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What Are Lip Fillers? All the Juicy Details - Plus 3 Needle-Free Alternatives

What Are Lip Fillers? All the Juicy Details - Plus 3 Needle-Free Alternatives

What does your family talk about at the holiday dinner table? Politics? Gossip? Holiday shopping? In our household, more often than not, we're talking all things beauty (can you blame us?), and almost always the conversations will veer towards the realm of cosmetic and plastic surgery. Lately, the biggest conversation topic at our table has been lip fillers. Most of what we know about lip fillers comes from what we see in the media. We all know certain celebrities (we won’t name names) who have made headlines by getting lip fillers, removing them, and getting them again.

But, you may have been wondering what exactly are lip fillers? Maybe you’ve been noticing some lip lines lately or you haven't been happy with the size of your lips. Lip fillers certainly are an option – but are they the right option for you?

Keep reading for the answers to all your questions about lip fillers, and needle-free alternatives that won't cost you in money or in pain!

What Are Lip Fillers?

Lip fillers are a non-permanent cosmetic procedure that creates more voluminous lips while smoothing lines around the mouth. Most are comprised of Hyaluronic Acid, a substance that occurs naturally in our bodies. Hyaluronic Acid gives skin its youthful, plump appearance. The amount of Hyaluronic Acid in our skin declines with age (which is why your lips can get thinner as you get older).

Last year alone, of the 15.7 million cosmetic, minimally invasive procedures performed in the U.S., 2.7 million of them were soft-tissue fillers, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (

How Do Lip Fillers Work?

If you want to get lip fillers, the process will look like this:

#1 Find a Practitioner

Look for a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or cosmetic facial surgeon with plenty of experience doing lip injections. Ask to see before and after pictures to get an idea of the doc’s work.

#2 Attend a Consultation

Meet with your practitioner and talk about your aesthetic goals, how to prep for the procedure, and aftercare. There are no "stupid questions." Now is the time to address all your doubts and concerns! 

#3 The Procedure

The injections themselves take less than an hour. First, the doctor will numb your lips using a topical or injectable anesthetic. Once your lips are numb, the doctor will inject the fillers into your lips. While the injections themselves are not painful because of the numbing, you will feel pressure in your lips.

#4 Aftercare

You will see immediate volume, but expect your lips to be bruised and swollen for a few days. If you’re unhappy with your results after the swelling goes down, your doctor can dissolve the fillers with an enzyme called hyaluronidase.

How Long Do Lip Fillers Last?

Remember: lip fillers are not a permanent solution to lip thinness. The effects last somewhere between three months and one year. Why the huge range? Increased blood flow to the lips will make the fillers dissolve more quickly, so women who are more physically active will need touch-ups more often. While it’s no excuse to skip your workouts, it’s something you’ll want to consider when factoring in cost. Also, keep in mind the quality of injection will also have an impact on your timeline and results. 

What Are Lip Fillers Side Effects?

Since lip fillers are an invasive cosmetic procedure, there’s definitely a risk of side effects. You don’t have to spend much time googling lip fillers to see pictures of procedures gone wrong!

Immediate side effects after the procedure typically include redness, bruising, and swelling at the injection sites.

Once your lips heal, you might also have bumps under your lips, which your doctor can remove. You also run the risk of asymmetrical or irregular lips (yikes), especially if your injector doesn’t have a lot of experience.

More serious lip filler side effects include:

  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Reactivation of cold sores
  • Scarring or stiffening of the lips

Make sure you talk to your doctor about the risks of serious side effects and what you can do to minimize them.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Lip Fillers?

So now you’re probably wondering, “How much is this going to cost me?” Lip fillers can cost anywhere between $500 and $2,000. Doctors with more experience command higher prices – you get what you pay for!

As you might expect, most insurance companies don’t pay for cosmetic procedures. But what you might not know is that insurance companies also won’t cover complications from cosmetic surgeries. So if you have a serious complication (like a blood clot or infection), you’re on your own with covering your medical costs.

Two Alternatives to Lip Fillers

With so many side effects and such a hefty price tag, lip fillers definitely seem like a gamble. Luckily, lip fillers are not the only way to have fuller lips and smooth out lip lines.

Here’s a couple of alternatives to achieve fuller lips and diminish lines around the mouth – without needles or side effects (and at just a fraction of the cost!):

  1. Smooth Lip Volumizer - We've formulated this cult favorite with hyaluronic acid, the same ingredient that's in lip fillers! Not only does it add plumpness to your pout, but it also smooths fine lines around the mouth and instantly rejuvenates lips. Both nourishing and hydrating, you can use it in place of a lipgloss or it also makes for a great lip primer giving lips a boost before applying lipstick. 
  2. Smooth + Plump Lipstick  - This multi-tasking lipstick features a peptide-infused technology to moisturize, plump, and smooth lips. Smooth + Plump Lipstick is also feather-proof, so you don’t have to worry about the pigment smearing or lipstick bleeding. Available in either Rebelle (deep fuchsia) or Illicit (Chinese rouge), these pigment-rich treatments are specially formulated to compliment any skin tone.

Just remember, there's no right or wrong way to get the lips you want - only what works for you. Keep in mind, these treatments can also be used in conjunction with invasive procedures to prolong the effects of a professionally performed injection.

What's your experience with lip fillers? Have you tried it, would you recommend it? Let us know in the comments!

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