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I’m 28 Years Old and I Think I Want Botox
05.18.17

Do you ever look in the mirror and wonder who the fuck that is staring back?

Last week, I woke up and went to the bathroom after I had consumed a generous 3 alcoholic beverages the night before. I noticed that a wrinkle, which has been trying stake claim on the left corner of my lower forehead (but which has so far not succeeded), was inching closer to victory. In response to this development, I began feverishly researching the efficacy of various anti-aging products and, simultaneously, became a little annoyed at myself for caring so much. I didn’t think I’d resist nature taking its course and now, at a still-tender 28, I’m freaking about a thing my face does when I squint? Come on!

Historically, I have looked to women like Joan Didion or Iris Apfel or my own grandmother as beacons of advanced beauty. I have withdrawn myself from conversations on the necessity of makeup as it relates to aging and have openly lauded my burgeoning wrinkles, the very ones which I now want to eradicate. Aging is beautiful and graceful — good and cool until, I guess, it starts happening to you.

And look, I know I’m still practically an infant on this square of the roll of toilet paper that is life. When I watch The Sweetest Thing and see Cameron Diaz talking about her boobs “sagging” at 28, I wonder if she rolls her eyes at herself while watching it now. Still, there is something to be said about entering the vanity vacuum otherwise known as your late 20s, and beginning to wonder all sorts of things you thought you’d never have to ask. Like, for example: Would I ever get Botox? Should I get Botox?

This question is not a big deal for many people, least not being those who get it. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists routinely preach the benefits of Botox as a preventative measure for younger women concerned with their complexion. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and it’s not sitting exactly right with me. Not because I feel holier than thou — like I am above Botox — or because of the stance I have taken against makeup (a function of being 24 — nothing more, nothing less) and pro “going natural.” Mostly, it’s a little sobering to be met by the chilling new truth that I’m not going to be young forever. It sounds so predictable, right? So…compliant with the cues of our youth-obsessed culture. I’d have thought when I got here, I’d be above (or maybe below) this stuff, but it turns out I’m not.

Or maybeeeeeeee, I’m just getting used to my new normal.

When you reach your late 20s, the routine you have developed over the previous decade no longer suffices. You can’t skip nights of washing your face. You wake up with a headache no matter how much, or little, you drank. You have to have water next to your bed because you dehydrate like a house plant. Your boobs don’t sag, but they definitely start to warn you (no matter the cup size) that they are not immune to the rules of gravity. When you run, your knees kind of hurt. And, to my chagrin, you can no longer earnestly write about why you don’t wear makeup because, you know, you do wear makeup. With every passing adjustment to your routine (rotating drinks with water, replacing cardio with yoga, writing about foundation with the same passion you once assigned to bare skin), it becomes clear as day that getting older isn’t exciting the way it was when you were 15 and gunning for a driver’s permit, or 20 and gunning for a real ID.

When you’re 28, reality stands firmly ahead. You’re only going to get older. You have to! If you don’t, the alternative is much worse.

Maybe this is not the experience of other late 20-somethings, but do you remember the first episode of the first season of Girls? Hannah Horvath’s gynecologist told her that she couldn’t pay her any sum of money to go back to her 20s. I did not get it at all when I was 23 and the show aired, but now that I’m paradoxically trying to accelerate time (I want Botox to look younger, but also to hit 30 — where I have heard your shit starts to really fall into place — before these last two years kill me), I think I get it.

Decades grace us with their wisdom at different stages. You hit the social basics between ages 7 and 9, the formative years of learning your cues. You are your most emotionally fertile between 15 and 17. And by the time you hit 28? You are practically emerging from an existential birth canal wherein you think you know yourself, you realize you don’t, you start learning yourself and then…I don’t know, I’m still in the birth canal. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I am probably not going to get Botox. It feels like reacting to a headline without actually having read the article. An inkling of emotional response, but not enough information.

Photos by Edith Young.

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  • Maya

    Well, you don’t look 28 at all… rather 38 (or older)

    • Beasliee

      Rude. Unnecessary. Wrong.

    • Taylor

      The only thing 38 about her is that she’s accomplished more in her 20s than most of us will by our 30s (or older).

      • 🙏🏼 AMEN

      • Mary

        PREACH.

      • meme

        Nailed it.

      • lulilu

        Amazingly, so

    • Teresa

      What does your comment accomplish? Don’t say anything on the internet you would not say to someone’s face.

      • Maya

        I would tell it to her face. She looks older.

        • Antoinette

          Mean. Sending love and light to drive out the darkness residing in every crevice and corner of your soul.

    • Hellbetty666

      That’s rather unkind

  • Leandra, you look fine. And at 28, the human body is still well within its physical peak. You don’t need botox.

    • Catseye Nebula

      Yes, you don’t suddenly get old after 30. It’s really very gradual. I’m almost 40 and I feel like I get better with time. Plus my genetics. My mom looks amazing at 67. She didn’t seem to change much since her 40s. Just got greyer but you only see that between dye jobs!

  • hearceespeak

    You’re beautiful, Leandra! Stay au naturale. I hear the Facetune app is much cheaper than Botox, if you’re all that concerned. 😉 I’m 28, too, and my skin isn’t the same as it used to be, but it’s nothing a little bone broth/collagen (and some makeup) can’t fix.

    • Cristina

      Second that. Butter etc… does wonders for plumping the skin. EAT ALL THE FATS

      • Katrina Elizabeth

        BUTTER 4 LYFE

  • Hmm … so 28 is definitely too late to start slowly? Wade into the face cosmetics swamp for some trial and error cream fun?

  • Marta Millere

    I love that you’re talking about this and putting so much personal emotion and thought into something that might be a teeny bit controversial (b/c duh, you don’t need Botox). I just turned 29 and yes, the gray hair is starting to appear. If I don’t sleep enough, I look like shit. If I don’t eat vegetables and drink a shit ton of water, I can see it and oh, I can feel it. And then – the cherry on top – existential thoughts kick in. Where am I going, what am I doing, does life end or start after 30.
    Hugs from Rome!

    • I’m 22 and already graying. I’m still undecided whether or not I should leave them or pluck them. I’m doing a mixture of both.

  • Beasliee

    I am 5 years older than you and also had a phase of considering Botox as I felt my frown lines were getting too much. But in the same way I have also obsessed about correcting my misaligned bottom teeth with adult braces, I got distracted by another aspect of life and with a new perspective realised they aren’t that bad (at this time) and left them alone.
    So for yourself, or anyone else debating it, I suggest debating it for ages whilst trying to distract yourself with something else. If you still want it, do it – but don’t do it on a whim.
    Also, I think you have such a marvelous expressive face it would be a shame to risk losing it! x

  • Paula Rodio

    I get it…I’m 31, almost 32 and while I harshly criticized my mom when she got Botox a few years back, I can’t say I haven’t considered it lately. For now, I’m doing what I can without it like washing my face a couple of times a day and staying the hell away from the sun but I don’t know if I’ll get it eventually. I think what happens as we get old is that we become less judgmental because now we get it! That’s a good thing right?

  • The questions and thoughts never seem to fade! I’m 24 and these thoughts randomly pop into my head, it’s up to me to make sure that I don’t get too caught up in them. Because after all… I am only 24

    https://thedianaedition.com

  • Bee

    I’ll never understand the controversy/judgment associated with Botox. If it makes you feel happy, do it. Seems to me like Botox/cosmetic surgery shaming is just another way of policing women’s bodies.

    • meme

      I get that, but at the same time the fact that we feel we need to look ageless is also the result of internalizing an impossible standard.

