How To Get A DIY Lip Flip (Without A Plastic Surgeon)

Go needle-less with these makeup hacks.

by Wendy Rose Gould
Originally Published: 
Jerome Tisne/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Ahhh, the lip flip... This subtle aesthetic procedure has amassed over 100 million views on TikTok (#lipflip) and is routinely requested by people of all ages. The treatment is pretty straightforward: About four to six units of a neuromodulator, such as Botox, are injected just above the upper lip (near the cupid’s bow and around the corners of the mouth) for a fuller, more defined effect. The catch, of course, is that this treatment involves needles, isn’t cheap, and requires upkeep. Fortunately, there are some lip flip makeup hacks that’ll mimic that flirty, pouty look — sans needles.

Scroll below to see how to pull off these lip flip makeup hacks, as well as shop all the products you’ll need.

First Thing’s First: What’s The Deal With Lip Flips?

As mentioned above, the lip flip is an outpatient aesthetic procedure to create the appearance of fuller lips without the use of lip fillers or implants.

“Most people associate Botox with paralyzing wrinkles in the forehead and crow’s feet, but more recently it has been used ‘off label’ for what has been coined the ‘lip flip,’” explains Dr. Michael Horn, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Chicago. “The main objective is to relax the muscles that connect to the upper lip. This enables the lip to curl and relax outward, making it appear more defined and larger in shape.”

The effect is considered more subtle than what you’d get with dermal fillers, and on average you’ll pay around $300 for a lip flip (though prices will vary depending on your injector’s specified rates). Results show up a week to two later once the neuromodulator kicks in, and they last for about three months.

There’s also a potential drawback that doesn’t get discussed enough, notes Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “The downside is that if a lip flip is done inappropriately — or too much — it can weaken the muscles [around the lips],” he says. “This affects motions around the mouth, like smiling or drinking out of a straw.”

Lip Flip Makeup Hacks

Thankfully, you can still get the look of a lip flip without having to encounter a single needle. All you need is a little makeup and some know how. I reached out to celebrity makeup artists who were happy to offer some pro tips.

Whether you’re not a fan of needles, want to see what a lip flip might look like before taking the plunge, or simply want to flex your makeup artist skills, these techniques will give you the look of a lip flip without Botox.

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The Overlining Method

For this method, you’ll need a lip liner that’s a shade darker than your lip color and has a bit of brown in it, advises celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman. “This will create the illusion of shadow around your lip,” she explains.

Once you’ve got the right color, lightly outline your natural lip versus overlining right away. The goal is to slowly build up to that lip flip look, as opposed to drawing it on right away. (That tends to look unnatural.)

Once your natural lips have been lined, then you can begin to overline by drawing on the raised outer portion of your lip.

“This should be about the width of a pencil tip past your lip line onto your skin,” instructs Bryan Cantor, a celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert based in New York City. “Drawing any further onto the flat part of your face looks very fake and noticeable.”

Cantor adds that it’s helpful to look at a photo reference for some inspo. Choose a model whose lips are similar in shape and size to yours; the results will be more achievable and look realistic.

The Contoured Lip Approach

The objective with this technique is to create the illusion of a fuller lip using “shadows” and “light.” It’s the same concept as when you contour your cheekbones or jawline, but focuses on your pout instead.

For this approach, you’ll need a slightly darker lip liner paired with a lighter lipstick, stain, or gloss. Have a highlighter handy, too.

“Start by overlining your lips, bringing the liner further onto your natural lips more than you normally would and making this line on your lips extra thick,” says Cantor. “Next fill in the corners of your lip to make a ‘C’ shape on either side, with the open part of the ‘C’ facing the center of your lips. Then take a lip brush and softly blend the edges of your liner towards the center of your lips to create a soft contour.”

After, apply your lip color at the center of your lips — slightly overlapping the contour — and rub your lips together a few times to blend. Don’t bring the center color all the way to the edge of your overdrawn lip.

Finally, reapply your liner and blend some more, either with a lip brush or by rubbing your lips together.

To play even more with the contour approach, Dorman says to grab some highlighter and apply to the top of your cupid’s bow using a small shadow brush. “A cream or liquid highlighter will pair and blend well with the texture of lip products,” she says.

The Makeup-Less Approach

If you’d prefer to not wear makeup at all, you can create a subtle fuller lip with ultra-hydrating lip products.

Cantor says that a clear gloss or lip oil focused at the center of the lips can also create the illusion of a lip flip. Choose a product that’s made with a humectant like hyaluronic acid, which draws moisture from the air and instantly creates a plumping effect.

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