The Most Attractive Lip Shape, According To Science

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woman smiling and looking down

Between Angelina Jolie and Kylie Jenner, luscious lips are sought after by females all over the globe.

Perfectly plump lips are thought of as ideal, and women have been heading to the plastic surgeon’s office with requests for fuller puckers.

But what is the most attractive lip shape overall?

Big lips? Thin lips? A perfect cupid's bow, or a rounded upper lip? The answer, according to a study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, might surprise you.

Researchers found that the most attractive lip shape has more to do with symmetry than specific size or shape, with the most attractive lips being those with an upper to lower lip ratio of 1:2.

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Researchers got a focus group together to look at 100 photos showing women with different lip dimensions with the goal of figuring out which size and shape of lips were most attractive.

When looking at the results, the study showed that the most attractive lip shape was those that increased 53.5 percent in surface area from the original image showed — i.e. a 1:2 ratio of upper to lower lip.

The findings were pretty interesting since the trend, especially in the plastic surgeon’s office, is for a visibly larger upper lip, much like Kylie Jenner's infamous pout.

Photo: Getty Images

“We advocate the preservation of the natural ratio or achieving a one-to-two ratio in lip augmentation procedures while avoiding the overfilled upper lip look frequently seen among celebrities,” the authors concluded.

However, a similar 2017 study found that a 1:1 ratio of the upper and lower lip is the most attractive. Over 60 percent of the participants in this study chose this as the ideal lip shape.

Plastic surgeon Julian De Silva discovered in this study that the most sought-after shape is a full, symmetrical upper and lower lip with a strongly defined cupid's bow.

According to him, singer Taylor Swift has the most attractive lip shape.

Photo: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

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The study suggests that her mouth is almost exactly the shape that most people consider ideal when it comes to these beauty standards.

"Taylor's lips are perfect. She has a gorgeous voluptuous pout and a beautifully-shaped cupid's bow which so many women want," De Silva said.

De Silva also said that patients also most commonly request a "natural trout pout" with a slightly fuller top lip that doesn't have a defined cupid's bow, like Julia Roberts'.

Photo: Everett Collection / Shutterstock

So while the most attractive lip shape is ratio-based versus the actual size of your upper and lower lips with a defined cupid's bow, it seems that people also like the natural fullness of lips without that same definition.

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Regardless of the size or presence of a cupid's bow, there are ways to take care of your lips to leave them healthier looking as you age.

De Silva had some advice for how to maintain plumper looking lips for a longer period: "Don't smoke, stay out of the sun, and don't overdo the booze if you want your lips to be naturally full for longer."

While plump lips seem to be the trend according to media, beauty standards often change, and this ideal shape may be out the door in only a few years.

It's important to note that the JAMA study was based on the features of Caucasian women and not women of color, and the study's authors noted some additional potential areas of potential limitation and bias both within their methodology and their sample of participants.

So, before running to the plastic surgeon’s office to get your lips to a perfect 1:2 or 1:1 ratio, think about taking these studies with a grain of salt. Remember that your physical appearance, let alone an aspect as specific as your lip shape, isn't everything when it comes to attraction.

Try loving your lips as they are. After all, you're absolutely beautiful when you smile.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on April 3, 2018 and was updated with the latest information.

Shannon Ullman is a writer who focuses on women’s health, sex, and relationships.