Despite warnings about wearing sunscreen to prevent wrinkles, I neglected it throughout most of my 20s (cue the screams). I also didn’t use anti-aging products like vitamin C serum or retinol until I was in my early 30s, which would have helped keep my skin hydrated and plump.

A combination of all those things, plus genetics, plus my penchant for raising my eyebrows about 400 times a day led to thick lines across my forehead.

Over the past few years, I tried two popular ways to smooth them out. One was Botox — a classic, tried-and-true method favored by celebrities and anyone else who can afford to shell out a few hundred dollars on their frown lines. The other was face-taping, invented around the late 1800s and experiencing a resurgence among TikTokers.

Both worked — and both were annoying in their own ways. Still, I found one option to be more sustainable for me in the long run.

Botox is way easier and more effective

When I tried Botox, I quickly realized why it’s a cult favorite: it’s barely a time commitment. My appointment took about 15 minutes (including an AI scan of my face). Within less than a week, my forehead was completely smooth, and I got more compliments on how amazing my skin looked. The effects lasted around three months, which meant I went three months without thinking about my wrinkles at all.

Frownies required work. I had to wait for my skin to dry after my skincare routine before pasting them on. They also smelled a little weird and didn’t feel glamorous at all.

The effects weren’t as strong as Botox, either. My forehead would stay smooth shortly after I’d remove them, but revert back a little later in the day. I also had to be consistent: it took about a week of wearing them every night for my forehead to smooth out.

Face-taping is cheaper and has fewer side effects

Face-taping was very cheap (a 144-pack of Frownies is around $25) and had no negative side effects for me.

Depending on where you live, Botox will likely cost you around $400-$500 a session, which adds up quickly if you do it a few times a year. I always felt sad seeing that much money leave my account for something that isn’t actively fun, like a round-trip flight.

The potential side effects worried me, too. There was a risk of being stuck with temporary “face drooping” and light bruising, which I did experience. If I wanted it to be effective and minimize side effects, I also had to forego working out for a few days, make sure I didn’t drink before or after, and avoid lying down for a few hours. All doable, but also all things I could see myself forgetting.

The more serious side effects involve pregnancy: My practitioner told me Botox is not suitable if I’m currently trying to conceive or am pregnant or nursing. The FDA says there are not enough studies on Botox and pregnancy or fetal development to know that it’s safe. Given that I want kids in the future, Botox is automatically a no-go when I actually start trying.

Face-taping gives me more of a natural look

While Botox had stronger effects than face-taping, I didn’t necessarily love it. To make it last longer, I needed a higher dosage, which meant my forehead was frozen for a few weeks. While I had no lines, I now became self-conscious about not being able to express myself and looking stiff in photos.

Getting Botox for special events means I have to time it right — getting it about a month before so that it’s still effective without making me look like the most sour-faced person at the wedding.

While Botox works by blocking chemical signals that cause muscle contractions, face-taping is simpler: it just gets me in the habit of raising my eyebrows maybe 100 times a day instead of 400, producing fewer pronounced lines rather than erasing them entirely.

I never had anything against forehead lines or visible signs of aging. I just want my lines to look a little less prominent.

I may be older (and showing signs of it), but at least I’ve finally prioritized taking care of my skin — even if it involves a few pieces of tape.

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