This Lip Balm Is My Secret To Fuller-Looking Lips & Effortless Color
The older I get, the worse I get at makeup. In my early 20s, I could nail a wing in no time. In high school, I'd do my friend's faces before school dances. I could blend together megawatt eye shadows and rock a bold lip and contour my cheekbones to the heavens.
Nowadays I consider myself done up if I've applied highlighter. To be fair, my skin has gotten better as I've gotten older (less acne, more glowy), so I tend to just enjoy minimal makeup more.
How to play up your lip color and shape.
I have a double lip line. In fact, lots of folks do! It's fairly common—and honestly, most folks will go their whole life without thinking twice about it. However, you may have recently been introduced to the concept on social media as lots of people are discovering what exactly the term means.
Registered nurse Jasmin Carrasco, BSN, who practices at Belle Vie Wellness & Medical Aesthetics, posted a really helpful TikTok video on the subject in which she explained lip anatomy (I just love it when science and beauty intertwine like this.) Lips have what's called a vermilion border, which is simply where the facial skin connects with our lip skin. This is what we think of when we think of our natural lip line. We also have tubercles, which are the pillowy areas of the lip.
"A double lip line is an area of skin that has a little less support compared to the pillows of fat and the connection of skin at the vermillion border," she says, noting that it's a "transition area" between the tubercles and vermillion line. Essentially it's just a small portion of skin that has the coloring of lips but doesn't have the fat pads under to alter the shape.
But if you want to achieve natural-looking fullness, it can actually come in handy: With a simple technique tweak, you can create a soft pout pretty effortlessly—and just by using makeup basics. This has become my daily lip routine, and it requires minimal touch-ups throughout the day:
Create a hydrating base.
To start, I always apply a light layer of mindbodygreen's newly reformulated lip balm. It makes for an excellent hydrating base as it contains antioxidant-rich botanical oils (like organic moringa seed oil) as well as plumping sodium hyaluronate (a smaller version of hyaluronic acid for deeper penetration). Not only will this smooth out the skin, but it will provide lasting moisture—that way, you won't get cracks and fine lines as the day goes on.
Line some — but not all of — the lip.
After giving it a few seconds to settle, I take my lip liner of choice. My daily look is fairly nonfussy, so I like mauve-y hues that mimic my natural shade, such as Tower28's OneLiner Multi-Liner in Work Of Art.
Here's where the tweak is: Rather than lining the entire lip with the pencil, I just trace along my cupid's bow on top and in the center of the lower pillow. (If you'd like even more volume, you can overline the lips just outside the border.) I do this with a very light touch, then shade in the lips themselves.
Apply concealer the edges.
As for the corners of my lips, I add a thin line of concealer to cover up the double lip line. Using Jones Road The Face Pencil, I very lightly add pigment, pressing and blending outward as I go. This minimizes the corners of the lips, while the color (and therefore attention) is concentrated in the center.
Soften and seal.
Finally, I top it off with another layer of mindbodygreen's lip balm. It has a satin-like finish (read: not too shiny but never dull) that subtly reflects light. While topping it with the second layer, I just gently blend in the lip liner with my finger—removing any striking evidence it was there in the first place. When I'm done, I'm left with a color and shape that's just an elevated version of my own.
As I noted earlier, this requires minimal refreshes throughout the day. One of the balm's main ingredients is a special castor oil, which is actually an eco-friendly dupe for petroleum jelly. It hugs the lips, offering a protective coat that has staying power.
Try it for yourself.
The above look can certainly be tweaked as needed for your own lip shape—the liberating thing about makeup is that no advice is universal for all folks. So even though I like to do my lips this way and use these particular products, you're more than welcome to play around with different techniques and products to get the final effect you want.
Really, the only thing I strongly encourage you to do is a double layer of balm (one prep, one post) for better wearability. Other than that? Feel free to color outside, inside, or on no line at all.
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.