I Canceled My Filler Appointment Thanks to This 3-Minute Lip-Liner Trick

I’ve been dabbling in lip filler and the occasional lip flip since January of 2018, and honestly, I’ve never looked back. Even pre-filler, my lips were one of my favorite features to play up, and while I hardly needed to do anything in terms of fancy cosmetic treatments, subtly amplifying my lips’ natural shape and volume has become a fun beauty indulgence I look forward to and will likely continue for as long as I dig the results. Pre-pandemic, I’d typically go in for a bump of filler two to three times a year for maintenance purposes, but due to the ever-changing climate the past couple of years, I’ve had just one session since the beginning of 2020. (For reference, I got a little hit of juice in April of last year, but my upper lip has gradually deflated since.)


My Lips Right After Filler:
(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

In the interim, I’ve relied heavily on my collection of lip-plumping products to deliver a similar, filler-inspired high, but despite the impressive efficacy of some of the industry’s best lip plumpers, nothing can ever truly compare to the real thing. Or, at least, that’s what I thought until a few months ago when I attended a Zoom presentation with countless other beauty editors and celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic—founder and CEO of Makeup by Mario and longtime pro to famous names like Kim Kardashian. 

During the presentation, which was held in honor of his latest debut at the time—the Ultra Suede Lipsticks ($24) and Ultra Suede Sculpting Lip Pencils ($22)—Dedivanovic broke the news that despite our collective expertise in beauty, every single one of us was most likely overlining our lips wrong. In fact, not only are most people overlining their lips incorrectly, he explained, but the most common technique (aka overlining the entire lip and not just a couple of key areas) was actually aging us by giving the outer corners of our lips a heavy, downturned result. (FYI, loss of volume and a downward sagging effect around the mouth area is an inevitable sign of aging.) As you can imagine, everyone’s ears immediately pricked up.

While I’ve never been a huge lip-liner person (especially when it comes to overlining), the technique has gained fast and furious momentum as a quick, easy, and needle-free way to exaggerate the natural shape of the lips, ultimately providing a smoke-and-mirrors effect mimicking the look of a fuller pout. According to Dedivanovic, by using his new collection of lip pencils (though, really, any ‘ol liner will do) and his signature "lip lift” technique, anyone and everyone can get the look of fuller, cosmetically enhanced lips from home, in about three minutes or less. (If you’re keen on that type of thing.)

Keep scrolling to see how Dedivanovic’s viral trick mirrors the look of the popular cosmetic treatment which is designed to elevate and lift the look of the upper lip. 

How It Works

Like any good beauty editor, the second I jumped off my Zoom call with Dedivanovic and the rest of my editor cohort, I ran to my building’s mailroom (where a case of the new Sculpting Lip Pencils was thankfully waiting) and immediately had to try the trick out for myself. Not only was I pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous array of shades within the line and the handy-dandy, double-ended design (the lip brush on the opposite end of the pencil is absolutely game-changing), but I couldn’t believe how satisfying the results were.

Following Dedivanovic’s directions to a T, I lined my entire lip, carefully following (and not straying from or above) my natural lip line. Then, to subtly enhance and "plump” my lips à la an expensive lip lift, I did as Dedivanovic instructed and slightly overlined just the Cupid’s bow of my top lip, and just the very center portion of my bottom lip, steering completely clear of the outer corners and edges. After blending with the brush, and upping the depth of my lips with a touch of lipstick, I could immediately see how pert and lifted my lips looked and the result was definitely more natural and professional looking than my normal half-hearted attempts at overlining. (I used the shade Lauren in the lip pencil and the shade Annie in the lipstick.)


The First Time I Tried the Lip Lift Hack
(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

According to Dedivanovic, his technique—like a cosmetic lip lift—shortens the space between your nose and lip, which in turn, makes your lips look fuller and more lifted. Amazing, right? In fact, I was so impressed with the results that I ultimately canceled an upcoming filler appointment, deciding to ride the liner wave for a while instead. Eventually, I’ll probably go back into the clinic for a little dose of injectable magic, but for now, I am completely satisfied to keep this three-minute hack up my sleeve. 

What It Looks Like


The Before and After
(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

The collage above first depicts my liner-less pout, the middle picture shows my lips after I’ve lined but before I’ve over-lined, and the last picture is the final result after implementing Dedivanovic’s lip lift technique. Et voilà! 


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

Shop My Entire Lip Routine

Step 1: Use a Lip Scrub

Step 2: Try a Lip Mask

Step 3: Slather on a Lip-Plumping Primer

Step 4: Pencil in Your Liner

Step 5: Dab on Some Lipstick

Step 6: Top It Off With Some Plumping Gloss

(Or a Clear, Lip-Softening Oil)

Beauty Director

Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.