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I wanted subtle lip fillers without the duck face – here’s what happened

Thought about getting lip fillers? Healthista writer Olivia Hartland-Robbins wanted a subtle effect that balanced out her face, rather than a ‘done’ effect – here’s what happened 

For the past few summers the nation has watched ITV’s Love Island and seen lip fillers, fake tan, false eyelashes and many other types of beauty enhancements, which has left many girls and women everywhere thinking that they too should be changing their faces.

Some women think, ‘What have they done to their face? They look way too ‘done’.  And then there are those who say ‘How do those girls look so perfect? Is it the hair? Their toned physiques? Their sunkissed skin? Or could it be their luscious lips?’

Of course, not all Love Island contestants have had lip fillers and then some look as if they have gone too far, but it’s clear to see that big lips are now a big deal, with a huge rise in demand for lip enhancement treatments in recent years.

I want bigger lips, but I don’t want to look ‘done’

For me, I am – dare I say it – on the fence. I like the look of big lips, but I know that if I did have really big lips it wouldn’t suit me as I have smaller features. Love Island celebrities like Olivia Buckland-Bowen and Megan Barton Hanson have big eyes, bigger cheek bones and therefore suit the ‘done’ look.

In my eyes, these celebrities look amazing. But many people disagree, saying that despite these women looking great in photos and selfies on Instagram, in real life it would be far too obvious that they have had work done, and realistically their big lips and other plumped up features are probably the first thing you would notice.

Big lips are no big deal if you have a beauty entourage following you around everywhere making sure your make-up is always in perfect condition. But in the real world if I had big lips and no beauty entourage, I am pretty sure the first thing you would notice would be my big fake lips.

So here is my dilemma: I want bigger lips, but I don’t want to look ‘done’.

Love Island contestants: Olivia Buckland-Bowen, Olivia Attwood, Megan Barton Hanson and Laura Anderson

Bigger better lips?

Thanks to fake tan, the trend of year-round sun-kissed skin is now easier and cheaper than ever. You can get a tan safely and cheaply from the comfort of your bedroom, rather than jumping on a plane to fry yourself under the sun for hours on end. The same can now be said for having a more plump pout, with products and treatments widely available that won’t even break the bank.

Big lips are now an even bigger trend. You don’t need to look very hard nowadays to notice that lip fillers have become increasingly popular, but who would have thought it could be so easy to get luscious lips yourself?

Does anyone remember those red lip plumpers that you had to suck until your lips felt bruised? That trend led to the ‘Kylie Jenner Challenge’ and ended badly with people ending up in hospital after overusing the red plastic lip enhancing tool and anything else that could be used in a similar way. (See Video)

Kylie Jenner, Emily Ratajakowski, Michelle Keegan, Charlotte Crosby

It wasn’t just Love Island that had me staring at womens lips wherever I went. Social media, especially Instagram, has also played a part in my growing big lip envy.

me with no lips
I mean do I even have a top lip in this picture?

The Kardshians, Emily Ratajkowski, Michelle Keegan and Charlotte Crosby are all examples of women who’s social media posts often include selfies of their perfectly plump pouts – well perfect for their faces anyway.

Again, these celebs have bigger features than I do, so suit the bigger lip look, but surely I can get something done to help my small lips that doesn’t involve going full on duck face?

Michelle Keegan has especially beautiful lips, and I think it’s because her lips don’t look that ‘done’.

Along with these celebrities, three of my good friends have had lip fillers too. I was late to the fake tan party and now it seems I’m last to the big lips soiree too.

Despite my efforts of fake tan, bleach highlights and endless dieting, I can assure you I am no closer to looking like a Love Island babe. So, could bigger lips be the answer to my prayers? It was time to try lip fillers.

I was booked in for an appointment at Medicetics, Connaught Street, London. One of London’s leading lip specialists, aesthetic doctor Dr Sepideh Etemad-Shahidi would be carrying out my lip treatment and I was told I was in the best hands. Here’s how I got on…

The treatment

Of course no change comes without apprehension. I had heard horror stories of lips bursting and ‘fillers gone wrong’. I asked my friends about their lip filler experience and it was a mixed bag.