      • Bee

        Just speaking from a personal standpoint and anecdotally based on friends’ experiences, I don’t think it’s always related to feeling the “need” to look ageless. I don’t expect or wish to look 25 at age 40, however there’s a line in my forehead that bothers me from an aesthetic standpoint. I doubt anyone else even notices it, but it bothers me. The same can be said for someone who may not look like they need to lose weight but if they feel uncomfortable in their body, they should do what is best for them.

        I totally appreciate your point and agree that internalizing impossible standards is a very, very real thing. But I also don’t think women should be shamed for their choices on how to react to those standards or their own personal feelings so long as their choices make them feel good. Everyone is different, after all.

        • meme

          I agree there is no way to justify the shaming. To me, even what we consider ugly or beautiful also comes from the culture we are living in. But we all do whatever we can to feel confortable in our own skin, because those standards exist and we don’t live in bubbles. For exemple, I think the fact that we are expected to be hairless can be analysed in the same way, but that doesn’t stop me from waxing now and then. So yes, we should be able to do whatever helps as, as long as we don’t judge women who opt out of it.

          • Bee

            100% agree with that! 🙂

          • Catseye Nebula

            It’s a slippery slope. A friend of mine wanted her pre baby body back, got it done, and now she’s obsessing over her nose. If you do it make sure you have the emotional maturity to handle what may come next.

    • Hellbetty666

      People still use, “but you don’t look your age” as a compliment though. Frankly, I don’t want to hear that. I’ve earned my face and I like how it changes,more and more frequently the older I get!. Youth shouldn’t be the beauty standard we all strive for IMO.

      I wouldn’t judge anyone for changing how they look though.

  • I’m also considering some preventative botox. I have a couple of lines from judging everyone around me and they are really starting to make their presence known. I’ve read that early botox can make your face worse in the long run though.

    http://www.andthenwetried.com

    • Abby

      “a couple of lines from judging everyone around me”

      Possibly the best phrase ever written and the truest description of my early onset lines.

    • ESW

      I did a little last year (at age 30) and it was fine/fun. My brows looked a little too high? I will probably do it again (should I ever have disposable income lol).

    • Hi @michelle_kowalski:disqus – it’s true, once you’re in the chair they will tell you that Botox and fillers aren’t actually proven to help prevent and there can be muscle damage in the long run. I’ve jotted down this and more in my article bit.ly/fear-of-40 #beautyorbullshit

  • Username

    botox is preventative? wahh?

  • Senka

    On my 27 birthday I found my self in some state of panic attack, facing the fact that I am really getting older and that my twenties are coming to their end. I wasn’t as preocupied with wrinkles, as I was with where I am at in my life at that point and what it is I want to accomplish. All of a sudden I started thinking about marriage and chilren, and do I even want them or am I only worrying that maybe at some point I will want it, but wont be able to have either of it. To me it was a much more stressfull age turning moment than my 30 birthday.
    Now at 34, happily unmarried, and I am much more preocupied with that vanity related side of ageing. I am ready to be 40, 50, 60. Hopefully to have a good and fulfilled life, but I am wondering do I want to do something drastic to preserve whatever visual signs of youth I have. And how do I do it? Is good skin care enough, is eating right enough? Or should I do something a bit more invasive as botox. It’s a valid question nowadays when lots of these things are available, and when, not just societal pressure, but also our own vanity makes us want to be our bests selves while we’re living our best years.

  • Maike

    Just don’t do it. Choose a little more make-up instead. I’m 41 and don’t give a crap about aging anymore. And frankly still look fine all those years after the shock of discovering that first wrinkle. Nothing a splash of foundation and some blush can’t solve.

    • Aly

      Agreed, and this is a reminder that I’m not in MR’s target demographic. Turning 40 this year, and I truly have no interest in going back to my 20s. Gwyneth Paltrow gave an interview where she said turning 40 was like getting a software upgrade. You stop GAF in certain facets of your life. Wear sunscreen and invest in some cute hats to keep the sun off your face. Don’t obsess over wrinkles, and the rest will take care of itself.

      • Catseye Nebula

        Let’s not listen to GP 🙉 But I do agree that we have it better as we age. Yes youth is nice but the struggle was great. Do I miss the days of taking transit because downtown parking was unaffordable? I enjoy my underground parking at work, I enjoy it even more that my employer pays for this, and my heated garage at home is just super. (I heated the house garage for the dog but I’m enjoying it nonetheless!)

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    You look great, Leandra. My biggest fear of having Botox or any other treatment is having something go wrong and then I’m looking worse. I know even the doctor has done tons of these procedures, something can still go wrong. I’m 63, and I think I’m aging nicely. Also, I’ve seen women who have had face lifts, and other treatments, and while their faces look young, the rest of their bodies don’t. The best anti-aging product is a good sunscreen, and my favorite product is Clinique’s Super City Block spf 40.

    • Senka

      Exactly, I’d try it if I wasn’t afraid it might actually go wrong and make me look worse. Also, I read that once you start you have to keep doing it. So it’s some 40 years of constant needling of my face should I live even shorter than an average womans lifespan. It’s too much of a comitment.

    • glindathegoodwitch

      I’m 55 and I do regret stopping a retinol based product 10 years ago but I have started again. I have been seeing some amazing results in people who are now entering their 60s and have been using it non-stop for the past 20 or so years. That’s what I’d do if I was in my 20s again. People always look at me like I’m crazy when I say I am scared of getting botox. I had a friend who got very ill after botox and if you google it, people have had some very adverse reactions. I figure I’d rather not mess with it. I also recently read that fillers are now being used by us “older” women (I’m 55) in place of botox so that a few wrinkles shine through but you get a lift and look far more natural. But once you start you probably can never stop. I’ll be honest and say if I don’t -love- how I look aging. This is the first year I’ve probably felt that way. I miss my hormones. A lot.

      • Sam Lewis

        I’m so frightened of retinol because it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. It helps your skin look younger, but also makes you more susceptible to sun damage which makes your skin look older, which makes you “need” more products — it seems like an expensive trap. That said, I’ve heard that the results are amazing. Have you and your friends found it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun? How have you dealt with that?

        • Meg S

          I use retinol every night, and my skin has the same sensitivity to the sun as it always did. I use a higher SPF than I did – 30 SPF might still be fine, but I went with a higher SPF just in case. I don’t use a super expensive retinol – neutrogena makes a good nighttime retinol for about $20.

          To be fair, I’ve got really fair skin so I don’t think my sun sensitivity could get any worse. That might be something to take into consideration. My only issue is that my break outs happened all at once instead of the occasional zit in the beginning while my skin worked out all the nonsense going on beneath the surface.

          • Catseye Nebula

            My sister experienced this too. In the ever competitive spirit of a younger sister she started using retinol same time as I did with the benefit of being much younger than me. Her skin broke out. It’s strong stuff so try “diluting” it in a good quality lotion or oil and use less. You don’t need much anyway. You could also target certain areas.

          • Meg S

            The retinol I use recommends using it once every 2-3 days if you have reactions to it. I don’t have the type of reaction they meant (redness, dry skin), but I can’t help wondering if most of my skin issues cleared themselves up before they surfaced, but the retinol makes it surface before it cleared up. I don’t use very much, but I’ll try diluting it in my night cream and see if it helps. Thanks!

        • Catseye Nebula

          I wear a hat for prolonged exposure. I resist sunscreen as many of them have terrible ingredients in them. I use one mentioned earlier – Clinique city block. Great for hot or beachy vacations when hats won’t cut it. It doesn’t make me break out. I also tan easily so I don’t spend a lot of time with my face exposed outdoors.

