Everything Experts Want You to Know About Lip Flips

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Everything You Need to Know About Lip Flips, Explained

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There are so many ways to boost the appearance of your lips. There are ubiquitous treatments — lip filler comes to mind, which involves a few injections into the lip to boost its volume for a few months. Of course, you can also go the lip liner and/or lip plumper route, but those effects wear off after the product fades. So, for people who want a longer-lasting effect, that doesn't really cut it. Today, there are also more under-the-radar options like the lip lift, which is another surgical procedure that provides permanent results.

Getting injections or surgery may not be easy to wrap your head around, but if you're curious about lip augmentation and want to dip your toes in the water, a lip flip might be the perfect option. Unlike filler — let alone surgery — this treatment gives subtle, natural results.

So, we tapped three experts to learn all there is to know about lip flips. What are they? What type of neuromodulator is used? How long do results last? And for real, do you need numbing cream beforehand? Their answers, below.

What is a lip flip?

Like lip fillers, a lip flip is a nonsurgical lip augmentation treatment. However, lip flips don't involve injecting filler into the cupid’s bow and corners of the upper lip, but rather, Botox.

"Most clients who opt for a lip flip as opposed to lip filler have hyperactive muscles around their mouths that cause the top lip to curl up and minimize when smiling, so injecting this area with botox can cause the muscle to move less, creating a larger looking lip," explains David Shafer, MD, a Manhattan-based plastic surgeon at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue. "There are many clients who choose to get both a lip flip and lip fillers done to maximize volume and results."

Furthermore, Anita Wolf, Clinical Director at BeautyFix Med Spa, explains that the lip border “flips” upward as the Botox relaxes the muscle in small doses — hence the treatment's name.

What does a lip flip treatment involve?

As with all cosmetic procedures, the first step is a consultation. Dr. Adrienne O'Connell, Medical Director and President of Laguna Beach Aesthetics, says one of the first things she does is discuss the different options of neuromodulators — Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, or Jeuveau. (The most popular option is Botox, but it's always good to know there are options.)

Once everything has been explained by your doctor and all questions have been answered, it's time to flip. "On the day of the procedure, your lips will be numbed in most cases, and Botox will be injected into the corners of your mouth and your cupid’s bow," furthers Dr. Shafer. While numbing is common, he adds that some doctors may not opt to numb you as the procedure isn't painful, so make sure to have that conversation beforehand to talk about your comfort levels.

Unit-wise, Dr. O'Connell says she typically injects two units right above the right upper medial lip, two right above the left upper medial lip, two below the right lower medial lip, and 2 units below the left lower medial lip — eight units total.

Post-treatment, both experts say not to massage the area and to avoid laying flat for at least eight hours, as doing so could cause the neuromodulator to migrate. Dr. Shafer also suggests smokers lay off from cigarettes for three to four days to minimize the risk of infection. Lastly, it's also important to avoid strenuous exercise and sleeping face down for a few days.

What results can you get from a lip flip?

Lip flips will give you a much subtler effect than filler would, so if you're looking for a small tweak, then a lip flip may be for you. "Lip flips help the upper lip to appear bigger, especially when smiling, and can help slightly change the appearance of the lips," says Dr. Shafer. "The results are less intense than results of lip fillers, but still make a large difference for clients whose lips turn up when smiling, showing the gums."

How long your results last will depend on how quickly your body metabolizes Botox, but typically, Dr. O’Connell says it'll only last eight weeks. "As we talk all day every day, we metabolize the product around our mouth much quicker than our foreheads or around our eyes," she explains.

What are the potential side effects of getting a lip flip?

This treatment is generally safe and has little to no side effects — as long as you go to a good doctor. If you do experience side effects, Dr. Shafer says you'll likely experience drooling, the inability to drink from a straw, the inability to whistle, or difficulty forming certain words. But not to worry, Dr. O'Connell says these only last for a week.

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