How to Upgrade Your Lip Look—and Not Just with Lipstick

A red lip will never loose it's magic, but you can use your lips to make a statement (whether it's a pop of color or a simple, healthy glow) without resorting to this standby. Here's how, thanks to new products and treatments.

We're living in the age of the power pout. And fresh innovations, high-shine hues, plus more natural-looking filler are here to deliver. Follow these steps to lips that level it up.

1. Exfoliate + Protect

Your lips don't have the protection of the outermost layer of skin or pigment that the rest of your body has, so they're more susceptible to dryness and UV damage, says Jody Comstock, M.D., a dermatologist in Arizona. A waxy balm with sunscreen or full-coverage lipstick keeps them hydrated and protected. (See: How to Get Rid of Flaky, Chapped Winter Lips)

If they're already chapped, don't lick them. That dries them out further, Dr. Comstock says. Instead, slough off flakes with Henné Organics Rose Diamonds Lip Exfoliator (Buy It, $24,

Woman biting shirt collar
Daniella Midenge

2. Don't Skip Serum

The latest lip topicals treat the area with the respect usually reserved for eyes. Look for a lip serum or a cream that contains antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, and peptides to plump and minimize fine lines, Dr. Comstock says.

We like IS Clinical Youth Lip Elixir (Buy It, $58, Then blend Sara Happ Let's Glow Lip Illuminator in Pearl (Buy It, $24, along your Cupid's bow to add shape to your upper lip and deliver anti-agers at the same time. (

Woman laying down with metallic lip color
Daniella Midenge

3. Consider a Filler

"Our lips begin to lose volume at 18 years old," Dr. Comstock says. The quickest way to restore them is with an injection of filler, like Juvéderm, Volbella, or Restylane (starts at $300). If your first thought is, "That never looks natural," then know that the physical properties of filler and injection techniques have changed. Each filler has a different level of elasticity and firmness to help offer customized results.

"And we look at the face more holistically. Injecting the lateral chin area, for example, can help evert the lower lip," Dr. Comstock says. "I also inject with a cannula, which looks like a blunt needle. It diffuses the filler with a uniform, soft contour." The finishing touch: a shimmery metallic topcoat, like Kevyn Aucoin Glass Glow Lip in Spectrum Bronze (Buy It, $26, (More here: I Got Lip Injections and It Helped Me Take a Kinder Look In the Mirror)

4. Adult-ified Lip Gloss

A light-reflective finish creates the illusion of bigger lips, and fall has ushered in formulas that are more mirrorlike than we've seen in years. Luckily lip gloss (remember that old-school sticky stuff) has come a long way.

"It glides on thinner and is much more emollient, but you still feel like you're wearing something," says Sarah Lucero, the director of creative artistry at Stila.

Woman with two different lip colors
Daniella Midenge

5. Color Play

Embrace gloss's fun and easy-to-wipe-off nature. Apply Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Dazzling Lip Lacquer Lipgloss in Not Sorry (Buy It, $28, on the top lip and Tempt Me (Buy It, $28, on the bottom.

"Placing the lighter shade on the upper lip helps it appear bigger," Lucero says. To keep the two-tone effect, resist pressing lips together, but if you do, you'll be left with a cool holographic violet—both look brilliant.

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