Step 3: Fake Fullness
The DIY fix: You weren't born with big, full lips? Few of us were, but celebrity makeup artist Laura Mercier says it's easy to cheat. All you need are lipliner and lipstick. First, use the pencil to draw a line just outside your top lip, but only at the bow. Mercier's instructions: Following the natural contour of the bow, draw your line a bit above the actual upper lip. Then use your pencil to make the middle of the bottom lip a bit rounder by drawing a line just outside the fullest part. "Never redraw the lips completely from corner to corner -- it looks too phony," she warns. Fill in the space between the new lines and your lips with the same pencil. Apply lipstick over the entire area for a mouth with much more impact.
Another way to create the illusion of volume is to define the lip area by lining the outer edges of your mouth with a concealer that's the same shade as your foundation, says Australia-based makeup artist Napoleon Perdis. "Blend it out into the fine lines around your lips to help fill them and to prevent lipstick from feathering," says Perdis. Then apply your favorite lipstick and add a dab of shimmery gloss one shade lighter in the center of your top and bottom lips. "The subtle reflection of light makes your lips appear more full," he says. And if you have ultrathin lips, apply the gloss over your entire lip for a bigger boost, he adds. Try: L'Oréal Colour Riche Lip Gloss ($9).
The doctor fix: "Thinning is a normal part of the aging process -- it's a breakdown of collagen and a loss of fat cells," says Dr. Farris, who uses a combination of injectable fillers to restore fullness. A cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon can inject a hyaluronic acid filler, like Restylane, deep into the lip tissue to add body and then use a collagen filler, like CosmoDerm, to define the borders of the mouth and fill in thin vertical lines on the surface. The downside: Injections are costly (between $400 and $800 for one treatment) and can be painful. But the results usually last six months and are more permanent than over-the-counter options like lip-plumping gloss.
A surprising ally in the quest for younger-looking lips: your dentist. If you cover your upper teeth with veneers, they can be contoured or built out to widen the arch and increase lip support, resulting in a permanently plumped-up-looking mouth, says Anthony J. Vocaturo, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist based in Bayonne, NJ. But veneers are an investment -- about $1,500 per tooth.