Photo illustration by Lynee Ruiz.
In no way do I think getting cosmetic enhancements is necessary for a person to feel good about themselves. Embracing our differences is something I feel strongly about. That said, I'm 25 years old and I recently got my lips injected. Why? Because I wanted to.
I can't remember when I started to wish I had fuller lips. Since I began putting on makeup, I suppose. I was always zeroing in on my upper lip, mostly because I felt it was a bit weak. Was I influenced by makeup ads, the Kardashians, et al? Maybe. I can promise you though, I wasn't striving for what society thought was perfection, I just wanted an appearance I was proud of.
About a year ago I really started thinking about getting my lips plumped with injections. I started asking the more mature stylists at my salon where they got Botox and other procedures, as well as one of my own clients who is an aesthetic nurse. Their answers all pointed to the same business, as well as one particular person. So I started doing my research on different injectables; the good, the bad and the horrors (we've all seen something called "fish lips"), as well as reading up on the local nurse who was so highly regarded. It took me six months of tossing the idea around before I went in for a consultation.
As I was sitting in the lobby at my first appointment to discuss the procedure, I felt at ease. The atmosphere was clean, sophisticated and professional. My nurse had all the necessary credentials for the procedure I wanted, and speaking with her about my insecurities was about as comfortable as it got. What I really loved about her was that she told me how much was too much, and I trusted her. We both agreed to fill my lips enough to balance out my worries, but not so much that it was outright noticeable. The injectable we agreed to use (Juvederm) lasts about nine months before another procedure is needed to keep up the results. I decided I wanted to go through with it, so I booked the appointment.
My husband was a bit hesitant when I spoke to him about it. He, of course, thinks of "fish lips" and asks if that's what I would look like. I explained how much I wanted to do it, and when he realized my expectations were realistic, he supported me. So much so that he took the day off work to drive me to my appointment and sit in the procedure room with me.
Two weeks leading up to my appointment I was told to refrain from taking aspirins, blood-thinning pain medicine and red wine. This would help keep down bruising. Not drinking wine was tough, but I did it anyway. When the day of my appointment finally came, I was more than ready.
My nurse went over the final look with me and answered my husband's questions while he sat in the corner of the room. I had the option to be completely numbed, or just use a topical treatment and I decided to use the topical numbing treatment. It felt a lot like when you get numbed at the dentist, drooling and all. I was surprised how little pain there was as my nurse began injecting me. I'm pretty sure I hurt myself worse on a daily basis just walking around my house. I can't remember how many injections there were, but it was over pretty quickly.
As my husband drove me home I iced my face, expecting the pain to erupt. And there was...nothing. I was a little sore (and swollen) but it was not even enough to warrant staying home from work. In fact, we even went out for dinner that night.
For about a week I was a little swollen, but about a week and a half later my lips were exactly where I expected them to be. My co-workers would stare and me for a moment and then go "Oh, yeah! You got your lips done," and then proceed to say that it looked really natural and pretty.
So am I glad I went through with it? Absolutely. I proudly wear my bright lipstick colors (MAC's Candy Yum Yum was my first post treatment buy). Will I do it again? I think so.