Everything you need to know about your lips, makeup, and maintenance: Best Guide for Dummies 2021

Everything you need to know about your lips

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Anatomy of the Lips

lip (noun)
1 : either of the two fleshy folds which surround the mouth and organs of speech essential to certain articulations; also

 : the pink or reddish margin of the human lip composed of nonglandular mucous membrane.  Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary

The lips have been an inspiration for poetry and are repeated throughout plays, movies, and songs. We are mesmerized by their scarlet hue and caressed by their silky softness. The eyes may be the windows to the soul but the lips are definitely the gateway to sensuality. 

“My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
 to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” 
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Oftentimes, people are focused upon the lips of the speaker, fascinated by their infinite movements.

Reminding you of a vocal dance, if you will. The lips are sensuous, they are sexy,  they are powerful, and we want them larger. 

Below is some information about what they are made from, what muscles are responsible for our pouts and kissing, and where they all are.

You will also find information about melanin production, or lack thereof, lip afflictions, and why your lips become dry and flaky or dwindle with age…

The Lips According to Henry Gray

“The Lips (labia oris), the two fleshy folds which surround the rima or orifice of the mouth, are formed externally of integument and internally of the mucous membrane, between which are found the Orbicularis Oris muscle, the labial vessels, some nerves, areolar tissue, and fat, and numerous small labial glands.
The inner surface of each lip is connected in the middle line to the corresponding gum by a fold of mucous membrane, the frenulum—the upper being the larger.

The Orbicularis oris (Fig. 381) is not a simple sphincter muscle like the Orbicularis oculi; it consists of numerous strata of muscular fibers surrounding the orifice of the mouth but having different direction.

It consists partly of fibers derived from the other facial muscles which are inserted into the lips, and partly of fibers proper to the lips. Of the former, a considerable number are derived from the Buccinator and form the deeper stratum of the Orbicularis. 

Some of the Buccinator fibers—namely, those near the middle of the muscle—decussate at the angle of the mouth, those arising from the maxilla passing to the lower lip, and those from the mandible to the upper lip.

The uppermost and lowermost fibers of the Buccinator pass across the lips from side to side without decussation. Superficial to this stratum is a second, formed on either side by the Caninus and Triangularis, which cross each other at the angle of the mouth; those from the Caninus passing to the lower lip, and those from the Triangularis to the upper lip, along which they run, to be inserted into the skin near the median line.

In addition to these, there are fibers from the Quadratus labii superioris, the Zygomaticus, and the Quadratus labii inferioris; these intermingle with the transverse fibers above described and have principally an oblique direction. 

The proper fibers of the lips are oblique, and pass from the under surface of the skin to the mucous membrane, through the thickness of the lip. Finally there are fibers by which the muscle is connected with the maxillæ and the septum of the nose above and with the mandible below.

In the upper lip, these consist of two bands, lateral and medial, on either side of the middle line; the lateral band (m. incisivus labii superiorisarises from the alveolar border of the maxilla, opposite the lateral incisor tooth, and arching lateralward is continuous with the other muscles at the angle of the mouth; the medial band (m. nasolabialis) connects the upper lip to the back of the septum of the nose. The interval between the two medial bands corresponds with the depression, called the philtrum, seen on the lip beneath the septum of the nose.

The additional fibers for the lower lip constitute a slip (m. incisivus labii inferioris) on either side of the middle line; this arises from the mandible, lateral to the Mentalis, and intermingles with the other muscles at the angle of the mouth.

The Risorius arises in the fascia over the Masseter and, passing horizontally forward, superficial to the Platysma, is inserted into the skin at the angle of the mouth. It is a narrow bundle of fibers, broadest at its origin, but varies much in its size and form.

#Variations.—The zygomatic head of the Quadratus labii superioris and Risorius are frequently absent and more rarely the Zygomaticus. The Zygomaticus and Risorius may be doubled or the latter greatly enlarged or blended with the Platysma.

#Nerves.—The muscles in this group are all supplied by the facial nerve.

#Actions.—The Orbicularis oris in its ordinary action effects the direct closure of the lips; by its deep fibers, assisted by the oblique ones, it closely applies the lips to the alveolar arch. The superficial part, consisting principally of the decussating fibers, brings the lips together and also protrudes them forward. The Buccinators compress the cheeks, so that, during the process of mastication, the food is kept under the immediate pressure of the teeth. When the cheeks have been previously distended with air, the Buccinator muscles expel it from between the lips, as in blowing a trumpet; hence the name (buccina, a trumpet). The Risorius retracts the angle of the mouth, and produces an unpleasant grinning expression.” 

