What Is Lip Flip? And, Is It Right for You?

person with purple gloves doing lip injections

Beauty trends come and go and differ from culture to culture, but lips seem to be considered sensuous by all. It makes sense, it’s the part of your body you use to kiss someone, after all. Did you know that both genders crave a perfect pout? Indeed, many people undergo procedures such as lip stretching or dermal fillers for just that purpose. Some may even apply gloss with ingredients that mimic bee stings causing your lips to temporarily plump. This isn’t a new trend though. Women have been using lipstick for ages to either accentuate or hide their lips. However, it was the silent actress, Clara Bow, who really started the snowball of plump lip trends and methods during the 20th century. The methods are more sophisticated today though. For example, you can have a botox lip flip, which is a rather effective method as long as you’re not allergic. Let’s explore the fascination behind plump lips and how the art of lip flips could help you achieve full, plump lips.

Understanding Lips

Oscar Wilde once said, “the curves of your lips rewrite history.”  Your upper and lower lips, known as Labium superius oris and Labium inferius oris respectively, mark the border between your mouth and facial skin. People frequently refer to the upper border as “Cupid’s bow.” Cupid, also known as Eros in Greek mythology, is the god of sex and love who would use his bow to enamor lovers.

Eros is the namesake of the word “erogenous,” as in the parts of your body that are highly sensitive. The lips, along with your nipples and genitals are erogenous zones. This sensitivity is mainly due to the fact that this type of skin is significantly thinner than skin of the rest of your body. Thus, the contact with your nerve endings when someone touches is more direct. Furthermore, because your blood vessels are closer to the surface of the skin, it gives them their distinct rosy to brownish color. This also means they lack the outer layers where oils are produced, so they have a tendency to dry out more easily. This is why you get chapped lips. 

Furthermore, the little ridge between your upper lip and your nose is called the “philtrum” — Greek for “love charm.” It’s almost as if the lips were made for attracting a partner, right? Well, they are, indeed, but they have other purposes, of course. For example, lips contain their own set of muscles and can act as a hand. They push food into your mouth and you can also pick things up with them. 

As a result of these muscles, you can easily shape your mouth in many different ways to create different sounds. This is what makes lip reading possible among people that are hearing impaired. Furthermore, they’re a big part of how you make facial expressions. Think about how you smile and frown, and how your lips and mouth are a big determiner. 

In turn, estrogen is the hormone that produces physically feminine traits in both men and women but it’s stronger in young women. This is a big indicator that she’s healthy and the reason behind her big eyes and plump lips. Men are attracted to this because it’s an indicator of someone who can birth healthy children. As women age, their estrogen levels start to decrease and they lose these qualities. Those who listen to the prevailing propaganda designed to sell products by making people feel bad about themselves strive to retain this childish look and are the most common candidates for cosmetic procedures. 

woman's augmented lips

Lip Augmentation and Reduction

People often describe fuller lips as bee-stung lips. Do you ever wonder, who was the first person to be stung on the lips by a bee? This plumpness is precisely what makes them a symbol of sex and love as they resemble the labia of the vulva. 

As you know, sex is a natural process but civilization and religion have made people believe this is strictly for the purpose of reproduction and has led to sexual repression. Thus, thin lips were the prudent choice for many. In fact, not too long ago, women would outline the outside of their lips in order to make them appear smaller. In Victorian England, they would say “prune” instead of “cheese” when a photographer would take their photo in order to make them seem tiny. This is a stark contrast to today’s “duck face.”  

In spite of some sections of society attempts of sexual repression, sexual workers have tapped into men’s sexual desires for a long, long time. Makeup is as old as the oldest profession and so people have been using it to define and accentuate different parts of the face, mainly the eyes and lips, for a very long time. For instance, they use it to enhance the Cupid’s bow to make it look like a heart. Other techniques involve pinching to burst the capillaries and increase the size and redness of the lips. 

