Lip Flip vs. Lip Filler: Everything You Need to Know

Lip Flip vs. Lip Filler: Everything You Need to Know

Between overlining your lips, highlighting the center and choosing your lipstick colour wisely, there are several tricks of the trade when it comes to achieving a more voluminous pout. Those on a quest for fuller-looking lips sans makeup might take things one step further and consider an in-office treatment. Enter lip flips and lip fillers, two of the most common plumping treatments for this area. While both procedures involve using injectables to enhance the look of your lips, there are some key differences to note that will be helpful in making the decision of which is right for you.


Expert Tip:

If you are concerned about pain during either a lip flip or lip filler procedure, Zensa Numbing Cream can be applied beforehand to make for a more pleasant experience. It contains maximum-strength 5% lidocaine to effectively numb the area and minimize discomfort. Plus, it is made with vitamin E, which features anti-inflammatory properties to help speed up the healing process and produce less downtime.

Below, find out everything you need to know about lip flips and lip filler, including how to know which one to choose, straight from a plastic surgeon.


What is a Lip Flip?

You may have thought Botox was only meant for minimizing the look of fine lines and wrinkles, but it turns out it can make a difference in the appearance of your lips as well. "Lip flips utilize small injections of Botox into the lip to relax the upper lip muscle and allow it to appear fuller," says Dr. Lyle Leipziger, Chief of Plastic Surgery at North Shore University Hospital and LIJ Medical Center. The muscle relaxer works on the lips the same way it does on any part of your face: by weakening the muscles of the treated area and increasing the resting tone of nearby untreated areas. This is what is responsible for giving the lip that upward "flip" the treatment is known for. When compared to lip filler, a lip flip is a quick, non-invasive procedure with no downtime.

What is Lip Filler?

Lip filler involves injecting filler (which is primarily made up of hyaluronic acid) into the lip tissue to increase lip volume. "Injection of lip fillers creates immediate volume enhancement in the region of placement, which is typically in the cupid's bow of the upper lip and central lower lip," says Dr. Leipziger. Unlike the Botox that is used in lip flips (which is measured in units), lip filler is measured by volume or by syringe, and it is much easier to overtreat than a lip flip. "Too much filler will result in unnatural and overdone lips," warns Dr. Leipziger, who says it is important to have your face carefully analyzed to correctly determine filler placement. If over-treatment does occur, it is possible to dissolve lip filler by using the enzyme that dissolves hyaluronic acid, hyaluronidase.

What Is the Difference Between a Lip Flip and Lip Filler?


The two lip enhancement treatments deliver different results. Lip flips relax the muscle, causing the lip to look just slightly fuller. You will notice a small difference with a lip flip only on the upper lip where your cupid's bow is — this area will be poutier and raised a bit upward. Lip filler, on the other hand, offers a more dramatic effect by enlarging the upper and lower lips via its tissue.

Longevity of results

"Lip flips might take up to 10 to 12 days to see the final results because it takes time for Botox to relax the lip muscle, says Dr. Leipziger. "Lip filler delivers an immediate transformation." In terms of how long the results last, there is a difference between the two treatments. "Since only a small number of Botox units are used for a lip flip, results may diminish in eight to 10 weeks," says Dr. Leipziger. "However, I find in my own practice, depending on the product, lip filler may last up to four to five months."


If you are allergic to lip filler, lip flips are a solid alternative that will still help you achieve fullness. The treatment is also great for those with a gummy smile, those who lose their upper lip when they smile and those looking to soften upper lip wrinkles or smoker's lines. But, because lip flips involve relaxing the muscles, you may experience a "weakening" feeling in the area when it comes to things like whistling, drinking from a straw, scuba diving or playing a musical instrument. Also, lip flips do not involve injecting anything into the lower lip, so if you are looking for lower lip volume, lip filler is a better choice for this area.

Pain level

"Lip flips that utilize a small amount of Botox usually have less discomfort than augmenting the lip with filler," notes Dr. Leipziger. If you have a low tolerance for pain, a topical numbing agent like Zensa Numbing Cream can help alleviate any discomfort. Dr. Leipziger also says ice can be placed on the injection site immediately afterward, which can help minimize the risk of any bruising or swelling.


Aside from results, some people turn to lip flips as opposed to lip fillers because of cost. Botox typically costs less than a full syringe of filler, and just a few units will be enough to notice a subtle difference. You should also consider the cost if you are looking for a more customized result that involves both treatments.



The best way to differentiate lip flips and lip fillers is to know that lip flips add a gentle plumpness to the lips without any enlarging while lip fillers are meant to add volume. The procedures can be done individually or together if you are looking to target thin, flat lips or alter the shape of your lips. In any case, it is important to discuss your desired results thoroughly with a board-certified professional.

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