The Ultimate Guide To Lip Contouring

Photographed by David Cortes.
These days, you can contour just about anything: cheekbones, noses, necks, hair — you name it. Although some techniques are more ridiculous than others (we're looking at you, vontouring), the contouring trend isn't going anywhere soon. And when done subtly, it's a skill that can seriously up your makeup game.

Lip sculpting, in particular, is the contouring skill we've been trying to perfect over the past few months. We've seen many an Instagram post and YouTube video showcasing transformative looks that do a whole lot more to plump your lips than a simple swipe of gloss. Unfortunately, the IRL results aren't always so flattering. Lip contouring gone wrong can look like you simply forgot how to color inside the lines — or like you're reliving your '90s glory days.

That's why we tapped professional makeup artist Ricky Wilson and Instagram beauty influencer Laura Gurrola to share their expert tips on achieving a fuller-looking pout (if that's what you're into). Check 'em out, ahead.
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Photographed by David Cortes.
Go Nude
According to Wilson, over-lining the lips is best done with a beige or nude lip pencil. "[Go for] something that's a shade darker than your natural lip tone," he says. Not only will this help create believable fullness, but it won't compete with any lipstick you apply over it.

MAC Lip Pencil in Cork, $16.50, available at MAC.
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Photographed by David Cortes.
Color Carefully
When it comes to overdrawing your lips, the effect can quickly veer into crazy-town. That's why Wilson suggests just focusing on the center portion of your lips, where you can get away with a little trickery. "You want your volume to come from that area, almost like you're blowing a kiss," he says.

Start by slightly extending the tips of your Cupid's bow, no more than an eighth of an inch, and taper it out toward the edges. Then, do the same to your bottom lips, shading under the center slightly to create plumpness.

Try to avoid over-lining the edges of your mouth, though, which can look obvious or like a mistake. And, be sure to use the side of your lip pencil instead of the tip. "[That way], you're actually shading and you're not left with a harsh outline," says Wilson.

Rimmel London Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Stay On Lip Pencil in Nude, $3.99, available at Ulta.
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Photographed by David Cortes.
Keep It Crisp
To clean up the edges, Wilson suggests tracing a bit of concealer around the lines you drew to diffuse the color. According to Gurrola, a bit of powder foundation can have a similar effect when dusted over your newly created lip line. "It conceals it a bit [and] diminishes [the lines] a little," she says. Plus, since the powder will set your lipliner and lipstick, it keeps them from bleeding or feathering throughout the day.

Amazing Cosmetics Perfection Stick Cover and Contour On the Go, $23, available at Sephora.
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Photographed by David Cortes.
A Hint Of Gloss
After applying your lipstick, dab a touch of gloss on the center of your top and bottom lips, says Gurrola. This simple step draws the light to them, making them appear fuller.

L'Orèal Infallible 8HR Never-Fail Lip Gloss in Blush, $8.39, available at Target.
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Photographed by David Cortes.
Ombré In Your Favor
For those of you who cringed when you read the word "gloss" on the previous slide, there's still hope. A slightly lighter lipstick shade blended into the center of your top and bottom lips will have the exact same effect (sans shine or shimmer).

In fact, Nyx Cosmetics just launched a line of lipsticks designed specifically with this in mind. Simply line your lips with the darker, lipliner end of the crayon, and fill in the center with the lighter end of the stick — voilà, instant contour.

Nyx Cosmetics Ombré Lip Duo, $12, available at Nyx Cosmetics.
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