When I was a teenager, I had quite the affinity for facial piercings.
My mother hated them and told me I’d end up with scarring, something about writing me out of the will, and something else about them being ugly.
I did what a normal 16 year old would do, smiled, and ignored her.
Once I took my piercings out, at the ripe old age of 20, I noticed I had a bit of scar tissue in my upper lip, that made my smile look like a mild smirk.
At the ripe old age of 30, I noticed that this smirk had increased significantly – whether as a result of a sarcastic life well lived, or age changing my face, who really knows.
So my already reasonably thin upper lip began to fade into obscurity every time I smiled (thanks to random dudes on Instagram who pointed this out more than once), and my, comparatively, full bottom lip hung around like a nigel no mates wondering where his buddy had gone.
When I decided to have chat with my local Caci about my options, I was sold on giving lip fillers a try. I booked it in. And then two days before my appoitment, when I got my reminder text message, I cancelled. Mostly because I had looked at pictures of women with thin lips who got fillers, and their lips looked like sausages, all rounded and curved away from their face. And I thought nope nope nope, not for me.
A few weeks later my own Beauty Therapist at Caci Orewa, Sheridyn, decided to get her lips done, and I was stuck by how subtle (I didn’t even notice she had them done) they were and how natural. So I spoke to Caci about re-booking in and I was back in line to have mine done, with the goal that my Mother wouldn’t notice that I’d had fillers.
The experience with Caroline, the nurse at Caci was fantastic. I told her what I didn’t want, and we had a look through random photos I had pulled off of Instagram. We talked at length about what technique she would use to even out the appearance of my upper lip, and covered what she wouldn’t do to avoid what we called “slug lips”. She covered the potential side effects and risks, and we discussed bruising. I am a bruiser, so I knew chances were pretty high I would bruise. We also talked about how long the filler would last – which really depends on your metabolism – many people get 6-9 months out of the product but it would very likely be less than a year.
The procedure itself was stress-free, the product Caci use, Juvederm, contains lidocaine, which numbs the lips. So I laid back with my eyes closed while Caroline counted down and told me to breathe (I always forget) and inserted the needle while I exhaled. After the first prick on each side, I felt almost nothing. Caroline was incredibly calm and reassuring and checked in on me before each injection (there were about four each side on the top, and three each side on the bottom). We were correcting asymmetry so she was careful not to go too far one way, and decided to err on the side of caution because we had a second appointment in ten days to keep going if required. After each set of injections, she’d give me a mirror to check out what I thought… so it was a slow and very chilled out process, no hurry, no rush.
Immediately after my lips were ever so slightly swollen, and looked very pink and felt ridiculously large – but I was super happy with the result – so much more even looking!
Ten days later I went back for my second appointment where we used up the remaining Juvederm, and did a few more injections in my upper lip, this time not in the lip itself but the flesh part above my lip where the asymmetry was coming from as well as my bottom lip.
It was interesting sharing the process over on Instagram where the procedure was met with such an interesting range of views. There was definitely some strong backlash from women who felt it was unnatural or fake or not “body positive” to change my appearance with fillers…. but who didn’t seem to care that I colour my hair, or tattoo on my eyebrows and regularly talk about makeup and skincare.
And then there were a whole bunch of you who messaged me saying you also get your lips done or botox on the regular and were incredibly supportive. And a whole lot of curious questions, mostly about the pain and bruising (because yes unfortunately, I AM a bruiser!)
Once my bruising disappeared I went to visit my Mother, and success – she didn’t notice.
However she had some choice words to say when I told her about my lips (something about the Kardashians) which I countered with a question regarding how much she liked my tattooed on eyebrows… and in a somewhat accusatory tone told me she noticed I looked more glam. I think that was a compliment maybe?
Overall I couldn’t be happier with the result – and a random side effect of the Juvederm is that your lips are more moisturised… as a dry often chapped lip sufferer, this has been awesome!
If you’re based in New Zealand & interested in appearance medicine, definitely book a consult with your local Caci team.
The Juvederm treatment in this post was provided by my friends at Caci but this post, as always, is entirely my honest opinion.