Lip Injections vs Lip Fillers

Lip injections vs fillers: What's the difference and what you need to know for a natural look with optimal results.

by Linda Robison

Lip injections vs. Lip fillers: Are you confuse on how they differ? This article is for you.

The simple answer:

  • One refers to a cosmetic procedure (injection) to enhance the size, shape, or appearance of the lips.
  • The other refers to the actual cosmetic product or substance that is injected into the lips to add volume or enhance their shape.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the difference:

Lip injection vs lip filler. Woman holding lip injection syringe in her mouth.

Lip injections

  • This is the name of a cosmetic procedure. It refers to the act of “injecting” something into your lips.
  • It involves the use of a needle or a cannula to inject a filler type product. 

Lip fillers

  • This refers to the ("stuff") that's injected into your lips to enhance their volume and shape. Fillers can be placed in the upper lip, lower lip, or both.
  • Lip fillers can be a variety of things like hyaluronic acid, collagen, or synthetic compounds. Some common brand names for lip fillers include Juvederm and Restylane.

What should I know about lip fillers?

Lip fillers, also called dermal fillers, are a quick and easy way to enhance your mouth. They can be used to:

  • add fullness
  • create a poutier mouth
  • enhance the shape of your lips
  • define the cupid's bow
  • smooth out lines or wrinkles
  • correct a crooked or droopy mouth

The use of dermal fillers is regarded as safe, provided the injector has experienced with cosmetic injections and lip augmentation treatment.

In fact, some studies show that lip fillers not only help improve your smile, but can help improve your self-confidence. Here are some interesting facts about the benefits of lip fillers.

What type of filler is best for lips?

With all the different fillers and injectables available, it's hard to say which one is the best for your lips. 

But, just to note: All the fillers listed below contain hyaluronic acid (HA) as their primary ingredient.

What's right for you depends on what you want done, your skin type, your budget, and how creative and experienced the injector is.

Here is a quick breakdown of the most common fillers and their uses.

Restylane and Juvederm:

Restylane is granular and thicker while Juvederm has a smoother texture. These texture differences give both fillers different strengths and uses.

Juvederm Volbella XC , Juvederma Voluma, and Juvederm Ultra XC:

These volumizes offer a more natural, plumper look because they retain water and have a gel-like consistency.

Restylane Silk

While original Restylane is more granular and thicker, Restylane Silk was created specifically for the smaller areas of the mouth like the vermilion border and cupids bow. It's also used to erase wrinkles around the mouth and lips.

Vermilion border of the lip

Different types of dermal fillers used for different needs:

The type of injectable dermal filler used also depends on your what you're trying to achieve, your skin type (thin or thick skin), and the size and shape of your lips.

For example, do you:

  • want fuller or plumper lips
  • wish to accentuate the vermilion border which makes lips roll outward, to add shape without volume
  • want to accentuate the cupid bow to enhance just the upper lip
  • want to lift the corners of the lips to correct droopy mouth

How painful is lip filler?

Lip injection close up.

Do lip injections hurt, and how long does it take?

How painful are lip injection procedures?

My personal take: On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say about 6. 🫤 Yeah, beauty is pain!

The injector applies a topical anesthetic like a numbing cream around the injection sites, which only helps a little. Also, most fillers are mixed with lidocaine, a numbing substance, so after the initial prick, the pain is not as bad as it used to be years ago.

Here are some tips for less pain:

  • Ask your provider for the strongest numbing cream available.
  • Ask if they can cover the cream area with a plastic wrap. The heat makes it absorb better, and the pain is much reduced. My dermatologist did this for me and the pain was very little!
  • The initial "prick" of the needle is the worst part. If you're getting several injections, ask them to replace the needle after a few injections also helps. You'd be surprised how much more painful injections are with a dull needle.

However, everyone is different and have different pain threshold levels. If you're concerned, discuss this with your provider.

How long does it take?

The time required for is about 20-30 minutes, counting the time it takes for the numbing cream to work.

Lip filler before and after

This a before and after picture of 1/4 syringe of Versa dermal filler.

Lip injection before and after.

Individual results and how long the fillers last will vary from person to person.

What does make a difference (at least for me) is how often I get the lip injection procedure. 

At first, the injection only made my lips look fuller for about 6 months, after that they deflated a bit. But with each new injection, the effect lasts longer. Now, I only have to get an injection about twice a year to keep my lips looking full.

Side-effects of lip injections

What can you expect after lip injections:

  • bruising
  • swelling
  • cold sore reactivation

Note: A rare but potentially serious side effect is a vascular occlusion. That happens when the needle hits a blood vessel and a clot forms.

Symptoms include: severe pain, numbness, or color changes like your lips turn white, blue, or black. If this happens, notify your injector immediately.

Good candidate:

A good candidate for lip fillers are those who:

  • don't smoke
  • are not prone to cold sores. If you are, your doctor may prescribe Valtrex prior to lip injection treatment
  • do not have any chronic health issues like diabetes

What can I do instead of lip filler

What can I do instead of lip fillers to enhance the size of my lips and give them more shape?

Lip Flip 

A lip flip involves injecting a small amount of Botox to certain muscles in the upper lip area. How many units you need, depends on several factors.

