Lips are the new black. Kylie Jenner’s enviable pout took over Cara Delevingne’s brows as the most sought after celebrity feature in 2015, Kylie’s Lip Kits sold out in seconds, associated hashtags went viral, and tutorials on the 40 minute process Ms Jenner undertakes each day to achieve her signature pout quadrupled the efforts of many girls’ beauty regimes.
Soon enough though, it transpired that it wasn’t just the overdrawing, lining, filling, mattifying, redefining and final swipe of gloss that was transforming her cupid’s bow. The then 17 year old who’d built an empire on the lip cosmetic sets confessed that she’d also had lip fillers to enhance her pout.
The revelation led to a surge in enquiries from the public wanting to specifically copy Jenner’s look, and demand for cosmetic injectable fillers (such as Juvederm®, Restylane®, and Belotero®) swiftly increased like the upper-lips they inflated.
Before you scroll for before-after shots of my lips, I’ll spoil the surprise by saying that Dr Joanna pointed out the attractive features of my mouth, advised she did not consider there would be any need for me to enhance my lips, and that she’d actually decline to treat them.
I’d hazard a guess to say that not every cosmeceutical professional around Auckland would say the same – and I’m so grateful for her honesty and professionalism.
Not every request for lip enhancement is suited to fillers
If your concern with your lips is that the top lip seems to ‘disappear’ when you smile, Dr Joanna informs me that in fact Botulinun Toxin treatment (Botox®) rather than fillers is often appropriate. Botox injected into the top lip can prevent the ‘curling’ under of the top lip, without the need to augment the size (see related post).
Trying to correct that with filler is difficult because the lip continues flicking under when one smiles. It then ends up with a bigger and bigger upper lip when not smiling, but it still does a disappearing trick when you smile.
A much more sensible approach is to put a little bit of Botox into the upper lip, reduce the flicking under, and maintain the eversion, even when the person is smiling. There’s no need for filling. There’s a need for maintaining the eversion and not allowing the muscle activity to invert the lip and cause it to disappear.
Keep it real – Ratio is everything
If you thought Fibonacci was just another boring mathematical sequence (also the only thing I remember from high-school maths), you may be surprised to learn that Fibonacci’s golden ratio (or divine proportion) is actually a standard of beauty in the human face. Known as ‘Phi’, the Fibonacci sequence (1.6180339) is nature’s symmetry and occurs naturally in life (e.g. the spiral of a fern frond, or a nautilus shell). It is the ‘perfect’ proportions in a human face that translates to an appearance of beauty.
Google Fibonacci face to see more examples.
The reason this becomes so important when we talk about lip filler, is that so often, girls seek to have their upper lips plumped with filler to achieve a pouty look, but don’t pay any attention to the effect of that volume compared to their bottom lip.
The ideal ratio is of course the Fibonacci 1.618 – so if you have too much injected in the top, it looks out of proportion to the bottom. A recent study of University of California by Dr Brian Wong found that the most attractive lips were found to be those with a 53.5 percent increase in surface area from the original image with a one to two ratio of upper to lower lip.
“We advocate preservation of the natural ratio or achieving a one to two ratio in lip augmentation procedures while avoiding the overfilled upper lip look frequently seen among celebrities” said the authors – a sentiment Dr Joanna of Clinic 42 reiterates.
Often, when inexperienced injectors are doing lip treatments, they lose sight of that normal ratio, and they will fill only the upper lip, and then the upper lip ends up out of keeping with the lower lip, and with the rest of the face.
Ethnicity and Facial structure
Joanna encourages clients to consider not only maintaining an attractive ratio, but respecting the limits of your ethnicity and facial structure.
Our face shape and structure is contributed to largely by our ethnicity, and what suits one face shape does not necessarily suit another. There isn’t a perfect aesthetic for everybody.
There are significant racial differences in appearance between features of wompeopleen. Asian women for example, that might be either a square jaw or flattened mid face cheek area, and of course the differences between European and Asian features are quite different, such as having a more almond shaped eye without a crease. The same is true of lips, with various international populations having fuller lips, often combined with a strong cheekbone and structured jaw line.
“I look at all the features, the whole patient when I’m assessing how much to do, and whether it’s appropriate at all.”
Dr Joanna also had an interesting perspective on the reason for the current fashion of a full pout.
“Full lips are currently in fashion. However, 50 years ago, when models were mostly European, thin lips were in, and larger lips were ‘less attractive’. Girls with full lips were teased and called names. Several decades later, as we have so many more multicultural influences and international models, we are exposed to different features – amazing cheekbones, dramatic big eyes, and full lips.
Fashion has swung to more full lips. But that doesn’t suit everybody. I’m suspicious that fashion changes, and that in another 20 or 30 years-time, the thin lip may be in again.
If people use permanent products such as implants, or have been having their lips plumped with an inch of their lives, they may be stuck with the choice that they made for fashion, decades previously.”
What’s so funny..?
‘Joker face’ has become the latest signature style of many Hollywood A-listers with their pouts that appear taut yet bulbous, and corners of mouths that appear to have been dragged upwards by their augmentation.
Be careful when choosing your treatment provider!
Lip fillers are an aesthetic treatment so there’s always a chance that something could go wrong. This is why it’s incredibly important to only allow a qualified, reputable professional to do it. Don’t ever be tempted to have your lip fillers at a spa or a beauty salon, or somewhere where you don’t have a full opportunity to appraise yourself of your doctor, their experience and expertise.
The lips are one of the most delicate parts of the face and require the attention of a doctor with many years of experience. If you’re interested in lip filler, and looking for an excellent doctor, I can recommend Dr Joanna Romanowska and Clinic 42, which she co-owns, for the utmost in knowledge, professionalism and skill.