How to Treat the Cupid’s Bow

When it comes to lip filler techniques, learning how to treat the cupid’s bow is perhaps the most technically challenging.

We use filler to add definition to the cupid’s bow, as opposed to volume. It requires precision and patience, as well as a solid injecting approach.

We asked cosmetic nurse injector, Level 7 graduate and clinical trainer, Paula O’Sullivan, for her insights…

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How to treat the cupid’s bow

What are the best injecting techniques for treating the cupid’s bow? 

“Treating the cupid’s bow requires precision,” notes Paula. “So my choice of tool would be a needle. This gives control when depositing small volumes of dermal filler in exact areas.” 

She advises, “I typically use the needle that is supplied with the product used, when it’s at its sharpest. This means changing the needle – usually a 30g needle – just before treating the cupid’s bow. 

“My approach involves adding a tiny aliquot of 0.05ml filler into the Glogau-Klein (GK) point to lift the cupid’s bow from underneath.”

“Following this, I superficially inject the cupid’s bow vermillion border.  I use a new needle and encourage the cupid’s bow into the desired shape whilst administering a retrograde linear thread along this border.”

She notes, “Adding filler to the philtrum columns can also support the cupid’s bow and add to a more defined result.”

“In terms of filler choice, this decision is based on the complete lip treatment rather than specific to the cupid’s bow. A desirable result can be achieved with a soft dermal filler, like Juvéderm Volbella or a firmer product like Volift.”

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How do these approaches differ when treating female vs male patients and patients of different ages and races?

“A holistic facial assessment of the patient is crucial prior to any aesthetic treatment,” stresses Paula. “This should always include considering their gender, race and age. Your treatment plan should be unique to each patient’s presentation and goals in order to achieve their desired results” 

Gender differences to bear in mind when treating the cupid’s bow

“Naturally, the male lip is wider, the upper lip is thinner, and the prominence of the vermillion border is less than in females,” Paula notes. “Due to the thicker dermis in men, their lips tend to age less than females’, with far less evidence of perioral ageing.”

“In terms of techniques used considering these gender-based anatomical differences, my focus for the male lip involves replacing volume rather than augmenting the lip shape and avoiding the vermilion border.”

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How to adjust your approach for mature cupid’s bow patients

“Treating the youthful lip with dermal filler differs somewhat when treating the ageing lip,” Paula advises. “Using different techniques and approaches we can address either successfully.” 

“As we age, the vermillion border loses definition, and the medial lip loses volume, allowing the lip to shrink, roll under and lose shape. This results in a flattened cupid’s bow and minimal structure to the lip, meaning formation of perioral lines,” she warns. “Due to the lack of lip structure and other surrounding tissue involvement, oral commissures are no longer supported, and a downturned smile will commonly present.”

“I recommend using Juvéderm Volbella in older patients, injected slowly and carefully to restore the vermillion border, using a needle. The body of the lips can also slowly be revolumised and hydrated with Volbella. Here I would use either a needle or a cannula.”

What’s the most common mistake trainees make when treating the cupid’s bow and how can they avoid this?

“Injecting too much volume into the lip risks flattening the Cupid’s bow causing a problem with definition,” says Paula. 

“To prevent this, always bear it in mind when treating your patient. Advise patients that it may take a few lip filler treatments to successfully revolumise the lips and to enhance the cupid’s bow. Inaccurate placement or poor product selection could also lead to filler migration.” 

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Lip filler training for perfecting your cupid’s bow technique

For information on the lip filler training options we offer here at Harley Academy to doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives, just get in touch. 

These range from entry level Foundation Training to our more advanced, Master’s level course, the Level 7 Diploma in Botox & Dermal Fillers

You can also book dedicated one-on-one aesthetics mentoring sessions where you focus specifically on treating the lips in our 1:1 Training in Perioral and Lip Filler.

For personalised recommendations or further details on the right aesthetics training course fo you, book a call with Christine Slater, our courses advisor.

Still have questions about treating the cupid’s bow or lip filler more generally? Let us know by leaving a comment on the Harley Academy Instagram account! 

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