Why are so many stars hooked on the Trout Pout
Botox, cheek-fillers, lasers, lipo — as a beauty writer, I’ve had them all. But, despite countless offers of free trials, there is one cosmetic treatment I have avoided at all costs: lip fillers.
Why Well, quite frankly, I think they leave women looking ridiculous. Far from achieving the bee-stung plump pout of Angelina Jolie, you’re often left with the protruding, beak-like lips of Big Bird from Sesame Street.
But it seems not everyone shares my view. Take super-WAG Abbey Crouch, who last week wore a star-print dress, obligatory headful of blonde highlights, spidery false eyelashes and that other C-list essential: an enormous pair of seemingly ‘enhanced’ lilo lips.
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At 25, she instantly added a good ten years to her apparent age with her ridiculous trout pout. While she claims her new look is all down to lip gloss, she looks awfully like one of a long line of needle suspects.
Think Meg Ryan, Melanie Griffith, Patsy Kensit and, most famously, Men Behaving Badly star Leslie Ash.
But why the clamour for swollen lips Perhaps because fuller mouths are associated with youth and fertility.
Lips tend to thin from around the age of 30, with the effects becoming more obvious from the late 30s, especially on smokers. Studies show that women with naturally full lips look years younger than their thinner-lipped contemporaries, even if their hair is grey.
In a world where youth and sexiness are everything, and celebs dread the day the phone stops ringing or the husband starts straying, lip fillers — which take about ten minutes to do and cost from 200 — can seem irresistible.
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The trouble is, enhanced lips rarely pass as natural. At an anti-ageing conference in Monaco a year ago, I listened to a female cosmetic doctor tell me how she favoured a ‘very natural look’.
She sported an upper lip so hideously overstuffed that when she closed her mouth, it folded in two like a duvet being shoved into a drawer.
You’d assume this scary creature (she was also glassy with Botox) would make clients run a mile, but, in fact, she was very much in demand.
Some women, amazingly, deliberately seek out a fake look to look like a Barbie doll. Others seem to lose all perspective on their appearance.
Terrified of letting their lips subside to natural proportions, they have endless top-ups that make their mouth inflate just a little more each time.
My theory is they see themselves in the mirror only while pouting, so they never notice another real drawback of fake lips — they look particularly weird in profile, as they tend to project out of the face. And when the lips move in speech, the filler can look lumpy and rigid in motion.
A friend of mine who tried lip fillers admits it didn’t go according to plan.
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‘When it wore off after six months, friends and family begged me not to have a top-up,’ she said. ‘When I asked why, they admitted I looked weird, especially when I talked. Now, when I look at pictures of my bulbous lips, I cringe.’
Fortunately, lip jobs do wear off. When the trend started in the Eighties, doctors used collagen as a filler, but it lasted only for a month or two, so surgeons started offering permanent fillers — from Gore-tex strips sewn into the mouth to fillers full of tiny plastic balls.
These often caused hideous side-effects, such as rejection, permanent hard lumps and scarring.
Nowadays, lip jobs should be done with safe hyaluronic acid fillers, such as Restylane, which last about six to nine months and are instantly dissolvable using a special antidote.
Dr Tracy Mountford, medical director of the Cosmetic Skin Clinic in London and Stoke Poges, is a fan of the minimalist look, saying most women just want a ‘natural, sensuous’ appearance. She warns trout pouts tend to occur when filler is injected into the very edge of the lips, giving a stiff, protruding effect.
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‘We normally inject the product into lips, avoiding the edges where it can form a ridge,’ she says. ‘Hyaluronic acid acts like scaffolding to support and lift the lip from the inside.’
It’s also important, she warns, not to obliterate the Cupid’s bow in the centre of the upper lip, otherwise lips look slug-like.
Dr Mountford says that in her clinic they use more ultra-fine products such as Restylane Lipp to hydrate and gently plump the surface of the lips, and small amounts of filler to get rid of the purse-string lines around the mouth, rather than give a big-lipped, WAG look.
Me Well, the older I get the less I do. I’ve given up all facial fillers, and shall be sticking with my Bobbi Brown lipgloss, with maybe a touch of Benefit’s Lip Plump for the illusion of more luscious lips. When it comes to lips, I say bigger is definitely not always better.