Optical Illusion 101
Image: Idhren via Flickr

We all want what we don’t already have. Have straight hair? You want to curl your hair. Curly hair? Sleek and straight is what you crave. Taller, shorter, bigger eyes, lips, you name it, we all wish our physical attributes were a little bit different than what we already have.

Ideally, we would all accept the body we already have, and work with it. My hair is (mostly) straight, I’m very fair and my skin does not tan, and I have slightly larger than normal eyes. I’m definitely ok with all of those things. I can do my hair quickly in the morning and know how to get curls to stick around all day long for times that I need a little variety. I’ve embraced my pale skin and now wear sunscreen constantly to avoid freckling.

However, I’m not quite ready to accept my thin lips. I’m always on the hunt for tips on how to make them appear fuller (I own about 5 different lip plumpers) and I thought I would share some of the best with you from the professionals …

Fuller Lips

Luckily with a few makeup tricks, you can play up your features and help them look bigger!

I’ve asked makeup artists for their favorite tips for plumping your lips. It turns out there are some easy optical illusions that take no time at all, but definitely help your lips look bigger. Click through to read them all …

Step 1: Preparation Is Key

Fuller Lips

Hydration will plump up the outer layers of your lip, making them appear fuller and helping your lip products apply more evenly. You’ll need to allow a little time for the product to work, so apply it with your moisturizer and let it hydrate and plump your lips while you apply makeup. You can substitute a lip plumper for a lip balm for added oomph.

Step 2: Lock It In Place

full lips naturally

“Always prep the lip! Apply a lip primer to act as an anchor to hold the lipstick on.”

– Amanda Gabbard is a makeup artist at the Guerlain Spa in the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria

Step 3: Line Carefully

full lips meaning

“It is a must to use a liner! You can extend the liner slightly past where the natural lips end, but don’t go too crazy or it will appear unnatural.”

– Katie Dahlstrom

“I like using lip liners that are a little darker than your natural lip color to define and outline the lips to make them look bigger.”

– Alejandro Falcon is the artistic director at Osmosis Skincare


  • NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Sand Beige $4.50
  • CoverGirl Lip Perfection Liner Pencil in Smoky 205 $6.09
  • MAC Lip Liner in Spice $15

Step 4: Choose Your Shade Carefully

Choose Your Shade Carefully

“To make thin lips appear fuller, stick to light or medium-toned shades. Darker colors will only emphasize how thin your lips are.”

– Karol Young Moses, blogs at Add Lip Gloss and Stir


  • NARS Lipstick in Toledo $26
  • Givenchy Le Rouge Lipstick in 307 Grenat Initié $36

Step 5: Bronzer Illusion

Lips Fuller - Bronzer Illusion

“Highlight and shadow are key to making lips look larger. Because your natural lips are rounded and not flat everyone has a natural shadow under their pouty lower lip. Be sure to dab a tiny bit on bronzer below your lower lip to add that shadow.”

– Haley Kulow


  • Too Face Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer $30

Step 6: Highlight the Cupid’s Bow

Highlight the Cupid's Bow

“For extra volume add a highlight to your cupid’s bow (the top curve of your lip) and blend lightly.”

– Gabriel DeSantino is the founder of Gabriel Cosmetics


  • Gabriel Liquid Radiance in Halo $12.50
  • Benefit Cosmetics High Beam $26

Step 7: Finishing Touch

Finishing Touch

“Use a lighter shade of gloss on the center of your lips (the heart-shaped area) to add a subtle highlight to make them appear larger.”

– Haley Kulow
Leave A Reply