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A guide to achieving fuller-looking lips at home

Skin experts offer tips get a plumper pout—no needles involved.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Nov 10, 2023 • 10 min read
Medically reviewed by Meredith Hartle, DO
Two Women Sending Air Kisses
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Nov 10, 2023 • 10 min read
Medically reviewed by Meredith Hartle, DO
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

In this article

Exfoliate your lips regularly

Various cosmetic procedures can help you achieve fuller and more defined lips, from lip augmentation to lip fillers. But what if you don't want to go under the knife or get lip injections? Is it possible to get a fuller pout, naturally? As it turns out, yes! Simple techniques, natural remedies, and lifestyle changes could be the secret to naturally enhancing your lips.

We spoke with skin experts and dermatology providers who shared their top tips to plump up your pout, from exfoliating daily to using lip balm at night. Read on to get the scoop on how to get bigger lips naturally!

Exfoliate your lips regularly

Bacteria, dead skin, and chemicals from lipsticks and lip glosses can build up on your lips over time. This can result in dry, flaky skin that doesn’t reflect much light, making them appear smaller and less youthful. Exfoliating your lips once or twice weekly can help remove these particles and reveal smoother, more hydrated lips underneath. 

Physical exfoliation induces immediate desquamation, or peeling of the skin, which can help maintain visible radiance. To exfoliate your lips, gently apply lip scrub and massage using circular motions. This will help slough away dead skin cells and boost circulation.

Once done, rinse your lips with lukewarm water and pat them dry with a soft towel. Follow up with a nourishing lip balm (like the lip balm by Curology,which is available in five unique varieties) to “seal in” the moisture and keep your lips soft and supple. Whatever you do, don’t peel off the dry skin on your lips or use abrasive scrubs.

Increase your water intake

Never underestimate the power of H2O! When it’s dehydrated, your skin—including the skin on your lips—can appear dry and dull. This can make your lips appear smaller and less plump. 

Water isn’t a magical fix, but research shows that drinking enough water throughout the day keeps your body hydrated.¹ This, in turn, can help keep your lips appear fuller and healthier. Drinking eight glasses of water is a popular recommendation, and you can also get hydration from other sources, like water-rich foods such as fruits and veggies.

Use sun protection

There’s no denying the importance of sun protection for your face and body. Yet one area that is often overlooked is the lips, which deserve equal protection as they’re exposed to damaging UV rays, just like the rest of your face.

Sun damage can cause your lips to become dry, chapped, and discolored, making them look smaller than usual. And that’s not all: Sun exposure of more than four hours daily is directly associated with the risk of actinic cheilitis (AC), a potentially cancerous condition characterized by chronic lip inflammation.²

Though the reduction of AC risk has not been directly correlated with sunscreen, and more studies are needed to see if sunscreens can help protect the lips in other ways, it’s still good practice to protect yourself from the sun with SPF, in the form of a sunscreen or even an SPF lip balm (we make one!). 

To preserve the natural fullness of your lips, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and reapply every two hours. This will help maintain the volume and shape of your lips while reducing the risk of discoloration. 

Keep your lips moisturized

Lips don’t have oil glands, so they tend to dry out and become chapped easily.³

Consider using a lip balm or oil containing a moisturizing ingredient like a hyaluronic acid serum. Research shows that people who used lip balms with natural ingredients like hyaluronic acid, emollients, niacin, and essential fatty acids experienced significant improvement in lip plumpness and hydration over time.⁴

Our dermatology providers at Curology advise against using coconut oil as a lip moisturizer, as it can travel outside the vermilion crease—the line that separates your lips from your skin—and clog pores, leading to breakouts.⁵

Use lip products containing hyaluronic acid and peptides

Hyaluronic acid is the holy grail when it comes to plumping your lips. A gram of hyaluronic acid can bind up to six liters of water, which makes it an excellent ingredient for hydrating.⁶

This topical treatment can create the appearance of fuller lips, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and improve the overall texture of your lips.⁷ 

Similarly, peptides are short chains of amino acids that can help enhance the size and fullness of your lips by stimulating collagen production.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of Plastic and Pathology Dermatology shows that people who used a lip product containing hyaluronic acid and peptides increased their mean lip area by 1.8% after one week of consistent use.⁸

Try a lip mask

Lip masks containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and plant oils, can help you achieve fuller-looking lips by temporarily plumping and smoothening them. 

