I Get Lip Fillers, And I Love Them — Here's Why

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Courtesy of Katie Bingham-Smith

I’ve always thought my lips were fine and liked them well enough. I mean, they weren’t luscious lips that would win awards or anything, but I never paid much attention to them because they weren’t something that bothered me.

When lip fillers became all the rage, I didn’t pay much attention to that either. I couldn’t tell who got them and who didn’t until my daughter started to point them out to me. I was naive and thought all the Kardashians just naturally had fuller lips.

However, one morning after a long make out session with a man who had lots of scruff my lips really hurt. I looked in the mirror and my lips were plump, red, and a bit more full. They stung, but damn, they looked good.

That was about three years ago, and even after that (very short and subtle, or should I say stubble?) transformation, I never considered lip fillers. Then, when I was about 44 I looked in the mirror one winter morning and noticed lots of little lines sprouting above my lip line and I didn’t like it. Not at all. It seems that those years with baby oil in the sun, and my time at bars in college puffing away on Parliaments, was coming back to haunt me.

Then last summer one of my friends came over to see me right after she’d gotten her lips filled. I couldn’t wait to see them since I didn’t know anyone in person who had lip fillers (or so I thought — lots of folks like to keep this quiet) and she looked fantastic. Not overdone, not too plump, just a little pick-me-up for her lips.

I saw her again after the lip filler had settled and her lips looked so hydrated, without any wrinkles, that I couldn’t make my own appointment fast enough.

I’m so glad I did, too. I have to take a moment to say something about fillers, Botox, and anything else you want to do with your face or body: This is elective and you are allowed to do something you want, regardless of what others think about it. It’s your face, it’s your body, it’s your call.

Some people like to get Botox and fillers until they look frozen. Some just like a touch up. Some are trying to look younger, and some just want to take the edge off and look the best they can at the age they are.

It’s all okay. There’s no need to get it twisted and think you are allowed to judge them.

All right, good talk.

Now, on to the reasons I love getting lip fillers and some tips on what to look out for.

When I first gave my lips a pump, I got half a syringe. The nurse who does them for me suggested I let them settle. Then, if I wanted more, I could go back. That’s what I did because I have small features and knew how I wanted my lips to look. After two weeks, she put in another half syringe, but now, I go for the full syringe while I’m there because I know that’s the look I like.

Your injector has been trained to look at your face as a whole. They know your proportions and when you tell them what you are trying to achieve, they should listen. If they tell you ‘no’ every once in a while, that’s a good thing. It’s better to be under-filled and go back to see them than to get too much filler.

This leads me to a very important point: go to someone you trust. That means (if you can) go to an injector that someone you trust has been to and they are happy with their results. Even if it’s a friend of a friend, talk to them or see a picture. Do not go to the first one you find in your Groupon listings without doing any research. And don’t rely solely on ratings you see on the internet.

Take your time, talk to people, go to someone who is trusted, like a nurse or dermatologist. This is your face you’re talking about. Don’t rush it.

There are arteries in your lips that should not be touched with a needle — go to someone who knows their shit, takes their time, and is meticulous.

Courtesy of Katie Bingham-Smith

I get one syringe of lip filler and, for me, it lasts about a year or a bit longer. The above picture of me is before getting lip filler.

Courtesy of Katie Bingham-Smith

This is me hours after the injection. I have minor bruising and swelling compared to my friends who get lip fillers, and I’m not sure why. Everyone is different though. I don’t consume any Advil, fish oils, alcohol, or any other kind of blood thinners a week before I get fillers. I drink lots of water and ice my lips for as long as I can immediately after the procedure until I go to bed that night. I have never been one to bruise or swell very much anywhere on my body, so maybe that’s a good rule of thumb. If you do, expect more bruising and swelling than what you see in my picture.

Courtesy of Katie Bingham-Smith

This is a picture of my lips after a week. They have settled, I love how all my fine lines around my lips are completely gone, and they look hydrated and a bit more plump.

You can get less filler, or more; it depends on what you like and what you want to achieve.

I can’t suggest this enough: start with what your injector suggests, then build if you want more. I’ve heard horror stories, and seen women who have gotten too much and they aren’t happy and had to get all the old filler taken out, then wait a spell, then get them refilled.

It’s painful, costly, and takes a lot of time.

A lot of people ask me if getting fillers hurts, and my answer is yes. It hurts me more than it seems to hurt my friends for some reason. It’s pinch-y and my eyes water and I sweat despite the fact I get numbing cream first. That’s just the way it is, but it’s worth it to me.

My lip fillers and Botox around my eyes give me a little pick-me-up. They boost my self-confidence, even though people have told me they can’t even really tell.

I can tell, though, and that’s the reason I do it. It makes me feel better — and I’m the only person in this scenario that matters.

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