Three devotees joyfully describe wiping the past year from their faces

Have YOU had the jab yet? For some women, it’s not the manicures and blow dries they’ve missed most — it’s Botox and fillers. Three devotees joyfully describe wiping the past year from their faces

  • Clinics across Britain have been inundated with bookings for ‘tweakments’
  • Dr Wassim Taktouk claims to have been offered gifts in exchange for a booking 
  • Three women explain why they hurried to reclaim their prelockdown looks

With Covid stress, Deliveroo takeaways, and mid-afternoon wine o’clock writ large on our faces, many of us feel we have gone to seed during the pandemic.

So it’s no surprise beauty salons are already booked up for weeks to come since opening on Monday.

But for some women, a quick manicure and root touch-up simply won’t cut it to bolster their post-lockdown confidence.

Forget the colourist, hang the pedi. For devotees starved of Botox and fillers for months and months, only an urgent appointment for a liquid facelift will do. Clinics across Britain claim they are inundated with bookings for ‘tweakments’ this week.

‘The demand for post-April 12 bookings has been up an unbelievable 500 per cent,’ says Dr Pujaa Patel, founder of at-home Botox service Unndoo.

Three women explained why they were first in line to reclaim their pre-lockdown looks. Pictured: Ingeborg van Lotringen after having ‘tweakments’

Of course, looking worse for wear should probably be the least of our worries after a year in isolation, but judging from the lengths to which some people have gone to get appointments, it’s anything but.

‘I’ve been offered, but turned down, champagne, concert tickets and holidays in return for bookings,’ says Dr Wassim Taktouk. ‘Someone wanted to fly me to France so I could do all their friends at their house.’

Over the page, three women explain why they too were first in line to reclaim their pre-lockdown looks.


by Ingeborg van Lotringen

I’m what you might call a reluctant tweaker. I despise change of any description, so jabbing my face with fillers or muscle-relaxants in order to achieve a noticeable ‘adjustment’ doesn’t sit well with me.

However, the ‘adjustments’ time and age are making, unbidden, to my 50-year-old visage are potentially even less welcome. So, stuck between a rock and a hard place, I aim to put back what nature is hell-bent on removing, namely volume, elasticity, and internal scaffolding, on a drip-feeding basis.

This way, I like to think, nothing changes and I might convince people I’m 45 for another decade. It’s a losing battle, of course, but one I’ve found is worth fighting as long as my husband (a reliable lie detector) doesn’t notice anything amiss.

When I say ‘drip-feed’ I mean drip-feed: I wander into a clinic for Botox perhaps every nine months, and have Profhilo (injectable moisturiser) and redness-reducing laser treatments on an ad-hoc basis when they ought to come in courses.

As a beauty journalist I get to report on other things, like fillers and collagen-boosting threads, as well, but I’m scared to go back for more lest I overdo it and end up like a Love Island contestant.

I think it’s quite a good thing to let many of these tweakments completely wear off before plunging back in. That way, I stay in touch with my ‘real’ face and avoid getting deluded: there’s a fine line between looking ‘good for your age’ and laughable.

Ingeborg said her face looked too tired for her liking, with sagging eyelids and her brow’s permanently knitted. Pictured: Ingeborg before

But a year of lockdowns has put paid to even my random tweaking sessions. And, come April, my face looks rather too tired for my liking. Eyelids are sagging, jowls are emerging, and my brow’s permanently knitted. It’s a ‘ravaged with stress’ look I neither feel nor appreciate.

So, I wangle an appointment at 9am on April 12 (yes, the first one) with Dr Sarah Tonks, who usually gets slightly frustrated by my tendency to ‘under-treat’ and is always trying to convince me to be braver in order to keep the haggard wolf from the door.

‘Have some fillers in your temples,’ she says. Eek, fillers. ‘Nothing will puff up,’ she assures me. ‘Your face is skinny and because you’re losing the natural fat padding under your skin, you’re developing hollows. And that can make you look droopy and tired.’

