This Is the Most In-Demand Beauty Look Right Now, But No One Wanted It 5 Years Ago

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From celebs sporting them to pretty much all of us searching social media for the term, one thing is clear: The popularity of fuller lips has surpassed “fad” levels and is now a full-blown thing.

So it may be rather surprising that a recent study says this look is a preference that is rather new.

In a research letter published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery yesterday, a group of doctors are reporting that the preference for fuller lips is “relatively recent…a multifactorial aesthetic driven by changing demographics of both consumers and beauty archetypes (eg, fashion models and celebrities), the relatively low cost and safe use of numerous injectable filler agents, and the dicta of the fashion industry.”

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Their proof: Fifty years of analysis of the Vogue archives. The methodology: “Vogue archives from 1960 to 2011 were accessed from the Langson Library at the University of California, Irvine. Inclusion criteria for selection were true frontal facial images oriented along the Frankfort Horizontal plane of female fashion models of any race, with each facial image occupying at least 1/3 of the page height and with lips in repose or at rest. Three hundred fifty-three photographs met the inclusion criteria. Exclusion criteria were images of celebrities, exaggerated lip expression (ie, pouting), and excessive makeup that altered lip shape. Images were digitally scanned.”

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What they found was that there was no proof of a “fuller lip” trend during that time period—there was no statistical increase in the upper-lip surface area, or the lower-lip surface area. (They did note that other factors—editor preference and the fact that the majority of model were fashion models and not celebrities—may have played a part in the results.)

So why are we so into fuller lips now? Thanks to social media and mega-celebrities like Kylie Jenner, all it might take are a few people’s personal preferences and a massive Instagram following to drive a trend.

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