According to an anonymous dermatologist, “Lips are the most sensual organ we are allowed to expose.”
They’re certainly an erogenous zone because of their high number of nerve endings. And being soft and movable, they’re used for kissing and other acts of intimacy, for eating and for speech, and for facial expressions. They are also seen as a sign of fertility with fuller lips, rather like fuller hips, supposedly indicating abundance. Men find fuller lips to be especially sexually attractive, which isn’t surprising when you consider that lips can swell and darken in colour during sexual arousal. Lipstick, of course, mimics that effect.
A few years ago, a study at Manchester University on behalf of QVC Beauty found that during the first 10 seconds of initially meeting a woman, the average man spends more than half that time gazing at her mouth. If she’s wearing red lipstick he’ll stare for 7.3 seconds, while pink lipstick holds him for 6.7 seconds: wearing no lipstick, however, means he’ll look elsewhere after only 2.2 seconds. Full lips were deemed to be the most attractive feature, but even thin lips got 40% more attention when they were coated in lipstick. In other words, exaggerated lips - whether natural or artificially coloured - attract more attention.
It’s no wonder then that Angelina Jolie regularly tops the polls of who has the sexiest pucker. In fact hers has been called the sexiest pout in the history of lips. Other top ten contenders have included Brigitte Bardot, Scarlett Johannsson, Jessica Alba, Priyanka Chopra, Megan Fox, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Monica Bellucci, Kim Basinger and Beyonce.
Marilyn Monroe was also renowned for her trademark pout which was created to lengthen the appearance of her upper lip because (or so she was told) it was too short. Although she often wore red lipstick in photos, her make-up artist, Whitey Snyder, revealed that early CinemaScope technology made all lipsticks - even blue-reds - look orange on screen, so despite favouring rose red, Marilyn eventually settled for pale pink.
So what’s the best way to achieve the perfect pout, preferably without painful injections, i.e. with clever make-up?
7 steps to a porn-star pucker
1 - Start with a smooth lip base. Lips look most alluring when they appear soft, moist and smooth, so sweep away dryness, chapping and flaking with a lip scrub (The Body Shop’s Lipscuff, £8, is good) or even a soft old toothbrush or flannel. It helps boost the local circulation for rosier colour, too.
2 - Wear lip balm or salve when you’re not wearing colour. Those with stimulating ingredients such as mint, cinnamon or chilli also help rev up the blood supply.
3 - Create a perfect canvas by applying foundation or concealer over your lips. It works like primer and helps all shading effects to look better, and colours then really pop.
4 - Draw on lipliner to correct or perfect your natural lipline, then use it to colour in the rest of your lips, too. This creates a dry base that helps anchor your lipstick so that it lasts longer. For fuller-looking lips, line just outside the natural rim, then add a matte finish with translucent powder so that it looks natural. Try MAC Lip Pencil in Spice, £12.50. When Kylie Jenner recently outed it as her favourite lipliner it almost caused a global shortage.
5 - Brush contour powder just below the centre of your lower lip to make it appear fuller. Be subtle - it should look like natural shadow, not dirt.
6 - Use highlighter/concealer pen to trace a thin line around the outside of the cupid’s bow of the upper lip for added emphasis and fullness. Fade it away to nothing towards the outer corners of your mouth and use a fingertip to blend it slightly.
7 - Apply your chosen lipcolour. In terms of special effects, dark shades make lips appear flatter, not fuller, while light shimmery pinks and peaches add plumpness. For maximum fullness, use a combination of light and shade by applying a medium depth colour such as rose or red on the outer two-thirds of your lips and a pale colour such as pale pink in the very centre.
Read my lips
Glittering lips are the ultimate in attention-grabbing mouths, which is why the look has been used in burlesque shows for years, and why it also got so much attention on the fashion catwalks earlier this year. It’s certainly been in all the fashion magazines. But while the original effect was created by twirling a cotton bud in loose glitter and rolling it over lipstick, it was too messy for real life and needed some reinvention. So Glitter Lips by Beauty Boulevard, £12.50 from selected Superdrug stores, arrived. Drink-proof, kiss-proof and party-proof for up to eight hours, it is available in 16 shades from pale pink Diamond in the Buff to deep Purple Reign and even graphite-like Dark Disorder. Apply the lip gloss bond first, sprinkle on your chosen shade of glitter, and you’re done.
If you want to give the look a free test-run, try dabbing shimmery gold eyeshadow over your lipstick - it works particularly well with red or purple shades. But although it looks great on dancefloors and in selfies, it’s terrible for kissing. Consider yourself warned.
Author: Jocelyn Bailey
Image courtesy of: http://fluorescentpr.com/