There's nothing new about luscious lips - men love them, women would like to have them - but, curiously, the type of lip we're after has changed. Bee-stung has been hamstrung (one day you're in, Angelina Jolie, next day you're out). Exaggerated lips were desirable three or four years ago; now a softer, more tender lip is admired. And this - hoorah - is achievable, through fair means or foul.
Fashion has something to do with this shift in taste and the zeitgeist plays its part (these are more reasoned times, post-GFC) but so too does good old-fashioned technology. A trout pout was ''in'' for years because it was what you were most likely to end up with if you took the step of visiting your local skin clinic. As thousands do. Dermal fillers plump lips better than any make-up wizardry but for many years, they worked a little too well (see Kath Day-Knight in mother-of-the-bride mode). ''The products and the way they are applied, the techniques, have changed even in the past year,'' says Dr Sean Arendse, a cosmetic physician at Toorak's Flawless Rejuvenation Skin Clinic. New injectable products such as Restylane Lip Volume enable a more subtle treatment to enhance volume of the lip and define the lip border for a beautiful result. They also have in-built pain relief so dental blocks are no longer needed. ''It allows me to exactly tailor the result,'' Dr Arendse says. ''Women now want a natural look to enhance their own beauty. Most have got over the 'bigger is better' mentality. Those who haven't I suggest go elsewhere.''
There might be other reasons to look elsewhere for an improved pout. Lips can of course be enhanced and perfected through clever use of makeup. Rachel Montgomery, make-up artist of the year at the Australian Beauty Industry Awards, recommends using a lip brush for a perfect lip shape. '''I also love to highlight the cupid's bow. Use a soft, light peach hue to create a small 'V' at the top of the lip before adding your lip colour - this gives the appearance of a poutier top lip and it is a favourite trick of makeup artists.'' The Sydney-based expert says that if you have smaller lips, never wear a matte or dark shade of lipstick - this will only emphasise the thinness. ''Using a gloss or high-gloss lip colour in a lighter shade will give the appearance of a larger pout.'' There are dozens of good products that will do the trick. The ''plumpers'' that make the lips swell temporarily with cinnamon and capsicum have fallen out of vogue along with the trout pout (though Napoleon Perdis has Love Bite Lip Plump, $28), but hydrators and glossers abound.
Lip Plump ($39), Benefit’s original lip plump of 1995, is a powerful primer that works to soften lips with jojoba oil while filling lines and building lips for a smooth finish. Jane Iredale’s Sugar&Butter Lip Exfoliator and Plumper ($54) is a tinted lip plumper with shea butter and peptides. Molton Brown Pep-rich Lip Booster ($40) helps combat the appearance of fine lines and dryness around the mouth, making lips appear fuller, less wrinkled and more defined. Good glosses include the sheer coverage Shu uemura Gloss Unlimited ($38), the velvety, high-definition Giorgio Armani Gloss D’Armani ($49) and Clinique's super glossy Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss ($32).
Lip glosses, make-up tricks or the big gun - lip fillers - all have a place in making lips look more luscious. What's your choice? How do you enhance your lips? Thousands of women opt for Restylane injections - which cost about $500 and last about eight months - and the numbers are increasing year on year. Are you among them?