Lip Cleavage: The Cosmetic Trend Everyone’s Talking About

For those looking to go beyond the fuller lip look that makeup can provide via contouring and plumping gloss, there is a new cosmetic treatment that’s known as the lip cleavage technique.

Unlike traditional lip augmentation that adds fullness all over, this unique technique creates a literal line of cleavage on the bottom lip. While it may sound silly, the subtle change creates a super-sexy yet natural effect. Intrigued?

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Ahead, is everything you need to know about the lip cleavage technique.

What is lip cleavage? 

Also known as the keyhole pout,” the catchy term refers to a pronounced crease through the center of the bottom body of the lip, which creates two cushiony “pillows” on either side with a subtle shadow in between. Kay Durairaj, MD, FACS, a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, likens the look to Angelina Jolie, whose voluptuous pout has that trademark line down the center of her lower lip. This line is naturally occurring in some while others are opting for lip filler to achieve the look.

The lip cleavage technique with filler adds a plump contour to the lower lip as opposed to one smooth shape. However, as Whitney Bowe, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, points out, it’s all a matter of personal preference. “Some of my patients love those two pillows on the bottom, with a shadow in between, while others request that I place a drop of filler right in the center,” she explains on Instagram.

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How do you get lip cleavage? 

Lip cleavage is achieved through injectable fillers. The amount and type of dermal filler used are the same as conventional lip filler treatment. Whether it’s Juvederm, Restylane, Volbella, or another hyaluronic acid-based filler, your doctor will choose the best type to fit your overall lip goals. However, the placement of that filler is different for the lip cleavage look.

During the lip cleavage technique, Dr. Kay explains that some sort of suture or string, like dental floss, is pressed vertically into the middle of a patient’s bottom lip to create a divot while the filler is injected into either side. As the filler settles, the indentation becomes etched in the body of the lower lip for a plush, pillowy effect. (The same technique can be used on the upper lip if you choose.) 

Because proportions are key with lip fillers, your doctor will likely balance this out by also treating the upper lip and the vermillion borders, which gives more definition to the outline of the lips. The most natural-looking result has a nice balance, with a slightly smaller upper lip and an enhanced contour that adheres to your natural lip shape and harmonizes with the rest of your facial features.

What is the aftercare for lip filler?

As with traditional lip filler treatments, you may notice some bruising and tenderness immediately after the procedure. You can apply ice afterward to ease any pain or itching sensations and use lip color or gloss to cover bruising. You can also expect some swelling to occur; allow two weeks for the filler to settle completely, adds Dr. Kay. Your doctor will then schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure the desired results were achieved and symmetry was maintained.

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How much do lip cleavage injections cost? 

As with all cosmetic procedures, the cost will vary significantly depending on your location, desired results, the type of filler injected, and the number of syringes used. (Most people require only one syringe to treat the entire lip area; however, a more dramatic effect often requires an additional syringe.) For reference, lip injections generally cost anywhere from $400 to $1000, though in big cities like NYC and LA, the cost can reach up to $2000. Also keep in mind that to maintain results, follow-up injections are needed. According to Dr. Kay, the lip cleavage technique lasts anywhere from 6 to 12 months, though touch-ups in between may be required.

Lip cleavage technique before and after photos:

Can you get lip cleavage with makeup?

If you’re not ready for lip filler, you can achieve the lip cleavage look with makeup. The trick is creating that same center crease by contouring the lower lip.

  1. Start by over-lining the entire outline of your lips with a liner that’s a shade darker than your natural lip tone to add fullness.
  2. When working on the bottom lip, draw an ever so slightly inverted triangle at the center.
  3. Then, draw a vertical line down the center, and blend, blend, blend to create a shadow.
  4. Once you have your lips lined to your desired shape, fill them in with nude lip color and finish with a high-shine gloss for that plump, pillowy effect.