Furthermore, products made from spices such as cayenne, clove, and cinnamon can have an irritating effect and can make your lips more full. These are natural techniques women have been using for centuries but it wasn’t until the sexual revolution of the Roaring Twenties that pouty lips began to become a norm and not just associated with prostitutes. For example, Hollywood stars like Clara Bow and Marilyn Monroe started to openly fashion red lips and regular women quickly followed suit.

The advancement of medicine is, however, what really changed the game. The first failed lip injections were conducted in 1906 in the form of liquid paraffin injected with a large metal syringe. So surgeons returned to the drawing board, but it wasn’t until 1960 that they successfully began using silicone. However, this material happens to be dangerous for your health and can lead to long-term pain, infections, embolism, stroke, and even death. 

This is why doctors began using bovine collagen in lips in the 70s. However, this procedure was time-consuming as they needed to check for allergies before performing it. Currently, most fillers use ​​Restylane or Juvederm, which are hyaluronic acids or collagens naturally present in your body. 

Lip augmentation is now considered a standard, easy, and inexpensive procedure and it’s more popular than ever. In fact, 27,000 Americans had lip augmentation treatments in 2015, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Many people want to look like the Kardashian sisters, for some reason; their lips are one of their trademark looks. 

This demand for fuller, plump lips has led to all kinds of treatments, but the botox lip flip procedure is becoming one of the most popular. It’s similar to other lip filler procedures but doctors use a botox injection instead of collagen. Let’s take a look at what you can expect during this kind of procedure and if it might be right for you. 

before and after photos of lip augmentation

What’s Lip Flip? And, Is It Right for You?

To simply put it, a lip flip is a series of botox injections just above the upper lip into the orbicularis oris muscle that surrounds your mouth. The botox relaxes this area just above the upper lip and so the lip rolls slightly upward resulting in a voluminous appearance. This is in contrast to lip fillers where you’re directly injecting collagen into the lip. They’re not replacements for each other, and you might prefer one over the other or undergo a procedure using both.


Botox that is used in “botox procedures” is actually a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria can also lead to botulism, usually caused by eating spoiled food, which is a rare disease that attacks your nervous system. to the kind of paralysis that’ll stop your breathing muscles and result in death.

So, how did humans decide that using a deadly bacteria could prevent wrinkles and plump lips? Well, doctors began to study this toxin in the early 20th century and were able to isolate it into a crystalline form. However, it wasn’t until the 70s when they began using botox to treat strabismus (crossed eyes) when they began noticing that it reduced the lines in the glabella, the smooth part of the forehead above and between the eyebrows. 

After this discovery, the toxin was patented as botox and has been used medically. An injection of it suppresses the nerve terminals and prevents the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Without it, muscle activity stops. This focal paralysis smoothes wrinkles and stops spasms. Furthermore, it’s also worked effectively against migraines thanks to this effect. 

Botox is considered safe in such small controlled doses but keep in mind that it paralyzes any part of your face you inject it in and you won’t be able to control it. The area above your mouth in the case of a lip flip. As usual, the degree of damage will depend on the specialist performing the procedure as they might inject it into the wrong areas or overuse it and you wouldn’t be able to whistle or use a straw until the effect wears off. 

woman in a white robe getting an injection in her lip

Is a Lip Flip For You?

A lip flip is right for those who simply want poutier lips. In comparison to lip fillers, this procedure doesn’t add any volume, it just kind of lifts the upper part of your mouth to create a “natural” look. This procedure will also smooth the wrinkles around your mouth. 

A dermal lip filler is also great for anyone with excessive gingival display, also known as a gummy smile — when the upper lip displays too much of your gums. This is not a real medical condition but severely affects the self-esteem of those who have it. 

Furthermore, this treatment is less permanent as it only lasts 3 to 4 months so it’s significantly cheaper than fillers — less than $100. The entire procedure takes about ten minutes and you’ll start to see results in twenty-eight to forty-eight hours. 

a person wearing gloves with a needle to a woman's lips

What to Expect Before the Procedure

There are many things to consider before getting a lip flip. Firstly, you’ll want to meet with your healthcare provider. This professional will analyze your mental health by asking: Why do you want to get a lip flip? What are your expectations? They’ll also check for body dysmorphia and ensure it’s your decision and not someone else’s — a partner, family member, friend, etc.

