Up until a few years ago, Botox was a fairly taboo subject. One could be forgiven for thinking that those drastic (read: horrible) celebrity transformations were all because of a few Botox injections. But as more and more research has come to light on injectables, and - let's be honest - as the birthdays have ticked by, the conversation surrounding cosmetic injectables (has she? have you? would you?) and my interest in giving it a go changed.
As I transitioned from mid-twenties to late-twenties, I started noticing that the frown lines which used to only appear if I'd been squinting at the beach all day were now a regular visitor to my forehead.
I would pick up my phone only to see a reflection of myself frowning down at the screen for no apparent reason and I'd catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window to see a scowl staring back.
It was starting to affect me so much that I started getting other lines on my forehead from trying to get rid of my frown lines by raising my eyebrows. I know what you're thinking: It's a downhill frown fest.
When I realised that a hot shower, a face mask and a good night's sleep were no longer eliminating the lines acquired from a big day of walking around looking pissed off, I started investigating other options. My biggest concern? That I would look so different that people would notice - and judge me.
But upon broaching the subject with friends, I realised a lot of them had been getting Botox on a regular basis for years. You know that one person who always looks good, never wears makeup and has perfect skin? Yep, she might be able to avoid packing on the foundation because she's booked in every three months for a top up.
Before we get into it, I ask Natalie Abouchar, Registered Nurse and Founder of Privée Clinic a billion questions about the procedure, ranging from if it will hurt to all the rumours I've heard about negative effects later in life.
Below, everything I learnt from getting Botox at 27.
1. People won't notice
No one - not my boyfriend, not my best friend. Even the people I told at work had forgotten all about it in the few days it took for the Botox to set in.
2. But you'll see - and love - the difference
It's crazy to think that to others you look exactly the same when you can see such a massive change. For the first few weeks, I couldn't stop looking in the mirror searching for signs of the frown lines I'd come to obsess over. It definitely made me feel more confident to know that come 3pm there'd be no need to powder in between my eyes to get rid of the makeup line.
3. The 'ideal age' to get botox can vary a lot
"The best time is before deeper wrinkles set in. This very much depends on a person's genetics and environmental factors, such as sun exposure," Abouchar explains. "I usually treat based on the person's skin. Treating someone in their mid-twenties is reasonable, however, usually only small doses are needed for prevention."
4. It doesn't hurt - much
As someone who's so scared of needles that I literally turn the TV off at the sight of one, I can confirm that Botox doesn't really hurt. You definitely feel the pricks, but nothing enough to warrant asking for a break or thinking about afterwards. Dosages vary from person to person, I had six over my frown line and forehead and it was over within five minutes.
Pro tip: I wouldn't recommend going for a facial in the following few days, as I did. Turns out, your forehead is still a little tender.
5. A little bruising is common
But I had none at all. In fact, it was so fine that I went straight home with no makeup on to have two girlfriends around for dinner without disclosing to them where I'd just been.
6. You'll see results within a few days
I noticed a change within 2-3 days and it felt weird trying to frown but not really being able to. I wondered if people would notice that I now didn't frown when talking or my forehead didn't crease when I was surprised, but nope. All clear.
7. The results last for up to five months
To keep results looking optimum, avoid excess alcohol, smoking, sun exposure and getting stressed - which can all contribute to collagen breaking down faster. Abouchar generally recommends re-treatment between 3-4 months.
8. Yes, it can stop wrinkles from forming
"Small doses can be used to reduce the amount of movement, which stops the lines from ever forming," Abouchar explains.
9. There's no evidence to suggest botox will cause muscles to sag in the future
As someone who overthinks everything, one of my main concerns was the effects later in life. But Abouchar says I have nothing to worry about - "in fact, clinical studies have shown that long-term effects of toxin treatment actually improve the appearance of the skin years later, even after treatment has ceased." After searching the depths of the internet to try and find a study which suggests otherwise, I am put at ease.
10. You can't exercise for 24 hours
"We advise people not to touch the treatment area for 48 hours and avoid massaging the area, having laser treatments or doing anything that may stimulate the product to migrate from where it is injected. I would advise people to avoid vigorous exercise on the day of treatment," Abouchar says.
11. The age groups vary
Abouchar has clients in their early twenties and her oldest is in her 90s. She notes that people "need to be assessed on a case by case basis."
And my thoughts two months down the track? I absolutely love the results and how subtle, but lifechanging they are. I would love to avoid having to go too often, because I'm still funny about putting anything in my body, but will probably book an appointment before summer (AKA squinting season).