Brazen Woman developed this post in partnership with Allergan Canada.
While we were compensated and provided product for this post, as always, all opinions are our own.
I don’t consider myself a particularly vain person (my friends might disagree, but don’t confuse self-love and confidence for vanity, folks). I’ll admit I’ve got body image issues and will waste precious time examining every—real and imaginary—lump and bump on my 50-year-old butt, but at the same time, I have been known to leave the house without looking in the mirror. I don’t do it on purpose, just sometimes I run out and forget.
Of course, I do care about how I look. I love clothes and makeup and will force you to take 27 photos of me and will examine each one with a magnifying glass until I find one that’s Instagram-worthy. But I’m not obsessed. If I’m late, or running to yoga or to chill at a friend’s house, or pretty much going anywhere, chances are I didn’t stare at my face in my magnifying mirror first, looking for wrinkles and flaws.
Having said all that, I am extremely self-conscious about my under-eye circles. I’ve been blessed with some good genes, like wrinkle-resistant skin, and some bad, like pronounced, under-eye troughs aka hollows in the tear ducts and the sexiest lumpy eye bags you’ve ever seen. They make me look tired and worn and old. How many times can I hear “Are you ok? Are you sleeping? Are you tired?” before I confirm that I indeed have a problem?
There isn’t enough concealer in the world to cover and fill that stuff in. I’ve tried, trust me. Three different concealers daily – that’s my routine. Plus glasses when they’re really pronounced. Kind of hard to not be absorbed by your looks when you can feel your under-eye area sinking like Atlantis.
Eventually, I realized I’d had enough. With my half-century birthday here, it was time to do something about my eyes. Not surgically, although that could come later, I’m not ashamed to say. So I made an appointment with Dr. Julia Carroll of Compass Dermatology in Toronto, and sent her off some photos of my face.
Funny story. I had to take a number of photos of my face: from the front, side, and with a variety of facial expressions. For some reason, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t frown or make an angry face. And that was before any treatment.
The step to meet with the doctor surprised even me. Our philosophy at Brazen Woman is that all women should live their lives their way. We don’t judge choices. Lots of my friends get fillers and Botox Cosmetic, but so far, I guess I hadn’t worried enough about my looks to do something about it (seriously, it had nothing to do with ‘earning my wrinkles, or whatever we like to say’. I’m single. I need to look good!) But when I found my self-esteem was starting to be affected by how I felt about my eyes, I knew it was time.
Interestingly enough, when Dr. Carroll walked into the exam room, she asked me not what I wanted to look like, but how I wanted to feel. “Well, I’d like to feel bright-eyed and energized and now I just feel like my eyes make me look tired” I explained. And she replied, “That’s exactly where I would start.” I knew I was in the right place, at the right time for ME, and in the right hands.
THE JUVEDERM FILLER PROCESS
Before my consultation, the nurse came in to take Before Photos. *Once again, I was unable to frown*. Then, Dr. Carroll came in and we chatted about how I wanted to feel and what was holding me back from feeling that way about my looks. We discussed my options; I told her specifically that I didn’t want to look like I’d had ‘work’ done, but rather wanted to have that ‘Hey, you look great. Did you change your hair?” vibe.
We agreed to leave my mouth alone, since juicy lips on my face would be fairly obvious, and I was going for a more natural look, but settled on the obvious eye area and my smile lines, which are fairly deep since I smile All. The. Time. And then she got to work with her pen, marking the areas she wanted to inject with her magic. It was almost like she was sculpting my face, and it took 3 visits, in total, to get a result that satisfied us.
THE FILLER DETAILS
Dr. Carroll used 2 different Juvérderm fillers on my face, in addition to some Botox Cosmetic (learn more about Juvéderm here).
There was some discomfort during the procedures, which took less than 30 minutes, but it didn’t really hurt that much. Numbing cream is available if you are sensitive. I had minimal bruising which went away within a couple of days, and I could see some results immediately and over the next few days. It took about two weeks for everything to settle.
The Juvéderm should last one to two years, which is fantastic, and the Botox Cosmetic, about 4-6 months. The filler can be reversed if you decide you’d rather return to your pre-filler appearance, but to avoid that step, I recommend Dr. Carroll’s philosophy of coming back and adding more, rather than injecting more than you can handle the first time.
Under eye and smile lines: Juvéderm Volbella is part of a group of fillers specially designed to smooth and enhance the face for an overall refreshed look. Volbella treats skin depressions in the under-eye area and can also bring fullness and shape to lips. Meanwhile, Juvéderm Volift helps soften and restore volume to smile lines.
Outside of the eye, between eyes and forehead: Dr. Carroll chose to add some wrinkle-smoothing injectable to balance my face, smooth the lines in my forehead and to lift the outside of my eyes to add brightness. Note: My eyes feel more open and less fatigued, so this one (to me at least) is perceptual as well as cosmetic.
Honestly, the results are stupendous. I feel confident enough to go out without concealer, and that is huge. Just like I wanted, those who know me well are unable to pinpoint what’s different about me, other than I look refreshed. My face looks and feels fresh and youthful, which makes me feel really good about myself.
While I know that eventually I may need surgery to correct what bothers me about my eyes, at the present time, I’m a convert to Juvéderm —not because of how it looks, but rather how it makes me feel, which is amazing. Even if I look like a convict in the photos….Where’s that smile I’m famous for?
What do you think? Was it worth it? Is it something you’d consider?
PS: Now that I look at the pictures, I feel like I might want to do my lips. Someone hold me back…Also, I need my eyebrows shaped desperately. Does the beautifying ever end?