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I got a Botox ‘lip flip’ for my gummy smile, here’s how it went

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

It’s a subtle alternative to dermal filler. But is it actually worth it?

There’s a part of the female experience that compels us to act carefree while also caring a lot. It’s feeling the need to say you “just got a trim” when you spent the last week meticulously planning and strategically moodboarding your next haircut. It’s spending an exorbitant amount of time perfecting a ‘no-makeup makeup look’, hoping no one will notice you’re wearing foundation. And it’s exhausting! 

For the better half of my teenage years, it felt like being ‘cool’ was synonymous with being ‘effortlessly hot’. Before every event (basement party or school disco), I messaged at least three of my friends asking for their outfit rundowns. I feared comments like “Wow, you’re so dressed up!” and “I could never wear that much makeup”. I wanted to look and feel beautiful without anyone noticing. 


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To sum it up best, I can only point to Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne and her beloved ‘cool girl monologue’. And as I got older, I very quickly realised I had no interest in pretending not to care. I loved investing time and money into my appearance; spending hours copying a Youtube makeup tutorial in my bathroom mirror. I’ll admit, it wasn’t always coming from a healthy place but for the most part, it made me happy.

After much internal deliberation, I’ve decided that’s how I feel about medical ‘enhancements’. If it’s coming from a healthy place, it will make me happy and I can afford it, I don’t see why not. My gummy smile and disappearing top lip have bothered me forever. When I heard about the Botox ‘lip flip’ procedure from a plump-pouted friend, I booked in immediately. 

Okay, maybe not immediately. I did some thorough internet research first, making sure I fully understood the risks, potential side effects, recovery periods and costs involved. This is a very important step. After reading rave reviews online, I scheduled an appointment for the following month (she was booked up for three weeks) with North Melbourne-based injectables nurse, Lucynda Tomaino.

What is a lip flip?

On the scale of medical beauty enhancements, lip flips are relatively chill (that’s professional terminology). It’s a quick, nonsurgical, inexpensive treatment that involves a few pricks of botox in your upper lip. Think very ‘your lips but better’, a lip flip relaxes and lifts what you’ve already got, involving no dermal filler.

As explained by Healthline, injections are made into your cupid’s bow and into the corners of your mouth, temporarily relaxing the muscles around your lip. In turn, this causes the part of your upper lip that’s usually resting inside your mouth to instead “flip” upward and outward. 

It’s a great procedure to try if you’re considering dermal filler in your lips, or if you’re trying to ‘roll out’ your top lip to subdue a gummy smile. You won’t leave with a dramatically different change to your face, nor will you look like Faye from Euphoria, but it will give you a subtle plump. 

My lip flip experience

As recommended by Lucynda, I avoided alcohol for a few days before the appointment. Not only is it generally good to take a break sometimes (I’m still making up for my silly season sins), but it also helps with bruising. Alcohol is a blood thinner, meaning it can make swelling, bruising and general irritation worse – particularly if you bruise like a peach (me). 

After doing a rapid antigen test, I went into her gorgi waiting room and tried to get my palms to stop sweating. It’s a nervous habit. She called me in, I sat in a big, comfy chair and she quickly explained the procedure to me. Using a mirror and her hands, she showed me what the results were likely to look like. I was very excited and completely forgot about my damp hands.

Lucynda took a before picture, which was just for my reference. Then, using a cotton pad and some makeup remover, she cleaned and sterilised the area she was injecting. I asked about the pain, which she compared to a lip pimple (this was correct). While she injected me with a small needle, Lucynda used a vibrating tool to distract from the pricks. She injected me four times in my upper lip and I was done within 10 minutes. 

It was honestly a four out of 10 on the pain scale. I’ve had piercings be significantly more painful than the lip flip procedure. The results were immediate, but Lucynda told me a lot of that was initial swelling. As I was leaving, I felt like my lip was protruding out of my face under my mask (it wasn’t). My top lip was a little plumper but nothing extreme, and I got used to the feeling within the hour.

The results

It varies from person to person, but it usually takes around 10 to 14 days to see the full results of the treatment. In two weeks, my top lip was everything I’d hoped for – slightly fuller, less gummy and still very natural-looking. Depending on the way your body metabolises the Botox, the results usually wear off in roughly four to six months. 

Would I do it again? Definitely. While I don’t want it to be an ‘all the time’ enhancement (you can read about the long-term effects of Botox here), I really loved the results. Do whatever makes you happy and when in doubt, embrace your gummy grin.

For more information on lip flip treatments, head here

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