Get the New Sexy Lip
Plump up your pout with new ingredients, makeup tricks and more.
When was the last time you examined your lips – beyond applying a quick stroke of color? The truth is, our lips are often neglected but desperately needed some of the attention we’re so quick to give our complexions and bodies.
Here’s how to make your lips their own personal best: sexier – and healthier – than ever before.
Enhance your assets
Thanks to innovative ingredients, you can now make your lips fuller – almost instantly.
- Try a newfangled fix
GABA (gammaaminobutyric acid, found naturally in your body) relaxes tense muscles and is heralded by makeup artists for its topical use on the areas surrounding your lips. GABA may also help reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well as plump the skin on, and around, your kisser. Try this: Plump Lips IceStick by Freeze 24-7 with GABA and wrinkle-minimizing retinol.
- Spice it up.
When slicked onto lips, common intense and spicy food flavorings, including cinnamon and ginger, stimulate circulation in your lips, triggering a temporary swelling effect (caused by additional blood flow to the area). Find these pucker-boosting ingredients in Too Faced Fat Kiss, which packs a blend of clove, sage and Chinese cinnamon, and Sally Hansen Lip Inflation Plumping Treatment, boasting ginger and cinnamon.
- Plump it up.
The newest colors and glosses offer ingredients that stimulate collagen (tissue that gives skin its form and shape) to help beef up what you’ve naturally got. One of these: Maxi-Lip, an additive that has been shown to increase lip volume after 30 days of use. Try Ramy Rise & Shine Lip Plumping Gloss, available in six colors, or Lorac Lotsa Lip Plumping Lip Gloss, both with Maxi-Lip. Another option: lip products containing collagen-building ingredients to plump your pout even further, such as Avon Beyond Color Plumping Lipcolor, available in 23 shades; Physicians Formula Plump Palette with collagen-boosting vitamin B; and Clear FusionBeauty Lipfusion XL.
- Stay hydrated.
Dry, dehydrated lips often appear thin and shapeless – a less-than-flattering look. To the rescue: lip color that plumps by protecting and hydrating quickly with ingredients like glycerin and vitamin E. The result: a supple pout that feels soft and kissable. Terrific tubes: CoverGirl IncrediFULL lip color with water-loving glycerin; antioxidant-infused Rimmel Volume Boost Liquid Lipcolour and Lancome Le Rouge Absolu with moisture-boosting vitamin E.
Use makeup to your advantage
Even the thinnest lips can become more shapely and sexy (sans any plumping products) with these pro makeup tricks.
- Get primed
A primer (a lightweight coating of silicone that you apply to lips before sweeping on color) prevents color from migrating outside your lips’ borders, smoothes fine lines and locks in pigment for long-lasting wear. Amazing primers: vitamin E-infused Laura Geller Lip and Eye Spackle, Estee Lauder Prime FX Lip Amplifying Base and Bare Essentuals Lip Rev-er Upper with hydrating shea butter.
- Line and define
When used properly, lip liner can visually add oomph to the size of your pucker. Gafni’s cardinal contouring rules: Select a liner in the same shade as your lipstick, and don’t outline your entire lip (this makes your mouth look wider, not fuller). Instead, define only the cupid’s bow and the center of your lower lip. Also, use the side (not the point) of your pencil for lining to create a softer, sweeter finish. Whip Lip Liner, available in 14 shades, and Aveda Petal Essence Lip Liner, which comes in eight colors.
Know when to ask for help
When you consider that your lips begin to thin out in your mid-to-late 30s, plumping products may not be enough – especially if you’re looking for long-term results. Lips age like the rest of your body skin. They droop, lose substance and become thin over time. So if you’re thinking about taking the next step in your quest for full, luscious lips, talk to your dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. Here’s what you need to know about some popular procedures first:
- Restylane is hyaluronic acid, a sugar-based gel found naturally in rooster combs. Given via injection to specific zones, it defines and adds volume to thin areas. This filler can also elevate the corners of your mouth, which tend to turn down as you age. Results last six to 12 months. Possible side effects: temporary lumpiness and redness.
- Botox Cosmetic is a substance produced from botulinum toxin that temporarily immobilizes the muscles under the skin. A dermatologist can inject it in small doses to reduce the vertical lines that may appear with age above the upper lip. It’s also commonly used in conjunction with Restylane to diminish vertical grooves and create lusher, sexier lips. Results last four to six months. Possible side effects: temporary redness and lumpiness.
- Hylaform This hyaluronic acid works similarly to Restylane; a doctor injects it to restore youthful volume to lips. Results last to three to six months. Possible side effects: temporary redness.
- Laser Resurfacing To diminish lines above the lips caused by long-term smoking, pursing or plain old genetics, doctors often use erbium or CO2 lasers. Both heat tissue-firming collagen under the skin, injuring it and allowing new, firmer tissue to grow in its place. Healing takes several weeks; results last about a year or longer. Possible side effects: discoloration and redness.
- Fat injections Fat is removed from your abdominal or hip area through a separate liposuction procedure (meaning you will need two procedures, total, to get bigger lips) and can be injected into your lips to enhance them or correct asymmetry. Results vary, from several months to permanently, depending on how your body responds to the fat. Possible side effects: temporary lumpiness and redness.
Your Healthiest Lips – Ever!
Spending money on products and procedures to enhance your pout when you haven’t taken the time to properly care for your lips can be a waste. Here’s why: If lips are dry, chapped or otherwise irritated, most plumping products will only aggravate those problems. Some simple care-for-your-lips tips:
Cover them up
The sun can damage your lips just as it does your skin everywhere else, yet this is often the last place we apply (and reapply) sun protection. The first line of defense: a lipstick or gloss with SPF, such as Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss with SPF 8 or Origins Rain and Shine Liptint with SPF 15. If your favorite lipstick doesn’t pack protection, apply lip balm with SPF before adding color; we like Murad Vitalic Energizing Pomegranate Lip Therapy SPF 15.
Keep your kisser hydrated
Any time you’re sans lip color, coat your mouth with a balm that prevent moisture loss such as Kiehls Lip Balm #1.
Give lips a bedtime boost
By applying a balm packed with nourishing ingredients like shea butter and/or lanolin. (They’ll look fresher in the a.m.!) A good choice: June Jacobs Lip Renewal with both shea butter and lanolin.
A More Permanent Way To Plump
Your dentist may offer more than a teeth cleaning or cavity filling.
Porcelain veneers – commonly used to close spaces between teeth or give small teeth better shape and size – can actually plump up the appearance of your lips too. It over-contour, or build out, the teeth in order to better support thin lips. As a result, teeth look better and lips look fuller instantly. The cost of porcelain veneers: about $2,500 per tooth.