Ever since Kylie Jenner came onto the scene and made billions from her full, voluminous lips, getting lip injections has become just about as commonplace as getting your eyebrows waxed. With the trend continuing and fillers becoming less taboo and more widely accepted, it can be tempting to make an appointment at the nearest beauty spa and get your lips plumped up ASAP. We get it, but it’s important to consider the facts before you book. Going into any procedure—whether it’s permanent or temporary—as well-informed as possible is the best way to ensure you get the best outcome.
That’s why we talked to Konstantin Vasyukevich, M.D., a New York-based board-certified plastic surgeon, about everything you need to know before getting lip fillers.
Are lip injections and lip fillers the same thing?
Yes, Dr. Vasyukevich explains that most people use these terms interchangeably because it is filler being injected into your lips that give them that plumped-up effect.
What exactly is being injected into my lips?
Most lip augmentations today are done with hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers, and yes, it’s the same kind of stuff that’s in your favorite moisturizing face cream or serum. Since hyaluronic acid is a substance that is naturally occurring in the body, these types of fillers are the safest and most natural, and their effects last the longest. They go by different names including Restylane, Belotero, Volbella, Voluma, and Juvederm, but the premise is the same. Since hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, once injected, the substance is great for adding volume to your lips.
Dermal fillers are also FDA-approved, so you can feel good knowing they’re safe to put into your body.
What does a typical lip injection appointment look like? Does it hurt?
Dr. Vasyukevich explains that a typical lip injection is performed with a tool called a cannula—not a needle. It looks almost the same but has a rounded tip instead of a sharp one. “Cannula injection is far more comfortable for the patient and also helps to minimize the chances of bruising,” he says.
The appointment starts with your doctor applying the numbing cream to the lips. They’ll then inject a small amount of numbing medication in the corners of the lips before getting started with the actual lip fillers. According to Dr. Vasyukevich, after the numbing has been applied, the rest of the injection feels pretty comfortable. “Most people will feel pressure at the site of the filler placement, but very few experience significant pain,” he says. The whole thing usually lasts 15 to 20 minutes.
To give you your desired look, the upper lip is usually injected first and then the size of the lower lip is adjusted to maintain a proper aesthetic balance.
Will I see results right away?
Though you’ll notice a difference in your lips immediately after the fillers have been injected, Dr. Vasyukevich says you won’t see optimal results until about two weeks post-injection. “You may have a small amount of swelling the next day after the injection,” he says, “But it should resolve within a day or two.” Also, moving your lips causes the filler to “settle” into the most optimal and natural position, so it does take a little time.
You can also opt to have your HA filler injected gradually, during a few different appointments, which will give the most natural result.
Lip Injections Before & After:
How long do lip injections last?
How long your lip fillers last comes down to your body’s metabolism. Different people will metabolize the injection ingredients at different rates, but Dr. Vasyukevich says that the longevity of a typical lip augmentation can range from six months to 1.5 years depending on the type of filler, the amount that was injected, and variability in metabolism. Lip fillers are not permanent, so if you want to maintain the voluminous look of your lips, you’ll have to go back every six to 12 months.
How much do lip injections typically cost?
As with any cosmetic procedure, you should do your research before booking an appointment, and try not to be tempted by discount deals or “cheap” lip injections. Prices can range from $500 to $1,000+ and will depend on the type of filler, the amount you get, and of course, what region you’re in.