How to Paint Your Lips Into a "Cupid's Bow"

By Celeigh O'Neil

The cupid's bow -- the V-shaped gap in the upper lip -- is the most defined point of the lips. It was especially popular during eras in which a dramatic look was preferred, such as the 1930s and 1940s, but continues to be a popular beauty look today. Exaggerating the shape of your cupid's bow draws attention to your lip color of choice, which is particularly helpful in making a bold tone appear polished.

Young woman puckering lips, close-up
credit: Marili Forastieri/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Lips with a defined cupid's bow have straighter edges than a natural lip.

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Step 1

Position a lip-liner pencil at the high point on the right side of your lip. Use a lip pencil that is one shade darker than your natural lip color to help it stand out against your skin tone.

Step 2

Drag the lip pencil down in a straight diagonal line, towards the bottom of the "V" in your top lip. Ignore the natural curve, and keep the pencil just outside of the rounded portion while creating a straight line. One you reach the center, place the pencil on the high point on the left side of your lip. Drag it down until you meet the center of the "V" at the end of the first line.

Step 3

Place the lip pencil back at the top of your first line, on the right side. Pull it down, over the side of your lip -- this time following your natural lip line -- until you reach the space between your top and bottom lip. Repeat on your left side.

Step 4

Position the pencil underneath the center of your lower lip. Drag it in short strokes to the right, around the natural lip line of your bottom lip until you connect with your previous pencil marks. Bring the pencil back to your starting point and repeat on the left side. The remainder of your lip can be soft and natural looking, as the cupid's bow will stand out in contrast.

Step 5

Use the lip pencil to color in your lips between the outline that you have created. This will cover any gaps between the liner and your lips, to make the cupid's bow appear natural.

Step 6

Slick on a glossy lipstick, or pigmented lip gloss, on top of the liner. The light reflected by the gloss will make the cupid's bow appear more prominent.

Step 7

Dip a small makeup brush into a champagne-toned highlighter or eyeshadow. Pat it into the area between the two high points of your cupid's bow. This will draw attention to the area and make it appear larger.