Take a look at any celebrity gossip show, watch red carpet event coverage. Or, just flip through the pages of a women’s magazine. In seconds, you’ll find dozens of photos of gorgeous people with what appear to be perfect lips. From Kylie Jenner’s voluptuous pout to Angelina Jolie’s iconic smile, their angelic features make us all really jealous.

Few people are born with perfect lips. Some people just seem to win the genetic lottery with soft, perfectly contoured smiles that come close, but most of us use makeup or procedures such as lip augmentation to get to where they want to be. Lip injections are one of the best ways to achieve the look you want without extensive surgeries.


Lip fillers, or lip augmentations, are quickly becoming a fan favorite in the United States, growing in popularity. While it’s a simple and mostly painless procedure that delivers fantastic results in the right hands, you don’t want to go just anywhere for this kind of work.

Your best bet for avoiding a bloopers reel is to make sure you are working with a medical professional who has experience and can help you structure the right look for your face. The main goal? To make your lips look soft, inviting, and natural – with just a hint of ethereal beauty. But ultimately, your results should match your own personal goals and “look.”


The FDA approves several unique filler brands and formulas for lip augmentation. Each one contains hyaluronic acid (or HLA), although the format typically differs per specific brand. This variance in formulation impacts how dense they are; the more dense the formula, the longer it typically lasts.

Restylane and Restylane-L are made by the same company. Both add volume and fullness to the skin all over the face, making it popular for the treatment of wrinkles and folds. If you’re over the age of 21, it is also approved for volume-packed lip enhancements. The two formulations are the same, but Restylane-L also contains lidocaine to reduce pain during your injections.

Restylane Silk is a slightly different formulation. The hyaluronic acid molecules are smaller, allowing your injector to make much more subtle enhancements to the look of your lips for a more natural appearance. This is preferred by people who just want small adjustments.

Juvéderm Ultra XC and Juvéderm Volbella XC give a wonderful plumping effect, but results tend to differ across both formulas. Ultra XC provides fullness to the lip area, creating a soft, plump effect. Volbella XC is unique in that it does a great job of defining the lip line while softening the appearance of the vertical lines that sometimes form around the mouth.

Not sure which to choose? Don’t worry about it now. Your injector will discuss your options and your desires during your initial consultation. It’s also common for them to use different fillers in different parts of your lips to achieve the look you’re really looking for.


Your lip injection medical professional should be willing to schedule a consultation with you before procedures. This is the only effective way to determine the right treatment. It’s also the best time to ask questions about the procedure, the after-effects, and anything else you might be curious about.

While some dermatologists do lip injections, and more are performing cosmetic enhancement services each day, it’s wise to focus on finding a spa or practice with a medical professional who specializes in cosmetic procedures, instead of overall dermatology. You’re likely to get better results from a specialist who does injections and other cosmetic procedures daily, rather than someone who does them on the side as a second service.

Take the time you need to look at pictures. If you want, bring a few in that represent the look you’d like to achieve. Your medical professional injector will have a much clearer picture of your goals and will be able to help you determine if it’s realistic. If it’s not, they’ll make a recommendation for what will work better.

Definitely ask for before and after pictures of actual patients. While they may not have them displayed in the office, they should have an album they can show you so that you can get a clear idea of the type of results they consistently achieve. If anything seems off to you, ask for clarification – the right medical professional or clinic will have answers to all of your questions.


Preparing for a lip enhancement procedure isn’t difficult. Your medical professional injector will let you know his or her exact requirements during your consultation, so you should refer to those instructions first over anything written here. Most instructions include directions like these:

Show up to your appointment without makeup on, or at least bring wipes to remove it when you get to the office. Makeup on and around the lips, such as lipstick, is particularly important to remove because it may interfere with treatment.

Don’t use any medications or supplements that may thin your blood, including Aspirin, NSAIDS, and vitamin E supplements. Give your medical professional a complete list of your medications so he or she can help you determine what to adjust.

If you are on blood thinners, don’t stop taking them without consulting your health physician. Suddenly stopping blood thinners can be extremely dangerous. Consult your physician first and be sure your skincare clinic is aware.

Time your treatment so that it is not right before a big event. You’ll want to have your lip augmentation procedure done at least a week or two in advance so that the initial swelling dies down and your full effects can be seen.

The menstrual cycle can make you more sensitive to pain. If you come in on your period, be aware that your lips may be more sensitive. Often, it’s best to schedule at least a week away from your period for comfortable treatment.

Show up to your appointment without makeup on – or at least bring wipes to remove it when you get to the office. Makeup on and around the lips, such as lipstick, is particularly important to remove because it may interfere with treatment.

Don’t use any lip balm, lubricants, or moisturizers the day of your appointment unless your medical professional tells you to. Like makeup, they usually just require removal anyway.


Lip injections take no more than an hour for most patients. You will spend more time waiting for the numbing cream to take effect than your medical professional will spend doing the injections. Bring a book, a magazine, or your handy smartphone and spend the time relaxing to distract yourself and avoid anxiety, if that’s an issue for you.

While your lips are sensitive, the lidocaine injection tends to hurt more than anything else. It feels like a quick pinch and slight burning sensation, then reduces into just a bit of pressure within a few seconds. Once the lidocaine takes effect, you should feel only pressure from the filler dispersing through your lips.

After the appointment, most medical professionals and clinics will ask you to remain in the office for around 15 minutes. This is precautionary to rule out any potential reactions or allergies. Know that allergies are extremely rare, and shouldn’t dissuade you from a procedure unless you have a history.


After your lip procedure, you may be sore or sensitive. While you shouldn’t feel a lot of pain, you will very likely have some bruising and discomfort in addition to the swelling in the first few days after your procedure. For best results, follow these tips:

  • Ice your lips right after the treatment and later in the day. Immediate icing will help to minimize bruising and icing later will help you to keep the uncomfortable swelling under control.
  • Don’t have ice on hand? Stop by the drugstore and pick up a cooling gel bead eye cover mask. Stick it in the freezer for around 30 minutes, then gently set it over your lips.
  • Elevate your head while you sleep at night. Just a little bit of extra lift from an additional pillow will help to keep your swelling down, encouraging any responsive fluid to drain away as you sleep.
  • Never massage your lips after receiving dermal fillers. You may accidentally squish the filler flat, reducing the level of volume you were hoping to achieve.
  • Avoid touching your lips at all for at least 48 hours. This includes putting on lipsticks, lip balms, or scrubs.
  • If you find your lips dry, it’s okay to use a gentle lip moisturizer. Apply it with a finger or brush in a thin coating and avoid pressing it down into your lip.
  • Avoid exercising for at least 48 hours after your procedure. This may sound strange, but the goal is to recover faster, and rest is the best way to do that.

Lip augmentation may have been on your must-have list for a long time, but it’s important you don’t rush into it without doing it the right way. When researching medspas and injectors, take your time to carefully choose one that specializes in lip fillers and be clear on your desires. A successful procedure will result in plump, full lips for anywhere from six to nine months!

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