How to (Correctly) Overline Your Lips to Make Them Look Fuller

All you need is a lip pencil to score a plumper pout.


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In the quest for larger, fuller-looking lips, injectable lip fillers and topical plumping products aren’t your only two options. You can also use makeup to create the appearance of a more voluminous pout—a beauty optical illusion of sorts. More specifically, we’re talking about overlining your lips. Obviously, the effect is temporary and your lips won’t *actually* change size, but for a fast fix or special event, this option is quick and painless. Here, makeup artists explain exactly the right way to overline your lips, and share some other makeup-centric pout-plumping hacks.

“The idea of creating a fuller or more even pout using lip liner is something that makeup artists have been doing for decades,” explains makeup artist and grooming expert Todd Harris. It gives the illusion of larger lips because it accentuates the outline of the lip shape, adds Neil Scibelli, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City. First, you’ll want to pick the right color lip liner. If you’re going to be wearing a bold lipstick (think red, berry, magenta) choose a lip liner that matches the lipstick, advises Scibelli. If it’s a nude hue, you can either match it exactly or go one to three shades deeper or darker—but no more than that, as you can quickly veer into garish territory. Top tip: “Overlining always looks the most natural with nudes,” says Harris.

Make sure your lip liner is nice and sharp (precision is key here), and begin to create a line just slightly over the most outermost edge of your natural lip line, right above where the colored part of the lip starts. This ensures you’ll achieve that desired fullness, while still looking believable, Scibelli explains. He suggests looking at your top lip in two halves: Start from the outer corner of one side and draw the line up to the middle. Repeat on the other side, so that the lines meet at the point of the cupid’s bow.

“Once you’ve created that outside line, take a lip brush and blend the liner ever-so-slightly downward,  onto your lips, leaving the outer edge of it visible,” Harris advises. One to try: Sephora Collection Pro Lip Brush #85 ($16;  This helps make everything look seamless, while still creating the illusion of a shadow on the lips that makes them look plumper, he explains. It also bears mentioning that you don’t have to overline your entire mouth. You can overline just at the cupid’s bow or just the lower lip, customizing the technique to your desired effect and lip shape, says Scibell. Either way, once you’re done lining, follow with the lipstick of your choice and you’re good to go.

Not a fan of liner? Keep in mind that hydrated lips are always going to look plumper than dry ones, notes Scibelli. To that point, something as simple as buffing off dead skin with a lip scrub and then adding a few layers of an extra-hydrating balm will make your pout appear fuller.  Two of our favorites: Tree Hut Lip Sugarlips Lip Scrub ($6; and Uncommon Beauty Mango Lip Balm ($15; Or, after applying lipstick, dab a clear gloss just on the center of the top and bottom lips, suggests Harris. This will reflect light at the point where your lips naturally stick out the most and make them look larger. We like: Tinted Unity Balm Gloss ($20;

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