Bee stung. Pillow plump. Rosebud. Those are the top three adjectives I can think about whenever I see lips plumped to perfection whether it’s naturally occurring or perfectly injected by a doctor. Given that full lips are the beauty standard du jour all over the world, I have to consider myself lucky that my pout has some volume to it. However, I have always been contemplating about doing lip fillers.
Growing up, I envied my big sister. Naturally blessed with doll-like eyes, long eyelashes, symmetrical eyebrows, a nose with a higher bridge, a V-shaped face and Angelina Jolie-esque plump lips, she checks off every box for the ideal face. As for myself, I liked that my cute lil’ round face, almond eyes, button nose and naturally occurring double eyelids checked off the box. But when it came to my lips, it had always been small, but not as big as my sister’s. Since my preteen years, I always applied lip makeup from gloss to lipstick as I felt that it gave my face a lil’ pop in photos.
Apart from makeup, I never forgot about poring through copies of People, Us Weekly and InTouch to read stories about who did what to their faces and bodies. I also remembered seeing snippets of Dr.90210 on my aunt’s TV when I was 10. As a child, I never understood why anyone would want to resort to it nor did I have the awareness as to why people would choose to perform surgery on those who ask for modifications. Even though a little quick fix could give a dose of happiness after one trip under the knife, I never thought that it would be an option until I read about Kylie Jenner getting lip fillers five years ago.
While I felt insecure about my lips, I was simultaneously scared about going under the needle with a jab of Restylane as I feared having a permanent trout pout. Not in the mood to cough up money to take a trip to the surgeon, I went to the MAC store just to grab two lip liners in Whirl, a blue-based mauve, and Spice, a toasty cinnamon brown. With two colors that match close to my natural lip shade, I felt that I could mimic the plumped effect whether I applied on its own or topped with either lipstick or glittery lip gloss. If simulating lip fillers with lip liners wasn’t enough, I would wear lip products that contained temporary filling effects. I could go on an and on about Dior’s Lip Maximizer, Huda Beauty’s Demi Matte Cream Lipstick, etc. If I felt too lazy to put on lipstick, I’d count on cute filters to help me fake fuller lips on Instagram.
Anytime I took pictures, I needed to make sure that my lips *looked* big. That meant not baring a row of my pearly white teeth since it made my lips look too thin (to me). If I had to fake fuller lips, I pursed my lips forward and parted them. I either tilted my head or my hand to get the perfect angle to fake fuller lips just to mimic what I saw on Instagram. Once I felt like my lips looked great, I was ready to post. No photoshop needed. Ditto with all my selfies on dating apps because I had to make myself look presentable to cute boys.
Although I have yet to receive a single shot of filler (as of now), I still desire the perfectly even Bratz doll lips of my sister in spite of liking the evenness of my lips. Although I will not do lip fillers (for the present), it’s something I am open to in the future as I want to maintain the volume and size given that the loss of collagen occurs during aging. Not that I hate my lips, it’s just that I don’t like the feeling of having something “missing” as I get older.
Now that fillers are as common as white bread, there is nothing wrong about choosing to get them done. It’s still an unspoken taboo to speak about it as we (myself included) feel embarrassed to admit that we have insecurities with our features. Heck, I used to think that it was wrong to get plastic surgery done until I realized that people choose to see a doctor to boost their self confidence for themselves. What’s worse is the fact that social media is a cesspool for folks to bash public figures for choosing to get plastic surgery while the trolls themselves are equally infused with self-hate. If anything, we fear being judged – especially by our own friends and family – if we choose to get plastic surgery. Even if I myself ever actually get it done, I’d rather avoid cyber bullying by staying quiet than to be open about getting my lips injected as I don’t want to be demonized for my choices.
As humans, the most important thing is that we are beautiful inside and out regardless of whether one has surgery or not. Having to construct a healthy relationship with our own beauty is hard because as a woman, I’ve been conditioned to not acknowledge my beauty on my own terms. I was taught to believe that I needed someone to tell me that I’m pretty, which to me is BS. Being told that I don’t need to “fix” my features is not the validation that I am seeking. Being told that I’m beautiful as if I don’t know that I’m pretty is also not the validation I need to hear even though I’m flattered. The only validation I ever need is to *feel* comfortable within myself and assure myself I’m beautiful inside and out regardless of how I look whether I choose to remain all natural or get a little bit of fillers done.