Hannah Frye

mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

By Hannah Frye

mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.

full lips

Image by Liliya Rodnikova Kazakhstan / Stocksy

May 13, 2023

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Craving fuller-looking lips without the filler? You’re not alone. The demand for plumping, defining, and volumizing lip products is higher than ever before, but many folks want something that stills appear natural and effortless. 

To achieve that look, sometimes the easiest thing to do is go back to the basics. One gold standard for fuller-looking lips: strategic lip liner. Getting the outline right is one thing, but you also need to nail the color to create the illusion of a larger lip. Here’s how to find your perfect lip liner shade for a fuller pout.


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What lip color makes your lips look bigger?

The answer: “If someone wants to make their lips appear larger, I would either choose a lip liner darker than their natural lip color or the same color,” says celebrity makeup artist Emily Gray.

She adds, “It really depends on the overall look that you are wanting to achieve.” Meaning, a lip liner darker than your natural hue will create a structured look, while a harmonious color will blend easier and look more natural. 

This will also depend on your lip shape, as those with a prominent cupid’s bow may have trouble blending a super dark liner compared to those with oval-like lips. 

You can also contrast a darker liner with a lighter base. “With that liner, outline and overdraw your lips, apply a lighter lipstick, and finish it off with some lip gloss to achieve an extra sensuous pout,” celebrity makeup artist and KVD Beauty Global Veritas Artistry Ambassador Anthony H. Nguyen tells mbg.

No matter which color you choose, be sure to hydrate your lips before applying your liner. Opt for a nourishing lip balm and use it 10 to 15 minutes before your lip liner and lipstick to ensure your pout is prepped and plumped with hydration. After all: Chapped, flaky lips easily can age your look.


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The takeaway

If you want your lips to look plumper, opt for a liner shade that’s slightly darker than your natural lip color, apply a lighter lipstick on top, and blend with a gloss or lip balm. Want more ways to plump your lips naturally? Here are a few ideas