I did something I never envisioned myself doing, and didn’t really even know existed until pretty recently: I got lip injections.
Like most people, I’m on a self-love journey. And though unexpected, lip injections have brought me to a new chapter of exploration and excitement.
I went to Sweet-Tox, located in New Berlin, WI. I found the sweet pink medical boutique on Instagram, and was immediately attracted to their fun and professional vibes and their tagline, “Sweet · Tox · [/swēt/ /täks/ ] · noun · A place where self love isn’t selfish. · A place where self love is first love.”
If you live in Milwaukee or are planning a visit, I highly recommend them.
After booking an appointment, they sent me an email with all the links I needed—intake forms and a gallery of videos with allllllll the information. They broke down lip injections, including types, sizes, tips, tricks, and the risks.
I opted for a natural plump product in a mini plump size for a very subtle enhancement.
(I learned about different products and sizes both in online videos provided by Sweet-Tox as well as during our in-person consultation. My choice was based on my goals: adding a natural enhancement, adding hydration to my lips, and a small amount to get started.)
It was quick and easy. The consultation took about 20 minutes, followed by the injections, which took about 3-4 minutes total. We talked about my goals, thoughts, and any fears. I was numbed and given a squeeze ball and vibrating distraction tool. There were a few pinchy parts, but it was quick and over before I knew it.
Afterwards, I iced and avoided booze for a few days to limit swelling and bruising. It takes about two weeks for the filler to settle, and lasts about a year or so.
I’ve seen a lot of transformation in both myself and the general public when it comes to cosmetic enhancements, like Botox, fillers, plastic surgery, and the like.
Hell, one of my core memories is in seventh grade when all the girls around me bragged about how they had no desire to wear makeup – they knew how unimportant and shallow it was to care that much about how you look.
Note: I was three layers deep in a cakey foundation on my face, feeling shameful in my acne cover-up and wishing very deeply that I could feel that same confidence.
I mean, we all know that what’s inside matters most, and not to judge others on their appearances. I’ve known that and felt that and believed that since the start, and still do. However, when did that begin to negate how we present ourselves and the effort to which we should or should not care? Why is there a moral value placed on the types of judgement we have (i.e. it’s bad to judge someone based on their looks, but it’s good to judge them if they care about how they look)?
In college, I was very interested in asking questions about body modifications and the beauty industry. Why do we have these standards of beauty, who do they benefit most, what is the damage being done when we seek out very specific definitions of Eurocentric beauty? Who wins, who hurts? While learning, I found myself still thinking that many people who choose beauty alterations did so at the hands of capitalism, whitewashing, fatphobia, ableism, and the billion-dollar beauty and fitness industries.
In the years since, I’ve come to realize that while it’s a good idea to always understand and acknowledge a why, it’s more important to give the grace of a simple mantra: how others choose to feel good, is none of my business. Women are so often policed for every choice we make, and we do it to ourselves and each other. It’s not up to me to say that a cosmetic alteration is done out of self-consciousness is wrong, so long as the person is happy with their choice.
Another form of self care
I think it’s self care to pursue something that makes you happy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a nap, a facial, eyelashes, a run, a movie marathon, or a lip plump.
Body autonomy. That’s all. That’s it. That’s what body modification comes down to, and always will: we have the choice to make the changes we want (or need) and the means to do it. So we can, and we will. If you want to think about why something is trending or why you feel compelled to change, go for it—I do, but then I go back on my merry way and think instead about the joy I feel for doing something for myself.
My tip: ask yourself why, sit with it, and then decide if it serves you to act on it or not. And always remember that you are perfectly fine as-is without any kind of modification, and the decision to change should be completely up to you, for you.
I have two examples:
First, I like my face. I like the idea of making my lips a little bigger, probably because it’s trendy and I’ve seen so many beautiful examples from people I know, care about, and follow. So I did it.
Second, however, are prevalent thoughts about my body and weight gain and growing into an adult body. I’ve seen it all, from skinny teas to waist trainers to other IG fixes. I’ve checked them out in the past, thought about why—standards of beauty, a pressure to take up less space, a culture that doesn’t cater to curves—and then realized that fuck no, I’m good as-is.
It’s all subjective, and that’s both the beauty and the point: it’s up to you.