For as long as I can remember, I’ve been self-conscious about the thinness of my lips. So when I became a beauty editor and started writing about injectables, like anti-wrinkle injections and facial fillers, for a living, plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists began flooding my inbox offering to give me lip injections so I could write about it. It was no question: I numbed up, took the needles like a champ, bruised for a few days, and immediately hit
the streets Bumble with plump, juicy lips in tow.
Backstory: I didn’t have my first kiss until I was almost 18 years old. But I’ve, uh, made up for lost time in the last eight years. 😉 After one particularly steamy make-out sesh, I told my partner I had lip filler. He responded: “Oh, yeah, I could feel it while we were kissing. Felt more pillowy and smushy than real lips.” I‘m sorry, whaaa? I dismissed his comment until a year or so later, when I heard a guy on Love Island UK say that he could feel one of the girl’s lip filler in a blindfolded kissing challenge.
Was this simply talk (or chat, as the Islanders would say) or a legit thing? Thus entered my newest hyperfixation: asking dermatologists, injectors, plastic surgeons, and yup, my ex-kissing partners if you can feel lip filler while you’re kissing.
But first, a little info on lip filler and how it works
Lemme (or rather, board-certified dermatologist Anna Guanche, MD) explain: Lip filler—like Juvederm, Restylane, Versa, and RHA—is an injectable gel that’s usually made with hyaluronic acid, which you’ve probably used in a face serum or face moisturiser to hydrate and plump your skin.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are actually the most popular filler because they’re “most similar to what already exists in your body tissues, inside your eyeballs, between your cells and in your joint fluid,” says Dr. Guanche. “Although it is chemically classified as an acid, hyaluronic acid does not tingle or burn like an exfoliating acid,” she says. “In fact, it is inert, meaning it has no biological effect on your tissues.”
When injected into your lips, hyaluronic acid lip filler simply plumps out lines and recontours or reshapes lips. The result? Fuller, plumper lips that are generally the same shape as your natural lips.
My (very unofficial) investigation
Unfortunately, my current batch of lip filler is mostly dissolved at this point (most lip filler lasts anywhere from six months to a year, FYI). But I had a decent list of test subjects from when my lips were at peak size to poll on the topic.
So I texted a bunch of former partners and hookup buddies (many of whom I haven’t spoken to in months, oops) to see if they could tell if my lips were filled by kissing me. Here’s what they had to say:
Some of my ~subjects~ said that they didn’t even really notice I had filler at all, while others said they could tell my lips were a lil bit fuller but that the difference in feel was minimal:
A current kissing partner who’s only kissed my current, filler-dissolved lips says he’s noticed in the past with other people he’s kissed (umm, who is she!!). But it was only when he had felt their filled and non-filled lips and said even then, it still wasn’t all that different.
Let’s be real, though, most of my messages went unanswered (as shown below, lol), so my sample size could have definitely been larger.
But, tbh, I also thought back to everyone I’ve ever kissed who might have lip filler themselves, and I don’t remember noticing anything different. I also never felt my own lip filler while kissing once they’d healed. So I had to really get down to business and ask the pros...
What the pros have to say about kissing with lip filler
According to experts, no, kissing with lip filler shouldn’t feel any different for either party involved. “I actually have not had any of my patients state that kissing felt different after lip filler,” says board-certified plastic surgeon and American Society of Plastic Surgeons member Smita Ramanadham, MD.
If you do feel filler in someone you’re kissing, it could just be related to point of reference if you’ve kissed them before and after they’ve had filler, says Dr. Ramanadham. Because, duh, a larger-size lip compared to thinner lips is naturally going to change how it feels to kiss. But if your lips are over-stuffed with filler, you could slightly change the shape of your lips and affect their natural movement, which might possibly make kissing feel a bit different for both parties.
But Dr. Ramanadham also notes you could potentially feel lip filler on someone if the filler in their lips is really dense. Face filler comes in a few different weights depending on where it’s placed.
For example, cheek filler is meant to look more like bone (to enhance your cheekbones), so it’s a bit rigid. Jaw filler is the most robust because it’s meant to give you a pronounced jawline. On the other hand, lip filler is the most thin and pliable, because it should “integrate into your natural tissues and feel very soft and natural,” says board-certified nurse injector Ilana Brit Mechoullam, RN. “So if you use one of those stiffer fillers in your lips, it might not feel as soft as natural lips would.”
It’s also worth noting that people who get their lips filled may have a different kissing experience post-injection, especially in the beginning. “Because it’s a sensitive area, lips tend to feel puffy, swollen, or sore immediately after the injection,” says Mechoullam. “Some people also report lips feeling lumpy or puffy in the weeks after while they heal,” she adds.
So if you do go get injections, it’s a good idea to wait a few days after getting injected to kiss anyone (as well as apply makeup, touch the injection site, or give oral sex!). But as soon as the pain subsides, smooch away. In fact, Dr. Guanche says most of her patients feel sexier when they have their lips filled, so they actually enjoy kissing even more post-injection (it’s me, hi! I’m the patient, it’s me).
The final verdict
Well, folks, no, you can’t really feel lip filler while you’re kissing (unless your lips are overfilled with a stiff filler versus a flexible one or you’re just not used to plumper lips). I miss my pillowy lips sm, but the next time I get lip filler, I’ll definitely opt for a thin filler like Juvederm Volbella or Restylane Kysse because I prefer a subtle look and feel. And then, you best believe, I will snog with abandon.
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