If you are looking to learn more about skincare, have questions about facial cosmetic procedures, or need help finding your inner beauty – look no further. Joshua Davis is here to help.
Better known as “ToxJosh,” Davis is a celebrity nurse injector and founder of Tox Josh Studios, a premier medical aesthetics practice located in Brentwood, Tennessee. With a meticulous eye to detail and naturalism, his work quickly became recognized on social media, resulting in him being voted in the “Top 100 Injectors in the United States” for four years in a row, from 2018-2021.
As an icon in the field of aesthetics, Davis performs Instagram takeovers for major industry companies, motivates audiences for aesthetic professional organizations, and has helped create Social Media Network Groups with some of the industry’s top social media influencers.
Davis took some time to talk more about aesthetics with Instinct, as well as finding the right injector, cost-effective tips to stay fresh and rejuvenated, and why inner beauty is the most important.
Josh, thank you for taking some time to chat with me! Let me begin by asking, how did you fall into this world of aesthetics and cosmetic procedures?
Hun, do you have the tea and the time? It’s a story! My first degree was in music, but I always had this love of science and I kind of wanted to do both. I went to Vandy (Vanderbilt University) for music, and after I graduated, I went to nursing school. There was this innate feeling saying that I could probably bridge the two together somehow. So, I became a trauma nurse at Vanderbilt’s trauma unit, which did multi-specialty critical care, cardiac critical care, and all that. It was fun, I loved it, gained great experience, but let me tell you, the death and dying got to me. Also, hospital politics, as we are seeing right now with COVID, is asinine.
I was like, there’s got to be more to this, and I was very lucky to be handed a position with an oral surgeon, and he dabbled in aesthetics. I was like, oh, this is fun. I kind of got into that and oral surgery, then I did practice management for a very high-end cosmetic dentist. He would take care of the smile, but you can’t see your teeth without the lips and stuff, so I handled the beauty aspect of it by doing tox, fillers, and all that. I found it to be a cool way to mix my art side with my science side, and I just so happen to have a knack for it [laughs].
It was a cool way to bridge the two together, and I never knew that this was an avenue I could have done in aesthetics. It was a saving grace for me because I was like, I went to school to be a trauma nurse, but what do I do after this? I think this is what I was meant to do.
You are the founder of Tox Josh Studios, which is based in Brentwood, Tennessee. When did you start the business?
I started in 2014 as Davis Aesthetics, and then it branded into Whisper Wood. It was who I thought I had to be. It was super cute, but as a gay man in Tennessee, I was still protecting myself. I couldn’t be this out loud and proud person because they wouldn’t want to come to you. So, I created Whisper Wood, and it was actually an award-winning brand, but it was such a disconnect from what you see on social media with ToxJosh.
I came more into my skin by realizing you can be you. You can be the unapologetic unicorn that you are, and people will love you for who you are. I decided to bring Whisper Wood to my house and created a space that really reflects who I am. I rebranded last year, and I was embraced by the people of Tennessee who you think you wouldn’t be embraced by. The patients loved it, and it was this cool, fun vibe. So, I’ve had this journey since 2014, and I think it’s a representation of my own metamorphosis journey. It’s been a roller coaster, but it’s been fun.
What procedures do you specialize in?
I specialize with anything that has to do with skin, and that goes along with neuromodulators like tox. I do Xeomin, which is kind of like the purest neuromodulator on the market. There are others like Dysport and Jeuveau, but I do Xeomin fillers, and I am very well-known for lips. There are too many people out there doing lips that look like hemorrhoids, and we’re like, no! Your butthole and your lips should not look the same, sweetie.
So, my specialty is all about the face. Very natural dermal fillers, we’re a full-blown laser skincare center, but we focus on inner beauty as well. We do Reiki, Human Design, psychic mediumship, and I think we’re the only aesthetic company in the country that kind of embraces this holistic side, which is very cool.
Because you have such a meticulous eye to detail and naturalism in aesthetics, your work began to be recognized on social media outlets, which led you to being voted in the ‘Top 100 Injectors in the United States.’ How does it feel to receive such acclaim?
