Aesthetic Treatments

How to Make Lips and Cheeks Look Fuller, According to a Beauty Editor

Sophie Wirt

I discovered lip gloss at the tender age of 12. Throughout my school years, I stuffed countless tubes into my pencil case; a practice which eventually left me with an abyss of gloss and no writing utensils to be found. (Luckily, my job as a Beauty Editor excuses — even promotes — my longtime habit.) All of this to say: I love lips. Heck, I love my own lips. As a result, I’m always keen to try products and treatments that enhance the area.  

Below, I’m sharing my tried and true techniques for making my lips — and my cheeks — look more voluminous.  

Injectable Filler

I was 22 when I first tried lip filler — an injectable substance of hyaluronic acid that temporarily adds volume to the lips. I had just started working in the beauty industry, and cosmetic injectables were not an uncommon topic among my colleagues — many of whom chatted openly about their own experiences with filler.  

The injectable treatment left me with fuller lips, and more room for showcasing my favorite lipsticks. I loved the treatment results so much, that I’ve become a repeat customer (three times). Additionally, I have since tried filler in my cheeks. The results are virtually imperceptible, but my cheek area does look slightly less-hollow.

[Editor’s note: Injectable filler is a medical treatment with risks. While I had an positive experience, be sure to talk with your provider about potential side effects. Learn more now by chatting with a trained aesthetics specialist.]

Here are my favorite makeup techniques since I’ve gotten filler:

Lip Scrub

To ensure my lips are as crease-and-flake free as possible, I use a lip scrub (such as the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Scrub, $18) to slough off any dry flakes that could interfere with subsequent product application. An additional side effect of scrubbing is a temporarily plumper pout; the scrubbing motion promotes circulation and draws blood to the surface of the lips.

Longwear Matte Lipstick

I am a firm believer that a good matte lipstick can complete an entire makeup look — even if you don’t have time to apply anything else as you’re rushing out the door. A longwear formula such as the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick ($22) truly delivers on its promise, meaning there’s no need to worry about touching up after my morning coffee.

In addition to a more voluminous pout, filler seems to have softened my vertical lip lines (those “cracks” that can look particularly prominent underneath matte lipstick). I am a longtime fan of the Anastasia Beverly Hills® Liquid Lipstick ($29) formula, which comes in virtually every shade imaginable and doesn’t seem to cause as much “cracking” as some other formulas I’ve tried.  

Lip Liner

Liner is not an essential part of my daily routine, but I will use one if I want to create a particularly crisp-looking border around my lips. When my lips were less full, I frequently overlined (i.e. traced above my natural lip line) to make my pout appear more voluptuous. The added volume in my lips means I don’t reach for lip liner quite as often (an omission which can saves me a few valuable minutes in the morning). Recently, I’ve been drawn to lipstick/lip liner hybrids such as the Dr. Haushka Deep Infinity Lip Crayon ($22), which features a tip that’s both sharp and thick enough to line and fill in, respectively. If you’re a fan of traditional lip liner, peruse these product recommendations from celebrity makeup artists.

Plumping Gloss

For as long as I’ve worn gloss, I’ve been enamored with formulas that promise instant plumping effects. These products contain irritating ingredients, which induce swelling and trigger a fuller-looking pout. Pre-filler, I was satisfied with the hour or so of fullness these products provided, but the effects were fleeting. Filler has given me more voluminous lips for a longer period of time. So I don’t usually rely on irritating glosses anymore!

That said, I still have a place in my heart — and makeup bag — for pout-enhancing glosses at times. For instance, when I want an extra dose of luster and shine, I’ll layer the Too Faced® Lip Injection Extreme ($28) over my matte lipsticks. If stinging sensations are not your thing, I’d suggest lip glosses with subtle shimmer, which can reflect light and make the lips appear bigger. Try the Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lip Gloss ($29).

Highlighter and Bronzer

I love experimenting with different highlighter textures, shades, and formulas. I’m a huge fan of the Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Halo ($42), an intensely iridescent shade that’s ideal weekend wear. For weekdays, I’ll swipe on one of the many BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfectors® ($38). My go-to shade is called Prismatic Amethyst; it’s a surprisingly flattering lilac hue that doubles as blush and makes my cheeks glow. (Out of all of the products I wear on a regular basis, it’s the one that elicits the most compliments!)

Additionally, I love a good cream bronzer, which can further draw attention to my cheeks. The Milk Makeup® Matte Bronzer Cream Bronzer Stick ($24) can also be used as a contour stick, which creates the illusion of shadow underneath my cheekbones.


Products may have been gifted to the author for the purpose of writing this article.

Allergan may receive commission for purchases made through links in this article.

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