How Can a Normal Person Get Good Cosmetic Procedures When So Many Celebrities Don’t?

3 Sep 2014 at 6:00pm

Written by Chloe Jeffreys

Chloe Jeffreys BotoxI remember the first time a girlfriend confided in me that she was using Botox. I was flabbergasted. Not because I thought my friend shouldn’t use it, but because it had never occurred to me that ordinary people like her (and me) could use things like Botox or dermal fillers. I mistakenly thought these treatments were only for wealthy celebrities who didn’t mind looking freakish or ridiculous. But my friend looked great — and she was far from rich or famous.

After the shock wore off, a thousand questions flooded my mind. Where would I go if I wanted to look as fresh and well-rested as she did? How much would it cost? How long would it last? But my biggest concern of all? If celebrities — who have all the money and supposedly the best connections in the world — can’t get good work, then what chance did I (a Registered Nurse living in rural Northern California) have of not ending up looking like a freak show?

MORE: Botox has a 69% Worth It Rating. Read hundreds of unbiased Botox reviews here.

I don’t think my concerns were unreasonable. For years, I’d watched Hollywood celebrities go through various stages of plastic surgery madness. The tabloid headlines were screaming out from the grocery store checkstand: “Look at this ridiculous creature! Who does she think she’s fooling? Doesn’t she look awful? Let’s all laugh and make fun of the poor thing!” The message was loud and clear.

We’ve all heard the common sentiment: Plastic surgery is a fool’s errand only undertaken by someone with money to burn and probably low self-esteem. It made me wonder: If celebrities can’t get believable work done, what chance was there for ordinary ol’ me?

Finding a Good Plastic Surgeon When You Don’t Live in Hollywood

Because I was fortunate enough to have a friend admit that her well-rested appearance was the result of a procedure she had done, I was able to get a referral from her. I knew by looking at my friend that she was seeing someone who understood the importance of subtlety. I made an appointment.

I’ll be honest, I was not entirely happy with my first experience. The “day spa” I went to was an add-on to an OB/GYN practice — an OB/GYN I knew and didn’t like — and not a legitimate, board-certified plastic surgeon’s office. The woman running the front desk almost scared me off, as well. I most certainly didn’t want to end up looking like her! I didn’t feel comfortable at the office, but I was already there, and I wasn’t going to back out.

Well, I never did see a physician, let alone a board-certified plastic surgeon during my visit. I’m a Registered Nurse myself, so it isn’t like I don’t think RNs can do a bang-up job with injectables. The skills necessary are not ones that a person could only obtain in medical school, and some RNs might even be better at giving shots than physicians. That said, since it was my very first time having any sort of cosmetic procedure, I do think that a physician should have consulted with me first.

MORE: Why to Choose a Board-Certified Dermatologist Versus a Salon or Spa

To Tell or Not to Tell

Despite my concerns about the visit, I was very happy with my results. At my daughter’s wedding three weeks later, people were amazed at how relaxed and calm I looked. Unlike my friend, I kept the secret to myself. Why the seeming hypocrisy? I think there’s a big difference between sharing with a friend because it could help them, and ruining the effect of natural-looking youthfulness you were going for.

For better or for worse, people devalue attractiveness if they think it didn’t come naturally. (Of course, this “naturally” doesn’t necessarily apply to other appearance-enhancing efforts we make like make-up, hair color, or wearing Spanx.) I do share the treatments I’ve had done with friends who are interested. But when I’m out in public and someone tells me I look great, I just say “thank you” and leave out the details. (Why would I immediately start talking about my highlights when someone compliments my hair?)

Finding a New Doctor

While I was happy with my results, all was not well with that day spa. They went out of business just six months later and I had to start searching for a new doctor. That’s when I did what I should have done in the first place: I did my research on, then made appointments for consultations with board-certified plastic surgeons who do aesthetics as their primary practice.

I met with two other doctors before I found a one I trusted — one I continue to visit to this day. She listens to me and honors my aesthetic goals. She even takes my financial situation into account when making her recommendations. I used to think that not being in Hollywood was a disadvantage, but now I’ve come to see it as a benefit. My plastic surgeon lives and works in my community, and she understands the local beauty standards. She knows I want to look rested and refreshed — never done or overdone — because that just doesn’t fly where we live.

I am living proof that ordinary people can get good work done. It just takes a little time, patience, and a willingness to research and be honest with yourself and your provider about your beauty goals. Just remember, you are the consumer. The provider has the expertise, but you have the power to choose. Use your choice wisely, and you have a very good chance of getting the results you desire, inside or outside of Hollywood.

Chloe Jeffreys

About Chloe Jeffreys

Chloe Jeffreys is a Registered Nurse and the CEO of Generation Fabulous. Check out her blog, Chloe of the Mountain.