The ‘lip lift’ uses Botox instead of fillers to create fuller lips. But does it actually work, and is it safe?

You can always rely on TikTok to expose the latest beauty trends and treatments, whether or not they’re legit. Right now, the “lip lift” cosmetic treatment is going viral for creating the illusion of fuller-looking lips without using any dermal fillers. Instead, cosmetic practitioners are apparently using Botox to perform the treatment. 

While we’re always here for innovation in cosmetic treatments, it’s always important to establish whether a procedure is safe before booking in to try it, as well as whether it’s the best method to achieve the results you want. Intrigued and keen to investigate the new trend, we asked the ultimate lip expert Dr Tijion Esho to lift the lid on the trending treatment…

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What is a lip lift? 

Usually, cosmetic doctors use a small needle or cannula to inject hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers into lips to plump up their nature volume, correct any unwanted asymmetry and add definition to the outline. 

Dermal fillers are a tried-and-tested procedure that has been around for years, and so long as you go to a qualified and experienced professional, they should be a good way to achieve the results you want. Plus, if you’re not happy, dermal fillers only last around six to eight months before being naturally absorbed by the body. Plus, fillers can be dissolved immediately if necessary.  

Dr Esho tells GLAMOUR that the lip lift, however, uses Botulinum toxin, or Botox, to create the illusion of a fuller upper lip by paralysing the orbicularis oris muscle (the muscle just above the lips) to keep the lip completely relaxed when smiling. In theory, this ensures the lip is never stretched out and always appears at its fullest and also prevents a gummy smile. 

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Is a lip lift safe?

According to Dr Esho, lip flip Botox is a high risk, minimal gain procedure in terms of the result. “For a lip flip to work you must ensure Botox only affects the superficial layer of the obicularis oris muscle,” he says. “If it enters the deeper layer (which I’ve seen many times) it can lead to weakening of the lip and in some cases full paralysis, losing the ability to smile, speak and difficulty in eating and drinking.”