How To Make Your Lips Look Fuller With Makeup

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I’ve got a small mouth… and to match, even smaller lips. And despite wanting to pull the proverbial (or syringical?!) trigger on lip filler for years, I haven’t done it yet. Maybe it’s the price, or the fear of needles, but these thin lips have had no hyaluronic plumping. So naturally, the overlining trend has been of *high* interest to me. Fuller-looking lips, sans pain or $800+ investment? Sign me up.

That said, I’ve had some overlining follies, including but not limited to: looking like I have clown makeup on, bleeding and smudging liner, eating and having some but not all of my lip makeup come off (which, again, left me looking like a clown), and forgetting my liner at home so I can’t touch up. All of which has left me feeling more self-conscious than I already was with about thin, unlined lips.

So, fast forward to a few weeks ago: I was in my early-aughts-nostalgia feels when I picked up a little bottle of Benetint lip stain. Whilst playing around with it, I discovered an “overlining” hack, if you will.


Lip Stain Hack

Not bad, right? Per my own highly scientific research, I discovered that applying lip stain in a certain way serves as the perfect, natural-looking alternative to lip pencil. Using a stain around your lips—instead of on top of them—makes them look instantly plumper without the intense pop of color most lip liners bring about, and as an added bonus, it won’t smudge throughout the day.

Don’t just take my word for it, though—this trick has also got the MUA stamp of approval. “I absolutely love using lip tint as liner, especially when used together with some type of lip balm or gloss to create a super natural-looking pout,” says Kandice Delgado, beauty educator and makeup artist based in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Her pro tip? “It’s all about finding the color that suits your tones and mood.” Another makeup artist pal of mine

Mid experiment, I showed my photos to a makeup artist pal of mine, Taylor Haupt, based in San Diego, to get her feedback. “It looks so natural but also defined!” she said (via text, naturally). “You just gave me a new technique to use on clients!”

So there you have it — grab yourself a little lip stain, and get to lining!

Here’s how to pull it off:

  1. Find a tint that matches your coloring: Start with just a little amount of product, and gently and carefully line just past the edge of your lips where you want to expand.
  2. Only use the tint around your lip line: In other words, not on your actual lip. The trick is to try to get the skin around your lip to be slightly darker your natural lip shade, so think about matching your lip tone and then ever so slightly surpassing it.
  3. Keep the line clean: To minimize smudging (and that dreaded “clown” look I mentioned) I use my fingernails (gross? idk) to ‘sharpen’ the edges and push product away from the outer edge so it doesn’t bleed.
  4. Choose a nice topper: Finish the look with your lip product of choice—a tinted balm or gloss, dewy lipstick—which you’ll apply to your actual lips this time.

Shop lip stains


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