      • Catseye Nebula

        You are so right! Retinol is a life saver! It doesn’t have to be expensive either. For no frills face products I stick to Paula’s Choice. Her site has great info on it too. If you don’t want to buy her line she tells you what mainstream products are comparable. I used her site to determine the quality of my beauty products and tossed out whatever was bad for me. She also has an ingredient dictionary for those of us with sensitive skin issues.

    • Catseye Nebula

      Agree! Staying up to date in your look is soooo key. Wear some of the newer fashions, change your shoes, try a crazy nail polish, but definitely keep your hair style fresh. Even in my 20s I had fallen into hair style ruts that age you. Oh, and glasses! When I see pics of myself before laser eye surgery I cannot imagine why no one ever told me how terrible my glasses were!

  • ReadER451

    I can’t wait till we look back on this article and think how naive we were at 28.

  • Allison Smith

    I just turned 28 a week ago and could not be happier and comforted by this post!! Am with you 1000%, Leandra.

  • meme

    For me it’s been coming to terms with the fact that I guess I already had my “best body” and I was never really happy about it.

    • Abby

      I feel this so hard. I’ve gained a lot of weight over the past few years and the realization that my metabolism is slowing down/I may never be as slim again is hitting me way harder than I want to admit.

      • meme

        Yes, I also gained weight lately and I’m having a hard time with it.

        • Alexandra Kim

          ugh the struggle is real.

      • Catseye Nebula

        I was having French fries yesterday and told myself that there is definitely something liberating about ordering fries and not feeling bad afterwards. Yet I also knew I never felt that way before marriage. Yet men eat fries all the time. Young men cuz they can and old men also cuz they can (despite that they have blood pressure issues and their wives would kill them if they found out). It’s still a man’s world.

        • Jeanie

          More and more men are worried about their appearances and aging as well, just with less high standards in their face. I have a lot of male friends who are concerned about their looks. Also, I’m married too and I would never have to stop eating fried for him. We cut down on the bad stuff together.

    • ESW

      SAME.

    • Katrina Elizabeth

      ALSO SAME

    • Marie B.

      Diddo, which is why, regardless of my current shape–zaftig–I am trying to love it and be happy I can walk, hike, even dance if I want to. It makes me happy, it makes my husband happy. I’m happy; we’re happy! I have looked at that headline, read the article, and made the choice to have fun with products, protect my skin, and marvel at the laugh lines. PS I’m twice as old as you, LM 😉

      • meme

        Thank you for this. My mum says that now, after a life of saying “not good enough”, she is learning to be grateful to it. I actually talked to my husband about your comment, it really resonated with me. I hope I can learn to be grateful too.

  • Ladies, if you’re wondering if Botox and fillers are right for you — please take a look at my article Fear of 40, a story of fillers. I’ve done extensive research on what you need to know before you consider. http://bit.ly/fear-of-40 #beautyorbullshit #antiageing #botox

  • Cristina

    Well, in this metaphorical room where people several years younger than me are contemplating grays and botox and wrinkles, I think I look great! I’ve found the moisturizer that makes my skin glow. I wear less makeup. I don’t even notice if I have wrinkles. I definitely have grays but they are white lightening color like Halle Berry’s version of Storm from X-Men and I don’t care because I think that’s a really cool color and in college I actually tried to get highlights that color but my colorist wouldn’t do it so thanks Father Time/genetics.
    Get Botox or don’t get Botox, in the end who really cares and how is it related to getting older if people ALL AGES OF 20’s are getting it! Botox is total vanity, the way some people wear lipstick and some people don’t. It’s like using a Snapchat filter, or any filter on any photo to make yourself look better. I

  • Emii Lou

    I’m also 28, and I am also considering botox. I wear A LOT of makeup already, but not to disguise or hide how I look, because I freaking love it. I’m one of those. My biggest fear with the ageing process is that it will really alter how I express myself in the opposite way from what you have described. I have rainbow hair and wear tonnes of brightly coloured makeup looks – I’m also resisting getting into “classic” style for as long as possible.But, more and more I wonder, how long this can continue? How long can I pull off fun and funky? Can I still do it at 35? That’s only seven years to enjoy a facet of my personality it has taken 20+ years to build. I feel like I have just reached a point where I am entirely comfortable with how I look, regardless of “flaws” and now I have to AGE, what the hell life?

  • Lindsay D

    i started botox at 27 (i’m 31) i have this one stupid line I HATE and well it makes that go away and no new ones have come in. I think it makes my eyes brighter too. Totally not for everyone but it won’t last forever so you can try it and see. It does take a few days to settle so don’t expect instant results

  • Mariam Elle Zoghbi

    THANK YOU! I thought I was going crazy after wanting to inject poison in my face after reading one article.

  • Therese Little

    I hear all of this like you’re whispering right in my ear. I’m 33, so 28 still seems incredibly young/fun/fresh, but only recently have I begun to freak out about my face and consider drastic measures I previously scoffed at (and judged unfairly). I used to be all natural, no makeup, why are you scared of turning thirty bravado but over the past year (and significant fertility struggles) my face has simultaneously lost its luster, developed wrinkles and sag, AND acquired delightful, GLORIOUS, adult acne. The struggle is real. I thought I was well through the acne phase but research has revealed that i am exactly the age this often strikes. So, it could be worse? You could be struggling to maintain a pregnancy and covered in blemishes while your dry skin wrinkles and creases before your eyes. Never mind the self hate that even thinking about this produces–I know you know the feelings of personal failure associated with fertility struggles and believe me being covered in acne and deep smile lines augments them in such an excruciating way. I don’t know the solution. If you had told me 3 years ago I would have cared so much about some zits I would have laughed (hard) in your face. But, like you say, you truly don’t know until it happens to you. Now I wish I had been an early adopter of botox and paid more attention to my once nice skin because instead I’m googling “can you get a facelift while pregnant?” and hating myself. At least I’m left with an increase in my capacity for empathy? Hang in there. You’re a queen. Comparison is the thief of joy. I would give my first born to be half the woman you are (and that is saying SO much).

  • Louise

    Am I alone in thinking that a lot of Botox, plastic surgery and fillers talk has co-opted a lot of the same self-care, body-positive language without critically trying to take down the agents of this damaging system that’s a mixture of sexism and ageism? I’d never shame someone for getting Botox, but maybe it’s time we “shame” (or critique) the people who make women feel like they need to? The men who leave their wives for younger women, the people who tell a woman she looks tired, the casting director who gives a 57-year-old male actor a 21-year-old romantic interest. I truly find it interesting that our millennial generation that’s so invested in tearing down the -isms of racism, sexism and classism still co-opts the youth-obsessed culture that was generated by old white male marketers of the Baby Boomer youthquake. I know, this was a ramble lol and again I am not shaming those who get these surgeries, Botox or fillers. Still, we are the generation who have been disrupting so many of these discriminatory practices, it makes me wonder why we allow ageism to get to us.

    • Ariane

      I totally agree. Even the title of this piece made me uneasy for that reason, I knew I could never give that kind of a statement a “you go girl, whatever makes you happy!” and I had the same qualms about the laser hair removal piece on this same website a few weeks ago. If you feel like these procedures make you feel more like yourself… I hope you find solace and I sure as hell pray you never get into a difficult situation where you desperately need those thousands of dollars for food or rent or something. But you don’t need any of it to make you more of yourself!
      It might just be that it’s so difficult to imagine a world where there’s no billion $ cosmetics industry. I mean, what makes me so angry is that we’re lied to, constantly, about what women actually ARE. Without cosmetics and haircuts and outfits we don’t look like what we’re told women SHOULD look like. It’s genuinely a struggle to see our unmade up selves as real people.

