Written by: Emily, PMUHub Editor-in-Chief
Quick Lip Filler Review:
- I’m really happy with my immediate results, although it’ll take at least 1 more session to get the final look
- The treatment was unpleasant but not unbearable
- The downtime was negligible
I’ve been wanting to get lip fillers literally for years, and I’ve been finding excuses not to – for years.
First, it was I’m wearing braces and fillers will just make them more obvious (I absolutely abhorred wearing braces but it was totally worth it in the end).
Then it was it’s too expensive and I’ve got more important things to prioritize.
Then it was I’ll look like a duck, everyone will know what I did and they’ll laugh at me behind my back. Somehow I thought taking this step would be me admitting that there was something I didn’t like about myself and that it would be embarrassing if everyone could see it.
This paranoid little voice in my head was probably amplified by the fact that I was seriously considering a career in academia, and I let society convince my 22-year-old self that getting lip fillers would somehow make me fit in less with that crowd.
Ridiculous, I know, but I used to be young.
Well, years of working in the beauty industry have empowered me and made me realize that it’s actually no big deal unless I make it a big deal.
If there’s a tiny little minimally-invasive luxury I can treat myself to and feel more confident on a day-to-day basis, why am I wasting time living a single day longer without lip fillers?
So I did it, and I’m bringing you my honest lip filler review with day-by-day updates through filler settling. Spoiler – I’m over the moon!
What I Wanted from Lip Fillers
I have a really small mouth with really thin lips. This is not me being overly critical of myself – it’s just fact.
I always felt like the thinness of my lips made my jawline look a lot weaker than it actually is and that the lower part of my face was never in harmony with the prominent features of the upper half of my face.
So my goal with lip fillers was to:
- Obviously, get fuller lips
- Balance out my more prominent features
- Bring more focus to the lower part of my face
My Lip Filler Experience
I went in prepared for a huge needle being stabbed into my lips, post-treatment swelling and bruising, and not seeing the final result for 2 weeks. Well, here’s what actually happened:
The Prep & Consults
Just as we always advise people contemplating permanent makeup, I knew that finding the right provider is the most important part of the prep for lip fillers.
So I booked an appointment with a dermatologist who did my friend’s lips a few months back, at a clinic that has a great reputation around town.
I went in having done a lot of research in terms of what I can expect afterwards. From my experience writing about beauty treatments, I knew that first sessions usually mean going a bit overboard so that the healing process leaves a subtle end result.
I also knew that there was no use contemplating what I wanted my lips to look like after fillers since the procedure is done so as to achieve the best possible results for my unique lip anatomy and facial morphology.
So there was no point looking for inspo – I decided to let go of any expectations and trust my doctor to do what she thinks is best.
And what she decided to do was plan out my treatment over several sessions. She was very clear that I would need to be patient and accept the fact that I would need to come back in for further boosts if I wanted the perfect pout.
Here’s what my lips looked like before lip fillers:
Of course, I agreed with her. I’m aware that my lips are quite thin, that their surface is quite small, and that I probably won’t get a perfect, full shape from 1 ml.
We agreed to focus on my upper lip in the first session so that the tissue had an opportunity to adapt to the extra volume, and then go back in with a bit more in about 6 weeks.
We also agreed to do a bit of Botox above my upper lip, to relax the muscles which my doctor claims are really strong and tight, and allow the lip to get slightly flipped outwards.
The Treatment Itself
The treatment was uncomfortable but quick.
Numbing cream was applied to my lips and left on for 15-20 minutes, while I filled out the consent form.
I got a really intense numbing sensation and my lips felt really dry by the time it was wiped off.
During my days of endless tooth work, I got used to needles, pain and discomfort around the mouth area, but the numbing I got from the topical anesthesia was quite intense and I thought I wouldn’t feel anything at all.
Well, I did, and it was a gross feeling, but it wasn’t anything that intolerable and it was over quickly.
My doctor went in with a cannula rather than a needle, which is flexible and has a blunt tip to minimize the swelling and bruising.
It’s also apparently better for spreading filler along the whole lip rather than precise spots, which I needed since the goal was to add volume all over, not make precise modifications to the shape.
The pokes on the skin I didn’t feel.
What I did feel was the cannula moving through the tissue, entering the lip from the side of the mouth all the way to the tubercle, the flap of flesh at the middle of the upper lip, and then the same thing on the lower lip.
I could feel this sort of crunchy impact, like piercing through several layers of something hard, rather than just movement through soft tissue. There were flashes of hot, stingy pain, but nothing a deep breath couldn’t get me through.
My doctor kept saying that the muscles around my mouth are really strong and tight, giving a lot of pushback, and that’s why I could feel all this.
