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Are 'Butterfly Lips' a foolish fad? We ask an expert

Everything you need to know about the highly searched filler treatment that adds volume, defines, and reshapes the lips

Dermal filler is one of the most accessible and popular aesthetic treatments and no version of this treatment is more popular than lip filler. With the ability to add volume, definition and enhance the shape of the lips, plus give them a youth-boost by smoothing lines, it’s little wonder that the worldwide valuation of the lip filler market in 2022 came in at 1.3 Billion US dollars and is further expected to reach a value of 1.89 Billion US dollars by the end of 2032.

While most practitioners believe that the best lip filler look is one that enhances your natural lips and creates a look that’s proportionate to your face - as with all things trends come and go. One such trend that’s been on the rise is the Butterfly Lip look, and with an increase in searches by a whopping 2,650 per cent, it’s clear people are intrigued. We asked Etre Vous expert, Dr Ahmed El Muntasar, to decode this popular lip filler technique to find out if it’s worth the hype or simply a foolish fad…

What are butterfly lips?

“Butterfly Lips are a specific kind of lip shape that creates height and definition to the lips and in particular the cupid's bow,” shares El Muntasar.

If you’ve already had lip filler before you may well have to dissolve your dermal filler first before getting the Butterfly Lip. This is due to the fact that the height and definition needed to create this look are “usually achieved through longitudinal injections from the vermilion border down through the lip,” explains El Muntasar. This means that the filler you already have may well compete with the new ‘design’.

Once dermal filler is injected in a way that emulates the shape of butterfly wings, injectors then use surgical tape around the vermillion border of the lip. Tape is left in place for a few days to ensure maximum eversion of the lip and to attempt to prevent migration of the lip filler from the lips into the surrounding facial areas.

What’s the draw?

Since El Muntasar warns, “chances of migration are extremely high”, it might be a tad confusing as to why this lip look has become so popular. But El Muntasar explains that “it’s quite a common technique performed by beauticians and is something that is very easy to do. Plus, the results are very noticeable, which provides a ‘less natural’ look which is sometimes what people look for with their filler.”

The bottom line

Tapping the lip does not guarantee that filler won’t migrate, and it can actually hide warning signs of vascular occlusion (blocked blood vessels) like blue-ish purple or white spots, and redness. “The technique, although easy, can be risky as you’re essentially going through the vermillion border, going from the edges into the lip itself,” says El Muntasar. And not only can migration lead to vascular occlusion, which can result in tissue death, but migration can also alter the look of your filler. It can create a "little shelf above the upper lip in particular, and that creates shadowing, which can end up looking like a mustache!," warns El Muntasar. This risk makes it very likely that you may well need to dissolve it and start again.

“To be honest with you, I'm not a big fan of this as it’s more of an obvious look, rather than a natural filler look and this isn't something that I personally advocate for. I'd much rather provide my patients with lip filler that gives a natural look and feel, rather than being very noticeable,” shares El Muntasar.

So, there you have it. Butterfly Lips may be more trouble than they are worth and it’s certainly not a look for someone who wants to enhance their lips with dermal filler in a way that looks natural and complementary to their features.

Ahmed El Muntasar, Aesthetics Expert

Dr El Muntasar began his medical career in clinical research, focusing on patient safety. After spending some time as...

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