I know what she’s getting at, as I increasingly see Munch’s The Scream staring back at me in the mirror. ‘Replacing the fat with a viscous filler gel will give your eyes a slight lift and your face subtly more width, so it looks less drawn,’ says Tonks.

Ideally, she would add width to my jaw and volume in various other places while she’s at it, but that’s too much freakery for me in one go. So she pumps 30 seconds’ worth of filler next to each eye, which makes creepy crackling noises in my head and gives me a pressure headache. But there’s an instant, if subtle, improvement.

Next is the Botox discussion we always have. I’ll have a micro dose between my eyes to stop angry frowning, and a drop at my outer eye corners to stave off crow’s feet. But any in my forehead and I know my brows will drop, making my eyes look less round. I hate that, but I’m not too keen on the extra-deep grooves in my forehead either.

‘What we’ll do is five teeny drops along the top of your forehead. It’ll soften the grooves but leave your brows with some muscle strength and movement, so your lids won’t sag much,’ says Tonks.

Ingeborg said: ‘It cost more than £2,000 but to me it’s worth it. I’ve see a year of lockdown tension drain from my face’

If that leaves me with three months (the average time Botox lasts) of piggy eyes but an ironed-out forehead, that’s potentially a trade-off I can live with, I think.

Lastly, I want Profhilo, a near-liquid gel injected into ten points of the face to hydrate it from within. But Tonks has a new trick up her sleeve in the form of Nucleofill, an injectable hydrator spiked with polynucleotides, molecules that get your cells to produce more skin-plumping collagen, hyaluronic acid, and other essential glow-givers.

The effect isn’t instant, but long-term you have more hydrated, more collagen-dense skin. That’s right up my street, so I have it in my face and my neck and leave the clinic looking like I’ve contracted the bubonic plague — the injections leave horrifying Dalek lumps, which, thankfully, flatten out after 24 hours.

Is it worth my husband’s bemused reaction and more than £2,000 for what amounts to a total of 27 injections in one morning? Yup. I’ve seen over a year of tension and semi-captivity drained from my face.

What you get with a liquid lift is a softening and relaxation of your features that really does wipe the stress off your face in a way that even exercise and fresh air no longer can. And that, to me, is priceless, so I will be back for more of all of it, oh, nine months or so from now . . .

Filler is £995 for 2ml, Botox in three areas is £495, and Nucleofill is £790 for the face and neck with Dr Sarah Tonks at The Lovely Clinic ( 

Great Skin: Secrets The Beauty Industry Doesn’t Tell You by Ingeborg van Lotringen (Gibson Square), £12.99 from or 020 3308 9193.


by Lucia Ferrari

The past year has taught us many things. Resilience, patience and adaptability . . . it’s also highlighted things we really miss.

Seeing loved ones; drinking a cappuccino in an actual café not from a paper cup and, let’s face it, the beauty treatments we really can’t go without. After 12 months, I’m now an expert in brow-tinting, blow-dries and manicures but Botox is, of course, not in my repertoire. Love it or hate it, Botox in practised hands is a miracle. There’s no other non-surgical treatment as effective on lines and wrinkles (and I’ve tried lots).

Lucia Ferrar who had Botox every six months for the past three years, had to wait over a year for a top up because of lockdown. Pictured: Lucia before

I usually get it done every six months and have done so for the past three years, but since all of the lockdowns I haven’t had any for over a year. Dr Sophie Shotter, who does mine, has the lightest touch when it comes to administering it, so no one will think you’ve had anything done, but you just look fresher and more rested after it.

For me it’s not about eliminating every single wrinkle from the forehead but my forehead was beginning to resemble a crinkled duvet as, due to both lockdowns, I’d missed two appointments.

I was furious I’d missed the window in November to rebook my Botox as I didn’t foresee Boris’s December announcement of yet another lockdown, so by mid-January I was begging my husband, who works in finance not hairdressing, to cut me a fringe.

