Odds are that, when you read the phrase “perfect pout,” a specific image or quality comes to mind which helps to define that concept for you. Among the billions of humans alive, the qualifications for “as perfect as it gets lips” naturally vary, though some people may be shocked by just how much. While having plump, full lips has been popularized via social media and is currently coveted seemingly by the masses, it seems as though just as many people argue that they view overly full lips as unnatural and therefore less attractive than a natural look of any size. For many others, lips may not even be a central asset worth arguing about.
However, we can all agree across the board that lips of any size aren’t likely to qualify as anyone’s idea of the “perfect pout” if they are flaky, chapped, cracked, dry, crusty, or otherwise distracting. And this isn’t to throw any shade, as many suffer from terribly dry, chapped, and often peeling lips that even a daily slathering of Vaseline doesn’t seem to want to fix (and water is my drink of choice!). As with many of our insecurities, including the ones which lead Queen of Lips Kylie Jenner towards becoming the literal full-lip mouthpiece, the notion that something was wrong with my own lips was made a bigger deal when someone else commented on them.
But overall, I have to see their point! The lips that make it into the running for perfect pout are the ones that look hydrated, moisturized, soft, and free of any form of questionable debris. The idea of arguing “taste” when it comes to the issue of lip size—just like shape, color, or approximate puffiness—is a moot point, as the answer will inevitably vary from person to person. Still, if you want to toy around with how it would look to have a fuller mouth (or if you just like the look for yourself) investing in a top shelf lip plumper is a choice option that can temporarily enhance your lips’ appearance without any form of procedure or surgery.
START AT THE BASE
Remember, though, that the most important thing is the base you’re starting with and/or caring for. In order to procure smooth, soft lips, exfoliating and hydrating are key. Like with the skin on the rest of your body, maintaining a little bit of a regimen can go a long way to having natural, healthy, youthful-looking lips for longer.
To help eliminate dead, flaking skin, use a simple lip exfoliator. Some products now combine exfoliation directly into a lip balm, while others are targeted exfoliators or lip balms, only. Beware that you can overuse exfoliators on your lips, which is painful and unhelpful, so a dual-product of this type usually should not be for daily use.
Either way, if you don’t want to spend the cash, you can also make your own at-home exfoliator by adding some sugar granules into a bit of honey. Simply rub the grainy mixture across your lips to help lift and remove dead skin; afterwards, use a towel, paper towel, napkin, or similar tool to wipe the mixture or store-bought exfoliator off your lips, leaving them smoother and much more pleasing to feel and to look at.
Of course, as I hinted at above, drinking enough water and therefore staying hydrated is a critical component to combating dry skin—including the lips. If you’re not already hitting a good daily water intake level for your body, the process of attaining the perfect pout is certain to be more of an uphill battle, as hydration is what helps provide the soft, supple look we associate with lovely lips.
ACHIEVING THE LOOK
There are a few other self-care tips that can have a major impact on the look of our lips, as well. Smoking, for example, is known to age lips and cause them to look and feel dryer than they naturally would, so cutting back or cutting out this habit will help tremendously. Additionally, we tend to forget that our lips need sunscreen, just like all of our other skin! Our lips are in no way immune to sun damage and skin cell damage, so an SPF is a must in the long-run.
Thankfully, many of the best lip balms on the market now include SPF protection (hooray!). Why is this so great? Because moisturizing is the other critical component to great lip care, so you’re going to need a great lip balm no matter what. Thankfully, this is a super low budget investment, so even if the first lip moisturizer you choose doesn’t get the job done to your liking—which is normal and does happen often—most people won’t balk at trying another. The dollar store has a boatload of lip moisturizers, if you really want to go wild with your personal testing.
WAKE UP FLAWLESS
If you manage to follow at least a mild routine of exfoliating and hydrating, your natural lips are bound to improve, and in time, you’ll be waking up with silky, soft lips—which is definitely a good look all on its own! If you decide at that point that you’d like to enhance your look even more during your waking hours, don’t underestimate the power of some makeup. Even if you would never dare don a bold red pout, neutral lip products can work wonders without drawing much attention.
Finding a lip liner that is close to your natural shade, or maybe just a touch darker, can help create a beautiful and more “perfected” border around your lips without giving away the fact that you’ve got any makeup on at all. A swipe of complementing lipstick can create a velvety quality to lip texture, while a clear gloss enhances shine.
Whatever your preferred final look, if you incorporate makeup, be sure to remove it before bedtime. Lip balms and moisturizers are often fine to wear overnight, but many makeup products can contribute to skin problems and early aging if left on while we sleep.
Lips that look good are also lips that feel good, so commit to a lip care regimen for that reason, if nothing else. For most people feeling the pain of split, peeling, and/or chapped lips is an avoidable bother that is totally worth the effort of fixing. The perfect pout is the one you’ve got—but you do need to maintain it if you want it to make a positive impression!