First, they came for our closets, replacing our sturdy leather totes with bamboo clutches full of holes. Then, they came for our kitchens, eschewing our standard-issue Ikea skillets for enamel cookware in every color of the rainbow. Now, they're coming for our faces, inviting us to trade in what our parents gave us for plumper lips, sharper cheekbones, wider eyes, and higher arches.
We are fated to be influenced by Instagram trends, in life as in grid. But while you can click on an image of a marble cheeseboard and have the very same one en route to your doorstep in seconds (and the cheese, too, while you're at it), there's no Shop button for Bella Hadid's sexy, feline stare just yet. There is, however, the Botox brow lift, an increasingly popular procedure that yields more defined brows and a more youthful, awake-looking eye area with just a few strategically placed taps of the syringe. The difference is subtle but significant — and a lot more common than you'd think.
What is a Botox brow lift?
"Botox" is the operative word here: A true brow lift, also called a forehead lift, is a surgical procedure that involves physically lifting the muscles and subcutaneous tissue, raising the brow area in the process. A Botox brow lift achieves a similar effect — without the use of invasive surgery.
Patients often reference photos of Bella Hadid when requesting a Botox brow lift, though the model has never said she underwent the procedure.
"A Botox brow lift is a procedure when you give a temporary lift to the eyebrows through strategic use of a neurotoxin," explains dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. By using the injectable to relax the muscles that drag the brows down, the upward-pulling muscle of the forehead can do its thing unchecked. "This will cause a physical lift of the brows for as long as the toxin remains active, usually between three and five months," says Dr. Zeichner.
How does a brow lift with Botox work?
In addition to being a great potential band name, the corrugators (known colloquially as the "11s") are the muscles that cause the vertical lines between the eyebrows. "The corrugators are depressors of the inner part of the eyebrow," says facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dara Liotta, MD, FACS. "If you make a mean face and look in the mirror, you can see how the brow comes down in the inner part." When you relax those muscles, the front half of the brow stays lifted.
That leaves the outer portion of the eyebrow up to the lateral depressor, which is called the orbicularis oculi muscle. "The lateral depressor is the circular muscle that goes around the eye and gives us crow's feet when we smile," Dr. Liotta explains. "Relaxing specific parts of that muscle, which pulls down the arch and outer corner of the brow, lets the arch float upwards."
Why are Botox brow lifts so popular?
"There's definitely an increased demand because of celebrities, in addition to Instagram filters, which tend to raise the arch of the brow," says Dr. Liotta. Just how high is that demand? "I perform about 5-10 Botox brow lifts per day, either alone or in combination with other injectable procedures," she says.
"Currently the popular shape of the brows is full and arched," says Dr. Zeichner. "Patients are seeing these images all over the media and on the internet. They're coming in asking what they can do to open their eyes and raise their eyebrows — many are even specifically asking for Botox brow lifts." A more visible eyelid as a result of the lift also means a larger canvas for eye makeup, which Dr. Zeichner says is a selling point for many of his patients.
Who should get a Botox brow lift?
"Anyone is a candidate for a Botox brow lift," says Dr. Liotta. "The amazing — and annoying — thing about Botox is that it's not permanent. You can try it, and if you don't like it, don't do it again." If you decide the procedure is right for you, it takes all of 30 seconds to complete, and doesn't result in any bruising or downtime (though there may be some initial redness or small bumps at the injection site, which is completely normal).
With that in mind, however, "Botox brow lifts are an art, and you need to seek out an expert," says Dr. Liotta. "If the Botox is placed incorrectly, it can actually flatten the brow arch, and could even lead to a droopy eyelid." As always, it's important to do your research when it comes to finding the right board-certified practitioner.
How much does a Botox brow lift cost?
Depending on where you live and how much product is used, both doctors estimate anywhere between $500 to $1,000 per session, with results lasting up to six months. If you can't swing it with your budget, there's still time to add it to your holiday wishlist.