Are lip fillers just for vain, self-indulgent women, or should we all be able to experience a gorgeous plump pout without the judgement if that's what we want? Glowday guest writer Hannah talks us through her first-time filler experience, and explains why she no longer thinks tweakments are selfish.
My First-time Lip Filler Experience
Before I started doing some guest writing for Glowday I have to confess that I thought cosmetic tweakments were for the vain or shallow, and that women who had them were somehow letting down the sisterhood by changing themselves to please others. I’m almost embarrassed that, as somebody who bangs on about the right of choice, supporting other women etc..., I took such a hard-line view - especially when it wasn’t based on anything other than maybe a few sneering articles I’d read online, mocking a small collective of celebrities that openly chose to have extreme cosmetic treatments.
The fact was I didn’t know of anybody like me who had treatments, and I wasn’t interested in digging deeper than a few gossip mags and researching further. After all, if there were educated, confident women having these treatments, where were they? Why weren’t they speaking up? And then I realised that the reason why the many thousands of educated, confident women aren’t sharing their experiences or advocating tweakments is because of the stereotype that I had bought into. A recent survey commissioned by Glowday highlighted the issue that women feel too embarrassed to admit they had aesthetic treatments because they don’t want to be criticised or negatively judged for their decisions. Even as I’m writing this, I can already hear my inner, doubting critic asking me whether it’s wise to share my experience of having lip fillers with people I don’t know. But f*ck it here we go.
Why I decided to have lip fillers
I’m a 40-year-old single mother of one, currently experiencing some form of Stockholm syndrome after home-schooling my very strong-willed daughter for a million years. My other job is in the very serious Defence sector and I am probably the opposite of the unfair stereotype we slap on women who have cosmetic tweakments. I speak fluent Welsh, swear like a sailor and have a weird obsession with the Indian train networks.
I am also, by nature, an overthinker and catastrophist, with a very active imagination, so it took a very long time for me to make the decision to have lip fillers because I was scared it would all go wrong. From my previous work researching and blogging about other aesthetic treatments, I knew from the start that I wanted to go to somebody who was medically qualified to carry out the procedure, and eventually found multi-award winning Ciao Bella Aesthetics near Bristol, who are listed on Glowday. The reason I highlight this is because not everybody who carries out these treatments is an expert or has the medical knowhow to carry them out completely safely. It’s important that your face is in good hands and that the person injecting you can act quickly if something goes awry. A good practitioner will also insist on a consultation, where they outline the benefits and the risks of the procedure before taking your money and agreeing to the treatment. I also followed them on Instagram, where I could see their lip filler before and after photos and get a feel for their approach to treatments as well as see how their clients interacted with them.
The day of the lip filler appointment
On the day of the treatment I was apprehensive and, when I finally got myself to the clinic, I was considering cancelling the appointment. I just kept thinking it was too indulgent or even selfish to invest in something that solely benefited me - because I was, truly, only doing this for me. I was also nervous about putting a chemical into my body, but luckily my practitioner Emma is used to this and was able to chat through my concerns, which ranged from fairly reasonable “will it hurt or get into my veins somehow?” to completely mental “ Is this going to seep into my brain and make me even more loopy?”.
With her calm honesty, backed by science, Emma quickly put me at ease: Yes it will probably hurt a bit and no, the filler won’t spread all over your face like Slimer from Ghostbusters, or poison you. She explained that the filler was made from hyaluronic acid, which is produced naturally by the body, and that she was trained in the anatomy of the lips, so could reassure me that she would only be doing superficial injecting – nowhere near any arteries.
I also worried I wouldn’t like it or that I wouldn’t look like “me”. By nature, I am very low key when it comes to clothes and hair (a nice way of saying I’m a bit scruffy). Pre-pandemic I would do my make up on the drive into work – a bad day of traffic meant a much more polished look - so the thought of having fillers felt so extreme and out of my comfort zone. I was even nervous of going to the clinic because I thought I’d look so out of place, assuming that I’d be surrounded by a sea of Love Island-esque stunners. I’m almost embarrassed by my own stereotyping because, in reality, most of the clients there were no different to me – just regular women looking for a few tweaks to freshen up our tired faces. Emma assured me that the fillers were easy to dissolve at the clinic if I really didn’t like them but to give it a few days to let them settle before making that decision. She also suggested we start with the smallest amount initially - 0.5ml - and go from there.
A tailor-made filler treatment
Another thing I didn’t realise is there’s an art to filling lips, and a qualified injector will have knowledge of the anatomy of the whole face, meaning they can tailor the right approach for you. They don’t just whack a load of filler in the top and bottom lip and send you on your way. Emma studied my face and, because I have a slight overbite, decided to use most of the filler in my bottom lip to bring it forward and to only slightly plump the top lip.
The truth about lip fillers
So, the treatment itself. Did it hurt? Yes, it chuffing did. The numbing cream used was good, but the reality is somebody is poking needles into your mouth and that isn’t a fun experience for most people. For me, it felt like a pinching sensation followed by some stinging. Nothing so dreadful I wanted to scream but my toes definitely curled once or twice. My lips bled afterwards – which is normal – but this soon settled, and I had bruising for a few days after (God bless face masks for not only protecting us from COVID but also hiding bruised lips in public!). Some paracetamol and an ice pack helped with the initial soreness.
Seeing my lips after the treatment was a strange experience and I had a moment of panic because I thought they looked HUGE, but by the time I’d driven home I was used to them and the results were so subtle that it took my daughter a few days to even notice I’d had anything done. A week on and they are completely healed, and I absolutely love them.
For those who are still undecided here’s my take on it. If you want fillers and it feels right for you then go for it. If you don’t want fillers, then don’t have them – but please don’t criticise others for having them done. You can still be an educated, confident role model for other women/girls even with slightly plumper lips.
You can learn more about lip fillers in our Glowday treatment guide, or, if you fancy going ahead and booking in for your very own lip filler experience, check out the hundreds of medically qualified aesthetic practitioners offering lip fillers in your area.