Bubble baths, face masks, massage—we’re willing to bet these are among the top “indulgences” that come to mind when defining a term like self-care. But, increasingly, we’re learning—or, rather, accepting—that the list is much, much longer, that activities vary from person to person (we have one friend who loves to dry brush her body, another who keeps a daily journal and a third who actually considers infrequently skipping her normally long nightly skin-care routine a true act of self-love), and that more and more of us are counting injectables, like dermal fillers and Botox, among our self-care rituals.
Erin Sousa, a brand strategist, is open on her social media platform about her choice to include injectable treatments in her personal self-care regime. “Anything that makes you feel good is self-care; for me, this means Botox, too,” Sousa says, adding that she loves how the treatment makes her look “more awake and refreshed.”
“Self-care means taking care of your overall wellbeing, whether that be taking time to yourself, setting boundaries, doing something that makes you feel happy, taking time to have a bath, apply your skin care, or yes, something like Botox,” she explains.
Sabrina Smythe, who does investor relations for publicly traded companies, started receiving Botox several years ago. “I had two deep frown lines, or 11s, on my forehead, between my eyebrows and above my nose. As soon as those disappeared I felt 100 times more confident about myself. I have also done undereye treatments and tried lip fillers this spring; both were subtle and I liked how it looked.”
Like Sousa, Smythe defines self-care as “anything that makes you feel better about yourself, so in that context I do believe that Botox and other injectables are considered self-care.” But, she adds, “there is a fine line; some women do take it overboard. In my opinion, when Botox and injectables are taken to that extent, it stops becoming about self-care and begins to be about becoming someone you are not. For me, self-care is very much about making oneself feel more confident in their own skin. It about enhancing, not changing.”
Taraneh Erfan King, a registered clinical counsellor, says we each feel cared for differently, and that makes defining self-care activities impossible. “We can’t make blanket statements when it comes to how people feel pampered or cared for, how each of us considers and manages our own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. For some people, self-care is doing the hardest workout of their life; for others, it’s lounging around and doing nothing. And yes, for some, it’s about how they feel physically, and the impact that has on their life. If that means Botox, then that means Botox. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the question, ‘What does feeling cared for look or feel like for me?’”
Her advice: “Get clear, for yourself, on why you do what you do. Self-care is fully about you.”
The truth, we think, is that self-care can, potentially, refer to anything done, by ourselves for ourselves, to improve our lives and/or enhance our health, whether that’s mindfulness, meditation, exercise, skin care or, yes, getting injectable treatments. “Beyond gaining a good handle on your own motivations,” says Dr. Thomas Buonassisi, board-certified facial plastic surgeon and founder of 8 West Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Skin Clinic in Vancouver, “one of the keys is to partner with a professional to ensure your journey is not only fuelled by a desire to look and feel your best, but, ultimately, progresses in such a way that you are pleased with your results.”
“So many of my clients truly come in to care for themselves, and out of care for themselves,” confirms Lisa Roberge, an aesthetic nurse injector at 8 West. “Not only that, their self-care journey when it comes to injectables is ongoing, and the relationship we form with them becomes part of that journey. They come in knowing we have their best interests in mind, and they leave feeling refreshed, with a positive boost. Personally, I’m happy we’re starting to lose the judgement around these treatments, that we’re beginning to understand that, based on the individual, they can very much be a part of one’s self-care routine.”
Jenn Sheaves, also an aesthetic nurse injector at 8 West, is similarly encouraged to see the stigma around injectables changing. “It’s challenging for women, daily, to be asked if they are tired, or angry, when that’s not how they feel. Minimizing these negative expressions on the face can be empowering, and can allow women to live more confidently, which in my opinion is a form of self-care.”
Indeed, as Well + Good beauty and fitness director Ali Finney writes, “It’s time to broaden our wellness boundaries beyond salt scrubs and sweat sessions to include anything that we do that makes us feel better about ourselves—including injectable appointments.” Below, some non-surgical injectable treatments available at 8 West that may (or may not; the operative term here is, of course, “self”) match your personal definition of self-care. As they say, you do you! —Noa Nichol
8 West Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Skin Clinic, 1788 W. Broadway #300, Vancouver, B.C., 604-229-602, 8west.ca
lip injections and fillers. A quick and easy way to create shape or add volume to lips, many 8 West patients who’ve had this non-surgical procedure—which uses specially designed dermal fillers; temporary products made of hyaluronic acid, a substance that is naturally occurring in the body—say it’s given them a little boost in self-confidence. Self-care pair it with: RMS Beauty Wild With Desire lipstick ($25 at Joyviva.ca) that, rich in antioxidants, offers ultimate hydration and maximum colour payoff.
botox and dysport. These tiny injections take just a couple of minutes to perform, and the result is a natural-looking relaxation of the muscles that cause frowning. Both Botox and Dysport can smooth out dynamic wrinkles, be used to treat excessive sweating or facilitate facial slimming. Self-care pair it with: Routine Woke Glow day oil ($77 at Joyviva.ca), packed with good-for-skin ingredients like rosehip oil, vitamin C, sea buckthorn and frankincense, which is said to reduce the appearance of pores and the look of wrinkles.
dermal fillers. In the hands of an experienced injector, dermal fillers look natural and beautiful; they also happen to be one of 8 West’s most-popular treatments. Used to treat lines, folds and wrinkles on the lower half of the face, as well as to “plump” the appearance of the cheeks or lips, enhance facial contour and fill facial depressions, fillers can be used alone or combined with other skin-rejuvenating treatments like Botox or Dysport, as well as laser and skin resurfacing. Self-care pair it with: ZO Skin Health Growth Factor eye serum ($145 at Joyviva.ca), designed to improve the appearance of expression lines, creasing and hollowness while plumping and encouraging healthy skin.
sclerotherapy injections. Used to treat spider veins, sclerotherapy involves an injection of a solution (generally a salt solution) directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to collapse and stick together. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view. It’s particularly important to have this treatment done by a vein specialist with vast experience. Self-care pair it with: Image Skincare Body Spa CELL.U.LIFT firming body creme ($150 at Joyviva.ca), formulated to firm and tone the body, hydrate to improve skin quality and to reduce post-operative swelling.
iv therapy. Whether you’re seeking support for skin, performance and recovery, an immune boost (key these days) or just general health maintenance, IV therapy can quickly and efficiently deliver nutrients like NAD or vitamin C to your body to allow for efficient healing from within, all in as little as 20 minutes. Self-care pair it with: Goli apple cider vinegar gummies ($30 at Joyviva.ca), rich in antioxidants, fibre and vitamin C.