We all dream of naturally-full, pouty lips à la Angelina Jolie—alas, the beauty gods have reserved that enviable trait for a very select few. But before you go off sighing at the injustice of it all, know this: you can plump up your pucker without resorting to needles. We spoke with makeup artist Nico Guilis and got her expert advice on how to fake luscious lips with just a few key tricks. Now all you have to do is perfect your air kiss.
To create the illusion of a plumper pout, Guilis says it’s all about your lip liner technique. “Create a soft outline with a lip pencil outside the edge of your top lip,” she says. “Make the bottom lip line less intense—this will make your lips look instantly fuller.” She swears by MAC’s Lip Pencil in Spice ($15): “It’s neutral enough to be discreet but punchy enough to make an impression!”
Another quick lip trick? Use highlighter. Guilis adds a dab of highlighter in her clients’ cupid’s bow—try Benefit’s High Beam ($26) or theBalm’s Mary-Lou Manizer ($24)—then traces the entire lip with concealer using a lip brush to prevent the color from feathering.
“Layering your lip colors will gives your lips more dimension,” says Guilis. One combination she swears by: a watermelon-pink lipstick with a shimmery peach color on top. “I apply a punchy pink lip color, then layer Yves Saint Laurent’s Rouge Pur Couture in Golden Melon ($35) over it,” she says. “Apply the lustrous color more towards the center of your lip—this will give the illusion of a fuller, plumper pout.” She raves about Chanel’s Rouge Allure Velvet Lipstick in Fougueuse ($35) as the perfect pink for its “matte yet creamy” consistency.
Guilis stays away from volumizing lip products: “They usually contain cinnamon, which irritates your lips and gives you the ‘plumping’ effect.” Instead, she reaches for the one thing almost every woman already has in her makeup bag: lipgloss. “I’m obsessed with Forever 21’s High Pigment Gloss ($3),” she says. “They’re really see-through and glossy…they’ll give you sex lips!” She uses it by itself or over lipstick: “Apply it on the outside edge of the lips, then press your lips together.”
When it comes to choosing hues that will make your lips look bigger, always choose light over dark. “A softer, lighter color will make your lips look fuller if they are on the smaller side,” says Guilis. She uses Tom Ford’s Lip Color in Blush Nude ($49) and blush-colored MAC lipsticks like Naked Bud ($16) and Shy Girl ($16).
If you can’t part with your dark lipstick, use your finger to press in the color instead of swiping directly from the tube. “Make a kissy face, and press in with your ring finger for a stain-like effect,” says Guilis. “The idea is to saturate the color, which will make your lips look more rounded.” She reaches for Nars’ Pure Matte Lipsticks ($26) for velvety, pigmented color.
One last foolproof trick for fuller lips? “Making out with someone will always leave your lips looking fuller,” says Guilis laughing. “Preferably someone with a beard!”