October 25, 2019
The conversation surrounding Botox is not one to have if you can’t move your face. These debates are home to a lot of passion, facial expressions (disgust or excitement depending on your company) and very strong opinions. Over the years, different alternative beauty methods have become more normalized in the minds of the public, but Botox, or more so the entire microinjection family, still has a ways to go.
“In the last two years, companies like Alchemy 43 and Ever/Body introduced a “Drybar of Botox” concept that makes it easier for customers to receive procedures like Botox and fillers. In 2018, 7.4 million botulinum toxin (the generic name for Botox) injections and 2.7 million filler injections were administered, according to the American Society for Plastic Surgeons” stated Cheryl Wicschhover in the Business of Fashion article “Botox Has An Online Beauty Magazine. The Ethics Are Murky.”.
The idea of Botox is nowhere near new to the cosmetic scene but since its launch in 2002, innovation within the microinjection umbrella has evolved. A variety of new options for minimally-invasive cosmetic alterations like injectable wrinkle reducers, injectable fillers, fat-freezing, and chemical peels entered the market and were met with less push-back than expected.
The “Drybar of Botex” concept has completely changed the way that minimally-invasive microinjections were marketed. Instead of Botox and various fillers being advertised in a way that is akin to plastic surgery, aesthetics bars Alchemy 43 and Ever/Body presented the treatments as if they were no more fuss than getting a blowout at a hair salon. “Since Glamsquad began offering in-home makeovers in 2013, it’s become possible to order everything from weekly blowouts to manicures and massages the same way you’d order a pizza. Now, some start-ups are betting customers will want the same convenience for their Botox or lip-plumper fix” said Rachael Strugatz in the Business of Fashion article “Bringing Home the Botox: How Injectables Became the Next Frontier in On-Demand Beauty”.
The original idea behind Botox revolved around the temporary diminishing of wrinkles that were a top concern to older consumers. Over time, the branding behind Botox and other microinjections has moved away from targeting consumers who already have wrinkles to consumers whose wrinkles were just emerging. Younger generations like late Generation Xs (40-50 years old) and Millennials (25-39 years old) have a more open mindset than previous generations and therefore responded more positively to the out-of-the-box beauty methods.
There was a 2% increase in 30-39 year-olds and 40-54 year-olds receiving minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures in 2017, totaling at 9.6 million procedures, according to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ 2017 “Plastic Surgery Statistics Report”. 74% (7.1 million) of those procedures fall solely within the 40-54 age range, which also accounts for the majority of the cosmetic procedures market. While it may seem obvious that the majority of the cosmetic procedures done would occur on consumers aged 40-54, more than half of Alchemy 43’s customers are under 35 years old and wrinkle-free. “They’re very pro-preventive treatments; they’re very pro-getting started early. They’re not ashamed,” said Nicci Levy, founder of Alchemy 43.
Taking into account the previous data as well as shifting social norms, it may seem like the microinjection industry would have a lock on the Generation Z consumer but that isn’t the case. “According to the 2017 ASPS survey, in the 20- to 29-year-old age group, minimally invasive cosmetic procedures were down 1 percent compared to the prior year. It’s the only age group where that was the case” stated Wischhover in a VOX article “The push to make Botox as common as getting a blowout”. Generation Z consumers are stereotypically the most open-minded and willing to try new ideas and innovations so the data raises the question: what’s stopping them?
In a poll taken on October 28, 2019, 114 Generation Zs were asked if they would ever consider getting microinjections. 57% of respondents answered no, 43% answered yes. They were then asked if, disregarding whether or not they would receive microinjections, should the concept and practice be normalized in society. 68% of respondents answered yes, 32% answered no. The decrease in actual procedures performed on Generation Zs could be the effect of many different causes — lack of wrinkles, low bank accounts, trauma after the Kylie Jenner lip-filler fiasco — but it doesn’t take a physical procedure to change mindsets.
In their explanations, a few respondents made it clear that even if they didn’t personally want to get microinjections, there was no reason why others shouldn’t be able to without receiving judgment. “I think people who get these procedures done shouldn’t be ridiculed or made to feel vain or stupid for wanting them. It’s the same thing with the makeup debate, it shouldn’t be normalized to want to fix your appearance to fit in with a perceived definition of beautiful, but those who do should not be looked down upon,” said Meredith Hart, a sophomore at George Mason University (GMU).
Many other respondents were firm in their opinion that there was absolutely nothing wrong with getting microinjections as long as the desire came from a healthy and uninfluenced state of mind. Any pressure from an external source (society, peers, or media) shouldn’t be a factor of why people choose to get microinjections. “As long as the choice doesn’t come from a toxic place, based on trends or what others think, then fix whatever you want. It’s your body, your choice, do it because you want to,” said Chan Trier Rhodes, a junior at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
The Your Body, Your Choice movement plays a large part in those who advocate for microinjections. Beauty standards have long preached for the age-defining, wrinkleless look and because of that, microinjections like Botox received a bad reputation for perpetuating a toxic mindset. Those who promote microinjections are careful to say that if anyone is considering a treatment, they should do so because it’s truly what they want and not to fit into some ancient definition of what is and isn’t beautiful. It’s a personal choice that shouldn’t be influenced by anything or anyone else.
Written by Hana Lorne