?you know that feeling when you're using a face masque and you leave it on for too long and it starts to harden? That's more or less exactly what it feels like. If you are the type of person who obsesses out about things on their body and how things feel (we are), it is totally distracting. Is it going to sound weird for us to say it's not unpleasant?

Don't freak out too much: your skin doesn't actually feel any different. It doesn't suddenly feel tough or turgid. When your beloved strokes your face, he'll be none the wiser.

Now for the $64,000 question: would we do it again, on our own dime? Probably not right away. Right now, if we were going to drop a few hundred dollars on something, it would probably be a new dress. But ask us again in another couple of years. Or three months from now, when the Botox starts to wear off.

So for all you brides-to-be, proceed with caution. If you're going to do it, do it at least three weeks prior to the ceremony to give the Botox time to do its job -- and give yourself time to get used to not really being able to feel certain parts of your face.
· Celebrity Laser Spa [Official Site]
· All We Did It for Science content [Racked LA]
· All Weddings Week content [Racked LA]

11661 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA