Thanks to Kylie Jenner, our obsession with bigger lips is seeing no signs of waning. Various studies in recent years have shown time and again that plump lips are more attractive. Now, we’re not all after Jenner-esque proportions when it comes to our pouts, but everyone can make their lips look fuller or more symmetrical with clever makeup trickery, no fillers required.
Of course, if you do want to go down the more invasive route like Jenner, then be sure to read our guide on lip fillers. While hydrated and plump lips can be achieved through your skincare and lifestyle choices, you can also find out our favourite at-home lip plumpers here.
Now all that’s left is for you to grab that lip liner and get to work. We called on Hannah Martin, a senior pro artist at Bobbi Brown, and Julien Rol, the European brand ambassador at Make Up For Ever, to share their secrets for faking fuller lips. Keep reading for your step-by-step guide.
Step #1: Exfoliate
“Make sure you exfoliate your lips prior to lipstick application, preferably the night before to avoid adverse redness, which won’t help,” explains Martin. “I like to simply run a dry towel through my lips to buff off any dry skin, but you can use the favoured toothbrush tip of gently brushing your lips. If your lips are particularly dry, soften them first with lip balm and leave to soak into the skin for five minutes.”
Martin recommends creating your own lip scrub so you can control how grainy it is. “Take some Bobbi Brown Soothing Balm (£46) and add a few Buffing Grains (£32) to it, mix on the back of your hand and then apply to the lips in circular motions, gently massaging and exfoliating. Rinse with water and your lips will feel super soft. However you choose to exfoliate, make sure you follow with lip balm immediately after to rehydrate and condition the fresh skin.”
Step #2: Conceal and Highlight
It may seem counterintuitive to conceal your lips when you want them to be bigger, but Martin and Rol both agree this is a key step in the process. “Apply concealer all round your lip edge to ensure any high colour is eradicated so the true colour of your lip pencil comes through,” explains Martin.
Next, you want to make your top lip look more plump, as if 3-D. Rol suggests, “Apply concealer a shade lighter than your skintone into the V on the Cupid’s bow, then apply a highlighter over the top of the V to make it pop.” Follow this by applying highlighter along the edge of your whole top lip. “This will bounce light around your lips and create the illusion of a rounded, full lip contour.”
Step #3: Line The Lips
Using a lip liner that is the same colour as your lipstick imagine you are using it to sculpt your lips, says Rol. “Make sure you take the lip pencil to the fullest extent of your lips,” Martin says. “If you want to exaggerate the size of your lips then do take your lip pencil over your lip edge making sure you follow your natural lip line so you still create a natural looking shape. Then fill in the entire lip with your lip pencil to create a long-wearing lip stain.”
Step #4: Layer on Lipstick
You can use one lipstick, but if you really want to fake bigger lips, Rol suggests using two. They should both be in the same colour world, but one should be slightly darker than the other. “Use the darkest one on the outer corners of the lips, and the lighter one in the middle to create a subtle ombre,” explains Rol.
As for colour, the choice is yours: nude or red, purple or brick. “There aren’t any rules when it comes to specific colours to make your lips look bigger. As long as you use the darker shade on the outside, the lighter on the inside, as well as highlighting the Cupid’s bow, you’ll be onto a winning pout.”
Tip #5: Add Gloss
Yet another step both makeup artists agree on for plump lips—gloss! “Take a clear lip gloss and apply a little through the centre of the lip, making sure you extend it to the fullest edge of your lip pencil. The gloss, along with the highlighter, will make your lips look super full and plump,” explains Martin.
“The shine will give the illusion of bigger lips,” adds Rol.
Shop our favourite lip-plumping makeup products below.