How-To: Lip Contouring

Contrary to popular belief, Kim Kardashian is not the pioneer of contouring. In fact, it’s none other than Marilyn Monroe, who used the technique for her famed red pout.

To make her lips appear fuller, Monroe would apply several shades of lip color and gloss to create dimension. Because I, along with the rest of the Internet, am fascinated by pop culture’s current fixation on voluptuous lips, I figured it was the perfect time to have a go at the technique myself.

All in all, while I can totally get behind its camera-ready effect and the wonders it worked for Monroe on-screen, I wouldn’t recommend lip contouring for every day — just special occasions where you’ve got time (and plenty of it) to spare. To recreate it yourself, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Line the Lips

After exfoliating your lips, create the shape of the lips you want with the darkest color pencil. Use a deep chocolate to give the illusion of depth.

Step 2: Create a Base

Use a brick red and fill in the lips with the pencil. Focus on the corners of the mouth and use small, short strokes from outline to the center of the lips.

Step 3: Blend the Color

With your brightest red, start in the center of the mouth and use short, blending strokes. Be careful not to go too close to the outline of lips (you don’t want to erase the depth you created), but use this step to make sure everything is blended.

Step 4: Highlight

Using a brush or your fingertip, press a cream highlighter into the center of your bottom lip. This adds fullness and draws the eye to the center of your mouth, making your lips look more lush.

Step 5: Moisturize

Use a rose lip balm to add moisture and wetness back into your lips. Using a slick balm instead of a lip gloss will keep your lips healthy and hydrated, without going overboard.

The Finished Look

Voilà! You have lips that are fuller, shinier, and decidedly more illuminated.

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