My first time... What it's really like to get lip fillers

getting lip fillers

What do acupuncture needles feel like? How long does botox actually last for? How embarrassing is colonic hydrotherapy? There are certain treatments that you’ve heard loads about, but you don’t really know what happens during the appointment, whether it hurts or if it’s really even for you? In this new franchise, we aim to try and clear things up for you See this as your one-stop resource for treatments on trial.

‘Don’t do it!’ was the most common reaction I got when I told people I was getting lip fillers. 

‘What if it goes wrong?’ and ‘I would never mess around with my face,’ were close competitors. 

But I have wanted lip fillers for years. The only thing stopping me from picking up the phone and making the appointment was the fact that every time I’d Google ‘lip fillers’ I’d end up reading horror stories. Then I'd be flooded with pictures of the disasters.

Team that with the general consensus from my peers that lip fillers = terrifyingly risky, and it's no wonder that it took me so long to finally commit to getting my pout jabbed.

However, my desire for some lips (they’re naturally very thin) finally outweighed my fears and I went to see the highly sought after aesthetic practitioner Dr. Nima whose signature procedure is injecting lip fillers. 

Getting lip fillers

My most pressing questions - how did he know how far to go and was he about to pump my little lips full of product? - were answered immediately. 

‘Generally you judge it by sight,’ he explained.

‘When I start - especially if you have small lips - I use a product that is very, very thin. We don’t want to cause too much stress to the tissues because it would cause a lot of pain, and we just want to gradually build on things rather than go in with 1 or 2ml of thicker products. So we start with a thinner product and see how it goes.’

Trusting that he wasn’t about to give me the dreaded duck lips, I decided to finally take the plunge and plump up my pout. 

So if you’ve ever wondered what it’s really like to get lip fillers but have been scared shitless about actually doing it, this one’s for you. 

getting lip fillers 147206877

Credit: Robert Daly / Getty

So, cut to the chase - what actually happens during a lip filler appointment?

Walking to the appointment, I was absolutely bricking it. While I waited in the reception, I filled out a form briefly detailing my medical background and agreeing that I was aware of the risks involved. Exactly what you want to read before you get a load of needles injected into your face for the first time. 

Thankfully Dr. Nima appeared pretty soon afterwards which didn’t give me much of a window to run straight out the door. Instead I went into the treatment room, plonked myself down on the chair and Dr. Nima handed me a mirror. I nervously started reeling off questions about the procedure while instinctively keeping an eye on my lips in the reflection - and he was doing the same. As I spoke, I realised he was taking note of the shape of my lips and assessing how my mouth moved.

Following a quick chat about exactly what I was hoping for, he instantly shut down any notions that I’d be leaving the room with a pout to rival Kylie Jenner’s, telling me: ‘I have to let you know, your lips will never be very big because of the positioning of the muscles around your mouth.’

Thankfully, I tell him, I’m not expecting to leave with supersized pout - just a little more than what I came with, and he confirms he can do exactly that. Woohoo.

Then what?

After the consultation, I get comfy and Dr. Nima applies a numbing cream to my lips which he leaves on for 15-20 minutes. He dims the lights slightly (presumably to try and get me to relax and calm the fuck down) and leaves me in the room alone with my thoughts, the main one being: ‘WHAT AM I DOING?’

I would like to say that the next quarter of an hour whizzed by, but in fact I spent the majority of it convincing myself that it would all be fine and taking selfies of my creamed-up, gradually feeling-less lips. When he re-enters, he flicks the lights back up, hands me a stress ball and is suddenly positioned above my face with a needle.

‘Ready?’ he asks. 

I attempt to say yes but my numb mouth lets out a ‘Ssss’ and it’s time to go.

getting lip filler 921945384

Credit: dimid_86 / Getty

What do lip fillers feel like?