      • Louise

        Yeah! And for the record I’m no holier-than-thou, no-makeup gal. I’m a Sephora VIB member with like 20 lipsticks haha! I’ve told myself before that makeup washes off so it’s ephemeral unlike more lasting surgeries (or stuff that has to get re-done constantly like Botox). However, this article and discussion has, in a positive way, made me have some introspection about my relationship with makeup and if I’m complicit in this “ageism pipeline” that sets women up to an unattainable standard 🙂

      • Krusty the Kat

        +1,000

      • Inaat

        Regarding laser hair removal, for me it was something I did on my legs because of exzema. A friend with similar problems had good results with it and so did I. No more nights scratching myself bleeding. So now I have smooth non bleeding legs and still hairy pits

        • Jolie

          I have had really bad eczema forever and lasered my full legs and it didn’t help my eczema 🙁 I’m glad it helped yours though!

        • Ariane

          wow, that sounds life changing. Hope my comment didn’t sound dismissive of your experience and other cases of laser hair removal when there are 1000 factors that I clearly may have no idea about. There are plenty of examples that blur the lines between what we think of as cosmetic surgery and very necessary surgery, e.g. laser eye surgery

          • Inaat

            No not at all, just think that there it is important to think about what drives people to do these kind of things. E.g a friend of my mom had cosmetic surgeey on her eyelids to lift them, because they were sagging and bothering her vision. The more we know!

    • Lizlemon

      I think because in some ways beauty can be seen as “democratic”. Anyone can be “beautiful” if you shell out enough. It’s privilege you can buy.

      • Louise

        That makes sense to me. I think in the next few decades, the gatekeepers of who decides what is “beautiful” will change, as the gatekeepers are now very patriarchal and Eurocentric.

      • Kay

        Agree 100%. This is how it’s sold anyway, in both positive and negative ways, positive in that buying is more accessible than lucky genetics, but negative in that it sets up the expectation that we should all be trying to achieve beauty bc we “can”.

    • Jolie

      I agree. Whenever I get stressed or depressed about aging, I stop to think about why I’m thinking those things. And the answer is usually that society and the patriarchy make me feel like I have to be perpetually 21. (Didn’t want to write Forever 21, lol.) The answer is always that I’m supposed to stay frozen in time, while the men in my life do not have the same fear, especially at my age.

    • S

      The only part of this I disagree with is ‘this was a ramble lol’, I think what you are saying is so important. Sometimes I think critiquing the system that generates these things, is confused with critiquing individual women who make these choices and criticism is then written of as anti-feminist.

      • Rose

        word!

        • Meg Ramsay

          Completely agree with you! 😮
          its.meg-ramsay.com

    • Olivia AP

      I agree with you but I also TOTALLY GET WHAT SHE IS SAYING. I’m also 28 and I always thought that I would age so gracefully and all of the sudden I’m not that sure. I have always had dark eyes circles and now I’m being punished for my happiness having lines around by mouth (Why, God?) And I know I’m not old and a lot of things are much better at this age, I even realized that when I talked to people a few years younger than me. But I don’t know, I guess beauty standards and obsession with youth is engraved in all head way to deep. We all feel above it until it happens to us.

      • Louise

        My intention is certainly not to say I’m “above it”. Woman A can get Botox and Woman B can not; I hope to live in a world where Woman B won’t make less money or treated poorly in society because of her choices.

    • Anne Dyer

      This is a beautifully written response.

  • Jackie

    This resonates with me so much! I’m 27 and was so self righteous about women thinking they need makeup when I was in my early 20’s – “go natural! Aging is beautiful!” …but it’s humbling and has stopped me in my tracks when I realized recently that I don’t want to age and don’t like noticing it. I’m there with you, Leandra, though it needn’t be said that your charm, beauty, and intelligence hasn’t waned a bit at your ripe old age of 28..!

  • Abby

    I am also 28 and I can already point out exactly where I will have wrinkles in the future (three lines on forehead, hardcore furrowed brow) but I’m poor and scared of needles so I just religiously use my retinoids and I think they’re working! I look pretty good. I’ll reassess in my early 30s or whenever I get some disposable income, whichever comes first.

  • MC

    I’m 26, recently got lip fillers. A friend my age recently got Botox with the same doctor. Why do we feel bound by age? I mean, I understand not going overboard, you want to maintain a youthful look, but also – if you want it, get it. It dissolves, and you’ll never have to do it again. I don’t understand the taboo with these things. You wouldn’t think twice before getting a facial, or buying an anti aging crea,?

  • beccamu

    ugh i’m 24 and i want it

  • Diane

    I am well over 60 and just got my first injection of Botox from a first-rate dermatologist. The only area I chose to do was the furrows between my brows, which were deep, making me look angry and tired. Since then, several people have said that I look “happier” or “rested,” which pleases me since I did not want to change the angles or character of my face (nor my smile lines, which I like). I plan to go back for Botox two to three times a year; it was about the cost of a color, highlights and haircut.

    • Slushee

      Me too. Or rather, I’m 40 and just went for the double 11s. I don’t want to look 23, but I don’t want to look murderous all the time either! As long as you’re not kidding yourself about looking ‘young’ forever, I think choose what works for you.

  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    “Still, there is something to be said about entering the vanity vacuum otherwise known as your late 20s, and beginning to wonder all sorts of things you thought you’d never have to ask.” I’m not alone!!! Thank god.

  • Kay Nguyen

    I believe if you need something change about yourself (mentally or physically) you should listen to your heart! The most beautiful people are the ones who are confident and comfortable with themselves, So if you think botox will make you happier, you go girl! I hope you like yourself better after the procedure <3

    https://www.myblackcloset.com

  • Ariane

    I am really enjoying the presumably homemade jewellery in these pictures. It is childlike in a way that is charming (and… thematically relevant to a piece about ageing? Ahah!)

    I think late twenties are iiiinteresting because the rate that your social circle age REALLY starts to change. Half my friends are married and half are single, some have babies and some have bought houses. Some have their dream jobs and see a future doing exactly what they’re doing right now, some are only just starting to take their careers seriously. And all of that’s normal! I’m nearly 28 and honestly, this is the year that I realised life is happening NOW and whatever kind of person I act like, THAT’S JUST WHO I AM NOW, that there are no more “fuck up years” where I can say “I want to be a writer/career woman/whatever!” and then sort of slide it under a couch cushion for Future Me to deal with.

    But standards for being A Good Late Twenty Something can definitely shift in your head. For example, I live with my partner and alternate between “weddings are stupid, my married friends are boring, we are young and sexy, let’s travel and drink wine, I’m Edie Sedgwick” and “I have found my soulmate, I love routine, I aspire to home ownership, can’t wait until we get a cat and or baby together”. And as much as those choices and alternate personalities drive us nuts, watching them slip away is difficult too.

    • Catseye Nebula

      This is so true! And it’s a struggle to not compare ourselves to others and their milestones.

  • the only thing stopping me is the price. who caaaares, get it if you want. I don’t think you need it, i don’t think anyone needs it but if you want it, go for it. you work hard, you deserve it. i feel like botox these days is like a gel manicure, which maybe speaks volumes of the time we are in but we put so much focus into preaching LOVE YOURSELF and BE YOURSELF that maybe being yourself is getting botox cause you want it and not feeling bad about it or that you’re selling out.

    • and to the aging thing… i can’t wait to be 42.

  • Amanda Orlando

    This resonates with me so much.

  • Court E. Thompson

    While I agree with the other commenter to hold off and let this idea marinate for a bit, remember that we all age at different rates. I have a girlfriend who just turned 47 and barely has a line on her face and another friend who is 26 and has deep forehead wrinkles. While tanning beds and eating/hydration habits come into play, a lot of it is genetic. So if you’re worried that you’re “too young,” don’t! It’s your face. Also important to note is that it’s temporary (done correctly, of course). You can try once and decide it’s not for you!