(Henry Gray (1825–1861) Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918)

Dry, Chapped & Flaky Lips: The Perfect Way To Ruin A Perfect Pout

Our lips are very different from the skin on our bodies and faces. Our body’s skin has many layers, glands, pores and follicles.

Our body’s skin also produces melanin — which allows us to tan as a natural reaction to sun exposure (and damage!).

This melanin allows us to produce a tan which screens the harmful UVA/UVB rays so that we are not damaged as much as without.

Ever notice how you burn when you are pale, but after you get your base tan you can stay out in the sun longer?

Well, our lips do not produce much melanin, that is why it is always important to use a moisturizing product with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 although I recommend much higher than that. 

Our skin has fewer layers to it than our body’s skin. Such as as a thinner stratum corneum, which flakes off the body and face with general ease when we are dry. 

This is the same layer which we exfoliate to keep our skin glowing and healthy looking.  Since our lips have such a thin stratum corneum we do not have much of a barrier to hold in our body’s vital moisture. 

Chapped lips can happen anytime of the year but most often occurs during the winter, when the air is drier and colder, not to mention our homes are heated with circulating, dry, hot air. 

Much to the chagrin of many an individual we are plagued to carry around our pots, sticks, and tubes of lip products — struggling to return our suffering pout to its usual softness.   

Many of you may notice that your lips become dry when you are in bed with the flu or have allergy problems. 

Oftentimes this is because of fever and dehydration as well as mouth-breathing.  Just be sure to moisturize or coat your lips often with a good lip product and drink plenty of fluids, which you should be doing anyway. 

Common Lip Shapes & Complaints

Most of us want more defined, fuller lips which are smooth, wrinkle-free and youthful. Lip shapes and lip prints are like fingerprints, no two are alike.

However, there are common lip shape categories and their accompanying complaints, all of which we will cover next. 

Thin, flat lips
Some of us have very thin lips with no definition. This may be due to genetics, aging or smoking. Tissue degrades as we age and definition is lost over the years. All around lip augmentation is usually necessary.
No upper lip only
The upper lips is always the first to lose volume. As the volume diminished, less and fewer vermilion shows, and the nose to lip ratio becomes even longer. This can severely age you. The good thing about this shape is that you usually only need upper lip augmentation. However, if the augmentation does not do the trick, then more than likely a lip lift will be necessary to restore balance.
No bottom lip only
Extremely rare, I honestly have never seen this unless there was also no volume in the top lip. It is usually the opposite. Nonetheless, the bottom lip augmentation is, by far, the easiest and is usually far more natural-looking than upper lip augmentation.
Irregular vermilion border
I have this. The right half of both my upper and lower lips are smaller than the left. I usually have to get more filler on that side to turn out the lips and also use a nude lip liner to even it out moreso.

The only solution is filler, and a great injector, and possibly micropigmentation (cosmetic tattooing). Be careful who you choose for lip tattooing. I thought I went to the best for my eyebrows and eyeliner.

My eye liner turned out great but my eyebrows are asymmetrical and they are to dark and not arched enough.

I need to get them corrected but I would have to travel to San Francisco. Ahh but I digress, lip liner can help but if it is significant, only a filler and possibly additionally tattooing will help.

You can get a lip lift in extreme conditions but usually, this causes an irregular ‘pulling’ appearance and can make the lip look even worse. You could always try lip suspension but I am not sure how much I believe in this procedure.

Too large, or overblown, fish lips
This depends upon if it is natural volume or augmented volume. If it is augmented, then the treatment depends upon the product. if it is natural, a lip reduction surgery is usually the solution.

If it is a catalyst injectable which triggered your own collagen overgrowth, then you can either get Kenalog or 5FU injections, or surgical removal of a strip of tissue. If it is a micro-implant, usually surgical excision or aspiration is necessary.

This is why I stress, GO SLOW.

Lip Maintenance: Upkeep For a Perfect Pout

No matter how augmented, defined or poised your lips may be — if they are dry and flaky, it sort of ruins the whole presentation, doesn’t it? 

Dry lips are rough and unattractive — I should know as I was plagued with it for many years.  I had chronic, dry lips and it seems that I could go no longer than 2 weeks with almost healthy-looking, moisturized lips. 

To help keep your lips in great shape try these tips:

  • Drink plenty of fluids! I cannot stress this enough
  • Wear a lip balm or lipstick with sunblock, especially in winter and in dry climates
  • Do not pick at your lips (I am a lip picker, so trust me on this one!)
  • Watch what products you place on your lips, exfoliating products will dry out your lips.  You can exfoliate them by simply rubbing them gently with a washcloth or soft toothbrush.
  • Use quality cosmetics, cheap products may contain a host of drying ingredients
  • Do not lick your lips constantly, it only makes matters worse.
  • Do not gnaw and nibble on your lips, this makes matters worse as well.

