How To Make Your Lips Look Larger

It’s almost Valentine’s Day so it’s a good time to get those lips looking luscious!  In my previous post, I gave tips for how to care for your lips and keep them looking youthful.  Now let’s talk about how to make your lips look larger and more plump!

lipscollage copy

Begin by caring for your lips in the ways I mentioned in my last post.  When you are applying your makeup, do your lipstick last.  While you are putting on the rest of your makeup, put on a clear lip plumper so that your lips will plump up a bit while you are getting ready.  I use Sally Hansen Lip Inflation.  It tingles and it tastes a bit like cinnamon.  When it is time to do your lips, wipe off the lip plumper completely.  I use those little Almay makeup remover pads.  Just make sure you are starting with a clean slate.  I will write a list of all the products I used at the end in order to simplify the step-by-step instructions.  Okay, let’s do this!  

  1. Prime your lips.  If you don’t have a lip primer, you could use any primer you have or you can even use foundation, as long as it’s not too oily.  The goal is for the products to stay put and if your lips are too moist, everything will slide and smear and wear off quickly.
  2. In this picture I did only half of my lips so you could clearly see the difference.  Using a neutral brown lipliner or eyeliner, draw a soft line just barely outside your natural lip line.  The bottom of the line you are drawing should be touching your natural lip line so that there is no blank space between your natural lip line and the one you are drawing.  The line does not need to be precise because you are going to blend it.
  3. This photo is just showing the brown lip liner all the way around the lips.  If you compare this picture to number 1 , you can already see the difference in size…and this is just the beginning!  Don’t let that ugly brown line scare you.  Next step is to completely soften and blend that line. You can use your fingers or a Beauty Blender.  Blend until the line is basically just a shadow.
  4. Here you can see that I have blended out the brown line.  I have also set it with a tiny bit of loose, translucent powder.  Use a powder that is meant for setting under eye makeup because those are less likely to settle into fine lines. I use Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder.  Next, take a small amount of a contour powder and apply it below the bottom lip. This will create a shadow that will in turn make the lip seem to protrude more.
  5. Apply a highlight product to the cupid’s bow (v-shaped area above the center of the top lip) and to the center of both lips.  The highlight will bring those areas forward and make them appear larger. IMPORTANT:  If you have fine lines around your lips, do NOT use a shimmery or glittery highlighter.  That will only intensify the look of those lines.  Instead, use a matte color such as a pale pink brightening concealer.  Also, if you are going to be taking pictures then use a matte highlighter in your cupid’s bow because the shimmery ones can sometimes appear like a sweaty upper lip in flash photography.  In general, I use a pencil highlighter for lips because I feel it is easy to apply and it has the most staying power, which is important since the lip products get rubbed off by eating, drinking and (hopefully) kissing!
  6.  Line the very edge of your lip line with a lip liner that is 1-2 shades darker than your natural lip color. If your lips are fairly dark already, then you can use one that matches your lip color.  You don’t want your lips to be too dark because that will make them appear smaller (see previous post).  After you draw the line, fill in your lips just a little on the inside of the line as well.  You can use the side of the lip liner for this so you get a softer look and you won’t have to sharpen your pencil as often.  Then use your finger to blend the outline inwards towards the center of the lip. Do not cover the highlight color. Blending the liner into the lip will help you avoid the lip liner outline problem.  You know when sometimes the lipstick rubs off and there is just the line around the lips left?  That’s not a good look so be sure not to skip this step.  I like lip liners that are a bit hard in their consistency.  I feel like they don’t feather and smear as easily.  I prefer pencils because you can sharpen them to the right type of point.  Too sharp of a point will give you a line that is too harsh, not sharp enough will give you a line that is fuzzy and looks more feathery.
  7. Apply lipstick in a natural to medium pink shade.  When you get to the center of the lip where the highlight is, just gently dab a little lipstick on top of it.  Do not drag the lipstick across the highlight or it will go everywhere and lose it’s affect.  Choose a shade that has a lot of pigment (plenty of color goes on with out a lot of application).  For this look, do not use a moisturizing lip color.  Again, we want to avoid anything too slippery so that everything stays put where we want it.
  8. Apply a no gloss with NO shimmer or glitter everywhere except over the highlight.  Use the lipgloss wand or your finger to make sure that the lipliner, lipstick and lipgloss are all blended together but avoid the very outside edge of the liner.  The liner should form a border that will keep everything inside the lines and prevent feathering.  So blend it just enough to get a seamless look with no harsh lines.  Use a white or very, very light gloss with some shimmer or glitter to dab on the highlighted area in the center of your lips.  Ta-DAH!  Look at those lips you never knew you had!

Here are my before and after shots:


Products I used:

lips numbered

  1. It Cosmetics Hello Light Powder Illuminizer – use this in cupid’s bow and in center of lips if you don’t have a pencil like number 12.  If you have fine lines around the upper lip then use a matte brightener like Maybelline Instant Age Rewind (not pictured) on cupid’s bow and other one in center of lips.
  2. Rodan + Fields Redefine Lip Renewing Serum – sleep in this at night for super soft lips.
  3. Urban Decay Lipstick – in the color Native is a beautiful medium pink that will work for many skin tones. Great pigment and the cool packaging is a bonus!
  4. eos Smoot Sphere Lip Balm – use this at times when you are not wearing lipstick.  Caution:  extremely silkiness and great taste may cause the overwhelming desire to kiss.  A lot.
  5. Hoola Bronzer from Benefit – use this to contour under lower lip.
  6. Too Faced Lip Insurance – use this to prime lips before applying any products.
  7. Kiss Me Exfoliating Lip Scrub by Philosophy – use this in the morning with your toothbrush to scrub off dry, flaky skin.
  8. MAC Lip Pencil in color Whirl – line your natural lip line with this.
  9. Sally Hansen Lip Inflation Extreme Lip Plumper – put this on while you are doing your other makeup so it can work it’s magic.  Then remove before completing the steps above.
  10. Mark Jacobs Lust For Lacquer Lip Vinyl Sheer – put this on top of lipstick except in highlighted areas.
  11. elf Super Glossy Lip Shine in Angel – put this in the center of lips on top of the highlighted areas.  It’s only $1.00!  Can’t beat that.  They also sell in Target stores.
  12. Mr. Frosty highlighting pencil by Benefit – apply this in the cupid’s bow and center of both lips.  I’m sorry but this product appears to be no longer available but this NYX white eyeliner is similar.
  13. Ulta Contour Lip Liner – apply this just slightly outside your natural lip line.


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