One friend said it felt like just a ‘small scratch or pinch, certainly nothing to cry over’. My other friend said it brought tears to her eyes, she had to squeeze her mothers hand until it was all over – so whose experience was most accurate?

I stopped myself googling any horror stories about lip fillers. I made sure to stay away from YouTube videos of the procedure as well. The less I knew the better – ignorance is bliss as they all say.

I won’t lie to you all, I was rather nervous sat in the waiting room – sweaty palms, the lot.  It was also a hot day too, so I was feeling slightly overwhelmed by it all and it showed.

According to Dr Sepi, many of the younger generations that Medicetics see in their clinic actually ask to ‘look done’

I was then asked to have my ‘before’ pictures taken, before being taken through to see Dr Sepi. All I could think walking down the corridor was ‘is it too late to change my mind?’ I just couldn’t get the image out of my head of me with huge duck lips.

According to Dr Sepi, many of the younger generations that Medicetics see in their clinic actually ask to ‘look done’. That means that when they leave they wan’t to look as though they have had fillers, almost like ‘they wear their money on their face’, explained Dr Sepi.

The older generations however like to look subtly different, far more natural than the Love Islandesque lips. This is what I wanted, I wanted people to say, ‘you seem different what have you had done?’ Rather than, have you had your lips done?

As soon as I started talking to Dr Sepi, I knew I had over reacted thinking about the duck lips – she explained that it would take around four to five milliliters over the period of a year or two to end up with really big lips like Kylie Jenner. All I was going to have was just over one milliliter of Teoxane RHA 2 Dermal Filler.

What kind off lip filler was I having?

Teoxane is a range of injectable hyaluronic acid (HA) dermal fillers. HA is a glycosaminoglycan, which is a polysaccharide, which basically means, it’s a sugar that naturally occurs in the connective tissue throughout our bodies.

HA dermal filler is made in a lab but as it’s a sugar, your body is able to naturally break it down over time. That’s why this filler wasn’t a permanent change.

However fast your metabolism is determines how long it will take your body to break down the filler, which can be from around six to 12 months.

Whilst chatting me through the procedure that was about to happen, Dr Sepi generously applied some numbing cream to my lips, which looked as funny as it felt!

Here goes…

My lips quickly went very numb and even the tip of my tongue went numb. The sensation was unusual but I didn’t complain. The more numb the better considering I was about to have my lips injected multiple times.

Over to the chair I went. I reminded Dr Sepi yet again that I didn’t want to look like a duck (although I think she got the picture at this point), and that I would just like a plump pout that meant I wouldn’t have to over draw lip liner on my lips everyday.

My lips were in injected around seven times, but to be honest I lost count as some parts of my lips were filled less than other parts.

I was convinced I had a rubbish pain threshold. The first time I had my eyebrows threaded I cried my eyes out so I was certain I would scream or at least cry whilst my lips were being injected.

Dr Sepi warned me there would be a slight pinch, but honestly it really was just that – a very slight pinch. In fact, the sensation of the filler going in and expanding was slightly worse than the actual injection. But honestly, it was nothing like the horrors I had imagined.

Dr Sepi Medecetics me on bed
Dr Sepi massaging my lips after a few injections

After every couple of injections, Dr Sepi would massage the filler into my lips, starting with the top lip and then moving onto the bottom. It felt slightly odd but again, it didn’t bother me at all. After massaging them again she added a few final injections around the side of my lips to even them out.

Dr Sepi showed me my lips after a few injections, and pointed to where she thought I needed more filler, which put me at ease as I felt I was part of the process.

When I look at the pictures of the procedure, I think it looked a lot more painful than it actually felt. I really couldn’t believe how brave I was. It could have been the numbing cream or it could have just been the fact that lip fillers aren’t actually that painful?

