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How to Create Perfectly Plump, Pouty Lips


29 Nov 2023

Plump lips are undeniably one of the beauty trends that have defined the past decade. The evidence is all over social media—there are more than one million posts tagged #biglips on Instagram alone—and also in the surging popularity of lip plumpers. These products, which typically come in lip gloss or oil form, promise to temporarily make your pout look full, plump, and pillowy. Interested in learning more? Ahead, we’ll explain how to make your lips look bigger with our new high-shine Duck Plump High Pigment Gloss and clue you in on a few tricks to give your plumped-up pout extra va-va-voom.

The Plump Lips Trend

As we mentioned, plump lips are undeniably in fashion. The trend really kicked off years ago, with popular actresses and supermodels showing off full pouts on red carpets and runways. Since then, it’s inspired lip-plumping techniques, products, and entire makeup lines.

While some of the love for plump lips can be tied to wanting to emulate celebrities and influencers, there’s also science behind it. Fuller lips are associated with youth and beauty, which is why you might feel like using a lip plumper can make such a significant difference in how you look.

How to Make Lips Look Bigger

First, let’s back up a bit. There are a couple of ways to make your lips look bigger. Using a lip-plumping gloss is one method—that’s what they’re designed to do, after all—but if you don’t have one on hand, you can opt to contour your lips for a more subtle plumped effect.

What Is Lip-Plumping Gloss?

Lip plumper is type of lip makeup product that makes your lips look fuller temporarily. It can come in many different formats, including lipstick and lip oil, but lip-plumping gloss is the most popular. These products look and act mostly just like regular gloss, giving your pout shine and, in some cases, color. The primary difference lies in the plumping effect they have on your lips.

How Does Lip Plumping Gloss Work?

How plumping glosses work depends on the specific product, but there are certain ingredients known to have a plumping effect. For instance, some ingredients commonly used in this type of gloss include ginger, menthol, and cinnamon extract. You’ll find the former in our Duck Plump gloss.

What Is Lip Contouring?

Contouring is a makeup technique in which you strategically apply products that are darker than your skin tone onto your face to create the illusion of shadows. Placed correctly, these shadows can help visually sculpt and define your features. The cheekbones and nose are among the most popular spots to contour, but you can also use this technique to define your lips and make your pout appear fuller.

The process of lip contouring involves placing a darker contour shade just below your bottom lip, which makes it look bigger and poutier. Adding a touch of highlight to your cupid’s bow amplifies the effect.

How to Use Lip Plumper

Using lip plumper is delightfully simple: Smooth it onto your lips with the applicator. It’s really that easy. Of course, with a little prep work, you can make your lips look even better. That’s why, before applying the plumper, we recommend you exfoliate and line your pout. Keep reading for a complete how-to on swiping on a plumping lip gloss.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Here’s what you’ll need to create your plump lip look:

  • Lip scrub to smooth your lips. We recommend our #ThisIsEverything Lip Scrub.
  • Lip liner in a shade that closely matches your chosen gloss. To minimize touch-ups, opt for a long-lasting option, like our Line Loud Vegan Longwear Lip Liner.
  • Lip-plumping gloss, such as our Duck Plump High Pigment Gloss. The non-sticky formula with spicy ginger plumps lips instantly and over time. It comes in 18 high-pigment shades (plus one clear option for a natural look).

Step 2: Prep Your Lips

Next, apply a bit of the exfoliating scrub to your lips and gently massage with your finger to buff away any dead skin and create a smooth canvas for your lip plumper gloss. Then, line the outer edges of your lips with your lip liner. If you need help getting the perfect outline, check out our article How To Use Lip Liner—The Right Way.

Step 3: Apply Your Lip Plumper Gloss

Finally, uncap your lip plumper and use the precise applicator to smooth your chosen shade onto your lips.

How to Contour Lips for an Extra Pouty Look

For even fuller-looking lips, consider adding lip contouring to your routine, too.

To contour your lips, you’ll exaggerate your lip liner, create a subtle shadow beneath your lips, and top off your cupid’s bow with highlighter. Here’s a full tutorial:

Step 1: Overline Your Lips

Line your lips as usual, but extend the line just beyond the natural border of your lips at the cupid’s bow and along the curve of your bottom lip. To keep your look natural, avoid overlining at the outer corners.

Step 2: Shade Your Lips In

After outlining your pout, use the same lip liner to color in your lips, leaving the center of your mouth bare (blur the color with your finger for a soft, diffused effect). This will help draw attention to the center of your mouth, which in turn creates the illusion of plumper-looking lips.

Add Shadow and Highlight to Your Lips

Finally, reach for our Wonder Stick Contour and Highlighter Stick. Use the darker shade in the duo to draw a line just below your bottom lip to create the illusion of a shadow—it’ll help make your lower lip look plumper. Then, flip the dual-ended stick around and uncap the highlighter side. Use the highlighter to illuminate your cupid’s bow to complete your contoured lip look.

More Expert Tips to Make Lips Look Bigger

If you don’t have a lip plumper or contouring products on hand, here are a few more ways you can make your lips look plumper:

  • Opt for gloss instead of matte lipstick: Lip gloss reflects light, which can create the illusion of a fuller pout.
  • Overline your lips with a nude lip liner to create the illusion of a fuller lip line.
  • Use nude or light hues instead of darker lip colors, which can make your lips appear smaller.
  • Keep your lips well-hydrated with lip balm or oil. Proper hydration can help keep your lips looking plump.

How to Make Your Fuller Lip Look Last

The best way to make any lip look last is to use long-wearing products that can stand up to talking, eating, and drinking. If you’re contouring your lips, fixing your look with a setting spray can also help ensure your makeup stays put. But if you’re going to be out for a while, consider stashing your lip plumper lip gloss in your bag for quick touch-ups as needed.

Next: How to Plump Up Your Makeup Routine.

Got a plump lip look you love? Post it on social media and tag us @nyxcosmetics.


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