    Yay 28! That was good, settling-into-myself year.

  • shayna gonsalves

    I am also 28 + have quietly been getting small amounts of Botox for a couple of years now to prevent the whisper-thin wrinkles I could sometimes see on my forehead from turning into the real deal. Preventative work is so much easier than trying to correct wrinkles once they’re fully fledged. It’s so easy to have it done so that no one but you will notice! And it has definitely made me happier.

  • lateshift

    this. so much this. I’m feeling you on this…and for me, there’s also the fact that, for some reason, I’ve been going through this weird phase where the guys asking me out all seem to be 5-10 years younger. yes, ok, I know how that sounds, but I swear this isn’t a humblebrag – it follows a long dry spell, and it’s hella weird, and even though they’ve been good guys, I still don’t quite know how I feel about it….and a small part of that is due to the fact that, once you hit 30, looking the same age or older than a guy you’re dating starts to feel a little bit like looking the same height or taller than a guy you’re dating, or the same weight or heavier than a guy you’re dating. By which I mean, it’s yet another ridiculous thing that doesn’t actually matter at all, and your head absolutely knows that – but still, something about it feels a bit….off. And, against every fiber of your feminist being, fuels just a touch of subconscious insecurity. And then guilt about that insecurity. And then guilt about guilting yourself over that insecurity. Really, I’m experiencing a complicated mix of emotions all around.

    But the bottom line is that for whatever reason – nature or nurture – that feeling is there. And while I can’t see myself getting actual surgery, I’m definitely starting to be down with the idea of things like lasers and botox and anti-aging creams that sort of help you be, to put it in Oprah-speak, your best self. Just because all of it as much an emotional gift to yourself as it is a physical. I don’t know.

    • S

      Looking the same age as a guy your dating feels off??? What?

      • Hellbetty666

        Her post goes on to say you know it really shouldn’t matter but something can just feel “off”. I’ve certainly felt like that when fucking shorter/slimmer men. It shouldn’t but it frequently can.

  • Oh gosh, you are still a babe in the woods. At 58, I wouldn’t even consider using botox.

  • Elizabeth

    I am reading some of these comments and I am kind of surprised by how much thought people put into Botox. Is it really that big of a deal? I am 25 and I have been getting botox regularly (every three months) for the past year. Never once during an appointment have I considered the patriarchal system that might have lead me to my decision- I just enjoy a flawless foundation application on my forehead. Secondly, from a beauty standpoint, how is getting Botox any different from getting your hair highlighted or grays covered? Your results will last about the same time and it costs about the same depending on what salon you go to. Lastly, if you get Botox and decide you didn’t like your results….then don’t do it again. It will absolutely wear off and you will look exactly the same as before.

  • Ulla

    Leandra, don’t panic! (The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy)
    I am 40 and I love my laugh lines. That’s life!

  • Inaat

    You look good! But I really appreciate this honest description of self doubt I think most of us experience sometimes.

  • sonu

    I know this might be totally off the spirit of this article, but PLEASE don’t smoosh your face around like she is doing in the picture people!! I see women pulling and rubbing their faces all the time, and that is a definite no-no if you are trying to avoid wrinkles!

    • kneelbeforetigers

      This.

    • Catseye Nebula

      Yes! Stop touching your face! It will also cut back on pimples!

  • Katie

    As a 29 year old I found myself last year starting to see the signs of early aging. At a routine check up with my ENT doc who also does medical skin care on the side I curiously asked him for a recommended skin cream. His reply was a dose of Botox. Since that doctors visit I have been tempted to dabble in a moderate fill of the furrow lines. I’ve read starting now will prevent hereditary wrinkle lines from deepening. Honestly the cost and anxiety of having a bad reaction to Botox have held me back from getting it done. I know its only a matter of time before I go in for a filler. I feel too young to be having lines show up! Is maintaining our skin the same as hair maintenance? Coloring our hair every 8 weeks equivalent to the use of botox? I wouldn’t consider other fillers- but Botox is so intriguing.

  • Jackie

    I just turned 34 and had been having these thoughts for a few years, and while I still feel that I look and act (in a good way) young, the one line on my forehead that seemed deeper after every weekend bothered me so much that I decided to do it. I don’t regret it at all from a cosmetic standpoint, and think it looks great, no one has mentioned that I look like I have it, but people have commented that I look “better” “refreshed”. It did cost me a pretty penny for I went to a very “fancy” doctor on the UES because I didn’t want to risk anything going wrong, I know it still could happen, but I felt better knowing his reputation. I do feel like I sold out a little, I drink tons of water, green juice and am yoga’ing daily…BUT it has also made me take care of skin so much more, retinol products, daily sunscreen, and keep chugging that water. I’m not running around saying everyone, or anyone should get it but it made me feel better in my own skin and am using it as preventive measure for all the years of young life I have ahead of me.

  • Holly D

    I understand. I’m “battling” hyperpigmentation and don’t know the fuck why. Like hundreds of dollars for products and that shit is still here, didn’t budge. Now there is the new paradigm of gorgeous older women with tight jawlines, shimmering silver natural hair and infinite confidence in their minimalist or outrageous outfits. Welp, I have age spots, a slack jaw and lank hair that is frankly mouse colored. I don’t like it, but I also don’t like thinking I should be other than what I am.

    • Kattigans

      Have you tried retinol? Or vitamin C?

    • leeniev

      That tight jawline is my pet peeve. I feel like no one notices *that’s* why they don’t look like Granny. And no one will cop to having done anything to achieve it. Bugs the hell.

    • Jeanie

      Try aloe! The real plant if you can get it. My grandmother got rid of a large spot on her hand, and my mom got rid of a spot on her cheek that was there for years!

  • Kattigans

    Don’t do botox. Do it if you really, really want to. After all, it is a personal choice. But its a commitment. The craziest thing to me, and I’m 25, are the girls I know my age who are doing botox and claim they’re doing it now because it’s preventative. Like whaaaat! Talk about lots and lots of money. Some advice though is to try Obagi. My bff’s mom swears by the system. She’s in her mid-50s and her skin/face looks amazing. She looks completely age appropriate too unlike some women in that age range who over do it on the fillers and facelift and end up looking totally bizarre. It’s expensive too but it doesn’t have the risk associated with it like Botox or the constant upkeep in appts.

    • Hellbetty666

      I tend to listen to the experiences of women like Nicole Kidman and Kylue minogue, who used to do it to “prevent ageing” but now forego it. It can look really ageing.

      • Kattigans

        Botox or Obagi? I don’t think plastic surgery and injectables in general, especially when over done, look good. Nicole Kidman looks nothing like she used to. It’s like she went and got a new face. Go look up pics of her over the years and you’ll see. So I really doubt she isn’t still putting something in her face. Kylie Minogue also has zero wrinkles in her forehead to this day so she’s definitely not forgoing it anymore. I mean the wrinkles come even if you did preventative and then stopped. Botox is work to keep up the results.

        • Hellbetty666

          I think Kylie is starting to look good again now, but Nicole just looks… off. My point was that they were massive fans of the ‘tox, but even so have decided to stop doing it.

          I think it looks very 2000s, and is actually really ageing. I kind of get how young women might want to have “preventive” work but you’re here for a long time (gods willing) and there comes a point of diminishing returns on the “fresh and rested” look. After a while it looks shiny and matronly IMO.