It’s incredible! I was voted on in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Four years in a row now, and it’s nice that it’s not peer voted on. It’s not just random, whatever. There are so many injectors in the country, and to make the list for four years, I am amazed, and it’s very humbling to see that what you’re doing on social media is making a difference. People are paying attention for the right reasons because sometimes, I think aesthetics get a bad rep. People think it’s all in vain, but there’s so much more. We’re helping people with domestic violence scars or bulimia scars on their mouth. We can help people realize that they don’t have to look in the mirror and be reminded of who they used to be.
How should one begin the process of finding the right injector?
Oh, that’s a good question! Aesthetics are blowing up and people are doing it more and more. If you have one car your entire life, take it in for tune-ups. It’s okay, but you need to do your research. As a consumer, you must do your research because there are so many people doing this now who shouldn’t. Unlicensed professionals, quote unquote, which is quite terrifying. So, check social media, set up a consultation, ask questions. If they don’t want to answer your questions, run! Look at their before and after photos. See what they’re about and see if they’re a good fit for you.
It’s kind of like a hairstylist. If you want someone to do your hair, you’ve got to make sure it’s a good relationship. Also, make sure their aesthetic matches what you’re looking for. For people that want these crazy, massive lips, I’m sorry, I just won’t do it, and if your injector looks done and crazy, more than likely, you’re going to look done and crazy [laughs]. Ask if they have safety protocols in place. Who’s their medical director? All this stuff can help you on the front end before you step into a clinic.
A lot of people have ‘fix my face syndrome,’ but they don’t know what it is. So, know what your areas of concern are and go in with an open mind. Listen to the consultant. If you feel comfortable, go for it. If not, run and go to another consult. It’s all about doing your homework on the front end and establishing that relationship. Listen to your gut.
Do you often have to turn people away who are wanting to do procedures for the wrong reasons?
Honey, I’m telling you, I have learned that ‘no’ is one of the sexiest words in the English language! It’s funny because I make money saying yes. If your injector says no, it’s probably for a reason. It’s sad because social media is so wonderful, but it can also be so devastating. Since COVID and lockdown, eating disorders, suicides, anxiety, and depression has gone through the roof, and I think social media is a lot to blame with that because they don’t realize it’s just a highlight reel. We show you what we want to show you, and this highlight reel of filtered has caused a lot of people to pick themselves apart in an unrealistic manner.
Skin is supposed to have pores. It’s supposed to have wrinkles and character. This filtered life is unrealistic, and when people come in saying they want this filtered look, that’s a red flag for me. Girl, slow down! Let’s get to the root of the problem with that. We’re going to find out why you want to look like something that’s unrealistic. A lot of times when we do that and I say the word ‘no,’ we uncover something deeper going on in their lives, and that’s where the work should start. If the inside isn’t right, no amount of filler, tox, or skincare I do can cover that up.
That’s what I’ve learned to do with these fads. I’m making sure it’s for the right reason, so I have no problem saying no and turning somebody away in 2.5 seconds. Like, you know better than to ask me for that.
How long should one wait in between procedures?
It varies. With the normal, standard ones like tox and Xeomin for when you’re coming in for crow’s feet, do this about every 3-4 months. It puts the muscles at rest, so they don’t move and cause wrinkles. If you stay on top of your treatments every 3-4 months, then you can start spacing that out. That’s a very good thing to do, number one.
With your skincare, find an ‘aestie bestie.’ Find an aesthetician that does facials and think of them as the skin gym. You are hiring them as your personal skin trainer, so get a monthly facial, a chemical peel, laser treatment like virtue RF, radio frequency micro-needling, or a little cool peel with a CO2 laser. What you do at home with your skincare routine, that’s on the daily.
Then with fillers, they can get quite expensive, but think of it as buying a Cadillac Escalade and you’ve got to fill it up with gas, especially with gas prices right now. Once you get to a full tank, top it off once or twice a year. It lasts as long as you maintain it. So, it depends on the procedure, but think of going into a place and utilizing your injector institution as a skin gym, a monthly visit with your aestie, and every 3-4 months with your nurse injector. Sweet spot.
I love that you also focus on inner beauty. Because that should be the most important, how do you bring that to the forefront?