Not only is dryness a factor but cold sores can wreak havoc on your smackers as well. Everyone knows that cold sores are painful and unappealing but to those who we want to kiss — we’re off limits.

Cold sores can be triggered by many things such as:

2dry lips2sunburn
3trauma3chemical peels or laser, or Retin A use
4elective trauma (surgery)4microdermabrasion
5lip-licking or biting5cosmetic tattooing
6extreme temperatures6cheap cosmetics

Lips Permanent Makeup Information

Permanent makeup for lips is applauded by the spouse and kids, as well as the recipient of permanent lip tattoo color.

Lips permanent cosmetics puts an end to family fears of topical lipstick transfer. Go ahead and kiss!

It is greatly appreciated at meal times – actually being able to wipe your mouth, and not leaving lipstick on drinking glasses.

Permanent lip color is a less frequently performed permanent makeup procedure. Permanent eyebrows and permanent eyeliner are most frequently performed.

Most of the permanent makeup photo galleries have about a 3 to 1 ratio of permanent makeup lip pictures.

Increased vascularity and sensitivity of lip tissue make permanent makeup lip tattoo procedures more difficult for both the client and the cosmetic tattoo artist.

There is more discomfort, swelling, and a longer healing time for the client. Recipients of lips permanent cosmetics surveyed were generally satisfied with the results.

1 complaint was that it did not last long enough.

2complaint was uneven lips,

3complaint was unwanted lip color outside the natural lip line.

Some women request to have the color applied outside the natural lip line because that is how they draw it with a pencil to make their lips look a little more full. Many women have uneven lips before a procedure but never noticed.

The two sides of the face are not the same. Color can be applied to the lips “as is” or uneven lips can be corrected with permanent makeup.

Permanent makeup artists interviewed indicated that reasons for uneven or unwanted results are most often due to inexperience, but will occasionally occur with the most seasoned professionals.

The experienced permanent lip colour professional is likely to make an infrequent, minor error that can be corrected with a touchup.

The inexperienced technician is still on a learning curve. Uneven lip swelling during the permanent lip color procedure compiled with temporary natural lip color loss that occurs with use of numbing medicine (skin turns very light) makes it difficult to know where the edge of the lip is.

The lips are pre-marked for a guide to reduce the occurrence of error.

Each year hundreds of new students flock to permanent makeup training centers with high hopes of high incomes. Many eventually decide it is not worth the frustration and disappear from the phone book and internet. 

Permanent makeup is not the easy money some thought it would be. The average permanent makeup training is one week, taught by whoever wants to set up a training center.

One would think that the training would be handled by the state technology schools and be at least as long as similar services. So far there is only one state (OK) that handles it that way.

One permanent makeup artist said “We don’t know enough in a week to have a question to ask – the questions come up during the 2 year / 200 case learning curve”. By the way, asking a technician how long they have been practicing or how many cases they have done is fruitless.

They can tell you anything. Look at the date on the training certificate, and the number of before and after pictures. The permanent makeup portfolio will represent a small portion of their clients. Many clients do not agree to be displayed.

Some photos may not be suitable for the portfolio because the client had a weird expression, the focus or exposure wasn’t good, etc. A spectacular portfolio is not made overnight – it takes a lot of time and a lot of procedures.

Besides a training certificate, a permanent makeup artist should also have a state license (in most states). Continuing education workshop certificates and professional memberships are a good indicator that the person loves the work and wants to do a good job.

The memberships and trade conventions are expensive. Those dedicated to the unique art of cosmetic tattoo put money back into their business and knowledge.

While searching for a permanent make-up artist to do permanent lip color, you must view the before, immediately after, and healed results pictures.

You need to see the “before” pictures to know if the lips were enhanced or reshaped. If you do not see the “immediately after” picture where the lips are swollen and it looks like a bucket of paint was poured on them, it may be a topical lipstick picture to fool you.

If you do not see the healed picture, you cannot know if the lips were even and shaped well.

What really makes me laugh is those closely cropped before and after lip pictures that the “after” lips is plainly not the same person as the “before” lips.

Look at the groove lines on both lip photos to see if they match. Look for a nearby freckle, mole, or other identifying lump or bump.

The only reason a technician would need to trick you with a lipstick picture or use before and after photos of someone else’s work is that they haven’t done a good job of their own.

Granted, the “immediately after” permanent lip color picture is unattractive, but the healed result can look so much more natural and pretty than topical lipstick.


I hope this definitive article has given a clear understanding of Everything you need to know about your lips and you can make the best decision on your lip care.

3 thoughts on “Everything you need to know about your lips, makeup, and maintenance: Best Guide for Dummies 2021

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