Real Life

Head to head: botox vs fillers

We line up the latest anti-ageing cosmetic procedures and put them to the test.
Head to head - botox vs fillers

It’s no secret that international celebrities and increasing numbers of everyday Kiwi women are using cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers to erase their frowns and wrinkles – so New Zealand Woman’s Weekly decided to trial the latest anti-ageing procedures for ourselves. Fillers plump up cheeks which can become hollow as women age, and they’re increasingly being used instead of Botox by Hollywood celebrities for a non-surgical face-lift. The look fillers give has been dubbed “pillow face” in place of the “frozen face” effects Botox is sometimes said to produce. We road-tested the two different cosmetic procedures and judged the results a month later. Here’s what our two subjects had to say…

Julia was happy with her natural-looking results.

Julia Hickton (40)

**Product sales manager

Fillers and Botox

Treatment cost: $1100**

Julia has never been worried about the lines on her face, but was curious to see what the effects would be of having dermal filler injections. At the Caci Clinic in Ponsonby, Auckland, registered nurse Kirsty Cassidy concentrated all the injections in Julia’s lower face to help plump out the area around her cheeks, mouth and chin.

Kirsty says clients want to avoid an ageing “puppet face” (folds which run around the nose and mouth to the chin) and “sad face” (downturned lips). Fillers are designed to fix these problem areas.

In Julia’s case, Kirsty combined the fillers with Botox injections which are designed to help turn up the sides of her mouth and provide a happier expression. So far, Julia’s loved the result. “The nice thing is it doesn’t look like I’ve had a whole lot of work done. It freshens my face,” she says.

While no-one has asked Julia if she has had any work done, many have remarked on her appearance. “You look well,” is a comment she’s heard several times. Kirsty prefers not to inject too much dermal filler and will sometimes refuse a client’s request for more injections.

“I’m very particular about not overdoing a client,” she says. Despite the price (some clients will pay $1140 a session), Kirsty says it is much less than a face-lift, which costs thousands of dollars and may only last between five and 10 years.

Julia was impressed with the minimal side effects of her treatment, which should last for up to 18 months. “At first it felt a little bit lumpy but that went away in a day or so. I had a couple of needle marks but nothing major, and I was able to walk out of there with just a dust of makeup. I would definitely do it again.”

Nique won’t be trying Botox again for quite some time.

Nique van Selm (42)

**Group sales manager – agency

Botox injections in forehead

Treatment cost: $800**

Nique didn’t have an opinion on Botox prior to the Weekly‘s story, but since our trial she’s realised that it’s not for her. The injections were designed to give Nique a brow lift by using the Botox to relax the muscles between her eyebrows to stop her frowning. The injections didn’t bother her but the next morning Nique’s eyelids were swollen.

“I looked like I’d had a huge night. I looked in the mirror and thought, ‘What have I done?’” After the swelling went down Nique got used to her new look but she still didn’t like how it felt. “It feels strange and because I can’t move my forehead I’ve noticed I’m moving my nose more. I’m normally quite an expressive person.”

Nique had no complaints about the clinic, but just didn’t like the feeling of the treatment. Nique’s husband and children didn’t notice a change, but an old friend did. “She said I didn’t look like me any more.” Since trying Botox, Nique misses the lines on her forehead. “I probably won’t do it again – at least not for another 10 years. I think wrinkles are about who you are. I think beauty comes from within.”

The lowdown

Botox is not recommended for any particular age group, and the Caci Clinic in Auckland says that the cosmetic procedure will depend on existing lines and movement of the face. Registered nurse Kirsty Cassidy advises a combination of Botox and fillers for the best value for money.

“Anyone with obvious static lines, we would consult them on the use of Botox,” she says. “We try to target negative or unhappy lines and frown lines that can make someone look grumpy and give a negative appearance. “Some women are concerned about crow’s feet, but crow’s are your happy lines and they show character.”

Kirsty says it’s rare to get a client who is unhappy with erasing their frown lines because that’s the main reason they choose to have Botox. “I’ve only had one client in seven years who didn’t like the sensation of not being able to frown.”

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