Understatement of the century! As gay men, we deal with the ‘straight skinny gay fat’ issue. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is as prevalent as any other STD or issue in the LGBTQ community, and it is rampant in aesthetics. Going through that myself and being in this industry, it’s made me realize my own insecurities and how bad they were. Overcoming them, I realized we need to address this. Outer beauty is only so much of it, and it’s a very small part.
Like I said earlier, it doesn’t matter what we do to the outside if the inside isn’t right. I’m an energy healer, and I was like, why am I not incorporating these practices into my clinic? I had a shift about a year and a half ago that really pulled me into that, and what I found is that if we address it, have that hard conversation, and say no, we’re doing so much more for people. If I can make them realize they already have beauty within and it’s trapped, let’s uncover it. We do Reiki, human design, mediumship, past life regressions, all these things that people are like, what?
Reiki is in over 1,000 hospitals right now, post operative healing, and it’s incredible. The moment we address the inside and don’t touch the face, when they come back, they are glowing! They are no longer tearing themselves apart. They’re seeing their inner beauty and they’re like, oh, it’s okay for me to take care of myself, but for the right reasons. That’s the foundation of my clinic and what I’m about. I’m trying to change the narrative about aesthetics and make people realize that it starts on the inside. After we get that right, then we can start to lightly enhance the outside.
Any tips for people who want to try a cosmetic procedure, but are afraid?
I think it goes back to doing your research. Also, ask yourself three things that you love about yourself. That way, nobody changes that. You might love those little freckles and you don’t want to get rid of those. What you find beautiful, some injector may want to change that. So, always start with three things you love about yourself. Then three things you would like to improve, but make sure they are for the right reasons.
We fear what we don’t know, and I think a lot of people are afraid to look done or have pillow face. We fear what we don’t know, so do a consultation, do your research, and dabble little by little. Start with tox. This is a beautiful area, and it’s an easy way to start. You don’t have to jump all in because that’s terrifying. Start with skincare or a facial and see how it makes you feel.
What can people who cannot afford these kinds of procedures but still want to feel refreshed and rejuvenated do?
Honey, self-love is the best thing, and guess what? It costs nothing! It’s as simple as waking up in the morning and writing a list of 10 things that you’re grateful for. You will just radiate from the inside. There are free meditations on YouTube, and there’s one that I love that’s a 10-minute chakra meditation. It’s hard to have a shitty day afterwards.
With skincare, if you can’t afford the big medical grade skincare line, go and get yourself a good little moisturizer and take a bath at home. Throw in some Epsom salt and just give yourself some self-love. That is above all one of my favorite things to do. It’s just the little things. Find gratitude, look at yourself in the mirror, and just pour self-love into yourself. It’s free and we need more of it.
You were hosting a podcast called Tea Time with Tox Josh. Do you plan to do any more episodes?
Yes! I launched it back during COVID when life slowed down, so I thought that was a perfect time to do it, and it was number one in seven countries. I could not believe how it blew up! I was like, holy cow! Then when life started to go back to semi-normal, I had to shift, so I took a pause from it. I think I did 19 episodes, but this spring and summer, season two is going to come out.
Instead of trying to be so perfect with it, I’m going to bring my microphone in the car with me, and we’re just going to have conversations. I’m wanting to do podcasts everywhere versus being stuck in the studio. Make it fun and talk about all the stuff. Tea Time isn’t just about aesthetics. We’re going to talk about everything you can think of! I’m excited about it, and I think people will see a different flavor with season two.
What are some long-term goals you would like to accomplish?
To stay looking 12 years old for the rest of my life [laughs]. No, I think the long-term goal is, and I know it sounds cheesy, but I want to just be the brightest light that I can. I’ve been given a platform in such a unique industry, an industry that a lot of people have their eyes on, and a long-term goal of mine is to reach as many people as I can to change the narrative on aesthetics. Change it from an outside perspective to an inside perspective, and I truly mean that with all my heart.
Because of what it’s done for me, the power and the transformative thing of being a gay man from East Tennessee and having to deal with shame, guilt, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder, I want to utilize my story in a way to spread a positive message about aesthetics. No matter what I do, I will try to find the joy in every opportunity I’m given and have fun.
Before we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to mention or plug?
Just that when it comes to aesthetics, focus on the inside before the outside. That’s the biggest takeaway. Fix that before you fix your face, and you will glow brighter.