          • Caitlin Griffiths

            I haven’t really followed Kylie’s transformation. Totally agree with your points though about shiny and matronly. Botox when overly done starts to really freeze the face in a very obvious way. Features looks more plastic-y and the look overall is not so great. I just think if you want to “prevent” aging in your 20s start with using a retinol or vitamin C, drink lots of water, use sunscreen SPF 30+ on your face, hands, neck and declotage, and practice good skincare routine (doesn’t have to be expensive if you don’t need it to be but should work for your skin type + problems). Oh and don’t smoke!!

          • Hellbetty666

            This is all great advice but I must admit when I was in my 20s all I wanted to do was get pissed and smoke in the sunshine!! Aaaand then go to bed in my makeup 😀

            I’m in my 40s and trying to play catch up a bit now but honestly? I can’t devote that much mental energy to it. Life is for living not worrying about crows’ feet IMO.

  • Betty

    I have a real problem with botox/fillers/fraxel etc being considered the same as getting your eyebrows waxed or buying foundation. There are several reasons that influence my pov. First, it’s demeaning to view normal aging as something wrong. Yes, I know it’s our culture but we can choose whether to buy in. After all, our culture seems to think it’s ok to do naked instagram photos and say a woman is empowered. Nope – you’re empowered when you can earning a living to have choices. Empowered when you pass on tools and talents to other women to help them live freely. Empowered when you’re not ruled by what shiny pix in mags say is beautiful. Ok, that’s the first problem. Next: we lose sight what beauty is. Every time MR or ITG posts with a “woman of a certain age” who hasn’t submitted to procedures she’s considered brave and lauded. Yet these same people agonize over whether in their 20’s (gawd, only in ’20’s) to do preventative botox. Look at a real face and see the beauty in it. 3rd prob: “if it makes you feel good…” well, let’s work on accepting ourselves first to feel good. Which leads to the 4th prob about feeling good. There’s lots of research on PubMed about the dangers of these substances. Pharma is making a fortune and doesn’t give a crap about the dangers. Derms used to be the lowest paid docs until they stumbled into cosmetic derm and now make a fortune. They are profit driven and ignore the very real risks. Do you really believe injecting toxins in your system doesn’t cause long term harm? there are no real studies on this bec pharma doesn’t want the data out there. But – women with autoimmune diseases have huge risk in these procedures. Women don’t usually develop autoimmune diseases until about 40 and if you inject toxins earlier, well, you’re SOL and damaged your system more. So, after this long rant, I feel like pharma/derms are making huge $$ at the risk of women’s health. and that pisses me off.

    • Kattigans

      100% this: “After all, our culture seems to think it’s ok to do naked instagram photos and say a woman is empowered. Nope – you’re empowered when you can earning a living to have choices.” — my exact response to the “feminist” empowerment bs that people like Emily Rajatkowski are peddling. Taking your top off and posting a photo of it to thousands upon thousands of followers/viewers and then going off in an essay about the male gaze being demeaning is NOT empowerment. Have breasts and letting the world know it is not empowering. Being employed as a model by an industry that is the gatekeeper on impossible beauty standards is not a form of feminism. You can be a feminist but you can’t say your line of work is somehow empowering other women. No,no, no. You cannot say “oh I post these images for myself” because if thats the case be like my 82 year old grandma who has nude photos hanging of herself from her fifties in her bedroom/bathroom. Now that’s doing it for yourself and your husband or whoever that’s intimately in your life. Not posting something on social media.

    • Hellbetty666

      I’ve been thinking a lot about Leandra’s article and your excellent comment, and I feel I have to say this: what kind of world are we creating for the young women who come after us?

      I came of age in the 90s and I honestly thought we were equal to men. The musicians I loved were all badass women – PJ Harvey, Hole, En Vogue. I was seeing peers going out and partying on the same terms as men. I legit thought there was no need for feminism.

      Look at where we are now. I blame myself for being complacent and not vigilant against this insidious sexism that has crept back in and actually made things worse for young women.

      I know I sound like a pearl-clutcher, and this isn’t a “think of the children!1!” post, but please do think about the culture you are creating for yourselves in years to come. How are you going to feel at 40, 50, 70 when you look around and see kids having corrective Botox? When you are devalued and ostracised because you have saggy bits? Eradicating those laugh lines might seem empowering and harmless now, but you cannot separate it from the toxic patriarchal culture we live in. And I can’t see this changing for the better any time soon sadly.

      And to all the young women out there, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t rail against the hypersexualisation of women that’s led to a world where it’s normal to have cosmetic procedures in your 20s. Please don’t make the same mistakes my generation did.

      • Catseye Nebula

        I don’t think women can do anything to stop this tbh. As long as women are responsible for popping out a kid we can’t change anything. The way men view women is a biological evolutionary function. They make the decisions and as I’ve said before it’s a man’s world. Sad but true. Unless someone discovers how to put a uterus into a man. Who says he has to give birth naturally? C-sections! But you better believe no MAN will make that discovery.

        • Kattigans

          I don’t agree at all. It starts with demanding change at the legal level and fully voicing our opinions. Change is never something that happens over night, but to say women can’t change anything is absolutely untrue. Behind almost every civil rights wave and movement in the US (sexual liberation, dismantling Jim Crow, the abolitionists, the 19th amendment, and on and on) are strong women either leading or working silently in the background without any due thanks or credit. If you believe that the world can’t change and that men will always being superior then you’re not thinking big enough, speaking loud enough, and working hard enough to enact a vision for a different reality for women in this country and the world over.

        • Hellbetty666

          I’m not sure men would ever want a uterus (it’s easier to tell us what to do with ours!), but uterine transplantation is a real thing which means transwomen might be able to bear children in years to come.

  • Holly D

    So I’ve really been thinking about this, and who are we doing all this shit for? I bet the majority here thinks we’re committed to supporting women, men, all nations and races and genders but the focus here actually seems to be on appearance despite our alleged beliefs. What the fuck, y’all? What’s up with this anti-aging crap and the fearmongering? Yeah, I’d like to look like I did at 20, I empathize but that phase lasts for 10 years maybe, from 15 to 25. Then are you thinking you’ll maintain that from 25 to 85? That’s 60 years of struggling for the impossible goal of being attactive and appealing to your demographic or potentially someone else’s. There are gorgeous 20 year olds, and believe it or not, there are equally gorgeous 70 year olds. Now there seems to be an understanding that if you weren’t Gigi Hadid at 20, with the appropriate products you could reach that goal later on. There’s also the belief that we could be the 70 year old with perfect bone structure, or lacking that we could have a unique and attractive sense of style.

    I don’t like feeling old, irrelevant, left out or unable to understand others’ perspectives. I’d really like to continue a dialogue here..m

    • Hellbetty666

      I’m also really interested in this. When I was in my 20s (20 years ago), this kind of stuff was just not on my radar. My heart goes out to young women today who are made to feel this kind of shit is important – it must take up so much mental, emotional and physical energy that should be spent fucking living their 20s!

      It’s a losing battle because there comes a point of no return. You can’t fix everything associated with ageing. Weird hairs, pockets of fat you can’t shift, The Moods, responses to external stimuli, how your cunt changes, personality overhaul…. some of it’s hard and some of it’s amazing. It’s all evidence we’re still here, so let’s embrace it and spend our time partying and/or loving our people.

  • Jolie

    I’m 24 and have been thinking the same thing. I’m hyper-aware of creases forming under my eyes when I smile, dark circles, neck wrinkles, my face looking “different” than it did a few years ago. I keep comparing selfies of myself at 22 to selfies of me now and crying at the difference. Maybe this is my “quarter-life crisis,” but I can’t help being jealous of all the glowing, healthy people I see around who happen to be younger than me.

