Luscious lips are in full demand. Eve Oxberry learns the latest in fillers and semi permanent make-up to boost volume and definition
The eyes may be the windows to the soul but the lips can whisper countless secrets about the age and lifestyle of your clients. As we age, the lips become thinner and lose definition and the demand for recovery of the perfect pout has never been greater.
While there are a host of plumping balms and creams on the market, medical treatments that can give a more permanent solution are growing in popularity. Lip augmentation was one of the fastest growing operations in terms of popularity last year with a 49% increase in procedures, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
In the salons, fillers and micropigmentation are leading the way, with new techniques promising more natural and subtle results. According to plastic surgeon and lip expert Dr Gertrude Huss, all faces are essentially born female and it is not until puberty that girls’ lips start to fill with fat, causing them to curve outward and creating a pout that sets them apart from the thinner, flatter lips of the boys. “With ageing, the female face is pulled into a more masculine formation: the once curvy lips of youth are pulled into a straight line,” she says. “Muscle atrophy leads to a redistribution of volume that causes the lips to roll inwards and appear thinner.”
When treating lips with hyaluronic acid filler, Huss says it’s vital to find a product that combines softness with strength. “Lip tissue is totally different to skin; there are fewer glands so it’s less lubricated than the dermis. Lips are highly vascularised so bruise and swell easily and have a very active muscle in the periorbital area so any product in the lips has to withstand a lot of pressure,” she says. In the Hill Street Clinic in Jersey, Huss uses Restylane’s new Lip Volume filler deep in the lips to enhance volume and Lip Refresh toward the surface to restore hydration and definition. Both are softer than the brand’s previous lip products and contain anaesthetic lidocaine.
Fillers do have a role to play in definition as well as volume but when it comes to redefining the vermilion border, micropigmentation is a salon favourite. And this semi-permanent colouring technique has also evolved to become more natural.
“Techniques have moved much more towards enhancing what’s already there rather than creating a false look or harsh line,” says Tracey Simpson, managing director of micropigmentaiton training and supply company Natural Enhancement. “Clients are definitely getting younger so it’s not all about anti-ageing; they want a nice colour and definition so they can just add a coat of gloss and go.”However, the other main group of clients is 40-plus women whose lips have become paler and lost definition in the border and Simpson says that techniques and trends are also changing for this group. “A lot of trainers were taught in the US where a much heavier, more obvious effect is popular but there’s a move toward a more subtle European look,” she says. “We use very fine gauge narrow needles now to avoid a heavy line, so close up you’d see a very fine line but anyone standing half a metre away would just see a nicely defined lip, then we blush the colour gradually into the lip which reduces any line still further.”
Beauty Concepts International (BCI) head trainer Teresa Frake agrees that at the moment a more natural lip line is popular but warns that you should take note of the client’s skin tone as sometimes the skin can flush red and disguise the colour you are trying to implant. “Working slowly will stop this happening,” she adds. Frake works with the new Kryo-Liner 2 machine, which includes a sensor that determines the skin’s resistance and tells the therapist the correct length and force of needle to use. It allows you to preset the type of treatment and has a timer to help keep track of progress.
Permanent make-up pioneer and of Nouveau Beauty Group managing director Karen Betts suggests the worst things practitioners can do are to draw only a lip line or ignore the client’s natural lip colour and use a mismatched shade. Shape, she says is also vital. “If you are trying to make the lips look bigger by making the cupid's bow higher you must lift the outer corners otherwise the lips can end up looking like joker’s lips,” she adds. “The lower lip can also be widened too much when trying to make them look bigger and this is what I would call fish lips.”
Simpson says fillers and micropigmentation can work very well together. “Volumising fillers reduce any lip definition so if you have a crisp line it can be stretched and dissipate so adding a soft shadow of colour can bring that back.” However, if you are doing the two together, Simpson says you should always do micropigmentation first because the action of the needle could otherwise break down the filler. “If someone’s just had fillers I tell them to come back in a few months.”
Betts also advises using fillers to help when correcting cleft lips. “I use a beige colour to reflect the light so the lip has a fuller look. I find a small amount of filler in
the flatter side of the lip, done by my colleague and friend Warren Millington from Fabulous Face and Body, can also help disguise scarring. I use Contour Roller over the scar area then a small amount of camouflage makeup, if needed, to add the finishing touches.”
Huss says when cosmetic doctors measure the lip area prior to treatment the rules they use include:
Front: Ideal lip proportion ratio is 1 to 1.68, top to bottom
Profile: According to “Ricketts E-Line”, if you draw an imaginary line from the tip of the nose to the tip of the chin, the top lip should be 4mm away from that line and the bottom lip 2mm away.