Studies show that when applied topically, plant oils like jojoba, grape seed, and rosehip can help promote skin barrier homeostasis, wound healing, increased antioxidative activities, and hydration—a big plus for those prone to dry lips.⁹

Regularly using lip masks can help improve your lips’ overall health and appearance by providing hydration and nourishment to delicate skin.

Double up on collagen supplements

If you want to make your lips bigger naturally, you’ll want to boost your collagen levels. Collagen, as you might already know, is a protein that’s responsible for keeping your skin firm and youthful. Unfortunately, as you age, your collagen production plummets. This can lead to a loss of volume in your skin, including your lips.

Research shows that taking collagen supplements may help improve elasticity and hydration of the skin, potentially leading to a more youthful and plump appearance.¹⁰ However, more study regarding collage supplementation is needed to validate the potentially positive effects.

Gua sha is your new best friend

If you follow the latest skincare influencers on Instagram, your feed is likely bursting with videos of people using gua sha. It turns out there’s actually some science to it.

Gua sha has been documented to have several benefits for skin health, including increased circulation.¹¹ Although experts are still debating the long-term effects of gua sha on the lips, it may be worth a try if you want to increase your lip volume naturally.

When used on lips, this tool can potentially stimulate blood flow, helping to plump up your lips and give you that sought-after pouty look. 

And the benefits don’t stop there. Gua sha has often been used to treat pain, muscle tension, and relieve symptoms of stress.¹² And the best part? It's all-natural, non-invasive, and oh-so-relaxing

Get bigger lips with makeup 

You can also use makeup to create the illusion of bigger lips. From innovative techniques like contouring to over-lining, here are a few ways you can use the power of makeup to get bigger lips naturally.

Don’t forget the gloss

Nothing beats a nice thick coat of shiny gloss when it comes to having bigger lips. Lip gloss usually contains shimmers that reflect light, making your lips appear shiny and more voluptuous.

Some lip glosses may contain ingredients like menthol that can enhance the size and fullness of your lips by inducing cutaneous vasodilation, creating a tingling or warming sensation, and increasing blood flow to the area.¹³

While this results in a temporary plumping effect, keep in mind that menthol can also irritate your lips, so it’s best to use it in moderation and discontinue use if irritation persists. Some lip glosses may also contain hyaluronic acid, niacin, and emollients that help hydrate and plump your lips, resulting in that perfect glossy pout. 

A four-week study showed that women who used lip products containing niacin, hyaluronic acid, and emollients nearly four times a week showed an increase in lower lip size.¹⁴ Just make sure not to go overboard, as your lips may look unnatural and overdone.

Consider using nude lip colors

If you don’t want to go for a shimmery, glossy lip, try using nude lip colors instead. Nude lip colors create a more natural and seamless transition between the skin and the lips, making them look full and plump. From soft browns to pale pinks, nude lipsticks are available in various hues.

To find the perfect nude lipstick shade, look for a color one or two shades deeper than your natural lip color. This will create a subtle contrast, making your lips appear more defined and fuller. 

You can further accentuate the size and shape of your lips by applying a small amount of highlighter to your cupid’s bow (the curve at the top of your upper lip). This will draw attention to your lips and create the illusion of added volume.

Try overlining your lips

Try lining your lips with a lip pencil before applying your lipstick. By drawing slightly outside the natural lip line, you can create the appearance of a fuller, more defined lip shape. Choose a lip liner that’s slightly darker than your natural lip color.

