Once upon a time, the world (ahem, Kylie Jenner) decided that thin, perfectly beautiful lips were no longer en vogue, and it was all about poutier, fuller, larger-than-life lips. Naturally, people became obsessed because, well, duh. Unfortunately, though, lip fillers are pretty expensive and pretty permanent (most injectable fillers last up to nine months). And if you're a self-proclaimed lazy girl who just wants to experience the plump-lip life for a day, needles are not for you. But there are plenty of other options to choose from: There are plumping lip glosses that swear to give your lips the volume boosts they so desperately crave. You can pick up a lip balm that promises more than just hydration hours after you slick it on. Or, you know, there's always the lip implant route if you want something really long-lasting.
Luckily, the beauty industry has been faking big lips for the better part of forever, and most of the tricks are as easy as dabbing on a few products in strategic places. So to help us out, we asked makeup artist and beauty blogger Hillary Kline for her expert recommendations on creating fuller, more-defined lips with as little effort as possible. See her best tips and some of our favorite tools, ahead.
It sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised by how much plumper your lips will look if you add a hydrating balm to them first, before applying anything else (think of it like a base coat).
As a bonus, look for a balm that's infused with a hefty dose of peppermint oil, which is a natural circulation-enhancer, bringing more blood flow to the lips. "Let the balm soak in for about five minutes before moving onto the next step," she says.
The smoother your lips, the more light they can reflect, making them automatically look thicker and fuller (hey, it's basic lip science). And an easy, quick way to get 'em soft and flake-free is to dunk a toothbrush in water and gently buff your now-moisturized lips in concentric circles, says Kline. An added bonus? The small, circular motions will help boost circulation, too, giving your lips a naturally rosy hue.
Congrats! Your lips are now ready for some low-key makeup. But before you grab a lipstick, Kline suggests priming your lips with foundation or concealer to act as a base, giving your lipstick a smoother finish while keeping it intact throughout the day. "Just pat a lightweight concealer or foundation onto the lips, and spread it a little over your lip line to fake a larger canvas," explains Kline.
If you're not already intimately familiar with your Cupid's bow—a.k.a. the dip on the top of your lips—then hi, hello, meet your new lip-plumping BFF. By dabbing just a tiny bit of highlighter to the skin atop the middle of your upper lip, your pout will instantly look bigger, thanks to that trick of the light reflection.
A tried-and-true secret among makeup artists: Use lip liner. A lot of lip liner. But not in the '90s way you'd think. "Pick a lip liner that's one-to-two shades darker than your natural lip color, then outline and fill in your entire lips with it," says Kline. "By using a liner that's a bit darker than your natural lip color, it makes the finished lip look more realistic and rich."
If you're a lazy girl who's also feeling extra ambitious, try lightly dusting a thin line of bronzer beneath the center point of your bottom lip, says Kline, noting that a subtle contour can create some dimension that makes your lower lip look fuller.
Okay, it sounds counterintuitive, but if you're trying to get va-va-voom lips, you'll want to avoid using dark colors. "Dark colors flatten the appearance of your mouth," says Kline, who instead recommends opting for nudes or pale pinks to make your pout look naturally larger. (We see your tricks, Kylie).
Remember the ultra-shiny lip glosses you slathered on in the early aughts? Welp, you better re-invest in some new ones because shimmer-flecked glosses actually make lips look plumper by picking up natural light and reflecting it back. Kline recommends dabbing your favorite clear lip gloss onto the middle of your mouth for a lip-highlighting effect.
For a temporary boost in volume, try a lip gloss that's filled with actual lip-plumping ingredients, like peptides, spearmint, and, you know, some straight-up magic. You'll get visibly fuller lips that last for a good hour—plenty of time to take a trillion selfies.
All right, now that we've got the relatively easy steps out of the way, we're graduating you to varsity-level makeup moves. First, color in your lips with lipstick, then grab white liner and draw a line down the middle of your lips, tapping and blending the line into the lipstick, until it's bare noticeable, says Kline. The line creates a hint of subtle dimension that automatically makes your lips look fuller.