IDS Masktox review: Everything to expect when getting Botox for the first time, from the procedure to its effectiveness

IDS Masktox review: Everything to expect when getting Botox for the first time, from the procedure to its effectiveness

Pins and needles

Text: Cheryl Lai-Lim

If you've ever watched a reality show featuring affluent women leading lavish lifestyles, housewives (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) or otherwise (Keeping Up with the Kardashians), you'd most likely discover from these women that the key to everlasting youth lies in the 'B' word. No, not by being the B word that has the same pronunciation as beach, but rather, the other B word.

Botox — or botulinum toxin, if you want to get medical — is a popular yet controversial process that helps to temporarily freeze muscle tissues. By inhibiting muscle contraction in the area, it thus prevents the formation and/or deepening of fine lines and wrinkles. As someone who's in her early twenties, wrinkles are definitely not at the forefront of my mind when it comes to my burgeoning list of skin concerns. Sure, my 'essence of youth' will undoubtedly run out (a fact my dear mother never fails to remind my smug self), but fine lines and crow's feet aren't major party poopers for me (yet). It's fair to say that this popular method of defying time has never really crossed my mind.

That is, until esteemed local skincare group IDS rolled out their IDS Masktox — a clever amalgamation of the words 'Botox' and 'Mask' — programme that promises to smoothen fine lines and wrinkles on the forehead. An aesthetic answer for mask-wearing days where the upper half of your face is most predominantly visible, I was immediately intrigued. What can I say? Vanity, thy name is Cheryl.

The prep

Armed with a truckload of questions (a list of which includes: Can I laugh after Botox? Is Botox permanent? Will I look like a young Cindy Crawford?) as well as whatever knowledge I had managed to furiously Google on the way to my appointment (not much since I was accosted by an extremely chatty cab driver), I headed to IDS Clinic at International Building.

I'm not going to lie, I half-expected to be rejected at the door for being 'too young' for Botox. My doubts, however, were immediately cleared up when I was told that age isn't really much of a factor when it comes to skin. Take it this way: if you drink about as much water as a Kangaroo rat; fail to slather on sunscreen daily; and regularly fall asleep with a full face of makeup on, your visage is likely to be worse off than those who are older.

Once I've signed all the mandatory waiver forms, my inquisitive nature took over and I fired off question after question. My questions were answered by Chester Wan, the AVP of Marketing, who assured me that yes, I can laugh after Botox; no, Botox isn't permanent but lasts only three to six months depending on each individual; and unfortunately, Botox isn't that much of a miracle worker that I'd look like a supermodel (JK, I chickened out of asking the last question since my ego most likely can't take the crushing defeat).

After my rapid-fire version of 73 Questions, I was then ushered in for a consultation with Dr Michelle Wong. Each Masktox treatment is personalised, with the dosage varying for each individual. After a quick test where I was asked to frown, smile, and raise my eyebrows, Dr Michelle decided on eight units — a relatively low amount, where the regular dosage is around 10 to 25 units.

The treatment

I was then shuffled into the treatment room by a nurse, who first cleansed my forehead with an alcohol swab. She whipped out an ice cube after to numb the area whilst markings were placed around my forehead. At this point in time, my heart pretty much started going into overdrive. I'm not afraid of needles by any means, but I can't say I'm keen to have a needle brandished so closely to my face. Luckily, Dr Michelle gently instructed me with expert ease to close my eyes even before the sharp tool even made an appearance.

I had braced myself for the pain, but to my surprise, the first needle slid in easily. Sure, there were some residual stinging after the jabs, but it was very much akin to tiny little ant bites. The only kicker was a certain spot near my hairline, which felt more like a bite by an enraged fire ant that was very unhappy instead. My swift intake of breath drew Dr Michelle's attention, who informed me that certain areas tend to cause more pain, depending on each individual. Thankfully, the burn didn't last long, and I emerged from the treatment room relatively unscathed less than ten minutes later.

The results

Quite literally a convenient lunchtime fix, the entire procedure took less than an hour. If you aren't a newcomer to the clinic, it'd probably only take around 15 minutes. Whilst there were no dietary restrictions after the treatment, I was advised to avoid any facials or massages for at least four hours.

Once out of the clinic, my narcissistic self couldn't quite resist stopping at nearly every mirror along the way to eyeball my forehead. It was a strange feeling indeed; I felt as if I've thrown a giant curveball to the entire aging process (on my forehead, at least), but no one on the streets was any wiser. There was barely any downtime after the procedure, and my forehead was free of any redness or bruises.

For my fellow Gen Zs who are in need of instant gratification, you'd be sorely disappointed to find out that Botox takes a few days to start rearing results. It took about five days of making Angry Bird-esque faces in the mirror before I felt the full effectiveness of the treatment. Since my forehead is relatively flat, there weren't any deep lines for the Botox to smooth out. Instead, I discovered that when I furrowed my brows, the angry 11s that typically form were nowhere to be found. This was where I realised how Botox got its freezing nickname — my forehead literally felt frozen in time, with its inability to contract the way it did before. Raising my brows was hard too, and I suspect I wouldn't be pulling out any Cadbury-eyebrow-advertisement party tricks any time soon (not that I could before Botox, but I digress).

Nearly two months in, the effectiveness of the Botox is still lingering. I am regaining some control of my forehead movement and am certain that in two more months I'm likely to regain full control. Since Botox is only a temporary fix, you'd only be able to reap the most effective benefits through regular visits.

If you're up for defying time and aging backwards — aesthetically, at least — then Botox might be the right treatment for you. For first-timers like me, who are either curious or apprehensively venturing into the world of Botox, IDS's Masktox program is definitely one to consider. Since it covers such a small surface area, it'd be an ideal option for your first foray. Plus, it doesn't hurt that it'd be buttering up the visible area of the face that's most prominent during this mask-wearing season.