It’s probably a hazard of working in the beauty industry that makes beauty writers extra critical of our appearance clocking every extra wrinkle or bit of sun-induced pigmentation as it appears. Plus I’ve recently set up a consultancy service offering clients personalised skincare regimes to look their best, so I do feel pressure to look groomed. And I’m turning 50 this summer, so want to look as good as I can for my age.

I don’t want to look 25 but the deepening forehead lines and extra few lines around my eyes (which didn’t used to bother me) began to annoy me every morning as I brushed my teeth in the mirror. They weren’t a disaster but for me it’s a bit like colouring grey hair or having a manicure. I find it more uplifting every morning to see a smoothish forehead, blonde highlights and a glossy manicure instead of a wrinkled brow, grey hair and chipped nails.

Lucia said: ‘It’s a hazard of working in the beauty industry — I do feel pressure to look groomed. And I’m about to turn 50!’. Pictured: Lucia after

As time went on, my pre-Zoom make-up application and flattering lighting prep involved more steps than a tango on Strictly. I even started wearing tinted moisturiser and eyebrow pencil for my morning dog walk.

I felt like an excited child on Christmas Eve the night before my appointment with Dr Sophie for my first Botox top-up in over a year. I actually couldn’t sleep.

I was relieved she could fit me in. It was more thrilling than usual to lie back on Dr Sophie’s couch while she examined my face to determine what it needed. ‘Just some Botox to soften the forehead lines and the “11 lines” between the eyebrows and a subtle brow lift to open the eye a bit more.’

That’s the thing about Botox; in the right hands it can do so much more than suppress expression lines. It can subtly lift a heavy brow, tilt up the corners of the mouth that ageing pulls down and can even release the muscles that pull down the jowls.

I felt like a superstar as I walked out of the clinic — and the post-injection euphoria has continued for several days as the line-smoothing effect kicks in. The stresses of the past year are being rolled away.

Botox injections with Dr Sophie Shotter start at £295,


by Jackie Clune

Jackie Clune said she emerged from lockdown looking jaded and grumpy. Pictured: Jackie before

One of the only benefits of having to wear a face mask everywhere is that it hides what the beauty industry refers to as ‘Marionette lines’ that run from the corners of the mouth down the chin, as well as the charmingly named nasolabial folds — those trenches that emerge either side of your nostrils, dragging your face down into a mask of permanent misery.

Constant Zoom meetings, where we have to stare at ourselves, glum-faced with age, haven’t helped. Emerging from lockdown, I look jaded and grumpy.

So is a so-called ‘liquid facelift’ such a bad thing? After an ageing and depressing lockdown it was with a spring in my step that I entered Tempus Clinic for a filler top-up with Dr Nina Bal. I told her I definitely don’t want to look fake — I’m an older woman and proud of it — but I wouldn’t mind looking less disappointed.

After studying my face and scribbling all over it with a white pencil like an inspired artist, Dr Nina got to work injecting my upper cheeks, folds and chin creases with filler, adding a touch of Botox to the top of my forehead.

Jackie said her cheeks look lifted and her daughter thinks the treatment made her look more hydrated. Pictured: Jackie after

She was genuinely excited by the results, which made me smile. Or at least it would have done if my face hadn’t been numbed by local anaesthetic cream.

I probably managed a weird leer. I looked in the mirror with some trepidation, but smiling back at me was a much more cheerful and fresh looking me.

It will take a few days to ‘settle’, but already I can see how ‘lifted’ my cheeks look.

Back home my daughter — always blisteringly honest — tells me I look good, like I’ve just been drinking lots of water.

Hydrated and happier, that will do for me!

Filler from £650 and Botox brow lift is £460 with Dr Nina Bal, 

I’m Just A Teenage Punchbag by Jackie Clune is out now in paperback (Coronet, £8.99).

Source: Read Full Article