My Injectable Filler Experience at Skin Refine Medspa

Posted: April 22, 2019


Lips still swollen, but I really loved how they looked here (This was taken about a week after)

I’ll be honest and admit that I too, was sucked into the whole Kylie Jenner pouty lip craze but it took me 2 years to finally bite the bullet and schedule an appointment for lip fillers. To be fair, my top lip has always been uneven on one side and I always had to overline the left side so it somewhat matched the ride side. I went into Skin Refine for my first lip filler appointment back in July 2018. Sandy is the master injector at Skin Refine and she recommended that I use Restylane instead of Juvederm. They’re both made out of hyaluronic acid, but just different brands (Think Mercedes vs. BMW). She mentioned that Restylane lasts a little longer than Juvederm and there is a less chance of bumps. The photo on the left is a few days after my initial appointment – as you can see, my lips are pretty huge and still swollen. They warned me that I would like my lips more during the swelling period (they were right!).


6/10 in terms of pain. I have a pretty high pain tolerance but the lips are a sensitive area and they do have to poke you about 10 or more times! They do numb you beforehand and the filler is laced with lidocaine, but you can still feel the pinch of the needle and feel the filler going in. It actually feels really weird but the entire process is quick and the results are worth it! Your lips will feel tender/sore/hard for a few days after, and then the filler will soften up and your lips will be back to normal!


I went in thinking that I was only going to use half a syringe but we ended up using the whole thing! It’s recommended to take arnica tablets before and apply arnica ointment after the treatment to prevent bruising. Also, avoid alcohol, green tea, and any medications that could thin your blood. I wouldn’t say that I bruise easily, but I did end up getting a few bruises on my lips a few hours after the procedure. The bruises darkened over the next few days but then quickly disappeared. You’re able to wear lip products a few hours after/the next day so it was pretty easy to cover up, and there was no pain associated with the bruise, just a little tenderness.


The filler lasted about 5 months until I saw the results decrease a bit so I went back for a little touch-up. About half a syringe of Juvederm Vollure was used this time around and again, my lips were swollen for about a week. Minimal bruising this time. The photo below are my lips a couple days after the procedure. Keep in mind that I still overline them a little bit but when I don’t have any lip product on them, they look super natural (and even!!) and most people can’t tell that I have filler.


Restylane Defyne

Duration: Effective for up to 18 months from baseline with re-treatment at 4.5 or 9 months

Price: $750 per syringe ($650 if you mention my name when booking)

Juvederm Vollure

Duration: Up to 12 months or longer

Price: $750 per syringe ($650 if you mention my name when booking)

After first touch-up, volume and shape was restored


It’s been about four months since my last touch-up and my lips are still looking good – the shape and volume are still present and I don’t feel like I need to go in for another touch-up anytime soon. I was told that when you get filler over filler, the results will last even longer and you can slowly build that up. I’m 110% satisfied with my lip fillers and I can’t say enough good things about the entire experience and the results. Skin Refine is a beautiful facility and the staff are experienced and professional. I don’t think I’ll trust anyone else with my face other than Sandy.

(Fast forward 3 months)

Okay, I’m hooked. Injectables are like magic. They’re made to enhance your natural features and my interest has skyrocketed ever since I got my lips done. People have been getting a non-surgical nose job using filler, defining their jaw line, and removing dark under eye circles among many other uses. I’ve been so intrigued, so I went back for more!


I’ve never really had defined cheekbones and that’s probably just the way my face is structured. I wanted to see what filler could do for me in terms of lifting my cheeks and giving me a more “naturally” contoured face. So I recently went back to Skin Refine and Sandy used two syringes of Restylane Lyft on my cheekbones – one on each side. She mentioned that you have to “build” cheekbones, so I wasn’t going to get intense cheeks after one syringe, but that it was going to be a very subtle change and a slight lift. See photo below for my before (right) and after (left).

It’s hard to see in photos, but you can tell that the light hits my face a little higher in the photo on the right vs. the photo on the left. I can notice an enhanced curve of my cheekbone from the side so the results are most visible at an angle. Most people couldn’t even tell that I got filler in my cheek! I definitely wasn’t expecting too much, but I am pleased with the results because applying contour and highlight is so much fun now! I notice that my highlight is higher and my contour is slightly deeper.