Your healthcare provider will also check your physical health and make sure you don’t have any preexisting health conditions or risk factors. Furthermore, they’ll check what medication you’re taking to ensure it won’t have any adverse effects and also for lactose intolerance. 

Your physician will recommend not drinking alcohol or taking aspirins a week before the procedure as these substances thin out your blood and make the healing process more difficult. They’ll also recommend you stop smoking if you do since it can increase the probability of bruising.

During the Procedure

A lip flip isn’t too invasive so your healthcare professional won’t administer anesthesia. However, you can always ask them to use a local form of it, a cream, if you’re worried about pain or have a fear of needles. 

The specialist will then use a thin needle to inject the botox into parts of your upper lip, including the corners of your mouth and the edges of your lips. It might hurt a little bit and your eyes might even water. On average, it’ll be about four injections to your upper lip and two to your bottom lip. The entire process will take about 10 to 20 minutes.

Once the procedure is done, you’ll be monitored for any side effects such as an allergic reaction, dizziness, nausea, swelling, or substantial bleeding. Once you’re discharged you’ll be able to walk out and go about your day as usual. 

Your lips might be slightly swollen for about 24 hours and you shouldn’t wear lipstick, lip balm, or any other products for about four days. In addition, you’ll be asked not to put any pressure on your lips — touching, kissing or using straws for the same amount of time. Furthermore, be careful when brushing your teeth and avoid sleeping face down.

woman getting injections in her lips

Further Information to Consider

The primary benefit of a lip flip is it’s a subtle enhancement to your upper lip giving you that desired pouty look. However, some people might be disappointed if they’re expecting a significant change to the shape and size of their lips. 

We recommend finding an experienced professional as botox can be dangerous when administered improperly. Be particularly careful if you sing, teach, talk, or lecture for a living. 

Lip Fillers

These are better for those looking for a more dramatic change in the shape and volume of their lips. Furthermore, it’s a more permanent solution that lasts up to a year and you’ll see the results right away. 

This procedure is a lot more expensive than a lip flip but cheaper in the long run. You might also experience more side effects such as swelling, bruising, and redness.

Mixing a Lip Flip with Lip Fillers

Combining these two procedures can give you optimal results if you’re looking for added volume as well as control over the shape of your lips. This is because the lip flip will define your cupid’s bow providing you with a desired pouty shape, while the filler will add volume to them. This mixture can be really satisfying for someone with extremely thin lips. 

person doing injections for lips augmentation

Natural Ways to Make Your Lips Fuller

Many people tend to obsess with their body image. This can lead to them overdoing cosmetic procedures. While these are great aids, doing it too much can result in unnatural exaggerated looking lips that are too big for your face. Remember, moderation in everything you do is key. Furthermore, there are many natural treatments you can complement these procedures with if you just want a little extra plumpness. 

One of the oldest tricks to making your lips appear fuller is makeup. As with the rest of your skin, your lips will need extra exfoliation and hydration if you’re going to be smothering them with lipstick. The simplest technique is to outline the outside of your lip with a lip pencil and simply fill it in with your favorite color of lipstick. Note that lighter shades will make them seem bigger. 

Also, adding some lip gloss to the center of your lips will attract light and make them seem fuller. There are lip plumpers with special ingredients that increase the blood flow to this area and make them swell but also cause irritation.

Furthermore, there are many home remedies with natural ingredients you can make at home. Cayenne is one of the oldest ones, just simply mix some with water to create a paste and apply it to your lips. Leave it on for about ten minutes and then rinse off. It’s very important for your lips to be well-hydrated as this spice will severely burn, especially if you have any open wounds.

A lip flip is a great choice for anyone starting to venture into the world of lip enhancement. It’s not invasive, it’s cheap, and requires very little commitment. Everyone is different and it all depends on your ideal look. Contact your local professional if you’re unsure of which treatment is best for you so they can help you make a decision. You deserve to feel confident and hopefully, the lips you’ve always wanted will do the trick.  

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