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Acquire a pretty pout like these famous faces

Last updated on: November 12, 2009 19:07 IST

Image: Sonam Kapoor has an envied pout and a soft smile
Photographs: Courtesy Verve magazine, February 2009 issue Dr Parul Kolhe

What do Asin, Megan Fox and Riya Sen all have in common? Their sexy, pouting lips. Here are a few tips to make your chops look as alluring.

The lips are second only to the eyes in expressiveness. They turn up in smiles, pout in sulkiness, turn down in disappointment, snarl in anger, purse up in disapproval and pucker up for you know what! Who doesn't crave perfectly shaped, soft and rosy lips?

Dr Parul S Kolhe is an MBBS and holds a DDV & DNB in dermatology.

Avoid dryness and chapping

Image: Balms which contain jojoba oil, castor oil or cocoa butter for Scarlett's sexy sulk
Photographs: Cover of Allure magazine

A lot of factors, however, cause problems like chapping, dryness, cracks, pigmentation etc. Dryness and chapping is a common problem affecting almost everyone in winters or dry, arid environments. Some diseases also cause dryness and cracking when the body does not produce adequate amounts of natural oils. Some prescription drugs (anti-acne medication Isotretinoin, for instance) also cause tremendous dryness. Cracked lips can be so severe as to bleed or get injected and painful.

A simple petroleum jelly balm can be quite useful, but some people complain of a waxy feel to lips with this. Olive oil or even humble homemade ghee (clarified butter) are great, but they're impossible to carry with you. Look for lip balms which contain jojoba oil, castor oil or cocoa butter/shea butter as these have soothering, softening and long-lasting hydrating properties (Neutrogena, Blistex and Body Shop are brands worth checking out). A lip balm with a small amount of salicylic Acid can help dissolve flakiness anddead skin over lips.

Vitamins for voluptuousness

Image: Fresh fruit and leafy vegetables for Asin's ruby smackers
Photographs: Cover of Ritz magazine
Vitamin deficiencies, especially the Vitamin B group (B2, B3, Folic Acid, Pantothenate and B12) are known to cause lip inflammation drying and cracking. Make sure to eat enough whole grains, nuts, fresh fruit and leafy vegetables as these contain generous amounts of vitamins. Avoid raw eggs, as they prevent absorption of these nutrients and cause vitamin deficiency. Vitamin supplements may be prescribed by a doctor if needed. Some chronic fungal infections can also cause painful sores and flaking at the angles of the month. A dermatologist's opinion and a proper course of medication is necessary.


Image: Voluptuous lips like Megan Fox's should be protected with sunscreen
Photographs: Cover of Cosmopolitan magazine
Darkening of the lips can occur due to many reasons -- cigarette smoking, the adverse effect of dark-coloured lipsticks (especially maroons and browns), allergies to oral use products like toothpaste, lip liners or lip-colour, too much tea, coffee and colas are all common culprits. Avoid these and use good quality makeup and lip balms with a sun protecting factor (at least SPF-15). A rare condition is oral lichen planus, where a purplish black discolouration occurs over the lips as well as inside the mouth. This disease needs to be diagnosed and treated.

The perfect pout

Image: Piggy Chops has the perfect pucker
Photographs: Cover of Kohl magazine
Some of us are not naturally gifted with perfect lips. Unequal or disproportionate lips, too thin or poorly-shaped lips can ruin an otherwise perfect face. The lower lip should ideally be 20-30 percent fuller than the upper lip, the lip margins called the vermillion border should be sharp and the cupid's bow (the bow shaped arch of the upper margin of the upper lip) should be well-accentuated.

Cosmetic solutions

Image: If you want extra oomph like model Adriana Lima, cosmetic treatment can give it to you
Photographs: Cover of Victoria's Secret catalogue

For those who want to go the cosmetic treatment route, the ideal pout can be achieved now within minutes at your dermatologist's clinic. A variety of lip 'fillers' are available (like Juvederm or Esthelis), which contain hyaluronic acid -- a protein naturally produced by the human body. These are injected with very fine needless into the lip to volumise it, or threaded along the border to make the margins sharp, or used to turn up down-curving angles of the mouth or to give a perfect shape to a flatly curving lip.

These products, being identical to human protein are totally safe, free from side effects or allergies (they are FDA approved) and once injected, their effect last for at least 12 months (or upto 2 years). They can be repeatedly performed as often as you wish. There is practically no pain involved and the results are instantaneous.

Makeup tips

Image: The right makeup has Sherlyn Chopra's lips looking perfect

For those who don't want to opt for needles, here are a few makeup tips that will have your lips looking positively luscious:

  • For the pouty, plumped-up look, dab just a hint of gloss in the centre of your upper lip.
  • If your lips are unevenly shaped, use two different lipsticks, one just a shade lighter than the other on the smaller lip.
  • Use lip-liner to give your lips great definition. If you're all out, you can also dab foundation around the lips to pronounce them.
  • If you've got overly-full lips, avoid liner, or gently smooth it around the edges to avoid your lips looking larger.
  • If you've got smaller, thinner lips, avoid very dark shades of lipstick.
  • Britney Spears uses aluminium foil to have her lips looking great. A sheet of frozen foil is smoothed over her face with a hole for her to breathe through. This reduces puffiness and swelling and keeps your chops looking fresh.

Quality check

Image: Jennifer Garner sizzles in deep red lipstick
Photographs: Cover of C -- California Style magazine

And finally, one last piece of advice -- don't compromise on the quality of the makeup and products you use. Unheard of brands and prices that are too good to be true should be steered clear of -- in a worst-case scenario they can even react badly and leave you with an allergy or a rash. With well-known names you may end up paying a little more, but it's a small price to keep your lips looking young, supple and alluring.

You no longer need to envy the beauties of the glam world -- you now know how to get equally luscious lips!