What's the Difference Between a Lip Flip Vs. Filler?

The Botox lip flip and lip filler are both minimally-invasive procedures for enhancing your lips, but they have some key differences.

If you like to keep up with the latest aesthetic treatments, chances are you've recently been introduced to the "lip flip," a treatment used to subtly flip the top lip upward. If you're also a longtime lip filler devotee, you might be curious about how the two compare. Here's your lip flip vs. filler cheat sheet.

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What Is a Lip Flip?

A lip flip is a procedure that involves injecting one to two units of a neuromodulator, Botox or Dysport, just above the upper lip. It's injected into the orbicularis oris — the muscle that allows you to make a kissy face or roll your lips under — causing the muscle to relax, according to Stafford Broumand, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon at 740 Park Plastic Surgery. This strategic Botox placement causes the upper lip to roll upward a tiny bit, exposing more of the vermilion (the darker part of your lip), says Dr. Broumand. This mimics fullness and prevents the upper lip from rolling under when you smile.

The term "lip flip" is relatively new — Yelp reported a 120 percent increase in mentions of "lip flip" per million reviews from March 2020 through March 2021, compared to the previous year — but the procedure itself has actually been around for a while, according to Dr. Broumand. (

What Is Lip Filler?

Getting lip filler, on the other hand, involves injecting a dermal filler (a gel-like substance) into the lip area to add volume. There are various brands of lip fillers, such as Juvederm, Restylane, Sculptra, and Bellafil, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Injectors will choose one brand over the other based on what they're trying to achieve. For example, Sculptra (made with polylactic acid) and Bellafil (made with polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres) are great for filling out thin lips, and hyaluronic acid-based fillers such as Juvederm or Restylanecan help redefine the lip border while plumping, according to ASPS.

"There is a multitude of different fillers, which [range from] soft to more thick fillers," explains Dr. Broumand. "And some are meant to last longer, but those tend to be firmer, and the ones that don't last as long are softer, so that's the trade-off." For lips, injectors tend to go with softer fillers, which feel softer when you're moving your mouth, but again they tend to not last as long as thicker, harder versions.

When it comes to treating the lips, lip filler is more versatile than Botox, according to Dr. Broumand. "Fillers are meant to accentuate different anatomic structures of the lip, and the upper lip itself has essential tubercle, or what's called a Cupid's bow," he says. "There is a distinction between the pink part and the lip itself, above the pink part, which is called the white roll. There's a dimple in the middle of the upper lip [called the philtrum dimple] and there are two little ridges on either side [called the philtrum], and we can fill the columns to make the dimple seem more accentuated. And so all of these areas can be filled strategically and accentuated." And unlike with the Botox lip flip, filler is often used to add volume to the bottom lip as well, according to Austin Marie Jacobus, N.P., clinical and operations director at Evolve Med Spa in Hoboken, New Jersey.

How to Choose Between a Lip Flip vs. Filler

The lip flip vs. filler each have their own pros and cons. "I find that most of my patients who come in asking for the lip flip, look at it as almost a gateway to lip filler," says Jacobus. "So they usually come in, saying 'I'm afraid, but I heard about the lip flip. My friend did it.' It's definitely very natural, it's very subtle." Lip flips vs. lip fillers also aren't an either-or scenario since "they can both be used concurrently for different reasons," she adds. (

The best candidates for the lip flip are individuals whose upper lip tucks under when they smile, suggests Jacobus. "Some people actually smile and their lip almost sits up and gets fuller, for them I don't always recommend a lip flip," she says. "Because you may see a tiny bit of a difference, but because your lip doesn't tuck or disappear when you're smiling, it's probably not going to be apparent enough." As mentioned, filler is superior when it comes to adding more volume to various parts of your lips.

Various logistical factors might weigh into your decision. A Botox lip flip will typically cost anywhere from $350 to $600 and will last up to three months, whereas filler will typically cost roughly $900 to $1,200 and can last up to a year, says Dr. Broumand. Results from Botox can take five days to two weeks to fully show up, while the results from filler are immediate but can be accompanied by bruising and/or swelling at first. Another important distinction, if you don't like the results of your filler, you can have the filler dissolved, but with Botox, you're stuck with it until it dissolves on its own, notes Dr. Broumand. (If you were horrified by the viral photos of this influencer who experienced a major drooping eyelid after Botox gone wrong, you know how it can feel like a painfully long time for the toxin to naturally dissolve.)

The bottom line on lip flips vs. filler? At the end of the day, your best off visiting a professional to discuss the pros and cons rather than trying to decide between a Botox lip flip vs. filler yourself, says Dr. Broumand. Your injector will take aspects such as the length your lip, your age, the amount of vermilion you have, the profile of your lip, and how the corners of your lip look in comparison to the central part of your lip, into consideration to make a suggestion he says. "It's good to have a conversation with your doctor to see what would work better for you," says Dr. Broumand. "Having that dialogue with your injector will ensure your results look the best they can look."

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