    I have been taking diligent care of my skin for a few years now, so I thought I’d be immune to aging until at least my late twenties. But after losing and gaining weight, gravity is definitely well past knocking and has intruded into my life to make me resent my “older” body.

    Ugh sorry, just wanted to vent about this. I realize I should probably be telling this to a shrink and not MR, haha.

    • doublecurl

      I guarantee you there is no way your face/body have undergone that huge of a transformation in 2 years! are you sure you aren’t comparing the creme de la creme selfies of two years ago to how you look when you wake up in the morning today? 24 is YOUNG. you’re all good. if you really feel like everyone is younger, glowier, and healthier than you then I think your shrink suggestion is probably a great idea, just so you don’t get more miserable as years go on!

  • StephDS

    F#*% Botox!… as you mentioned (slighty differently) aging is a privilege!… so let’s embrace our bodies and focus on what truly makes us feel alive and happy!… let’s treat ourselves kindly and have fun each day!… (getting wiser maybe? Is there such a thing happening as we growing up?!hahaha!) ….anyway, it’s not as if we will out of this life alive right?!😉…you are my fav girls!…absolutely LOVING your article!✨

  • Donna

    It’s like I turned 37 and my browbones drooped overnight. I’m 42 now and thinking about perking them up. It’s true, you get used to looking a certain way, in the prime of your life, and then suddenly the signs of aging appear and you feel conflicted because society reveres youth above all.

    • monochrome

      And it does seem to happen suddenly. I’m 38 and I suddenly look different in the mirror, to myself at least. More tired, more resting bitch face maybe? And I need to wear a bra now. And yeah, I feel conflicted. I didn’t think much about this stuff until the past few years, and I’m glad I escaped the self-criticism for a while. I think I was hottest (so far, at least!) at around 30, so I’m not sure why people assume it’s all downhill from 21.

  • Maggie

    Leandra – thanks for the honesty! Looking at the amount of comments it clearly resonates with so many here. I am almost 29 and my girl friends and I have similar conversations.

    When I turned 28 I started noticing severe “11s” between my brows. I thought about it for a long time and I realized the extra deep lines really bothered me to the point where it was something on my mind every single day. I have no boobs but have never cared to make them bigger. I have bags under my eyes but think they give my face character. My naturally curly hair is never perfect on a given day. All of these imperfections I’ve graciously accepted as a part of me but the deep lines made me uncomfortable. So I anxiously made an appt to get Botox. I felt shameful – like I should hide it from others – because this wasn’t me, right? I began to think of it as an impermanent experiment to assess whether I actually felt better about myself after. I went through with it and I’m glad I did! There’s no more mystery surrounding it. I asked for enough to stop the severeness and but not complete wrinkledom. Now, 4 months later, it’s wearing off and I’m cool with that too. I don’t furrow my brows as much and I told my girlfriends and they were all supportive AF. My fiance didn’t even notice.

    Women have enough shit to worry about. If you decide to do it (and I’m not saying you should because you’re beautiful!) don’t feel guilt.

  • phillyspice

    Not that long ago, the average life expectancy was 40. Let’s celebrate the opportunity to live long, healthy lives and stop subjecting ourselves to completely oppressive beauty standards. Instead, let’s love ourselves, wrinkles and all. It’s what makes you, you!

    • Hellbetty666

      My friend says “we get the face we deserve” which I LOVE!

  • Maria Chiara Rizzi

    I don’t think this article was really about Botox – that’s not the *real* point, It’s just a pretext to talk about the feeling you have when you see yourself change and realise it’s no longer “growing up” but “growing older”. I’m 34 and was speaking about this 2 days ago with my best friend and we have exactly the same feelings as Leandra. It’s not about society / how a woman “should look” but about how your body *feels*, and your health (no amount of Botox takes away the subtle pain you feel getting up in the morning that wasn’t there the night before :)). We worry we have already looked and felt our best and will never feel as good again. However, I have started working out again after years and I see the (almost immediate) beneficial effects. And this may just be because I have a healthier routine, I eat better, and I sleep better. I would never ever condemn wanting to look and especially feel good, it’s so subjective, it’s so personal. Love you Leandra 🙂

  • Katie Love Little

    Before you try Botox, try cutting out alcohol completely. It is the BEST thing you can ever do for your skin. (And wear sunscreen!)

    ps: you look fabulous 🙂

  • Elle

    On the topic of ageing/ageism: I just read a Vogue article about Susan Sarandon’s Cannes outfit and while I completely agree with the fact that she looks amazing (!!) it annoyed me so much how they went on to describe that she looks 20 years younger than 70. No she doesn’t, but that’s what’s so great about it: She’s 70 and she has aged and she now might have wrinkly hands but she’s still damn confident about being sexy and wearing a low-cut dress with a slit. THAT is the real reason she looks good, not because she looks young and ‘perfect’!

  • Meg S

    My sister and I are blessed. We’re children of young looking parents. Well into my 20s, no one believed I was even 18. I’m no longer carded when I want to order a drink with dinner, but it took a long time for that milestone to happen. Now I don’t really drink because I feel awful when I do. Plus empty calories. I’ll be boring and drink my water with lemon.

    Now, my mother at some point in her 60s had an intense chemical peel and she fixed what we call “the wattle”. Her mother had it, that floppy bit of skin under the chin. Mom started to see it and went “nope”. She won’t admit that she had it done (though I did tell my best friend and Mom was horrified but then I was like ‘you know she won’t judge you for that’ and all was fine). I think the point about plastic surgery of any kind (botox, intense chemical peels, etc) is knowing where to draw the line. She didn’t want to look like her friend who can’t move her face because she’s had so much work done.

    I’ve come to terms with my nose and have abandoned the idea of getting a nose job when there’s nothing wrong with my nose the way it is. I’ve thought about fixing what I call “the river” because my eyebrows knit together when I’m concentrating on something. You still can’t see it regularly, but some makeup magic happens when it comes to that area of my forehead – moisturizer, sunscreen, a healthy layer of primer and some praying that my makeup won’t settle in.

    In the end, if I get a “wattle”, I’m fixing it too. Other than that, my secret is sunscreen all day every day. My cousin never used it and she looks 10 years older than she really is.

  • BabyGotYak

    Leandra, it’s Saturn’s Return! A late-20’s freak out about this, about every decision you have ever made and will make in the future is par for the course. I don’t necessarily believe in it, like, in a literal way…but it was a great trope to trot out when I was particularly off my game. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_return

  • Pandora Sykes

    I know you’re not into make up but I wonder if it offsets desire for botox because make-up cheers everything else up so that the wrinkles that remain don’t feel so bad (at least, I try and tell myself that.) I think it’s gr8 that you don’t wear make-up and you don’t need it, but the lack thereof might bring your wrinkles, literally, into sharp focus

  • Rebecca

    I think 27-30 is just a hard time. I had someone tell me the other day that your 30s are the best and so I look forward to that, but at the same time, like, I’m almost 30, what? I want it to slow down, I don’t necessarily want botox, and maybe you don’t either, but anytime I think about anti-aging, I suspect what I really want is more time. More time to enjoy my favorite things, and maybe by looking younger, I can be fooled into not feeling like I’m running out of time.

  • Hellbetty666

    I feel like if you start trying to address these things as they arise, you’re taking on a task of Sisyphean proportions.

    I just started experiencing my older-lady armpit crepiness, and it disturbed the hell out of me. My armpit looks like it belongs to a relative but it’s weirdly fascinating – I’ve never really felt like I strongly physically resemble a family member but now my pits look like all my female relatives from my formative years.

    Weird shit happens to your body and the older you get the more it happens at a weirder and faster rate. Either embrace it, or accept the fact you’re spending your future salaries on making it look different.

