When it comes to remarkably transformative makeup techniques, contouring has truly transcended the world of trends to fast become the skill that everybody wants to add to their beauty CVs. Its most recent incarnation? Lip contouring and the art of masterfully using makeup to sculpt, define and chisel your way to a more voluptuous lip line from the comfort of your own home.
With the huge media buzz surrounding Kylie Jenner's lips (and subsequent admission of having fillers last year), plus recent stats from Whatclinic.com revealing that lip augmentation surgeries are up by 114%, the timing of this particular makeup trend makes perfect sense to provide an alternative to more extreme measures in the quest to achieve a fuller pout. The demand for it is huge - we need only look at the success of Instagram megastar Huda Kattan's (aka Huda Beauty's) YouTube and Instagram videos and the launch of her new Lip Contours (they were an instant sell-out on Cult Beauty ) to see how popular it has become. So what's the key? “Lip contouring is about playing with light, shade and texture,” says top makeup artist and Get The Gloss Expert Lee Pycroft . “By using varying tones of pencil, lip colour, highlighter and concealer, the illusion of a fuller mouth can be achieved.”
Perfect prep. “The prepping of the lips is important as the base lip colour will need to be matte, so using a lip scrub and balm first will keep lips looking smooth.” For a two-in-one buff and balm treatment, the Clinique Sweet Pots Sugar Scrubs and Lip Balms , £15, provide the best of both worlds. For something a little more intensive though should your lips be feeling the effects of sun, wind and winter, La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Lips , £6, makes for the perfect helping hand.
How to make your lips bigger
Step 1: “Use a lip pencil that is within the natural skin tone range,” recommends Lee. In terms of finding your perfect match, she adds: “If you are fair to medium skin toned, go for muted pinks and beiges and tawny tones. If you are medium to dark skin toned, go for browns, lattes and walnut shades. Stick to matte textures - nothing too sheer or you won’t get the definition you need.” Her top picks include the seamless Iconic Nude by Charlotte Tilbury , £16, and long-lasting Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Nude .
Others of note? The universal rose-tinted Dior Addict Lip Glow Liner , £20.50, also makes for an innovative recommendation in our experience thanks to its slanted edge for extra precision and formula that subtly volumises and fills to create the smoothest of canvases.
For a budget beauty buy that gives plenty of plump factor for your pennies, look no further than Topshop Beauty’s Lip Contours , £6.50 - two creamy shades have been specifically created to mimic natural lip colours.
Step 2: “Start by applying the pencil on the vermilion boarder - this is the slightly lighter line that occurs naturally around the lip line,” explains Lee. “Use the side of the pencil, as this keeps the line softer and more blended. Start at the Cupid’s bow as this is a focal point of the shape, then apply around the lip line - on the bottom lip, make sure the centre part is slightly lower than the natural line as this also gives the illusion of fullness.” She adds, “This creates more of a sculpted, artful appearance and is a bit more strategic then just over-drawing the entire bottom lip line area as it can then look a bit overdone.”
Step 3: “Use a matte lip shade slightly lighter than your lip liner and apply to the lips,” Lee recommends. She adds, “Matte textures work best as a base in nudes, flesh tones, browns and beiges.”
When it comes to long-lasting shine-free lipsticks, Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Lip Colours have proven to be both a day and night time favourite. Infatuation , Embrace and Sensual , £22, (among others) work beautifully for a wide range of skin tones.
Step 4: “Highlight just above the Cupid’s bow with a pale concealer and a small brush,” recommends Lee. The combination of Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer , £19, and Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Brush , £22.50, works as the perfect pairing in the power pout stakes in our experience. However, for a more travel-friendly alternative, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer , £22.50, is pretty hard to beat thanks to its wide shade range, easy to blend formula and in-built applicator.
For something a little more eye-catching for night time, swap concealer for highlights, advises Lee. “If it’s the evening, this can be done with a highlighter with a slight shimmer,” she says. Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighting Luminous Pen , £25, is the perfect size and shape for adding more defined radiance where needed and Sleek Makeup Highlighter Palette in Precious Metals , £9.99, provides a smart selection of shades to experiment with. For great durability, look no further than Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder , £34, for a soft lit-from-within candlelit sheen.
Step 5: “Use a taupe colour shadow and a soft, pointed eyeshadow blending brush and shade just underneath the middle of the bottom lip,” advises Lee. “This creates a shadow and further adds to the illusion of the bottom lip being full.” MAC Eye Shadow in Coquette , £13, is a firm favourite of ours and makeup artists alike - especially when applied using the soft-bristled MAC 221 Mini Tapered Blending Brush , £19, for a subtle finish.
MORE GLOSS: How to contour your face like a pro
How to add even more volume...
Step 1: Still want more? Harness the powers of shimmer and shine for added dimension. “After following the above steps, add a pale concealer to the centre of the lips and blend with a small brush,” advises Lee. “This will highlight the area and make it look fuller. As an alternative, a slightly shimmery pale lipstick could also be used.” We love the plumping prowess of Rimmel London Moisture Renew Sheer & Shine Lipstick in Spin All Spring , £6.49, as well as MAC Frost effect Lipsticks , £15.50, for extra shine. Lee’s personal favourite? Tom Ford Lip Colour in Blush Nude , £38, whose superiorly creamy texture acts as a great way to add a dose of subtle luminosity.
Step 2: “Add a gloss over the top for additional plumping effect,” says Lee. For buildable, lightweight and wet-look cover that would appease even the most heavily gloss-phobic, Burberry Kisses Gloss , £21, makes for the perfect moisture boost both in the short and long-term. For a serious dose of pigment though, Clinique Pop Lacquer Lip Color and Primer , £16, definitively delivers in terms of seriously impressive colour payoff and intensity.
Any final tips?
“Don’t overdo it!” cautions Lee. “Make sure the lip liner is only marginally darker then the lipstick as the transition from the lip line inwards must be seamless. This look isn’t about anything hard or obvious.” Also, don’t be afraid to experiment to find a look that suits both your lifestyle and beauty style best. Trends come and go, but the key to their longevity remains in ensuring that the trend fits you, rather than you trying to fit the trend in our experience.
“Play around with colours - if you love red then highlight the centre of the lips with an orange to create fullness. Try the same with varying shades of pink too,” says Lee. The sponge applicators attached to the boldly coloured L’Orèal Paris Infallible Matte Max lip pens , £6.99, make for the perfect on-the-go solution for achieving maximum effect with minimal input. If the idea of matte lipsticks though hasn’t appealed in the past due to their tendencies to be more drying, Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipsticks , £15.50, could be the ones that change your mind for good. Supremely pigmented (just one swipe is needed) and refreshingly comfortable on lips, you’ll soon wonder what you ever did without them.