When it comes to lips, there are many different shapes and sizes that are considered aesthetically pleasing. The “perfect” lip shape is subjective and often comes down to personal preference. However, throughout history and across cultures, certain lip shapes have been consistently deemed more attractive. In recent years, full, plump lips have been trending as the most desirable lip shape.
What Makes a Pretty Lip Shape?
There are a few key factors that contribute to an aesthetically pleasing lip shape:
Symmetrical lips with an even Cupid’s bow are generally considered more attractive. Lips that are asymmetrical can appear uneven or unbalanced. Symmetry indicates health and good genes.
Lips that appear full and plump are associated with youth and fertility. Thin lips can look severe or aging. Fullness adds softness and sensuality to the mouth.
Well-Defined Cupid’s Bow
A pronounced Cupid’s bow (the double curve of the upper lip) framing the philtrum is considered beautiful. A defined Cupid’s bow highlights the structure of the lips.
Lower Lip Slightly Fuller than Upper Lip
Ideally, the lower lip is a bit fuller than the top lip. This creates balanced proportions and depth to the mouth. Overly thin or small lower lips can look odd.
Smooth Texture and Well-Defined Vermilion Border
The vermilion border is the sharp delineation between lip color and normal skin. Smooth, hydrated lips with a crisp vermilion border are coveted. Chapped, flaky lips are seen as unattractive.
Youthful Pinkish Color
Lips that appear flushed with a reddish pink hue are associated with youthfulness and good health. Pale lips can look washed out while bright red lips may seem overdone.
The Most Attractive Lip Shapes
Now let’s explore some of the specific lip shapes that are considered universally flattering:
The Heart-Shaped Lip
Heart-shaped lips have a distinctive dip in the middle of the upper lip with a pronounced Cupid’s bow. This creates a sweet, feminine shape reminiscent of a heart. Women with a heart-shaped mouth like Kylie Jenner are envied for their beauty.
The Full Lip
Ab naturally plump, fuller lips have an irresistible sensual allure. Full lips are linked to youth and high estrogen levels. Actresses like Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson are famous for their lush, full pouts.
The Perfectly Proportioned Lip
Well-balanced lips where the upper and lower lip are harmonious can achieve near-perfect symmetry. Megan Fox has the quintessential example of ideal lip proportions.
What is Considered Unattractive Lip Shapes?
While the qualities of fullness, symmetry and definition are beautiful, there are certain lip characteristics considered less desirable:
Extremely thin or narrow lips lack sensuality and femininity. Thin lips can also make the mouth appear small on the face.
Asymmetry between the upper and lower lip looks off. One lip being significantly fuller than the other appears abnormal.
When the upper lip curves dramatically down and the lower lip curves sharply up, it creates an inverted look. These angular lips look harsh.
No Defined Cupid’s Bow
Without the characteristic Cupid’s bow peaks framing the philtrum, the structure of the lips is lost. This can look odd.
Excessively Small Lower Lip
A very thin or virtually nonexistent lower lip throws off the balance of the mouth. The upper lip should not overpower the lower lip.
Do Men and Women Desire Different Lip Shapes?
Interestingly, research indicates the most attractive lip shape differs slightly between what men and women find desirable:
Studies show men favor medium-to-full lips with more defined Cupid’s bows. Men are also attracted to mouths with fuller lower lips than upper lips. Plump, heart-shaped lips are highly desirable.
Women prefer lips with more subtle curves and less dramatic fullness. Slightly thinner lips with higher angles are deemed more feminine. Women don’t desire as much of a difference between upper and lower lip.
This suggests men prize ultra-feminine, voluptuous lip shapes while women want more delicate nuanced forms. However, both sexes want symmetrical, well-defined lips indicating health.
How Lip Shape Can Change with Age
As we mature, lips lose collagen and elastin causing them to appear thinner and flatter with less definition. Here is how lips transform over time:
Teens & 20s
Lips are at their fullest and most voluptuous during youth thanks to peak collagen levels. The vermilion border has a sharp, crisp line.
30s & 40s
Lips gradually start deflating, losing volume most noticeably in the upper lip. The Cupid’s bow becomes less pronounced.
50s & Beyond
After menopause, estrogen and collagen depletion cause further lip thinning. Vertical lip lines can develop. The vermilion border appears blurred.
Aging also yellows the red lip tone. Daily sun exposure contributes to paler, thinner lips over time. Smoking is another factor that can accelerate lip wrinkling.
Can You Enhance Your Lip Shape?
If your lips have lost definition with age or are naturally thin, there are ways to improve the shape:
Temporary Lip Plumping Products
Lip plumpers use ingredients like cinnamon, menthol, and capsicum to inflame the lips and make them appear fuller. Other products contain pores-filling polymers that smooth lines. These provide a temporary boost.
Permanent Lip Injections
Dermal fillers injected into the lips add volume and definition. Hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm and Restylane create plumper, smoother lips. Results last 6-12 months.
More permanent options like Gore-Tex or SoftForm lip implants can surgically enhance thin lips. An implant is inserted through an incision to augment lip fullness.
Lip Lift Surgery
A lip lift shortens the space between the nose and lips to visually add fullness. The vermilion border is moved up for a fuller upper lip. This lasts decades.
People with overly voluminous lips or irregularity can surgically reduce lip tissue. Excess fat and skin is removed to sculpture an aesthetic shape.
Historical Lip Shape Trends
The “perfect” lip shape varies by era based on what is considered fashionable at the time:
|Era||Popular Lip Trend|
|1920s||Thin lips to match the flapper fashion style|
|1930s||Dark, defined lip liner with red lipstick to play up mouth shape|
|1940s||Bright red lips with curled under “pouts” shape|
|1950s||Light pink glossy lips with subtle enhancements|
|1960s||Pale matte lips matching the mod style|
|1970s||Shiny gloss paired with an exaggerated natural lip shape|
|1980s||Dark outlines with bright solid lipstick colors|
|1990s||Nude and brown lip tones inspired by makeup minimalism|
|2000s||Frosted lips or sharply lined pops of color|
In recent decades, there has been a shift towards embracing one’s natural lip shape, enhancing it subtly with liner versus dramatically altering the form with lipstick. Bold lipstick remains a trend, however.
Aesthetically, the most attractive lips tend to be symmetrical, full, and well-defined. A pronounced Cupid’s bow, smooth texture, and slightly larger lower lip are ideal. Heart-shaped, balanced, and naturally full lips are universally flattering. Thin, uneven, inverted, or amorphous lips are less desirable. While men prefer ultra-femme lips and women like more delicate forms, both want to see signs of youthfulness. Lip shape preferences have certainly varied throughout history as beauty standards evolved. With injections, implants, lip lifts and liners, it’s possible to artificially plump up thin lips or reduce overly full ones to achieve a proportional, envy-worthy shape.