    • Hellbetty666

      To add: it’s fine if you want to spend your salary on changing your face, it’s your money 👍

  • JessWantsToDance

    I always thought I would never be the kind of gal who would ever spend money struggling to maintain my youth, or ever get any cosmetic enhancements. Then I turned 30, I went on vacation for my 30th birthday and hated the way my forehead wrinkles looked in all of the pictures of me. I was deeply disturbed by them. Then I realized that for me, I had built up this idea that stuff like Botox is wrong, and that only being my pure unadulterated self was right. Well, long story short, I realized that I created a belief system that wasn’t actually making me happy. I treated myself to Botox and laser hair removal and I am so so so happy with the results. I get less headaches, have less resting bitch face, and I feel great about myself in photos now. It really felt more like a luxurious gift to myself than vanity or attempt to stay young forever. I still have bags under my eyes, I still have a big nose, I’m still 30.

  • amelie

    I’m 22 and I’ve got my first gray hairs last year. I thought it might be caused by stress and plucked them out, hoping they would not come back. But they did come back, and after removing them a couple of times after, I accepted it. It’s part of me now. I like my natural hair colour, so I don’t want to dye my hair. Only two or three people have actually pointed them out to me, and said that they actually liked it or thought it was cute. I’m not totally convinced they meant it or were just trying to be nice, but I’ll take it.

    I think when your body is changing, you will always be insecure about it for awhile. It’s important to give it some time to rest, to accept it as the new reality, before you take serious measures to change it.

  • GFY

    “Plastic surgeons and dermatologists routinely preach the benefits of Botox as a preventative measure for younger women…” This is marketing. The younger they can get clients acclimated to the miniscule differences treatments lend, the more secure their long-term income stream is. Basic business at our psychological expense.

    That said, whatever helps one feel more confident about themselves is ok, I think. Just don’t end up losing touch and looking fish lipped and overtly plastic – I am shocked at what women so concerned with their appearance that they employ all the treatments consider acceptable now. They look soooo fake! The point, is to look super natural. Like you were born that way, imo.

    PS: Don’t get all worked up about this yet, btw. No one talks about this but the 40’s are literally a second adolescence for women, in that there are random, occasionally terrifying and unexpected changes occurring with your body and emotions that come out of the blue. Yay! Trust me, it is much more shocking to one’s reality than what you’re dealing with now, even though I hear your reckonings with the concept of aging, I do. But it will always be this way, and it does not have to suck!. Once accepted, which is the only graceful way to handle it, unless you’ve willfully neglected yourself, you realize that you ARE beautiful at every age – and that’s the point!

    We change and grow continuously from birth. It doesn’t stop when we become adults. Women must reclaim their own self-acceptance from industries that bank on keeping us as far away from it as possible. I’ve been reading accounts by actually old women who, looking back at old photo’s, all say they wish they’d appreciated how beautiful they actually were. I am now able to see the truth of this and know that when I am 80, I’ll see that my 40’s are actually pretty blessedly gorgeous. So just decide to see yourself in that light now instead of waiting to appreciate it later, after the fact. It really allows you to feel good about yourself and others!

    • kevynryan

      This was the other “reassurance” I got while freaking out about turning 30. “Chill out, 40 is worse.” 😭

      • GFY

        lol.! …however it bears repeating: “We change and grow continuously from birth. It doesn’t stop when we
        become adults. Women must reclaim their own self-acceptance from
        industries that bank on keeping us as far away from it as possible.” Do your best with what you have, be grateful for what you DO have going for you and then think about more important things.

  • kevynryan

    GET OUT OF MY HEAD, Leandra! I just turned 30 last month, which triggered a low key existential crisis that culminated in a full blown meltdown one night to my boyfriend about how “it’s not going to get better from here (my face, my body), only worse,” and how “I thought I would be able to age gracefully” even though on my actually birthday I had made an appointment to Botox my “11s” and promptly had a panic attack and canceled said appointment. It should be said – I’m not actually a head case usually. This was bizarre and unexpected and 100% the result of suddenly having a “3” in front of my age and realizing “2” was gone forever. My 20s weren’t even that good! I was an idiot most of the time, a pinball. But the march toward death is real and impending, and it hit me really hard, all at once.

  • SC

    Hi Leandra! I turn 28 in a few days, and this certainly feels like a transitional time in my life. Everything is staying the same–same PhD program, same boyfriend, same roommate. But inside, it feels like I am being reborn. It really helps to read this article. But just so you know, wrinkles don’t take beauty away. There’s nothing sexier than a woman with a few wrinkles that carries herself like a fucking goddess. Yoga definitely helps with that.

  • Julie

    I think Leandra has a beautiful face , I love the how under eyes look I love her jaw bone and most of all I love she doesn’t wear makeup but her attire
    Is dashing and gorgeous.

  • Botoxhereicome

    Hi I so relate… although I must admit I’m a bit older. I will be turning 36 this year and two years aging I still when I decided I needed to start taking care of my skin :/ I know probably too late . But it was this year that I decided that I just don’t like my forehead lines and I’m willing to try Botox . My best friend has already been getting Botox for the past couple of years and she looks great so I will be going to her Dr. But yeah I really hoped that with all my skincare that I might be able to reverse it but my very expressive face has worked up strong muscles for crushing collegen and I need some help.
    That being said I completely agree abt the patriarchy defining beauty. I do think our generation does fight ageism and I was happy to see younger male actors partnered with older actresses in the series “big little lies” and other shows . Showing times are changing . But yeah we can’t deny that patriarchy exists ageism is real. I do think though some of it is subconscious. But that’s another tangent for another time .

  • Jeanie

    I think it’s hard to finally start to love the way you look just to have that change, and you realize it’ll always be changing. I’m 28 too but I’m at a weird place where my skin has never been better since puberty (I’ve learned to eat healthy,) but it’s also slightly losing elasticity. I have never been more fit, but I injure more easily and recover slowly. I fear age more in what it might take away from me, because of society’s expectations. Would I not be able to wear the skin baring clothes I love so much one day? I would hate to have to “dress my age” and change who I am.

  • KGA

    I am way past 28, but I can tell you that the face continues to refine until, imho perfection is reached at about 40. The baby fat moves away and the bone structure is so clearly visible under the still pliable and responsive skin. Until after that time? Let it ride. Then decide if you want to slow the clock down. I am 50 plus and still on the fence, but damn, don’t miss that second peak, it would be SUCH a shame to blow past it. Trust me!

  • Miss J

    I’m 33 and people usually guess that I’m 29-30, with or without make up. However, when I went to start my laser hair removal, at the aesthetics clinic I asked for their opinion about Botox- I was interested in fine smile lines by the eyes, and three forehead lines. They told me that in their opinion I’m 2 years early for the “regular” dose, (whatever that means) but if I want, I would be a good candidate for the minimal dose spread across the three areas- two eyes and one forehead. I’m still considering it because once you start it would be sort of ridiculous to stop… so I’m all for Botox, I’m just considering if I can do it on a regular basis for the rest of my life. Maybe I’ll wait another year.

  • lexi

    I would love fillers because they are healthier. I would not go Botox, same reason.

  • Sharon L

    Everyone thinks they will age beautifully in their twenties and then reality hits….I am Pro prevention but as a natural as possible. No procedures yet but when the time comes I am hitting my face with whatever it needs ….

  • Katie Pedrick

    No shame in Botox (although I don’t think you need it!), but if you’re really try to age gracefully, I would 100% recommend you check out “facial rejuvenation” acupuncture. They do little tiny needles on your face and facial cupping and massage and it is uuuuunbelieveable how well it works to help your skin produce more collagen and elastin and reduce fine lines etc etc