’You can’t tell my husband!’

It’s not that easy hiding Botox treatments from a disapproving spouse
Rebecca Eckler
'You can't tell my husband!'
Some husbands ‘may notice something is different, but can’t put their fingers on it.’ So wives need to get creative | Getty Images; Istock; Reuters; Photo Illustration by Taylor Shute

Women have always kept secrets from men, whether it’s wearing double push-up bras, or sneaking new clothes into the house. But nowadays what they’re hiding is right on their faces. “Women hiding Botox from husbands happens every day,” says Dr. Romy Saibil, who co-owns the Toronto-based True Medi­Spa with Dr. Francine Gerstein. Both doctors have seen the lengths women go to hide treatments.“Women will bring their children with them and say, ‘I’m getting a needle,’ and will openly talk to friends about Botox,” says Saibil, “but when it comes to husbands they’ll come up with any excuse so they don’t find out.”

A lot of women, says Saibil, will time injections when they know their husbands will be away on business. “When their husbands don’t travel, we don’t see them as often,” she says. Even the receptionist at True MediSpa gets it. Women want to pay in all different ways so husbands don’t find out. They’ll say, “Half on Visa, a quarter on my debit card, and here’s some cash.” “Literally, our receptionist knows every bank in the area,” says Saibil. “She’ll be like, ‘Oh, you want a Scotiabank? Turn right. You’re a Royal Bank client? Go around the corner.’ ”

Some women feel forced to confess. “I had one client who went to a party with her husband,” says Saibil. “Everyone kept telling her how great she looked. After the 10th compliment, her husband started to wonder why. So she admitted she’d been getting Botox.” Another client was dating a younger man. “Everyone started telling her how good she looked and her boyfriend wasn’t used to being the one not looked at. So, she too, finally admitted it because he was becoming so insecure.”

Stacey, 39, has been getting Botox for years. She often goes with her 66-year-old mother for treatments. “My mother has to hide it from my father. He would kill her if he found out. He’s just so against that stuff.” Stacey, too, didn’t tell her boyfriend of more than a year. “He kept saying, ‘It’s amazing. You have no wrinkles!’ I eventually felt guilty and told him why. Now he’s like, ‘Maybe I should get it.’ ”

Dermatologist Dr. Paul Cohen—among a certain set of women in Toronto he’s called “the person everyone knows, but no one knows”—has heard every “lie under the sun” with women hiding Botox. “The first thing they’ll say is, ‘You can’t tell my husband!’ ”

The husband of one of his clients found out in an odd way. He’d been on a business trip when she got the injections. Because filler injections can cause some swelling, the company provides ice packs with its name on it—Restylane. One night, their child hit his head and when the husband ran to the freezer to grab some ice, he saw the Restylane pack. He knew what Restylane was, and she was forced to admit what she had done.

Many clients tell Cohen they’ve told their husbands they’re seeing him to get a mole removed. Or that they need Botox for migraines. (It does work for headache pain, but that’s not the reason they get it.) “Most of the time with Botox their husbands may notice something is different, but they can’t put their finger on it,” Cohen says. “So their wives will just say they got a new haircut, or are wearing new makeup.”

He, too, deals with interesting payments. “Women will say, put $200 on the credit card this month and $200 next month. They don’t want their husbands seeing anything too large, because they know they’ll be questioned.”

One Toronto man was furious when he saw $600 on his Visa bill for a business he didn’t recognize. He asked his wife, who eventually admitted to getting Botox, two months after the fact. “I just thought she should have told me before that she wanted to get it. I think men should have a say if their wives want to change their appearance. Plus, I didn’t think she needed it,” he says.

And, yes, women lie about the cost.

“I had one man come in whose wife I also see,” Cohen says. “He said he wanted Botox like his wife and wrote me a cheque for $100. Obviously, his wife didn’t tell him how much it cost. I was like, ‘That’s how much it is just to talk to me.’ I explained that men are different, or their muscles are different, anything to keep the wife’s secret.”