Beauty trends come and go, whether the craze is thick eyebrows, dark lipstick or Chanel’s cult favorite taupe-gray nail polish, Particulière. One trend that is holding strong and may never go out of style is the perfect pout. Celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely are known for their pillowy lips, and no conversation about lips is complete without mentioning Kylie Jenner. She’s made millions from her lip kits and inspired millions more to post their pouty pictures through the #kyliejennerchallenge.
While some of us are born with perfectly plump lips, the lips tend to thin as we age. This is due to the body producing less collagen as we get older – and collagen is what makes lips look plump and full. Loss of collagen is also coupled with the weakening of muscles near the lips.
But whether or not your thin lips are due to age or genetics, there are a few things you can do to improve your pout. The right makeup and skincare products can make a big difference. After all, Jenner herself has admitted to spending 40 minutes a day perfecting her pout.
Whether you have 40 minutes a day or four to work on your pout, there are plenty of ways to make your lips look fuller, whether that’s contouring, layering lip products or choosing a lip gloss that gives lips a fuller look. Here are 20 ways to make thin lips look bigger, with no needles required.
- ExfoliateYou know that exfoliating your face is a must-do, but the same goes for your lips. A moist lip reflects more light so if dry, flaking lip skin is getting in the way, it’s time to get rid of it. Brush your lips lightly with your toothbrush in a circular motion. This will boost circulation and whisk away dead skin cells. It will also leave lips with a pink, rosy glow. You can make your own lip scrub using honey or sugar, or buy a lip scrub like Fresh Sugar Lip Polish or Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub.
- Start With a Moisturizing BaseApplying a makeup primer can make a huge difference in how your makeup looks, and the same theory applies to lips. You want to start with a smooth, clean canvas so apply a hydrating lip balm first. Something simple like Aquaphor does the job or try the cult favorite Rosebud Salve tin. Make sure to let your lip balm soak in and get fully absorbed before moving on to your lip liner or lipstick.
- Treat Yourself to a Lip MaskMasks aren’t only for your face. Give lips some much needed TLC with a lip mask. Choose from a balm, collagen infused sheets or gels such as The Sweet Clay Lip Mask by Sara Happ or Burt’s Bees Lip Treatment Lip Mask, which hydrates with meadow foam and sweet almond oils. Slather them on before you hit the sheets and wake up to smoother, hydrated lips. Or apply a thick coat of Vaseline to your lips during your morning drive to work and tissue it off when you get there.
- Moisturize Around The MouthWrinkles around the mouth are inevitable but these lines around the lips can also make lips look thinner. Try to keep mouth wrinkles at bay by keeping this area moisturized, and always use an SPF. Skip the straws (and smoking of course!) to avoid pulling on these muscles which can contribute to deeper mouth lines.
- Add A PrimerBefore applying lipstick, many makeup artists cover the entire lip area with foundation or concealer first. This does two things. It smooths out the lip area and helps give lipstick staying power – which is key to getting a perfectly pillowy pout because feathered lipstick makes the lips look smaller. You may need to experiment with the right foundation for your lips; a matte one may be too drying for some while a hydrating foundation could be just right.
- Add Some GlossDab a little lip gloss or champagne colored highlighter in the center of the lips, which is the plumpest point. This area is also called the Cupid’s Bow. The dot of gloss will help pick up light and make your pout look bigger and fuller. Just don’t apply too much because there is a fine line between glossy and greasy. MAC Lip Glass is a cult favorite gloss that delivers high shine without stickiness. For gloss with good for you ingredients, try Lorac Unzipped Sheer Silk Lip Gloss which is packed with nourishing vegan collagen, vitamin E and sunflower seed oil.
- Don’t Color Between the LinesOne way to create the illusion of bigger lips is to draw your preferred shape, or “over line.” All you do is take your lip pencil and draw a line beyond your lips. Don’t over do it though to keep it looking natural and remember that less is definitely more if you’re redrawing your lips.
- Reach for Lip LinerLipstick that bleeds or fades can contribute to the lips looking thinner as they will visually shrink. One way to keep your lipstick in place is to start with a lip liner. Choose one that is a shade or two darker than your natural lip color, and make sure it matches your lipstick (thankfully the 90’s trend of super dark lip liner is a thing of the past). Fill in the entire lip area with the lip liner for an even look. A current cult favorite product is Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk, which is waterproof but has a creamy texture.
- Contour Where It CountsContouring helps create definition by using darker and lighter shades of makeup, and this technique can be applied to the lip area. Take your bronzer and lightly brush some under the center of the bottom lip. Creating a slightly darker area underneath it will help the lower lip “pop” a bit, giving the illusion of a fuller lower lip.
- Go Bold on Your Bottom LipOne trick that makeup artists use is to take lip liner and draw it outside the natural line of the bottom lip. The key is to overextend the lip liner only in the center of the bottom lip. Another way to achieve the same look is to use a darker lipstick in the center of both lips.
- Hyaluronic Acid For LipsIf you want that bee stung look minus the actual bee, certain products can help. Lip glosses formulated with hyaluronic acid give lips a big dose of moisture which help fill in and plump up the lip temporarily. A few options are The Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Collagen Lip Cushion, and GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper which is packed with hyaluronic acid and collagen.
- Try A Lip Gloss That TinglesAnother way to give lips a temporary boost in volume is with a lip product that contains skin tingling cinnamon, spearmint or peptides. The theory is that these ingredients cause lips to plump up by increasing blood circulation to the area. A few to try are Lip Venom by DuWop, which is packed with green tea and essential oils, as well as Two Faced Lip Injection Extreme which delivers a high gloss finish and extra tingles.
- Add Concealer to the CornersFinish your lip look with a dab of concealer on the edges, which helps gives lips a crisp look with plenty of definition. It also helps cancel out any redness. Use the tip of your pinkie or a brush for a more precise line.
- Try White Lip LinerYes, white lip liner is a thing- it’s is also called invisible lip liner. Use it as a primer to line and fill in lips, which will help lipstick glide on- and stay on. You can also use it to line the perimeter of the lips, which will help prevent lipstick from bleeding. In a pinch you can also use it on top of your lipstick as a highlighter. Smashbox and Urban Decay offer invisible lip liners.
- Go NudeA neutral, nude lipstick can also give the illusion of a plumper pout as darker shades tend to “flatten” the look of lips. Just make sure you’re choosing a true nude for your skin tone and don’t go too pale. Tried and true nudes include Nars Satin Lipstick in Orgasm, or Pat McGrath Matte Trance Lipstick in Christy but finding the right nude depends on your skin tone so a little experimentation is key.
- Finish With Translucent PowderTo stop all your hard work from bleeding, you’ll want to apply translucent powder. But what you don’t want to do is apply it directly on the lip – otherwise you’ll be reapplying your lipstick all day. Take a tissue and hold it lightly against your lips. Then take your brush with translucent powder and apply it to the lips over the tissue. Next step is to remove the tissue and add another layer of lipstick. It sounds strange but it works.