When lining, stay within the natural shape of your mouth so that it looks like a subtle enhancement rather than an obvious makeup trick. You can also use a small brush with concealer to clean up any smudges and sharpen the edges. Once you’ve filled in your lips, apply a thin layer of clear gloss over the top for shine.

Curology can help

When you’re looking to take care of your skin, professional help can make all the difference—and Curology is all about making expert guidance and clinically proven ingredients easily available. 

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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curology bottle

If you’re looking for a product to improve your lip care routine, consider Curology’s lip balm. This noncomedogenic formula contains powerful ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba seed oil, and broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection.


Do lip exercises really help?

Yes and no. Regular facial yoga and targeted exercises may strengthen the muscles around the mouth, which could lead to more prominent and fuller lips. These facial exercises may also improve blood circulation in the lips, resulting in a temporary plumping effect. However, more study is needed in this area. But since the size and shape of your lips are primarily determined by genetics, lip exercises alone may not be a magic fix. 

What foods make your lips bigger?

An overall healthy diet has been found to be associated with less facial wrinkling. Vitamin C and carotenoids not only provide protection against photoaging, but also stimulate collagen production in the skin which can certainly be helpful when looking to plump up your lips.¹⁵

Does drinking water increase lip size?

Yes, water helps maintain an optimal hydration level in your body, which plays a significant role in making your lips appear fuller and smoother. It also helps reduce dryness, one of the main causes of thin, chapped lips.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework, so you don’t have to:

  1. Palma, L., et al. Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. (2015, August 3).

  2. Rodriguez-Archilla, A. and Irfan-Bhatti, A. Risk factors for actinic cheilitis: A meta-analysis. Journal of Dental Research, Dental Clinics, Dental Prospects. (2021, December 5). 

  3. Piccinin, M.A. and Zito, P.M. Anatomy, Head and Neck, Lips. StatPearls. (2023, June 5).

  4. Trookman, N.S., et al. Clinical Assessment of a Combination Lip Treatment to Restore Moisturization and Fullness. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. (December 2009).

  5. Francis, A. and Shojan, A. Comedogenicity of Oils. International Journal of Contemporary Medical Research. (August 2019).

  6. John, H.E. and Price, R.D. Perspectives in the selection of hyaluronic acid fillers for facial wrinkles and aging skin. Patient Preference and Adherence. (2009, November 3).

  7. Makino, E.T., et al. Clinical Assessment of Immediate and Long-Term Effects of a Two-Step Topical Hyaluronic Acid Lip Treatment. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. (2017, April 1). 

  8. Fisher, N. An open observational trial of a novel peptide and hyaluronic acid. JOURNAL of PLASTIC and PATHOLOGY DERMATOLOGY. (2020, n.d.).

  9. Lin, T.K., et al. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. (2017, December 27).

  10. Al-Atif, H. Collagen Supplements for Aging and Wrinkles: A Paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and Cosmetics. Dermatology Practical & Conceptual. (2022, January 1).

  11. Nielsen, A., et al. The effect of Gua Sha treatment on the microcirculation of surface tissue: a pilot study in healthy subjects. Explore (NY). (September-October 2007).

  12. Chu, E.C.P., et al. Exploring scraping therapy: Contemporary views on an ancient healing – A review. J Family Med Prim Care. (2021, August 27).

  13. Craighead, D.H. and Alexander, L.M. Topical menthol increases cutaneous blood flow. Microvascular Research. (September 2016).

  14. Trookman, N.S., et al. Clinical Assessment of a Combination Lip Treatment to Restore Moisturization and Fullness. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. (December 2009).

  15. Mekić, S., et al. A healthy diet in women is associated with less facial wrinkles in a large Dutch population-based cohort. J Am Acad Dermatol. (May 2019).

Meredith Hartle is a board-certified Family Medicine physician at Curology. She earned her medical degree at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, MO.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our thoughts on sun protection: *Sunscreen is only one part of UV protection—cute sun hats and shades are also recommended.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Meredith Hartle, DO

Meredith Hartle, DO

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