Skin tightening. I have to confess I’d never even thought of it until I got to a certain age (cough, cough thirtysomething). But there comes a time in every gal’s life where her skin starts to not have quite as much bounce as it used to. It doesn’t quite spring back, and some things are drooping a tiny bit lower than they used to. For me, it’s my eyelids. My family are cursed with the dreaded hooded eyes and as I’ve aged, they’ve got a little less lid, and a little more hood, desperately crying out for a brow lift. But I am not really into surgery just yet, so I didn’t know what to do.
Then, Body Catalyst approached me to try out their services for a non surgical brow lift at their new New Farm clinic, so I leapt at the chance.
Body Catalyst is Australia’s largest and most experienced Body Shaping and Wellness clinic. They’ve just opened up in Brisbane and are popping up all over the city. So far they have helped over 30,000 clients lose fat, treat cellulite, tighten loose skin and reduce wrinkles. They’re experts in complete treatments in fat freezing, fat cavitation, cellulite reduction, non surgical facelift, skin tightening, muscle definer, skin rejuvenation and pelvic floor strengthening.
For me today, it’s all about the HIFU non-surgical face lift or, more specifically, a brow lift. My right eye has always had more of a hood than my left, and I would really like to even those babies out, as well as have my brows sit that tiny bit higher so I look, you know, awake.
When I arrive, I’m greeted by super smiley staff at the New Farm location and I am super excited to experience my treatment. HIFU or High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound technology tightens and lifts areas of the face without needles, resulting in younger looking skin without surgery or downtime. The Ulfit HIFU technology uses focused ultrasound energy to penetrate the skin, repairing damaged cells and forming new collagen to visibly tighten, lift and rejuvenate the skin.
The atmosphere in the treatment room is super luxe and calming, and my nurse therapist Sarah shows me each of the cartridges she is going to use for my treatment. She explains that after my first session I will see 20 per cent of the results instantly, with the results peaking at around the three-month mark.
She gets SO excited when I tell her I’ve never done anything like this before. She lifts up my brows, testing where the droop is and tells me I am an ideal candidate, promising she is going to change my life.
I lie down and Sarah tells me there can be a little zap of pain when it starts. She marks up my skin and slathers some conductive gel on my face, and asks me if I am ready.
I give the go ahead and… 1… 2… 3… “Oh this is not that ba…. MOTHER OF GOD!” It starts out fine but god damn does that have a sting in the tail. We go again another couple of times and each time it feels ok and then I get the shock of my life, then it’s fine again. It’s OK though, because I am a big girl who knows all the swear words and uses them liberally.
When I look in the mirror, quite frankly I am amazed. Whereas before I didn’t have a right eyelid, now, a tiny sliver of eyeshadow real estate is now blinking back at me. I look awake, and alive and I am thrilled.
Sarah says this should last about six months, with best results if I should have a second treatment in three months, so I book it in and can’t wait.
In the days that follow, my brows feel super tender and almost like someone’s punched me in the face, but I look AMAZING who who cares what it feels like?
Lots of people are impressed with my initial results (only when I show them a before photo, because, like so many of our little niggles, we notice issues and others’ don’t). My results keep progressing til that three month mark but I feel like they slightly drop again, so I get really excited for my second appointment.
My second appointment is much like my first, except that somehow I am now more nervous about the pain this time, having built it up in my mind. Because I am a wuss, Sarah invites one of the other therapists in to give me a foot massage and take my mind off it. She does give me a lovely massage, but does have to endure my hand squeezing. In all seriousness the pain isn’t too intense, it’s just a short sharp shock, and I am a giant baby, who laugh-swears through it all.
Again I am excited by my immediate results, but when I wake up the next day I get a bit of a shock, as both my eyelids are swollen. As the day goes on, they continue to swell until I look a bit like I’ve been stung by a bee on both eyelids. Luckily it’s the weekend and I don’t need to go out. The gals at Body Catalyst are great through it all, and Sarah let’s me know this can happen sometimes and is a histamine response, and that it won’t affect my results. I’m told to get some hydrocortisone cream and apply sparingly to the area.
That seems to do the trick (phew!) and my eyes return to normal, and I can get back to marvelling and how my eyebrows now sit higher and my face looks so much more alert and awake. Before when I let my expression go neutral I looked cranky. Now I look alive and even… dare I say it, happy? I am so impressed and can now try out some of the eyeshadow looks that have never been possible for me before.
Would I do it again? Abso-bloody-lutely. I would just make sure I didn’t have to go anywhere on the days after… just in case.
Elizabeth Best is a journalist, beauty expert, foodie and travel lover with a mild obsession for all things shimmery. She also hosts the smash-hit sex and relationships comedy podcast Ghosts of Boyfriends Past In her spare time, she likes long walks down the makeup aisle and performing in Brisbane theatre. You can follow her adventures on Instagram@thebeautypalate.