We’ll let you in on a secret: You don’t need to be born with full lips to have a plump-looking pout. Truth be told, it's fairly easy to make your lips look bigger with makeup, so long as you have the right tools at your disposal. Overlining your lips is definitely part of the equation, but it’s not the only trick to transform thin lips into a full, defined pout perfect for a night out, a ducktastic selfie look for a day supporting your favorite team, or simply achieving fuller, bigger lips for your everyday enjoyment. Here, we’ll break down exactly how to make your lips look bigger in seven easy steps—as well as one hack for lip plumping with an iconic ducky product worn by Cardi B for the Big Game 2024. Plus, we’ll give you details on the best NYX Professional Makeup products for the job. Keep reading for our all-in-one guide to faking big lips.
Step 1: Prep Your Pout
Proper prep is a must if you want your lip makeup to look smooth and even. Before applying any lip color, we recommend exfoliating and hydrating your lips to help create a smooth canvas for your products. Use a gentle lip scrub to exfoliate and soften your lips, then apply a thin, even layer of a hydrating lip balm like Fat Oil Slick Click. Let the lip balm absorb before applying your lip color to help ensure an even application.
Step 2: Map Out Your Fuller Lip Look
Before reaching for your lip liner, you’ll need to plan out your desired look—specifically, what colors you intend to use (and how). Nude shades that are slightly darker than your natural skin tone are ideal for faking a fuller lip. High contrast shades (like super-light lipstick on darker skin tones or deep hues on fair skin tones) can actually make your lips appear smaller. However, that isn’t to say you can’t use color: Done properly, you can make your lips look bigger with nearly any lip color—it’s all about illusion (more on that later).
For bolder or more colorful lip looks, your lip liner should either closely match your lipstick (for a seamless look) or be a shade darker (for subtle definition). Suede Matte Lip Liner is ideal if you plan on using our Suede Matte Lipstick, because each of the velvety-matte shades is designed to pair perfectly with the classic matte lipstick. Alternatively, try our iconic Slim Lip Pencil. Available in 31 pigment-packed shades, these creamy lip liner pencils apply easily and resist bleeding for long-lasting wear. Or for a glossier look that complements pigmented lip glosses, try Line Loud Vegan Longwear Lip Liner.
Step 3: Overline Lips To Create Fullness
Using your chosen lip liner, whether for a matte look with Suede Matte Lip Liner—as seen on TV as Cardi B’s iconic choice for the Big Game—or a glossier look with Line Loud Vegan Longwear Lip Liner, begin tracing just outside your lip line to create the illusion of a new, slightly fuller lip line. We recommend starting at your cupid’s bow and overlining about three-quarters of the way toward the outer corners of your mouth. From there, bring the liner in slightly, so you’re tracing right on top of your natural lip line at the outer corners. This will help enhance your lips and give them a plumper appearance without them looking overdone or fake. Once you’re satisfied with the shape and size of your plump lips, blend the liner toward the center of your mouth with your finger to create a subtle gradient effect (this helps make your overdrawn liner appear more natural).
Step 4: Apply Your Chosen Lipstick
Next up: lipstick. The lipstick you use is, as always, up to you. That being said, you’ll find that those with glossy finishes are great for making your lips look plumper—the reflectivity helps create the illusion of fullness. For long-lasting color and intense shine, we recommend Shine Loud High Shine Lip Color. This dual-sided lip color features a bold, long-wearing bottom coat on one end and a non-sticky high-shine gloss on the other. Apply the bottom coat for intense color, let it dry for a minute, then top with the gloss for an ultra-reflective finish.
If matte lips are more your speed, try Lip Lingerie XXL Matte Liquid Lipstick. Available in 32 shades, from soft nudes to bright reds and even black, this long-wearing liquid lipstick delivers up to 16 hours of smudge-proof, transfer-proof matte color. Use the attached applicator to trace on top of your lip liner, then fill in your lips for bold, matte color.
Step 5: Add Lip Gloss
Since shine can help make lips look fuller, you’ll find you get the best results when you keep the gleam going all day. If you’re using our aforementioned Shine Loud High Shine Lip Color, reapply the gloss as needed throughout the day to help keep your pout perfectly glossy. Alternatively, for shine and added pigment, reach for one of our lip glosses from America’s #1 lip gloss brand*. Our classic Butter Gloss is available in 29 sheer-to-medium cover shades that deliver gorgeously glossy shine, sans a sticky or tacky finish. Or try our Duck Plump Lip Plumping Gloss for shine and bonus plumping—but more on that later.
*L’Oreal calculation based in part on data reported by NielsenIQ through its Scantrack Service for the Lip Gloss category for the 52-week period ending December 31, 2022 for the US xAOC market according to L’Oreal’s custom product hierarchy. Copyright © 2023, Nielsen Consumer LLC
Pro Tip: Favor matte lips? Skip the gloss altogether and instead apply a slightly lighter shade of lipstick in the center of your lips (be sure to blend it well). This will help visibly boost dimension and give the appearance of fuller lips without adding shine.
Step 6: Contour To Create Shadows
A touch of contour can go a long way when it comes to faking bigger lips. A full pout naturally casts a bit of a shadow right beneath the bottom lip, but if your lips are on the thinner side, it’s likely that this shadow will be subtle (or absent entirely). You can fake a shadow, however, by applying contour about a centimeter below your bottom lip where your chin begins. For this, we recommend using a blendable, creamy contour, such as Wonder Stick Creamy Contour and Highlighter Stick. Use your chosen contour shade to draw a small line beneath your bottom lip and blend it out well with your fingers or a makeup sponge for a natural, diffused effect.
Step 7: Highlight Your Cupid’s Bow
Last but not least comes highlighting. A hint of highlighter at the dip at the top of your upper lip (a.k.a. your cupid’s bow) will immediately help make your lips appear fuller. That said, you don’t want to go overboard: tToo much highlight can look unnatural. To highlight this spot precisely, use Wonder Pencil Micro Highlighter Pencil. The dual-sided pencil boasts a matte concealer shade on one end and a shimmery highlighter on the other. Use the shimmer end and lightly trace it along your cupid’s bow. Lightly blend the highlighter with your finger and enjoy your plump-looking pout.
Plump Your Lips in a Hurry with Plumping Gloss
Are you a lip gloss lover? Another option to achieve plump lips with makeup is to use Duck Plump Lip Plumping Gloss, our featured product sported by Cardi B for the Big Game, for instant plumping and an injectionless fuller pout. Duck Plump Lip Plumping Gloss is powered by spicy ginger to create a temporary plumping effect, and it comes in 18 shades so you can rock your favorite color while boasting fuller lips. Need help choosing a shade? Check out our guide to How to Choose the Right Lip Plumping Gloss for Your Skin Tone.
This product can be used alone, with lip liner like Line Loud Vegan Longwear Lip Liner, or in tandem with your favorite lip color to add increased shine and plumping. The Clearly Spicy transparent shade is perfect for layering, so you can add plumping gloss to the routine outlined above or wear it alone for fuller-looking lips in one quick and easy step.
Curious about Cardi B’s iconic Big Game look? Get Cardi's lip combo from our Big Game ad in three easy steps:
Learn more about this lip look on our Big Game page, or you can check out our favorite football makeup products with our Football Makeup Must-Haves. No matter how you choose to rock those full lips, we have no doubt you’ll look fabulous for the Big Game with these simple tips.
Inspired by these ideas for plump lips? Show us your best pout and tag us on social media @NYXCOSMETICS with your full lip makeup look.
Next: Now that you know how to make your lips look plump with makeup, read our article How To Apply Blush and Flatter Your Face Shape to help complete your look.