The numbing cream dulls the sensation but you can feel a slight scratch and then the needle moving under the lip skin, and a slight burn as it pulls back out again, which initially feels a little uncomfortable (think back to the first time you ever had any of your facial hair threaded). Once the first injection is out of the way, you’ll get used to how it feels and the following jabs will be a breeze.

Do lip fillers hurt?

Honestly, no. Dr Nima had forewarned me: ‘Numbing cream will take the edge off the treatment, it will take the edge off the pain, but it will still feel slightly uncomfortable.’

It wasn’t a painful experience at all, but I definitely felt what was going on (see above). My eyes watered a lot and Dr. Nima explained that he was leaving the two injections in my cupids bow until last because they are usually the most uncomfortable. For those two I inhaled deeply and made the most of the stress ball. But then before I knew it, it was all done.

How long does getting lip fillers take?

My appointment was at 11.30am and I was out by 12.10pm. That forty minutes included filling out forms, the consultation, waiting for the numbing cream to set in, the procedure itself and a chat about aftercare.

Do your lips swell and bruise after getting lip fillers?

Your lips will feel huge straight after the treatment thanks to the numbing cream and the injections causing them to swell. When Dr. Nima handed me the mirror to take a look, I was convinced that they would be gigantic. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were in fact still recognisable as my lips, just a little plumper than they were twenty minutes previous. 

He told me that I ‘would hate him’ the next day, as you can usually expect redness, swelling and bruising 24 - 48 hours after the procedure. 

I had purposely left myself with a plan-free weekend so that I could hide in my house for a few days until things settled down - but nothing awful happened. My lips stayed full and I got zero pain or bruising. Hurrah.

How long does lip filler last - and what’s in it?

‘Your body naturally contains something called hyaluronic acid which as we age is broken down, and we can inject it in the form of a filler,’ Dr. Nima explains.

As HA naturally occurs in the body it will slowly dissolve over 6 - 12 months, depending on various factors such as the type of filler used and the amount injected. It’s not permanent so you’ll need to get top-ups if you want to keep them plumper, but if you decide you’re no longer a fan your lips will eventually return to their natural state. 

Can lip fillers be removed?

If you get your lips filled and instantly hate it or it doesn’t go quite to plan, your doctor will be able to dissolve it with an injection called hyaluronidase which acts as a reversing agent and breaks down the hyaluronic acid so your lips will be back to normal within 3 -4 days. 

Lip fillers before and after

So, now for the before and after lip filler pictures. As you can see, the difference is very subtle but it gave my lips a little boost which is exactly what I wanted.

getting lip filler

getting lip fillers

What to do after getting lip fillers

‘No smoking or drinking for two to three days afterwards because it will potentially cause more bruising and dehydrate you - you want to drink as much water as you can,’ Dr Nima advises.

You must also keep them clean, and you want to keep them sweat-free so no exercise, saunas or steam rooms either. If they’re really giving you jip in the days following you can use an ice pack to relieve the pain but avoid anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen.

How much do lip fillers cost?

Cost varies from doctor to doctor but you can expect to pay £200+ depending on the doctor, brand of lip filler used and the amount needed. 

How to find a lip filler doctor

It is essential that you do your homework before booking an appointment to get lip fillers. Avoid getting lip fillers from a beauty therapist at your local salon - choose a doctor who is qualified, registered and reputable. Non-surgical aesthetics are currently largely unregulated in the UK, meaning that technically anyone can do it. So it is absolutely vital that you research the medical professional thoroughly and also find out everything there is to know about the clinic, the products they use and the ingredients (they need to be FDA approved and CE marked, check this by asking to see the box).

Ask questions and make sure they can answer them all - which brand of filler will they be using? How much product will they be injecting? What technique will they be using? What are your options if things don't go to plan? You can always request to look at photos of their work before you go under the needle, too.

You need to be certain that if anything should go wrong you'll be in safe hands.

For more information about Dr Nima or to book an appointment, visit

Jadie Troy-Pryde
News Editor

Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.