When it comes to skincare goals, I look to none other than Jennifer Lopez—she’s a living blueprint of my 20-year plan. We’re both Hispanic, we have similar skin tones and, like her, I don’t smoke or drink. I hope to look as fresh-faced as she does when I’m almost 50. Another thing we both do is smile a lot, but somehow she doesn’t have the lines I do. Maybe our genes aren’t as comparable as I thought? I begin to think my only option is Botox. I’ve never tried it before, but maybe I’ll start young and use a little at a time? On the other hand, what if I accidentally overdo it and end up looking completely unnatural down the road?
I go back and forth about whether or not I should set up an appointment. In my line of work, it's easy to get Botox—you wouldn't believe how many casual injectable parties I've been invited to. I know so many girls my age who have experimented with Botox and fillers, and they all say it's no biggie. They swear it wears off and it's up to you whether you go back for more, but my fear is I'll become dependent on these injections and before I know it, lose all sense of what I looked like to begin with. However, these laugh lines are driving me crazy. I wear a full face of makeup almost every day and I hate how my foundation always creases in this area. I don't mind getting older, and smiling too much is hardly a problem, but these lines are aging me and nobody wants that.
I've tried less invasive options: skincare products with the best ingredients, facials, lasers, light therapy, you name it. And while some have provided great temporary results, I'm looking for something that's going to make a difference in the long run. Right before I decide to make an appointment for my first Botox injections, this weird-looking (phallic) tool is presented to me. From what I understand, the ReFa Carat is flying off shelves and people are obsessed with the antiaging results. I take the metallic tool out of the box and roll it down my forearm (you really think I'm going to put this thing on my face on the first try?). The metal balls rotate in opposite directions and create a suction-like effect. It's giving my arm a really deep massage by pinching the skin as I continue rolling it around. I do this for a few minutes and my arm feels tingly and looks a bit red. This thing really gets the blood flowing, but what would it do to my face?
I'm no stranger to at-home skincare devices. A few months ago, I fell in love with my jade roller. Rolling it up and down my eye area boosted circulation and helped me get rid of my dark circles. But as I compare the two, the ReFa Carat is significantly larger—there's no way I'm going to be able to massage around my eyes with it. In fact, it feels too big for my face altogether, but this is my last chance to get rid of these smile lines before committing to the needle. I start by rolling up and down my jaw. It's a strange sensation. The massage feels good, but when it pinches in saggier areas (like those smile lines and on my tech neck—you know, that sagging you get from constantly looking down at your phone), it kind of hurts. I roll it around my face for a few minutes and notice I'm getting a red glow. Things are circulating, but more importantly, I feel like I have a lift. I can't tell if my eyes are playing tricks on me, but I'm feeling pretty good.
The next morning, I try it again, this time on only half my face. I can feel the swelling from sleeping going away. I focus on my jawline, along my cheekbones, my neck and forehead and pay extra attention to those laugh lines. I've gotten used to the pinching feeling and it's more like a deep-tissue massage than it is painful. After rolling upward on the right side of my face for about five minutes, I compare it with the left side. My cheekbones look more defined and the outside corner of my mouth looks higher. I stay away from my eyes. And as for those smile lines, they're not completely gone, but they've definitely softened up. If these are the results after my second try, what will I see in a month? In six months? Suddenly, I don't feel as desperate to make an appointment—I vow to give this tool a try and hold off on the Botox. I put down the phone and place my new device on my nightstand—as inappropriate as it may look.