Updated: Sep 20
Before Kylie Jenner and her lip kits, lip filler was still a thing. It's just now, it's becoming more popular.
According to Alyssa Luciano, the owner of Avere Beauty, a Pittsburgh-based med spa practice specializing in injectable cosmetics, procedures in millennials have gone up 120% in the past five years, with lip injections being the #1 thing performed.
Lip filler was everywhere - so I decided to see what it's about.
Social media is full of women with lip fillers. I didn't really notice, but it made me wonder what it would look like.
Not everyone thinks lip filler is a good option, and it's not for everyone. The ones who do get it believe it enhances the features of their face; and I'm one of those. My face is relatively larger and my lips sort of turned in. The plan was to make my features more congruent and I'll feel better with them a little bit more full.
Living in Pittsburgh, there are countless places to get cosmetic work done. I researched and settled on Avere Beauty after seeing their Instagram.
Avere Beauty just opened before the pandemic and reopened a few months ago, but already has 2 locations - one in Lawrenceville and one in Murrysville. Their marketing director Frank Udavcak spoke briefly on their mission to develop an "all-around health and wellness center with natural and modest results."
Initially, the world of injectables was intimidating, but Avere Beauty's social media and supportive clientele helped me trust them. Also, I felt like I knew the team before I went in there.
Usually the price for lip filler at Pittsburgh med spas can range from $650 to $1,200, but Avere Beauty likes to make it known that they have the best prices in the city. "We're not trying to tax our clients. We want to form long-term relationships and if that means losing a little upfront, that's worth it right now," says Frank, the marketing director.
I thought it would feel like a doctor's office, but not at Avere Beauty.
Walking in, I expected a sterile environment and elevator music, but instead, was greeted by Frank and Alyssa offering me a drink. It was such a cozy environment and very warm.
I asked a few questions and filled out some simple paperwork.
I learned that harder filler like Voluma XC is used on the cheeks. And then there's softer filler like Ultra XC for the lips. There's a bunch more options too. The Juvederm is a gel filler made from hyaluronic acid and helps retain water. Lip filler is not permanent and dissolves six months to a year - depending on how fast your metabolism is. Hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring in your body, so this isn't some sort of foreign chemical in your lips.
During my consultation with Alyssa, I told her what I wanted and she sort of walked me through how we could make it work. She was very honest and didn't make me feel like I needed more, more, more like a lot of my friends have told me other med spas have done to them. My top lip tended to disappear when I smiled and Alyssa said we could curl it back out a little bit. We agreed to go for a "noticeable, but natural" look for the first visit.
I want people to see my lips, but not look like a Duck.
Alyssa put together a plan for my face. She walked me through where she would be doing the injections and how long it should take (not long).
One of the big things is making sure both the top and bottom lips are even and proportional. Alyssa used Juvéderm Ultra XC which is supposedly perfect for first time injections because it's soft. If I wanted to get rid of lines around my mouth, I think she said Volbella XC is the way to go because it's thicker.
What's nice about the Lawrenceville office is, the nurses prepare the product right in front of you. You get to see the filler move from the packaging to the sterilization, to you. It's actually really intriguing to see how the nurses prepare the syringe.
Avere Beauty has this awesome numbing cream -- you barely feel anything with the lip injections!
Oh man - it's so great, but so not tasty. The numbing cream Avere uses is a special formula that pretty much numbs your entire lips. It takes about 20 min to fully kick in and lasts about 30 min.
Tip: Try not to talk. Also, you aren't drooling.
Now it was time to be nervous. The needle was coming. Alyssa could tell I was nervous and offered me water or to take a minute, but no. I was going to do it.
I took a deep breath and the needle glided in my lips.
It was a slight sting like less than a tattoo feeling. Then there was a small amount of pressure once it was in.
Alyssa actually molded my lips with just a needle and a few pinches. They have this cool tool called the distractor that keeps the focus away from the injection! Alyssa was super gentle and careful and it still only took about 15 minutes.
After the lip filler, it wasn't a long recovery time. They gave me a cool branded Ice Pack.
For 30 minutes after, I still couldn't feel my lips.
The next morning, my lips were going to be huge and swollen. They were very sore and tender when I touched them but I've been repeatedly icing and moisturizing them.
It took a few days for the swelling to go down.
Alyssa said most people end up loving the results immediately after when they are swollen, and it's true. I really liked how they looked the second day. They quickly deflate but. That's just how it works. She said most people come back a week or so later to get the rest of the syringe or to fill a little more. It's basically like putting a base coat on and now anything we add should make it bigger. On a pain scale, the first time was like a 3 or 4 and the second time, literally a 1 or a 2.
I've heard that a lot of injectors can leave bumps and the lips end up lumpy if done wrong, but seeing Alyssa's before and after from other clients, I knew that I had gone to the best.
My lips aren't huge like Kylie Jenner, but they're also not small. When I smile, my upper lip doesn't disappear. When I look in the mirror, my head is proportional to my features. When I meet someone new, I have a little extra confidence knowing I look and feel more harmonious and know that I look respectable and not crazy.
So there it is, my before and after photos of getting lip filler at Avere Beauty in Pittsburgh.