Societal standards of beauty are ever-changing and have come a long, interesting way from the ideals of ghostly white powdered skin, strong Roman noses, and tiny, pinched pouts of ladies painted with love and lust in Renaissance imagery. The past several decades have shifted toward ample lips that practically beg to be kissed.

We tend to think of beauty as an ownable entity, and that everyone’s unique look is what makes the beauty spectrum subjective and exciting. Besides, confidence outshines and outlasts any societal beauty expectations, so we say start there. The root of feeling confident starts with a healthy dose of self-love, and your lips’ fullness potential comes from a little TLC—so treat your kisser to a little extra care.


A dry, pale, shriveled lip is no canvas for lip color, nor exactly a beckoning call for a smooch. Exfoliation will rid your lips of any dry, scaly flakes and bring circulation to the area. This extra blood flow naturally fills a few cracks for an instant plump, and brings a flushed and rosy tint to your natural lips for a little color on their own. A lip scrub is perfect for the task, and most of them on the market are sugar-based, so if a little gets in your mouth (and it will), it’s perfectly safe and probably a little sweet. Try our DIY lip scrub recipe here.

Strategically line.

And, never forget a plump pout’s best friend, lip liner. Not only does this help keep your lip color contained in the right perimeters (aka not bleed out for a Joker-style grin), but it also lends you a little creativity about where you want to define your lip line. We definitely suggest that subtlety is key here—going too far outside your lips toes the line of drag or even clown makeup. Both of which have their time and place, though it might not be at your office job or out on a casual date.

A very impactful difference can be made by penciling in just barely outside your lip line, mostly at the center edges of your lip and coming in closer to your true, natural lip at the corners of your mouth. Exaggerating just the cupid’s bow can make a world of change in the shape of your final look. It’s doll-like with reds, deep pinks, and berry hues, or sultry with a spectrum of nude shades.

Add a gloss.

The same way that exfoliation smooths things out, a gloss will help your lips reflect light for a larger look, too. If glossy isn’t really your thing, try just applying it to the center of your lips, so the shine is contained but creates a serious highlight.

Subtle contour.

A little bit of bronzer at the bottom part of your lower lip—right where a natural shadow occurs—can help. Use an eyeshadow brush to create a thin line just at the center point beneath your lower lip to exaggerate the shadow and make your lip appear more voluminous.

Try a stimulating balm.

If you prefer to go completely natural and want your full plump potential sans lip color or makeup, a stimulating ingredient in a balm or lip oil can help bring that coveted circulation back to your lips for easy reapplication all day. Peppermint and cinnamon are both incredibly stimulating—you can even feel the tingle. Look for products that already have them in the formula, or simply add a drop of the essential oil to your favorite lip balm. If you’re not sure of any sensitivities you may have to either oil, test on a small patch of skin on your arm, first.

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