To fill or not to fill? Melanie Morris ponders the question on everyone’s lips.
“Filling lips is like losing your virginity,” says one eminent aesthetician. “Once you do it, there’s no going back.” This refers to the practice of filling the delicate vermilion border, the membrane surrounding the lip area that we all wish was naturally prominent, plump and line-free. Achieving a big lip look seems to have become an obsession with Irish women, so much so that girls not yet old enough to buy a drink in a nightclub are forking out for inflated pouts. On the other end of the age arch, more mature women are turning to fillers in a bid to reverse thinning lips, downturned mouths and fine lines on and around the lip area. “In terms of proportion and volume, Caucasian female lips should be 40:60; top to bottom,” says aesthetic doctor Emma Cunningham. “Lips should balance the face, not become the focal feature.” Dermatological doctor Katherine Mulrooney adds, “In terms of ageing, a ‘young’ face appears as an inverted triangle, the broadest part being at the cheeks, between the ears, working down to a gentle point at the chin.
As we age, volume moves to the lower section of the face, so one should be cautious about adding more volume to that area alone.” Like most good aestheticians, both doctors agree that lip filling is something that should be done sparingly, gradually and with a light hand. “The Kylie Jenner effect certainly has struck a chord with young women,” says Dr Cunningham. “The trick here is to proceed gradually. Like adding salt to food, it’s easy to add more, but nigh-on impossible to reduce.” “I like to work on a three-phase basis,” says Dr Mulrooney. “Botox used directly above and below the mouth can kick the lip out naturally and beautifully, offering a great profile. It also smoothes out fine lines for a rejuvenating effect. Fraxel laser resurfacing may also erase smoker’s lines before turning to filler, and trying these options first will also reduce the amount of filler needed, minimising lip tissue distortion.” “A bolus injection of filler into the corner commissures of the mouth can support and help lift downturned mouths, which are often a consequence of ageing. When used in conjunction with ‘upside down Botox’ (in the neck and lower part of the face), this muscular downturn can be negated,” says Dr Mulrooney. “Again, the best advice is to proceed with a multi-faceted course of treatment, rather than relying on fillers alone, and treat the full face area for balance.”
Before going near a needle, however, there are plenty of optical tricks with makeup to try, that aren’t as invasive and involve less commitment. Moiré lip colour effects add instant 3D volume and depth without appearing obvious. Choose a lip liner a shade darker than lipstick and work it around the full perimeter of the mouth, blending inwards. Then apply a lighter lip shade in the centre. When working with nude lip colours, line the mouth after applying lipstick and again, blend liner for a plump illusion. A touch of highlighter on the cupid’s bow instantly makes the vermilion line protrude, and for a bigger mouth, press the forefinger above a closed upper lip and line this outer rim. Finally, another obvious, but seldom used tip is to exfoliate lips daily (a soft, old toothbrush is good for this) to remove flaky skin and reduce dryness and lines.
DO’S AND DONT’S
• If opting for lip fillers, go for the softest,
most gentle product available.
• Don’t tackle smoker’s lines with filler alone.
This could lengthen the philtrum space
from the centre of the nose to the top of
the lip, distorting proportions and resulting
in “trout pout”. Consider Fraxel laser
treatment to erase fine lines.
• If tackling age concerns, don’t fill the
bottom half of the face without considering
the overall balance, proportions and facial
• Remember, lips should blend, not dominate.
• For a prouder pout, consider trying Botox
first, for a natural-looking, smooth lip kick.
• Don’t ever fill inside the waterline of the lip.
• Above all else, remember, when it comes
to lip filling, the margin of error is zero;
one slip and you’re wearing the consequences
on your face. Only use a trusted aesthetician.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
1 SkinCeuticals AOX Lip Complex, €40 Apply twice daily to attack fine
lines around the lip area. 2 Benefit They’re Real! Big Sexy Lip Kit, €34
Cute duo-tone lipsticks, teardrop in shape with a darker “liner” at the top
for effortlessly fuller effects. 3Tom Ford Lip Contour Duo, €45 A genius
lipstick gadget with inbuilt, slightly darker liner.
For more information on amplifying your lips, you can contact Dr Emma Cunningham, EWA Advanced Skin Care,Caulfield House, Caulfield Place, Newry, ewaskin.co.uk, and Dr Katherine Mulrooney, The Dr Mulrooney Clinic,69 Eglinton Road, Dublin 4, drmulrooney.com.
Read more articles like this in the IMAGE Magazine October issue, on shelves nationwide now.