Now as you can see from these pictures, my lips already look slightly more plump. But I’ll be honest, when the mirror was put in front throughout and after the treatment, my initial reaction each time was shock horror (not that I showed it of course). You become so used to seeing yourself in a certain way that any change, even a slight one, is incredibly noticeable to you.

But the panic soon faded as Dr Sepi explained that the swelling would go down so what I was looking at wasn’t what the final result would be. When I got home I took these pictures.

Lips after
Pictures I took as soon as I got home after the treatment

By the time I had seen myself in the mirror a few more times, I decided I was thrilled. I decided that I loved them and hoped that the so-called swelling wouldn’t actually go down. I was looking back at selfies and photos that had been taken previously and thinking OMG I had no lips and now I do – rejoice.

But then..

Quack quack

My mother came home. And her reaction? ‘Quack quack’ you look like a duck,’ she said.

At first I thought she was joking, but she wasn’t. She honestly thought I had gone too far. I explained about the swelling and how I had only had one millimeter injected into my lips, but she wasn’t convinced – I was gutted.

And then, my brother came home, soon followed by my dad. And guess what? They didn’t even notice.

So what my mother was seeing I do not know. My friends agreed and said they could see a difference but certainly didn’t think I looked like a duck.

Bruised lips pic
The day right after the treatment my lips looked bruised and swollen

The next day my lips looked quite bruised. I actually laughed when I saw myself in the mirror. I was slightly embarrassed to leave the house but it was nothing a bit of lipstick or lip gloss couldn’t handle.

My lips were also a little sore for a few days afterwards. I couldn’t smack my lips together after applying lipstick or lip gloss.

My lips also felt like they had stuff in them (well duh, but you know what I mean) so I was conscious to put any pressure on them.

Dr Sepi explained that I needed to be massaging my lips the way she showed me after the treatment. I tried my best but it really did feel very weird – like my lips hardened and had no flexibility.

The results

Within four days to a week, the swelling and bruising had almost completely gone. And while I wouldn’t say I wanted them to be as huge as they were the day after the treatment, I wouldn’t have minded them staying at an ever so slightly swollen level of plumpness.

I was so happy with my overall result despite my mother’s constant ‘quack quack’ comments, that I still hear today.

I couldn’t stop taking selfies of my lips, my friends must have seriously had enough. I just LOVE the way my lips now look.

Since having my lips done, I have only had one person ask if I had had my lips done, but she does work in the beauty business so she was bound to notice right? Apart from that nobody has suspected a thing, and when I do tell people they don’t believe me.

I feel a lot more confident wearing no make-up, I remain so amazed that such a slight change can make such a difference to someone’s face. And I literally can’t stop taking selfies.

A natural, subtle, slightly fuller look was exactly what I had wanted, especially for my first treatment, and that’s exactly what I got.

Would I do it again?

YES I WOULD. I am planning my next one as I type, I can totally see why people become obsessed with fillers and beauty enhancements. Medicetics suggested I go back six to 12 months later to get a top up and I am counting down the days.

For people who asked me about cost? Although I got this free for editorial purposes, this is how I see it. I am one of those people who would happily spend money on false eyelashes, fake nails, pedicures, highlights you name it. Are you the same? Well none of those beauty treatments are permanent and will need to be done again. It is the same with lip fillers.

My false eyelashes are £50-£80 and they last a month, false nails only last around two weeks and cost about £30.  My lip fillers would have cost me around £500 and they can last for up to a year.

Do you see where I am going here? If you’re willing to spend money on lashes, nails and even beauty products, then in my opinion, a year’s worth of plum lips is totally worth the money.

The clinic I had the treatment at, Medicetics were honestly amazing – yes I got the treatment for free in return for this review, but I am going back as a paying customer because I trust Dr Sepi implicitly. For me, the litmus test for a clinic’s work is how natural but radiant the people that work there look and they all look incredible.

Lip fillers at Medicetics start at £490. To determine if lip fillers are right for you, book your consultation with a Medicetics doctor today.

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