I mean, it was not pleasant – at all – but it was over within 10 minutes. Icky, yes, but bearable and worth it.
Then she went in with a regular needle and injected some Botox in 4 spots above my upper lip. Those were just quick little stings or really thin needles – nothing worth mentioning.
Here’s what my lips looked like immediately after leaving the clinic (pardon the bad lighting and ignore the oiliness – it’s just an ointment):
I can’t say I was shocked to see my lips filled in for the first time, as I was expecting a significant difference. The first impression was more or less aligned with my expectations. To me, my lips looked huge and fake – but I told myself not to panic because that’s not the final look.
Once the numbness wore off, I felt a weird sort of tightness. I can’t say it was pain, but it was definitely tension.
I stopped myself from staring at my lips too much as I knew all I could see at that point was swelling, did the massage my doctor prescribed (pulling my upper lip outwards and upwards) and went to bed.
My Lip Filler Results Day by Day
Day 1: Quite a Bit of Swelling (But I Kinda Liked It) & Soreness
I woke up with soreness in my upper lip. It felt like there was something constantly pulling it upwards. It also felt hard and like I couldn’t control it that well.
I took a deep breath and glanced in the mirror. I was expecting massive, balloon-like swelling, but it wasn’t that bad.
Yes, the swelling was obvious, and most of it was centered at the tip of the upper lip, giving my mouth a sort of beak-like shape. So the profile view was not that great, but from the front, I really liked the shape.
I noticed a bit of bruising along the corners of my lips was starting to emerge, but nothing too bad.
I had some errands to run that day and I was worried I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving the house if the swelling got too bad.
But I was actually excited to show off my results, even with the excessive swelling. Since my actual lips weren’t punctured (the cannula went in from the side), I put on lipstick to cover up the bruising and for the rest of the day felt little jolts of excitement whenever I passed a reflective surface.
Day 2: The Swelling Went Down Quite a Bit; There’s Some Bruising
The next day, I would say my lips went down by some 20%. I guess the shape was starting to emerge by now.
The profile view was much better on day 2. The upper lip was still more voluminous than the lower (and it will stay this way until my next session) but everything was much better balanced.
The feelings of stiffness and hardness were diminished by a mile. The soreness was pretty much gone, but my lips felt really dry throughout the day.
The bruises got a bit darker and slightly bluish, and a new one emerged above my lip. I think this is where a dose of Botox was injected. But I wasn’t worried about this, I know it’ll go away soon.
Day 3: I Feel Like Things Have Settled Down
The swelling was further diminished and I feel like everything has settled down.
I know that it’s expected for the swelling to last for up to 2 weeks, but my impression is that this is more or less it now. Everything looks relatively natural and I’m really happy with the current state of my lips.
My coworkers and people who see me every day say the enhancement is visible but really subtle and elegant.
I also notice the Fordyce spots on my upper lip much more now, but I guess this is because a strip of lip skin that used to sit against my lower lip now got pulled up and stretched out.
I’m hoping that this is it. I know there’s a chance my lip could lose some more volume in the upcoming days, but that’s okay. Now I know that this amount of volume is something I want to achieve in further sessions.
There’s a slight imbalance between my upper and lower lip, but nothing major.
I’ll see if anything changes in the next few days, but if this is it, I’m really satisfied with the outcome. It’s not the perfect lip yet, but I’m now confident that I’ll get there!
I’ll update this article at the 2-week mark.
My Final Lip Filler Review
Even though this is not the final result and I know there’s some more filler settling and at least 1 more session ahead of me before I can get the perfect lips for my face, I’m already really, really happy!
I feel like my lips and the teeth that I’ve suffered so much through to straighten out now really come into focus and I don’t need so much eye makeup to look put together.
Plus, playing around with lip products is so much more fun now!
Previously, with my thin upper lip, I felt like bold lipstick just drew attention to a feature I didn’t like and I’d only wear it for special occasions, preferring to leave my lips bare and under the radar.
Well, now I’m even considering lip blush!
At the end of the day, I feel like my lip filler experience was more emotional than physical. Yes, I like what plumping up my upper lip did for my facial morphology. Yes, I much prefer what my smile looks like now and I’ll definitely be flashing it more.
But what I like the most is the sense of taking control and discarding the fear of what people will say (for one, I realized that most people won’t say anything – good or bad – nobody really cares so much).
So to wrap up my lip filler review, I’ll leave you with this:
- If you feel like it’ll do you good – go for it.
- It’s not a pleasant experience, but it’s over quickly and it’s worth it.
- Do your research and go to the best provider available – even if it’s a bit more expensive.
Oh, and stay tuned for updates from my next session to see how my lower lip turns out!