Surgeons are warning about the new 'Russian lips' injectable trend. Here's what you need to know.

It's no secret that lip fillers have become one of the biggest cosmetic trends of the past decade. Now, the trend is going one step further.

Enter: 'Russian lips'.

The trending cosmetic treatment is making waves on TikTok and Instagram (just search the hashtag #russianlips). 

Watch: SBS programme Insight looks at the growing popularity of cosmetic procedures such as anti-wrinkle injections and fillers. Post continues below.

Video via SBS 

According to Dr Vivek Eranki of Australia’s leading network of cosmetic clinics, Cosmetique, Russian lips is one of the biggest trends to emerge in the non-surgical cosmetic space in 2021. 

However, while it's becoming an increasingly popular treatment, Dr Eranki said he's seen a worrying number of botched jobs, and stresses the importance of seeking out an experienced cosmetic injector for this kind of procedure.

Want to find out more about the treatment? Here's everything you need to know about Russian lips.

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What are Russian lips?

So, what exactly are 'Russian lips'? Well, this specific technique basically focuses on using filler to shape the lips into a subtle heart shape (like a Russian doll), with more volume in the centre of the lip.


“Russian Lips result in a much fuller look, but they also look slightly flatter as the aim is to achieve more height rather than plumpness alone. However, a good technician will be able to deliver a look that suits your overall facial structure,” Dr Eranki said.

How is the Russian lips filler technique different?

So, what's the go? How is it different to normal lip fillers?

Well, unlike traditional lip filler, Dr Eranki said they inject the product vertically starting at the base of the lip, moving the filler outward toward the border of the lips. 

"Normally, most traditional lip filler treatments involve correcting volume deficit. With Russian lips, the technique is more advanced," he said.

"It involves applying the treatment vertically from the base of the lip and moving it outwards towards the lip border. This requires a great deal of skill, experience and knowledge of the underlying anatomy."

So, just to reiterate - rather than the cosmetic injector starting from the lip border and working inward, the injector works the product from the inside out. 

"In the past, it used to be referring to as a 'tenting technique' - the filler acts as the tent pole, thereby adding structure to lips."

How long does the Russian lips procedure take?

Generally, the Russian lip filler treatment takes anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. However, this is usually dependent on the amount of filler to inject and the density of the patient's lip tissue. 

How long do Russian lips last?

The treatment lasts the same amount of time as traditional lip fillers, because remember - it's not the product that's different, but rather the technique. 

So, depending on the type of filler used, the treatment will usually last between six to twelve months. Maintenance treatments may be required in between.

What are some side effects of Russian lips?

While lip fillers may be considered a simple ‘lunch time procedure’, it’s important to remember that this is a procedure that comes with risks. 

Dr Eranki emphasises that if the correct technique is not applied appropriately, it can result in serious issues that can cause long-term (even permanent) damage.


"There has been an increase in the number of inexperienced injectors offering treatments. Incorrectly injected filler may result in asymmetry, infections and even tissue death," said Dr Eranki.

Other side effects include: bulging and split lip skin, uneven and lumpy lips, and allergic reactions.

"People also need to be aware that not all fillers are the same. In fact, there are a lot of differences across the market space,” Dr Eranki added. 

"You are injecting something into your body so you want to ensure that the person doing it is experienced and fully qualified, and using high-quality product.”

So, yeah - don't cheap out. Having an inexperienced person injecting filler into your lips isn't a thing you want to do. 

Dr Ernaki also said that if you see a salon or a spa offering discount rates, this is usually a major red flag. Just don't do it.

"There are also many package deals and coupons available out there. If these deals sound too good to be true, then warning bells should sound. Before you buy package deals, do your research and ask questions about the need for the additional treatment being bundled in or sold."

What to know if you're considering getting Russian lips.

"The key to a good cosmetic outcome involves ensuring you do your research. Pick a reputable clinic with experienced qualified injectors, spend quality time going through all the necessary information during the initial assessment and do all the right things prior to and post your procedure," said Dr Eranki.

He recommends looking for a clinic that offers cosmetic medical services rather than a clinic that 'also' provides cosmetic injectables. "Ensure the treatment is provided in a clinical environment rather than in a residential or a retail environment. We also recommended patients also enquire about the experience and training of the injector."

So, how do you know if an injector has the right experience?

"In Australia, Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgeons (ACCS) is the peak body for training in Cosmetic Medicine and Surgery. If in doubt, we recommended contacting ACCS for further advice," explains Dr Eranki.

"Lip fillers have been around for a long time and millions of people across the world have had procedures with great outcomes. My advice is: avoid deals that seem too cheap; and only go to clinics that have a good reputation."

Now, read that last line again.

Feature image: Getty

Have you ever had a lip filler treatment? What was your experience? Share your comments with us in the comment section below.