Your guide to all things lip procedures from Dr. Simon Ourian, Hollywood’s favorite cosmetic doctor.


Welcome to Do This, Not That, a new column where Dr. Simon Ourian, Hollywood cosmetic sculptor to Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, and Lady Gaga, weighs in on the best practices for key body parts by revealing exactly what cosmetic treatments and procedures to do, and what cosmetic procedures not to do. We’ll be working our way around the body, and we’re starting with lips.
Considering any cosmetic procedure? Read this first.

Shop Around: Do your research on the doctor, the procedure, and the product. “Seek out a medical professional who is the best of the best (in their skills, techniques, and education) and uses the best of the best products,” says Dr. Ourian. “Go to at least two or three doctors for a consultation to see what results they will be able to deliver for you. Make sure that their aesthetic and your aesthetic are the same.”

Ask Questions: Dig for intel on the good, the bad, and the ugly. “Healthy skepticism is very good,” he says. Confirm that the professional performs the proposed procedure regularly—weekly or monthly. Verify that all products are FDA-approved. Ask about side effects: Is there something that could go wrong? If something goes wrong, who is responsible? Do they offer a complimentary touch-up policy to ensure satisfactory results?

Take Your Time: Don’t make rash decisions. “If you’re going to get something done, work towards a positive goal,” Dr. Ourian implores, rather than drawing away from a negative one. Make sure it’s because you want to do it and not because someone is pressuring you to do it, or because you’re having a low self-esteem day, which everyone has from time to time. “Do things when you’re comfortable, and you know what you’re getting done.”


Exfoliate and moisturize lips. “You can use your electric toothbrush to scrub your lips every day,” Dr. Ourian suggests. Then put a balm on at night keep them plump while you sleep. “If you want to get fancy, use olive oil and sugar to exfoliate the area and to make lips plumper as you scrub.” Polishing and moisturizing the lips creates an excellent base that plays well with your cosmetic wardrobe.

Go ahead and try lip plumpers. “You can use anything that is slightly irritating to make them a little plumper and a little rosier.” Over the years, people have used everything from cinnamon to cayenne pepper to spearmint even Vicks VapoRub to plump. Things that are naturally irritating bring a lot of blood flow to the area and are the base of most lip plumping lipsticks. Unfortunately, they don’t last longer than two or three hours.


Follow your doctor’s lead. Once you have selected the right doctor for your lip treatment, make sure they use the product that they feel is most appropriate for the desired result. “There are about 20 different types of FDA-approved products that we can use now for lip enhancements,” explains Dr. Ourian. Each of them has their own properties, and every medical professional gets comfortable with a few products. Dr. Ourian favors injectables that work for one to three years, which he considers to be “more reasonable than having to go back every three to six months,” and uses different products in older patients than he does in younger patients. “There is no cookie-cutter approach because everyone is different. The point is to make the result look seamless, and as if you were born with it, not like you had enough money to go buy lips.” No one should be able to tell that you’ve had something done. The treatment must be done gradually over several sessions.

Be clear about the enhancement you want. If you’re going the enhancement route, decide if you want your lips to be fuller, more contoured, or both. Not every lip is going to look beautiful on every face, and vice versa. Dr. Ourian first enhances the border of the lips, then brings them forward by filling the center, and then makes them larger by plumping the tubercles of the lips. “I want to take what they have and make it a little bit better. There has to be some gradual process,” he points out. “To go from Kylie’s lips when she first started to have huge lips is probably three or four sessions, it doesn’t happen overnight. It can be done slowly and gradually and nicely.” Find pictures of the kind of lips that you want to have, but also bear in mind that they should appear, “on a face that is similar to your own.” Bring your selection of images to your consultations, and shop the ultimate lip menu below (examples are for illustrative reference, not patients).

Illustration by Dr. Ourian

Full lips with volume and a plump pout as seen on Angelina Jolie, Priyanka Chopra, Scarlett Johansson, Demi Moore.

Pronounced philtrum (the ridge connecting the upper lip to the nose) offering curve to the upper lip as seen on Cameron Diaz, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Taylor.

Defined and prominent lip border as seen on Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, Emma Roberts, Olivia Wilde.

Deep and defined “V” (cupid’s bow) as seen on Emilia Clarke, Felicity Jones, Emily Blunt.

Corners of the mouth are upturned as seen on Gal Gadot, Emma Stone, Kristen Stewart, Selena Gomez.

Balance between the volume in the upper and lower lip and perfectly symmetrical on the left and right as seen on Julia Roberts, Eva Green, Anna Paquin.

A smooth and even contour surrounding the lips with no sign of lip lines as seen on Dakota Johnson, Zoey Saldana, Amanda Seyfried, Elizabeth Olsen.

Speak up if your goal is to look younger. If you want to look like a younger version of yourself, you’re not changing much. “I’m not making your lips bigger. I’m not making them shaped differently. Instead, I go take them back to the way they were [five or ten years ago],” Dr. Ourian clarifies. The lips tend to go in with age as the jaw becomes smaller, due to bone absorption. “I have to create an illusion that the jaw is getting redefined and bring the lips out to be fuller and plumper. It sounds simple, but it’s a little more complicated.”

“As we age one of the unfortunate things that can happen is the distance between your nose and your lips [increases] to the point that the area starts to elongate and cover your teeth,” Dr. Ourian describes. Some people have this space as a young adult as well. There are a couple of treatments to reverse it. One is to use ultrasound to shrink the area, a noninvasive procedure Dr. Ourian offers. If that’s not enough, the second option is an upper lip lift, where you create a cut underneath the nose to lift everything. That’s a most drastic measure and only for the very few people who have a very long distance from their nose to their lips. “That’s the more surgical option.”


DO NOT use a suction cup to make your lips bigger. Using a suction cup over time, can create broken capillaries in the mouth area, “which isn’t very attractive” adds Dr. Ourian.

DO NOT get silicone injections in your lips, they’re permanent, and the shape of the face changes every three to five years. “I don’t want to have anything permanent in the lips since they are such a dynamic part of the face.”
DO NOT get the surgical lip lift unless you don’t have a mile long distance between your nose and your lips. “It’s not a very casual treatment. It’s major surgery.”
“LIPS are the most attractive part of most people’s faces.
There’s a reason why LIPSTICKS are the number-one-selling cosmetic in the world.”
– Dr. Ourian

Name: Mia Adorante
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