The Most Attractive Lip Shape For Women, According To Science

How do your lips measure up?

woman smiling and looking down look studios / shutterstock

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.

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 from the University of California, Irvine 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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The research team asked people in both internet-based and conventional focus groups to look at 100 photos showing women with different lip dimensions with the goal of figuring out which size and shape of lips were considered the most attractive on white women.

"In a survey of attractiveness," the results state, "an increase of 53.5% in the total lip surface area with a linear dimension equal to 9.6% of the lower face and an upper to lower lip ratio of 1:2 was found to be the most attractive."

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

most attractive lip shape Kylie JennerPhoto: 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, in a 2017 study with more than 1011 responses from 35 different countries, a 1:1 ratio of the upper and lower lip was found to be the most attractive, with over 60% of the participants choosing this as the ideal lip shape.

a). Models' face displaying the upper to lower lip ratio of 1.5:1.0; (b). Models' face displaying the upper to lower lip ratio of 1.25:1.0; (c). Models' face displaying the upper to lower lip ratio of 1.0:1.0; (d). Models' face displaying the upper to lower lip ratio of 1.0:1.25; (e). Models' face displaying the upper to lower lip ratio of 1.0:1.5.

That team of researchers found that while "gender, country of residence, and profession significantly impact individual upper to lower lip ratio preferences... a 1.0:1.0 lip ratio can apparently be considered most pleasing in females."

Upper to lower lip ratio 1.0:1.0.

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Plastic surgeon Julian De Silva told Business Insider 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.


most attractive lip shape Taylor SwiftPhoto: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

He suggests that Swift's 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 patients 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.

most attractive lip shape Julia RobertsPhoto: 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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How to keep your lips attractive and healthy as you get older

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