Full, lush lips can make a big impact on your appearance. While you can try make-up lip plumpers and create some illusion of fullness using lip liner and lipstick, if you are really looking to increase the size of your kisser, there are cosmetic surgery options that can help.
One popular procedure is called the “bullhorn lip lift,” or a subnasal lip lift technique. Essentially, this shortens the space between the upper lip and the base of the nose. This can make the lips look bigger.
How a Bullhorn Lip Lift Works
Here’s how it works. A surgeon puts you under using local anesthesia, cleans and preps the skin around the mouth, numbs the region, and then makes small incisions right under the nose. The incision goes from nostril to nostril and is shaped like a bullhorn, hence the name.
Then, the surgeon shortens the skin between the length of the nose and lip (lifting the skin), bringing the upper lip higher and causing the upper lip to roll up and outward. The space between the lips and nose is called the “philtrum.” Shortening the philtrum can also make the smile wider and show more teeth, as well as correct lip asymmetries. It can make the cupid’s bow portion of the top lip look more defined.
Advocates say this looks more youthful and full because the lips tend to thin and can look flat as you grow older.
Bullhorn Lip Lift Benefits
While looking more youthful is often the primary goal when getting a lip lift, there are other potential benefits. Advocates say the bullhorn lip lift can also minimize lipstick lines, shorten lips that are longer than you want, and contour and shape flat lips.
Wonder what it might look like for you? Pull your upper lip up slightly with your finger. This is a rather rudimentary test, but you’ll get a good idea of what you’d look like post-procedure and will have a good indication of if this procedure would benefit you.
Does the Bullhorm Lip Lift Leave Scarring?
You’ll notice some light scarring after the procedure, but they typically heal over time and are not very noticeable. They usually fade over the course of three to four months, and the stitches are typically hidden in the crease below your nose.
How Much Does a Bullhorn Lip Lift Cost?
A bullhorn lift costs about $3,300 on average, but that may change depending on whether you also book it with a healing package and laser treatments. The process usually takes an hour or two.
Bullhorn Lip Lift Recovery
Recovery is typically a pretty fast process, with a short period where you can only eat soft food and need to keep the cuts clean. You can usually return to normal activity within a day, but need to take it easy for a week or two until you’re fully healed. You may have bruising or swelling for up to a month after surgery. People with thinner lips tend to heal quicker due to having less tissue to heal.
The procedure is popular among people with small mouths, broad nasal bases, and also people getting facial feminization. People who don’t have much space between the top of the lip and the base of the nose may not be good candidates for the procedure.
Choose a qualified plastic surgeon to complete the lip lift, to ensure the process is safe and looks natural. You can search online via the American Society of Plastic Surgeons for a good starting point to locate a plastic surgeon near you.
Other Lip Options
There are other cosmetic processes designed to increase the fullness of your lips. A more subtle option is the modified or Italian lip lift. This is a modified version of the bullhorn lip lift that creates a similar look, but instead of one long incision, it uses two shorter, smaller cuts beneath the nostrils. This typically results in a shorter and less noticeable scar. It mainly increases the cupid’s bow by lengthening the peaks of the upper lip.
There is also the permanent buffalo gull-wing lip lift, which can also be performed on the lower lip. This procedure involves incisions around the entire lip’s border. It is designed to make the upper and/or lower lips look bigger, and unlike the bullhorn lip lift, it does not leave scars under the nose. The natural color of the lips usually conceals the scars from the gull-wing lift. It can be a little more expensive than the bullhorn lift, but not much.
Millions of people choose to get fillers injected into their lips every year, although those effects are not as long-lasting as the bullhorn lip lift, which is permanent. You’ll usually need to redo lip fillers every few months. After the bullhorn lift, you won’t need fillers at all or you will not need them as frequently. Dermal fillers that use hyaluronic acid for temporary plumping can last four to 12 months.
Other people opt for lip augmentation, lip implants using a soft silicone rubber, or fat injections using fat from another part of your body.
The bottom line: If you are looking to enhance the fullness or size of your lips, connect with a reputable cosmetic surgeon and discuss the options to see which is best suited for you.