Red Carpet 101: Smooth Foreheads
No, we're not going to play Name that Forehead. Because really, the "rules" have changed.
We've already talked about celebrity lies. In her highly informative book Plastic Makes Perfect, aesthetics consultant Wendy Lewis lists the top 5 lies:
- It's in my genes
- I would consider it in the future.
- I've just had a bit of Botox
- I take a lot of vitamins & herbs
- I'm just lucky, I guess
I used to feel that everyone should just 'fess up – it would make real women realize they didn't just get the dregs of the gene pool.
But I may be wrong.
In researching this article, I came across British journalist Janet Street-Porter's piece in the Daily Mail entitled: "The sheer lunacy of women refusing to look their age". I'm going to be mining this one for weeks, but to this topic: she lionizes Brigitte Bardot whom she cedes stopped working in her 30s, and she criticizes Diane Keaton, who hasn't even had any work done. Then Street-Porter answers her own question about why wmen do this:
If they looked the way pensioners really do — wrinkly, saggy and a bit stiff around the knees — they would never make a record, appear in a movie or present a telly programme."
You see, it's about work. And Newsflash: It isn't just about women and aging in the media – it's women in any workplace to a large extent. And Newsierflash: midlife men are experiencing it too.
Women have to work, especially in this new economy, and further, many women want to work. So, there's a bigger aspect that needs to change. But for now, she's right about one thing: "We have no role models" for women and aging in this era. So how 'bout a new approach: women lay off criticizing other women about how they try to navigate this virgin territory?
The Game Changer
OK, so Botox got a bad rap because everyone looked frozen and fake. It took a little while for some doctors to figure out how to wield this new tool, says Dr. Z. Paul Lorenc, a NYC plastic surgeon who found himself facing criticism from his colleagues for utilizing injectables.
But in a karmic twist of fate, he was later sought out to teach them how to use injectables when the economy spiraled downward. And to fix a lot of botched jobs — sky-high eyebrows, frozen foreheads, infection — by docs who didn't know their anatomy, or "bargain" shots done in spots such as Botox parties and pop-up stalls in malls.
Injectable neurotoxins, which Dr. Lorenc views as a sort of modern miracle (they could be compared to the advent of hair color), were wielded the wrong way and got a bad rap. But patients who got it done well were never targets of criticism – they were just deemed to be magically defying aging somehow.
New Kids on the Block: Botox rivals, Dysport & Xeomin
Another thing Street-Porter pegged: "These women may not be using a product actually called Botox,…" Ah, haaa… Botox has become like Kleenex or Xerox – the brand now stands for all neurotoxins. But the new kids on the Botox block are Dysport and Xeomin.
The basic differences are: Dysport takes effect faster, and lasts a little longer. At least on me—I tried the half-n-half approach (do not try this at home!) – almost 2 years ago and that's what I saw.
Xeomin is pure toxin (botulinum which is actually a naturally occurring substance), not coated by proteins (which is how Botox was originally formulated), so you're much less likely to develop antibodies or allergens to it. Botox has been known to stop working on some people after multiple treatments. Xeomin allows you to switch it up, even as a preventative measure. Dr. Lorenc also wondered aloud if this injectable could be considered more "green" since it doesn't have to be shipped in dry ice or stored in the freezer.
Both are a little cheaper too. Lorraine Russo, the exec. director at Dr. Lorenc's office says patients call Xeomin XO "because they love it so much." To me it sounds like a character in Lord of the Rings.
Name that Forehead
But the real reason celebs are getting away with saying that they've gone "natural"? More doctors are getting more savvy as to how to apply these neurotoxins, Dr. Lorenc says.
Everyone comes in with the same concerns: "They don't want to look plastic, they don't want to look bland; they don't want to look fake, they don't want to be immobilized." Dr. Lorenc's secret: Smaller amounts spread across more points, strategically placed with anatomical precision for more control. Voila! You still move.
Another danger at less reputable places: Dilution! If you get little-to-no result, that could be what's going on. And how some places are "able" to charge less. Always ask how many units are being used, Dr. Lorenc suggests, not cc's – that's where the dilution could come in.
OK, go ahead — play Name that Forehead. And pay attention to them on the red carpet – men as well as women. But go easy on being mean, everybody's just trying to make a living…