When it comes to the lips, most women content themselves with their favorite tube of wax-based
lip color and feel theyve done enough. In fact, I know women whose entire make-up kit consists of a tube of lipstick and a tube of
mascara. Frankly speaking, lipstick is enough for most women, most of the time.
But there are other cosmetics that serve purposes connected to making the lips more appealing. In
addition to lip color, we have lip liner products to define the shape of the lips, and glosses to give a smoother, plumper appearance.
We also have new products that are designed to actually increase the fullness and appearance of the lips, although the results from
these are not yet everything one might expect.
Without going into a lot of dry and boring technical jargon, the lips are made up of skin
consisting of flat, scale-like cells in three to five cellular layers (the skin of the rest of the face has up to 16 layers on
average). The lips form the border between the exterior skin of the face and the mucous membranes of the interior of the mouth.
The skin of the lips has no hair follicles, no sweat glands and no sebaceous glands. Because of this, there is no production of
natural emollients or perspiration to keep the skin smooth, and the thinness means that the lips can become dry and chapped easily.
The thinness of the lips also means that the blood vessels below the surface are more readily
visible and in individuals who have pale skin tone, the lips have much fewer melanocytes (pigment cells) and often take on a very
pink tone. With individuals of darker skin tone, the lips are often less notably different in color. The tissue beneath the lips
can also include fat cells which give the lips their plumpness and shape.
The basic parts of the mouth and lips are as follows:
Upper Lip (labia superfluous entafada) is the strip of smooth skin that
borders the upper edge of the mouth. It is usually thinner than the lower lip and can have pronounced peaks to either side of a
groove at the center of the mouth.
Lower Lip (labium inferius) is the strip of smooth skin that borders the
lower edge of the mouth. It is usually wider and vertically deeper than the upper lip.
Vermilion [ver-MIL-yon] is the border of the skin of the lips and the
surrounding skin of the face. In some individuals this is more pronounced, while in others the two skin types seem to almost blend.
Philtrum [FIL-trum] is the groove-like indentation often found at the center
of the upper lip. It is responsible for the biggest difference in shape between the upper and lower lips and becomes more pronounced when the mouth is puckered.
Lips and Ideals of Beauty
Throughout history, the lips have been compared to flower petals and sweet wines or nectars.
Young women were praised for the softness, poutiness and plumpness of their lips. When young women blushed in their innocence, their
cheeks would color and the flow of the blood would cause their lips to darken and swell slightly as well. The same result was found
whenever the individual became aroused.
As cosmetics came into use, the desire was to create a reflection of these alluring traits, and
the act of tinting the lips first with juices of fruit and berries, and later with other longer-lasting preparations became
commonplace. Oils and waxes, and other emollients (like whale blubber) were used to protect the lips and help the color last even
add shine to make the lips look plumper.