How to Properly Apply Makeup for Your Lip Shape

There are a few ways to prep your pout.

3 women all wearing different shades of lipstick to enhance their unique lip shape
Photo: Getty Images/InStyle

Lips come in all shapes and sizes. There are full lips, thin lips, wide lips, and everything in between — and they should all be loved and embraced.

"Lip shapes have varied greatly throughout generations," says celebrity makeup artist, Sarah Redzikowski. "When it comes to something so personal as our lips, we are all different, unique and so beautiful. Your lip shape is yours alone and it's important to embrace and love exactly what you were born with."

So whether you have heart-shaped lips, small lips, or proportioned lips, there are several ways you can enhance your pout using the magic of makeup. And we're going to give you a few tips on how to do just that, ahead.

Proportioned Lips

Illustration of perfectly proportioned lips

Some may say you're lucky if you have this lip shape as practically any lip makeup will work for you. When it comes to trying out lip colors that compliment your pout, you can wear a range of shades and textures. However, Redzikowski says it's important to keep in mind that neutral shades and colors that are close to your skin tone will minimize your lip size, whereas bold and bright colors will bring attention to your lips — so, it really depends on what look you're going for.

"The lip product, texture and finish you wear will impact whether your lips are the focal point of your face," says Redzikowski. "Matte lip products reflect less light than glossy products. Makeup by Mario Master Mattes Pro Lip Palette and Rituel de Fille Forbidden Lipstick, are both great products for this lip shape."

Person with dark hair slicked back, freckles and neutral colored lipstick on their Proportioned Lips

Small, Round Lips

Illustration of small, round lip shape

This lip shape can appear ultra-pouty because it's round in shape and has less width, says Redzikowski. It's the lip shape that a lot of people love because it gives you a 24/7 pout even when you're not puckering up.

"Glosses and shimmery lipstick formulas like Bobbi Brown Crushed Liquid Lipstick and e.l.f. Cosmetics Hydrating Core Lip Shine, are perfect for this lip shape as they help to enhance the lips and make them appear larger," says Redzikowski. "Bright lipsticks like Pat McGrath Labs BlitzTrance Lipstick, will also bring attention and focus to the lips."

The makeup artist adds that if you have this lip shape, avoid dark lipstick shades as they will make your lips appear smaller.

VIDEO: The Exact Order You Should Be Applying Your Makeup

Bottom Heavy Lips

Illustration of lips with a fuller bottom lip and smaller top lip

Bottom-heavy lips are a very common shape. If you are trying to make your lower lip appear less noticeable, Redzikowski recommends using a concealer like Jouer Cosmetics Essential High Coverage Liquid Concealer, to slightly buff and conceal the edges of your lip line.

"For this shape, I usually use a matte nude lipstick like UOMA Beauty Badass Icon Lipstick and blot it on the lips for a natural wash of color," says the makeup artist. On the flip side, if you'd like to enhance this lip shape, Redzikowski suggests using a lighter lip color in the center of the lower lip. "I would stick with velvet or matte textures to avoid the lips feeling too overpowering," she explains.

Person with dark hair with a medium part slicked down, wearing a cat eye eyeliner, rose colored lipstick to enhance her bottom heavy lip

Top Heavy Lips

Illustration of a lip shape with a fuller top lip and smaller bottom lip

With top-heavy lips, the goal is often to create more balance and symmetry with the lower lip — according to Redzikowski, there are a couple of ways that this can be achieved.

"One way to achieve lip symmetry is to slightly underline the top lip with a slim lip pencil, like NYX Professional Makeup Slim Lip Pencil, and then overline the bottom lip," says the makeup artist. "You can also add a lighter lipstick shade like Bite Beauty Power Move Hydrating Soft Matte Lipstick, to the entire lower lip or just the center of the lip, to create the illusion of more volume. Make sure to avoid glossy textures on your top lip and only apply to the lower center of your bottom lip, as gloss on the top lip will make it appear larger."

Woman with dark hair, pink graphic eyeliner and a Heavy top lip shape with rosy pink lipgloss

Flat Lips

Illustration of a lip shape with flat lips

When lips appear flat, the best way to enhance them is to contour and highlight the shape to build the illusion of volume.

"Start by using a powder contour and very, very lightly brush over your lip area, this will create a subtle shadow around the lip area and help the lips appear poutier," says Redzikowski. "Next, take a lip liner two to three shades deeper than the lip color you'd like to use and follow your natural lip shape — you can slightly overline if you'd prefer. Following this, lightly shade the hard line into the lips. In the remaining 2/3 of the lip, add the lip color that you'd like to wear, blending lightly with the lip liner. Next, take a buttery nude shadow or even a white eye kohl and apply it right into the center of the lips."

Finish off with a small amount of light reflecting gloss, like Patrick Ta Major Glow Lip, in the middle of the lips.

Thin Lips

Illustration of a lip shape with thin lips

"When I am working with a client who has thin lips, I always start by dusting a bit of powder contour around the lips to create the illusion of shadow on the skin," says Redzikowski. "Lip liners that are two to three shades deeper than your natural lip color are going to be your best friend!"

To enhance thin lips, the makeup artist recommends using a lip liner to slightly overline your lip shape.

"Focus on creating more height in the center of the lips and connecting back to your natural lip shape on the ends of your mouth," she explains.

"Lightly buff the lip liner edge to avoid any ultra harsh lines, as this is a telltale sign that you have overlined your lips — you just want to create a soft wash of color that enhances and brings out your lip shape a bit further. Following this, apply a lighter lipstick in the center of your lips and blot slightly.

You can also use one of your lighter neutral skin-colored eyeshadow in the center of the lip to create an ombre effect, this helps to make your lips look more voluminous and full. Finish by applying a light-colored gloss or even a plumping gloss, like Bite Beauty Yaysayer Plumping Lip Gloss, in the center of the lips.

Woman with soft brown hair, natural makeup and a thin lip shape

Wide Lips

Illustration of a wide lip shape

People with wide lips often have the biggest, most beautiful smiles, but if you'd like to narrow the appearance of your pout, Redzikowski recommends starting by slightly concealing around the edges of the mouth.

"After I apply concealer around the edge of the mouth, I take a lip liner two to three shades deeper than the lip color I'm going to apply, and I overline the bottom center lip only and reconnect it to the natural lip line — this prevents the lips from appearing bigger but creates more vertical volume," says the makeup artist. "Stick with more matte textures and neutral, nude shades like Milani Color Fetish Matte Nudes Collection, and focus the rest of your attention on other details of your makeup, such as a sultry eye or extra glowy cheekbones."

Person with braided hair and wide lips accentuated with soft pink lipstick

Heart-Shaped Lips

Illustration of heart-shaped lip shape

When it comes to lip shapes, a heart-shaped lip is one of the most desired shapes. If you have heart-shaped lips, you probably have a very defined cupid's bow (a lip shape where the upper lip comes to two distinct points toward the center of the mouth) and possibly a slightly heavier lower lip.

If you'd like to enhance your lip shape even more, Redzikowski recommends using a deep lip liner to outline your lips and applying a lighter shade of lipstick in the center of the lips to create a smaller heart.

Person with hair up in a high ponytail, bright eyeshadow and red lipstick to accentuate heart-shape lips
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