Study reveals surprising characteristics of the “perfect" lips

A scientific study has revealed the perfect size and ratio for lips, and it might be quite different to what you expected...

Over the years, there have been certain characteristics that are generally thought of as the 'perfect' lips.

And most of the time it is assumed that a plumper pout is more sought for. 

In the UK, 'lip fillers' has been amongst the most commonly searched for cosmetic treatments. While in the US, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported approximately 27,000 lip implants in 2015, a 50% increase from 2000.

Angelina Jolie is known for her famously plump lips

And while many have undergone cosmetic procedures to achieve this sought-for look, others have tried to replicate it with some of the many lip-enhancing makeup products on the market or used the subtle illusory trick of over lining the lips to create the appearance of a fuller pout.

However, while impossibly plump pouts are continuously portrayed in the media as an ideal look, a scientific study has now revealed that the "perfect" pair of lips are in fact a lot more subtle and realistic-looking.

Over 400 women took part in the study, which was published by the JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, that got participants to choose the lip size they thought looked most attractive from a series of proffered images.

(Image credit: JAMA)

To come up with the results for the research, which was carried out by the University of California, side-by-side images of participants' lips were shown and ranked from 1 (least attractive) to 10 (most attractive).

Manipulated images of women’s overall lip sizes were shown to guide the researchers in finding the optimal lip shape and size.

Upper and lower lips were shown separately to help researchers get the ‘ideal’ upper to lower lip ratio.

(Image credit: JAMA)

Surprisingly, the research revealed that the participants preferred lips where the lower part was twice as big as the upper lip.

They also found that the ‘perfect’ lips were 50 per cent larger than a the regular woman’s natural lip size and took up roughly 10 per cent of the lower part of a woman’s face.

In visual terms, this would be something similar to the look of acting legend Sophia Loren.

Who needs plumping glosses, we're all about the natural now.

Aleesha Badkar
Digital Beauty Editor, woman&home

Aleesha is Digital Beauty Editor at woman&home, where she gets to share her expertise into all the best techniques, sharpest tools and newest products—with a particular savvy in skincare and fragrance.

Previously, she was Deputy Editor and Beauty & Fashion Editor for My Imperfect Life, where she headed up the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. In the past, she has worked as Shopping Writer at woman&home, gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team, contributed to Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto and earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London.