THE TIMES Magazine
Why I won't join the front row Botox brigade
When I first went to see Alexandrowicz, it was just after a break-up, and my face looked as sad, stuck and heavy as I felt. By working deep into muscles, tissue, fascia - in one of the sessions she even massaged inside my mouth, agonisingly - I felt she gave me my face back. She fundamentally changed its structure, tightening my jawline, giving me a lift in life. More remarkable is what she can do with people who have had a stroke or Bell's palsy.
"What I do is technical," she says, " but there is also the physiological and emotional aspect. The face stores a lot of tension. First I relax every muscle, and then I start to reshape them, like training at the gym, to improve their elasticity and make them firmer. Creating integration between the muscles can change the shape of someone's face." For the same reason, she is an advocate of facial massage as a way to lift and plump the face, and also a facial exercises. (She considers Carole Maggio's The ultimate Facercise to be the best book on the subject.)
A number of Alexandrowicz's clients come to her when they first abandon Botox. " They are at that point when they are saying, ' No this is not who I am.' The way she tells it, this is a psychological journey, even a "spiritual" one. "If you have blocked any changes for years, denied that they exist, pretended you can be 20 for ever, when you stop it can be, hard. We want to be loved and accepted, and we have learnt that to be loved and accepted, we should have a a wrinkle-free face. But your face is about much more than that." Some women feel " better and better", continues Alexandrowicz. "They say. ' I love my age now.' [ Others ] panic. I had one client who was a beautiful woman, but she was under so much pressure not to have wrinkles that she decided to go for a a facelift. When I saw her again she was someone I could not recognise any more. Her face had lost the natural symmetry that created her character. She told me she regretted it and felt she had betrayed herself in allowing other people to tell her how she should look to be accepted."
What does the future look like? For the beauty industry, an increasing dichotomy between invasive and holistic approaches. There is a lot of money in the idea that you can bottle- by -youth; in the idea that it is someone else's job to help us maintain our looks, and indeed or health more generally.
There is ever more money in making even the young themselves become afraid of being not quite young enough, to wit the bizarre ironings and amplifications of Love Island.
Of course, it's easier to slap on some cream than to massage your face and/or exercise it, and to adhere to a healthy diet. Bafflingly, increasing numbers of people also seem to think it "easier" to have injectables. Although it has to be said that I now spend more time in the bathroom than Zsa Zsa Gabor. I massage in Soveral's oils. I use Brindle's Beauty Restorer. I followed the facial exercises advocated by Alexandrowicz. I also have regular appointments with both Soveral (monthly) and Aleksandrowicz (as close to monthly as I can get). And, as of very recently, every morning - OK, most mornings - I do my qigong.
What does the future look like for me ? How will what I do have an impact upon the way my face ages? I don't know, of course. It will be interesting to witness. Watch this space. Or rather, face.