The other day, I was tapping through Tinx's Instagram Story and paused when she bold captioned a closeup of her lips. I thought she was going to divulge about lip filler, but instead she shared a good hack: Her makeup artist Taylor Fitzgerald used a cream blush to draw a subtle shadow around her lips that gave a natural-looking illusion of fullness. "Everyone thought I got lip injections," she said.
Intrigued, and personally interested in insider tricks to getting subtly-enhanced lips using makeup — maybe things that I wouldn't normally think to put on or around my lips — I chatted Fitzgerald and a few other makeup artists who gave me their best 'hacks' for making the lips look bigger. Ahead, the best advice I've gleaned.
This may sound intuitive, but before you start anything, add a base-layer lip balm to make sure you're prepped and not dealing with chapping. "I recommend starting with a great base — the Well People Lip Nurture Hydrating Balm is my favourite for hydrating and soothing the lips," offers makeup artist Kirin Bhatty. Consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto also rates the Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm, £11.50.
Soft contour the Cupid's Bow
According to Fitzgerald, using your blush around your lips is a foolproof hack to make them look a little larger. She uses the Armani Neo Nude Colour Melting Cream Blush. "On Tinx, I used shade 21 a small brush to contour mainly above the Cupid’s Bow and under her bottom lip," she explains. "It's really blend-able and looks like an actual shadow, so it gives the illusion of a juicier pout with softer definition then strictly over-lining with lip liner."
Set contour with translucent powder
If you're using the contour technique and want the illusion to last all day or all night, set the blush contour with a brush of setting powder. "I set it with a touch of translucent powder for longevity before applying liner, lipstick, and gloss," Fitzgerald adds.
Use a darker lip liner than you want to
Whether you want to over line your lips or follow their natural contour, Bhatty's advice is to use a dark-brown pencil liner — even if it's out of your comfort zone and you normally gravitate towards lighter pinks. "I would line the lips with a darker [lip] pencil," she says. "I recommend Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat Lip Pencil in Foxy Brown or Spice from MAC."
Try your brow pencil
If you don't have a dark lip pencil, there's an hack: Use your brow pencil. You've probably seen this 'perfect lip shade' trend on TikTok, with creators hacking their brow pencil as a lip liner, and makeup artist Lilly Keys explains that the shade of your brow pencil is usually pretty close to your perfect lip-liner tone. "You want to use a brown or dark reddish shade," Key explains. Try it. You'll may be surprised at how well it works.
Pop concealer on the centre of your lips
Once your lips are lined, you can fill them in with your liner or your favourite lipstick. Then, to make the centre of the lips appear a bit more pronounced, Keys uses a bit of concealer on top. "I like to take a small flat brush and tap concealer in the centre of the lips," Keys explains. This makes the lips appear a shade lighter, which gives the subtle illusion of fullness.
Top with gloss
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