Instead of plumping up your lips like traditional lip injections, a lip flip focuses on relaxing the muscles around your upper lip, causing the lip to roll up and out a bit.

This gives the illusion of a slightly fuller and more pouty upper lip.

It's like a subtle tweak that can give your lips a nice shape.

Fat Grafting

Some patients prefer to plump up their thin lips with injections made with their fat taken from other parts of their body.

This is called fat injections or fat grafting. The fat is taken from the abdomen, purified, and then injected into the lips.

However, this procedure is usually twice as expensive as standard lip injections and there's a 50% or more loss of fat due to reabsorption, especially in areas of the face with much movement - like the mouth.

For this reason, most injectors prefer to use dermal volumizes like Juvederm or Restylane for lip enhancement.

Is there a permanent solution for bigger lips?

Permanent Solution for fuller lips: Surgical options

Lip implants are a great option for those tired of having to return to the doctor's office every 3-6 months to get lip fillers. This lip augmentation procedure can give you full, plump lips permanently.

This treatment option involves implanting a tiny silicone implants (usually made of gortex) inside the lip pocket. The implant size can be custom-made to fit the size of your lips if necessary.

How do implants work?

About this cosmetic surgery

  • Small incisions are made at the corners of the mouth, and a tunnel is created following the shape of the lip using a curved clamp.
  • Once the clamp reaches the other end of the lip, the clamp is opened to create a pocket. Then the implant is pulled through the lip tunnel.
  • After the implant is properly aligned, the incisions are closeup.

An implant can be used to add lip volume in the upper, lower, or both. Lip implant surgery can be under a general anesthesia, but most are done using local anesthetic.

Recovery and Healing:

The procedure only takes about an hour and there is minimal downtime, usually about 3 days to heal. But it can be uncomfortable for a few weeks.

In the first few days, you'll need to sleep with your head elevated, use cold compresses to reduce swelling and pain medication for any discomfort.

Then, for the next week or two, you have to be very careful how you eat and drink. You should not to open your mouth too wide or put pressure around the mouth area, as the implant can move or shift.

After about 14 days or so there should be enough scarring which helps hold the implant in place, and you can resume normal activities.


The cost of this permanent lip augmentation procedure can range from $2000-$5000.

Summary: Lip injection vs lip filler

A lip injection is a procedure used to get lip filler product into your lips. This is the most popular, least expensive non-surgical procedure to enhance or augment your lips.

This very popular, non-surgical lip augmentation can enhance the appearance of your lips and last anywhere from 3 to 12 months.

Many people noticed that the more often they get lip fillers within the first year, the longer they seem to last.

So, for your first time getting filler injections, you made need 4 treatments in a 12-month period. However, after that, you may only need 2-3 treatments per year to maintain the same results.

Good news about lip injections and lip fillers

Good News: Cosmetic companies are coming out with newer, improved, and longer lasting lip fillers almost every year. And over time, the lip injection process becomes easier and less painful.

Q: Does lip filler last longer if I get lip flip injections?

A: It's possible that a Botox lip flip, which involves injecting botulinum toxin (Botox) into the muscles around the upper lip, can potentially make lip filler last longer.

When the Botox relaxes the muscles around the upper lip, it can reduce the movement in that area. Reduced movement is known to help slow down the breakdown of lip filler and extend its longevity. The relaxed muscles put less stress on the lip filler, which means it may retain its shape and volume for a longer period.

Q: What is better lip filler or lip injections?

A: Lip filler and lip injections are just two different ways to describe the same thing. 

Lip filler involves injecting a substance (usually hyaluronic acid) into your lips to plump them up and enhance their size and shape. It's a more noticeable change and can give you those fuller lips you're aiming for.

Q: Which is better, a lip flip and lip injections

A: A lip flip is a type of lip injection that uses Botox to relax the muscles around your upper lip. This creates a subtle lifting effect, making your upper lip appear a bit fuller and giving that flirty pout.

A lip injection uses dermal fillers like hyaluronic acid to plump up thin lips. Both are temporary and need to be done every so many months.

So, which one is better? It really depends on what you're looking for. If you want a noticeable increase in lip volume, lip filler might be your go-to.

But if you're after a more subtle enhancement and a little boost for your natural lip shape, the lip flip could be right for you.

Q: How long do lip injections last?

A: Depending on what type of dermal filler used, your results can last from 6–12 months. The results will also vary from person to person.

Q: What are the cons of lip injections?

A: Cons of lip injections: pain, swelling, bruising, uneven results, or allergic reactions or rarely necrosis. 

Necrosis happens if the filler enters a vein can cause tissue damage, necrosis (cell death), and more serious complications.

Q: Are lip filler permanent?

A: No, lip fillers are not permanent. Fillers usually last about 6-12 months.

Q: What are lip injections?

A: As stated above, lip injections is a non-surgical procedure to enhance or augment the shape and size of the lips.

Lip injection involves using a syringe with a needle or cannula to inject collagen or any type of dermal filler into one or both of your lips.

Hyaluronic acid fillers (a natural substance) is one of the most popular filler substances used in lip injections today. It is a naturally occurring substance in the human body, similar to collagen.