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TikTok’s ‘Bow & Arrow’ Hack Plumped My Lips Fast & Here’s Proof

Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
TikTok's makeup hacks can be hit and miss. Lipstick contouring, applying foundation with a jade roller and using lube as makeup primer are all viral tricks that can get in the bin (trust me, I've tried them all). But every so often it's possible to uncover some real gems during your midnight scrolling session. Last month, everyone went wild for the sponge eyeshadow tip (totally revolutionary) not to mention white concealer (you'll wonder where it's been all your life). This week, TikTokers are obsessed with lips — particularly how to give them a boost.
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Before I get into the nitty gritty, I must caveat this by saying that your lips — actually, all lips — are fine as they are. But if TikTok is anything to go by, lots of us are interested in enhancing their shape and size, whether that's with lip plumping glosses or even toothpaste like some beauty enthusiasts. That's fine, too. There's no judgement here. The hashtag #lipplumper has an enormous 346.9 million views so far, while the hashtag #fulllips has garnered 39.6 million pairs of eyes and involves everything from massage techniques to natural ingredients. Interestingly, it seems that TikTok's beauty content creators would rather use makeup to give their lips a natural boost.
@hudabeauty The bow & arrow lip lift 💋 if you try this make sure to tag so we can repost #liphack #bowandarrrowliplift #hudabeauty #foryou #lipcontouring ♬ Killing Me - CRIM
Huda Kattan (founder of beauty brand Huda Beauty) recently went viral for her so-called 'bow & arrow' lip lift, which is meant to sculpt and plump lips. "I have been contouring my lips in the weirdest way but I'm obsessed with it and I wanted to show you guys what I've been doing," says Huda in her video, which has garnered 363.6k views and thousands of likes. Huda takes a cream contour palette and a fine brush. "I'm going to create what I like to call the arrow," says Huda, using the cream contour to draw an upside-down arrow on her Cupid's bow. "Then I go ahead and create the bow," she says, creating a semi-circle underneath her lower lip. She uses the same technique and a rich lip liner to sketch an upside-down arrow on her bottom lip and a small line in the centre of her top lip. Lastly, using a fluffy brush, Huda blends the cream contour into her skin and then applies her favourite liquid lipstick over the lip liner. TikTokers are very impressed with the plumped up result. "Have to try that 🥰🥰🥰," wrote one, while another said: "This is a game-changer."
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Beauty In A Tik is all about finding the truth in TikTok hacks and Huda has been vocal about getting lip filler in the past. It's unclear whether her lips are filled currently but there's no denying they're already pretty plump. So does this contouring hack work on all lips, too, or is it just a fad? I had to find out for myself. The most precise makeup brush I own is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dual Sided Brow Brush, £18, which I dipped into the Westman Atelier Face Trace Contour Stick, £44, and proceeded to copy Huda's arrow. She makes it look so simple but it's actually a little fiddly. You could use any flat eyeshadow brush you have at home but ensure that the contouring product you choose is creamy and easy to blend, otherwise you might end up with a muddy finish that's hard to get rid of.
Next up, lip liner. Huda used a rich burgundy so that her contour lines would show up underneath her lipstick. I chose the Diego Dalla Palma Lip Pencil in Bordeaux, £15.50, to draw the tiny arrow and line on my lips. When it comes to lip liner, I don't believe you need to splurge. NYX Professional Makeup Lip Liner Pencil, £3.50, and Revolution Satin Kiss Lipliner, £3.99, are equally as pigmented and last for a long while. I didn't see Huda trace her lip line (as I usually would when lining my lips) so I hoped the contour would be plumping enough for my liking. I'm a nude lip stan and went for Dior's Rouge Forever Liquid in Forever Nude, £32, which is matte but moisturising. Huda used her Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Liquid Lipstick, £18. I also really rate Maybelline's SuperStay Matte Ink Lipstick, £9.99, and Max Factor's Lipfinity Lipstick, £10.99, especially if you're on a budget.
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Before
After
When I line my lips the finished result can often look a little 'fake', as though it's obvious I've tried to give my lips a push. The bow and arrow lip contouring hack is so much more natural; I'd even say it made my top lip look twice as ample as before. I can only assume this is down to the contour providing the illusion of a shadow above the top lip (making it look bigger) and the lip liner arrow giving the centre of the lip more volume. The bottom contour didn't do much to enhance my bottom lip, though. Huda and I both used matte lipstick (the applicator makes it easy to over line lips for more of a lift) but if I were to try this again, I'd reach for something with a satin or gloss finish to give the illusion of juicier lips, as the light really bounces off it. I love Charlotte Tilbury The Super Nudes K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick, £25, which is available in five nude shades, as well as Fenty Beauty Sheer Shiny Lipstick, £20, and e.l.f. SRSLY Satin Lipstick Nectar, £4.
Another week, another impressive TikTok trend to add to my list. I'll admit it's a bit more finicky than celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic's lip lift hack which recently did the rounds but it does work — and there isn't a needle in sight.
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