Product: Restylane Lyft (contains 0.3% lidocaine)

Overall duration: Up to 12 months

Price: $750 per syringe ($650 if you mention my name when booking)


4/10. They numb you for this procedure as well but you’ll still feel the pinch and filler going in. The difference was that this time, I could even hear the liquid going in as well as feel it. Super weird experience! Sandy applied a lot of pressure in the area after the procedure to “secure” the filler and my cheeks felt sore after and for the next day or so. I slept on my back for two nights to avoid disturbing the filler and the day after I found it kind of hard to smile. So I had RBF for two days but now, 5 days later, everything has gone back to normal and there’s no more soreness. I would definitely say that the lips are more painful than the cheeks.


No bruising!!


Overall, I’m satisfied with my initial experience with cheek filler. Will I get it again? Maybe! I hope this post was helpful in sharing my experience with injectable fillers. I am in no way encouraging anyone to go out and get fillers, but for those who are intrigued and/or interested, I say go for it! As you can see, the results are subtle most of the time, and you can always build it up later on if you decide to. Make sure you do your research beforehand when choosing a medical spa. I recommend going to Skin Refine Medspa in Sunnyvale because their staff are top-notch and they know what they’re doing! If you don’t believe me, check out all their 5-star Yelp reviews! They offer free consultations as well. If you decide to book, be sure to mention that I referred you to receive $100 off your injectables!

Pillow Talk

Posted: March 12, 2018

Three years later, this is still one of my favorites from all the shoots that I’ve done. The set up was a white comforter spread across a hardwood floor, a set of windows, and a light box. Can’t believe it’s so simple, right? I remember it was a rainy day in Oakland too, but we were still able to get this soft, perfect lighting. This was shot by Collin Young aka @imagewonder. His style is a bit different now, but so is mine. Gone are the days when I would throw on a bodysuit or bralette with some shorts and awkwardly pose in front of a camera, hoping that at least 2 out of 500 shots would come out decent. It was definitely fun while it lasted, but at this stage of my life it’s not the most appropriate thing to do, nor is it the look that I’m going for. I still like to look back at old photoshoot albums and reminisce on the days when I was ten pounds lighter and didn’t really have any eyeshadow skills…

I still want to do photoshoots in my spare time, but for entirely different reasons and a whole different type of wardrobe. I’m excited to see what the future brings both in reality and on social media. Shoutout to Albert at @illbethings for helping me make the most of what I have already created and inspiring me to do even more. Here’s to a start of something new!

Santorini Dreams

Posted: February 28, 2018

Visiting Greece was a dream come true. I remember seeing gorgeous photos of the white and blue landscape all over Pinterest and I thought it was completely out of reach. I had no idea when I would be able to visit this place. And then I did. Every step and corner took my breath away. It’s even more beautiful in person, like straight off a postcard. There was no where you could go where there wasn’t a gorgeous view of the blue waters. So many photo ops, so little time! I was on a cruise with my family and boyfriend, so we only had roughly 6 hours in Santorini before needing to board the ship to go to the next destination (Kotor, Montenegro!) We had an amazing lunch outdoors while enjoying the view. I had the best seafood pasta of my life in Oia, along with a fantastic Greek salad and a cold (also Greek) beer. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Unfortunately I don’t know the name of the restaurant because we randomly found it while we were exploring. From what I saw, you can’t really go wrong with any of the restaurants there if you’re looking for a view because most of them have outdoor seating!

If there’s one piece of advice that I could give to someone visiting Santorini, it would be to stay for at least 2 days! 6 hours was no where enough time for me to enjoy everything Santorini had to offer. I really wanted to stay overnight and see the sunset/sunrise and also swim in an infinity know, all the basics. But that’s an excuse for me to visit again – it’s definitely in the works! After being in Athens for a couple days and then visiting Santorini, Greece easily became one of my favorite places that I’ve been to in Europe, right next to Rome! If you ever have the chance to visit Greece, do it – the food, the people, the history… it’s the best experience.

And of course you know I gotta wear white in Santorini! Perfect “Julia” romper courtesy of TOBI. Get it here.