I’ve never had a problem with my natural lips, per se. They’re well-proportioned and a good size for my face. But like many other Caucasian women, I’d always wondered what they would look like if they were slightly fuller and poutier. Plus, thanks to the bottom of my top lip turning slightly upwards in the middle, a hint of teeth has always shown through — even with my mouth shut!
While I’d toyed with the idea of having lip fillers in the past, I’d always been worried about leaving the clinic with the ‘duck face’ look. After all, I’d rather have slightly thin lips than look like a blow-up doll! And, of course, I was slightly worried that something would go wrong during the procedure.
But when I heard about the work of the highly esteemed Natalie Abouchar from Privée Clinic in Sydney’s Bondi Junction, I was intrigued. I learned that she was a registered nurse with over 10 years of experience and that she specialised in subtle lip fillers. I had a quick stalk of the clinic’s Instagram account to check out the awesome before/after shots and I was sold. I booked an appointment for the following week. Here’s what happened:
I didn’t have to do anything special in preparation for the procedure — but in hindsight, I probably should have. As someone with pale and sensitive skin, I bruise pretty easily. The night before having the fillers, I ate two whole cloves of garlic in my dinner. Two days before that, I’d taken a krill oil tablet (which annoyingly, I don’t do any other time!) I later learned that both of these are no no’s and can lead to bruising (which did indeed happen, but more on that later!)
On the day of my appointment, I was in and out the door within half an hour. Natalie welcomed me into the clinic and told me a bit more about the dermal fillers. She explained that she uses a substance called hyaluronic acid. This is a sugar found naturally in the body and it can be instantly reversed if you don’t like the result. This definitely helped put me at ease! While the norm is to get 1ml of fillers, I decided to go for a half ml as it was my first time and I didn’t want it to look too obvious.
After I filled out some paperwork and Natalie put a numbing cream on my lips, we were off and running. She gave me a stress ball to clench during the procedure, which was very much appreciated! The procedure itself took no more than 15 minutes. It involves jabbing a tiny needle into different spots on both the top and bottom lips. While I could barely feel the right side, the left stung quite a bit. Natalie said it’s very common for the left side to hurt more! Still, I would say the entire procedure was less painful than having your eyebrows waxed (and definitely less than having a piercing done!)
Immediately after my treatment, my lips were a little swollen — as can be expected. I also had a bit of bruising on the left side of my upper top lip and my lips felt quite firm. But once the numbing cream wore off, they started to feel a lot more normal. That is, apart from a lump on the inside of the lower lip where the unfortunately, the needle went into a blood vessel (this is very rare.) While I can feel this, you can’t see it. Some people report a bit of pain after the procedure but I didn’t experience any.
However, the next morning, the bruise on my lip was darker. It had also spread to just above the lip — so it looked like I had a little half mustache! That said, I was already really happy with the shape and size of my lips. While they weren’t too big, they definitely had more of that ‘pouty’ shape I was after. I was lucky in that I didn’t experience much swelling at all —probably because I only had half a ml injected.
The bruising stuck around for about a week after my procedure. While the lip was really easy to cover (I was dying to try out lipstick on my new and improved lips anyway!), the upper lip was a different story. No amount of makeup seemed to cover it, which made me quite self-conscious when out in public. I used an Arnica cream from the chemist to help the bruise heal but apart from that, I just had to ride it out.
Two weeks on, I’m extremely happy with my new lips. I still look like me, but I feel like they balance my face out nicely. I also like the fact that my lips now completely close! Nobody that I hadn’t already told has noticed (or at least not that they’ve told me), but I’ve had a few people comment that there’s something different about me. The lump on the inside of my lip is still there but will disappear as the filler dissolves over the next few months. Natalie has said that the fillers will last between 6 months to a year — so I’ll definitely be rocking lipstick a lot more in the near future!
For anyone thinking about having their lips done, it’s absolutely crucial that you go to a reputable cosmetic clinic with a qualified injectable nurse. This will ensure you’re in the safe hands of a pro and will help you avoid any lip mishaps!