3 Ways To Draw On Bigger (Or Smaller) Lips

Because making your lips appear bigger or smaller with makeup can practically turn you into a whole different person.
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Because making your lips appear bigger or smaller with makeup can practically turn you into a whole different person.

One of the coolest ways to change your entire face is by altering your lip shape. Making your lips appear bigger or smaller with carefully applied products can practically turn you into a whole different person--just ask Kylie Jenner.

Today I'm going to take you through three lip shapes that I particularly like for their face-changing ability. I'm going to keep the rest of my makeup minimal and use the same two lip products throughout, so that you can see the results aren't affected by overdramatic eye makeup or color illusions.

Here are my natural lips. 

full natural lips


I have what a makeup artist once called "A pin-up mouth," meaning that it's small but full, like I'm ready to blow a kiss.  

Here are my lips with some con

Take some concealer that exactly matches your skin tone and dab it around the periphery of your mouth, blend well and set with powder. This hides the natural outline of your lips, but doesn’t white-out the center portion, which can affect how lipstick colors show up and how well they last.

concealer on lips


For photos, however, this two-toned look was REALLY distracting, so I've concealed the entirety of my lips in these pictures. You don't have to do this. 

You'll also need a well-sharped lip pencil and coordinating lipstick. I'm using red--the pencil is Lasting Sensation and the lipstick is MAC Red, both by MAC (duh).

1. The Silent Film Star

You’ve seen it in Bride of Frankenstein and again when I brought Biba back to life. Small, bee-stung lips are a cool look, but one that I often see executed incorrectly...like this.

This looks sloppy; the outline is drawn in the middle of the mouth, anchored to nothing. We can do better.

Make your Cupid’s bow a little pointier than you normally would. Then, instead of tracing along your natural lip line, draw two concave (bent in) lines attaching the points of your Cupid's bow to the corners of your mouth.

20s lips

Now the lip shape isn't floating in the middle of the mouth!

Same with the lower lip: trace above the lip line, making the line smaller and rounder and taking it up to the outer corners of your lips. Voila, small lips that still move normally!

1920s lips

This lip shape makes my eyes look REALLY big and my nose look SUPER long. I also think that my eyes look more widely-spaced, owing to the narrowness of my mouth.

clara bow lips

1920s realness!

2. The Joan Crawford

Fun old Hollywood fact: The ideal 1940s lip was called The Crawford Smear, which is to have practically no Cupid's bow, with the upper lip long and oval-shaped. This is a shape that works best if you, like Mommie Dearest, have thinner lips and a wide mouth, but of course anyone can do it.

Start by defining the height and shape of each side of the Cupid's bow. You want these to be much rounder and more convex than your natural lips.

40s lips

REALLY get nuts with this.

Now, draw in a VERY slight Cupid’s bow.

1940s lips

Think "oval."

Follow the natural line of your lower lip--don’t overdraw it to match the top! You want it to be a little top heavy and unbalanced-looking.

joan crawford smear

No more wire hangers?


joan crawford lips

I'm ready for my close-up.

In addition to looking like I just had my lips done (or that I'm playing with those candy lips from our childhood), this makes the lower half of my face look a lot heavier than the top. It calls more attention to my chin and less to my eyes.

3. The Dovima

Dovima is forever one of my icons of beauty. One of the biggest models of the 1950s, she epitomized the look of the day--elegant, icy, regal. She was known for her dark hair and beautifully shaped lips, which were thinner at the top and fuller at the bottom. If you have this lip shape naturally, I envy you. Here's how I cheat it.

Begin by tracing within the natural line of your upper lip. Follow the natural shape, making it slightly smaller than it would be.

50s lips

Thin and precise is the name of the game here.

Same story on the lower lip: staying inside your natural lip line, follow the curve of your mouth.

1950s lips

You can really see how far within the lines I'm coloring here.

Under-drawn lips need to be SUPER exact because protruding lip color looks crazy, so trace around your outline with a delicate brush and concealer.

concealer red lipstick

Blend, obvs.

And now you are ~*aristocratic*~

dovima lips

'50s glamour!

This makes me look exactly like Dovima.

dovima red lips

Just kidding. I still look like me.

I know a lot of people might not be down with making their lips thinner, but I think this slightly narrower look balances my face even better than my natural lip shape--especially with a bright color like red!

So which of these lip looks is your favorite?

overdrawn lips

Pick your lip poison!

  • Have you guys ever changed the shape of your lips? 
  • What's your favorite lip shape (other than the one you were born with)? 
  • Are you going to bust out the lip liner and try one of these out? Let's also talk about our favorite Joan Crawford movies in the comments (I choose The Women)!