The esthetic properties of lips: a comparison of models and nonmodels

Angle Orthod. 2004 Apr;74(2):162-6. doi: 10.1043/0003-3219(2004)074<0162:TEPOLA>2.0.CO;2.


It is perceived that fuller lips are more attractive, and hence lip augmentation has become common in esthetic plastic surgery. Numerous materials have been used, including collagen, autologous adipocytes, and more recently Restylane; however, little data exist on what comprises esthetically beautiful lips. Photographs of 28 models from fashion magazines were scanned to obtain digital images. These were selected strictly, using only exactly anterior-facing pictures. Using image analysis software, a range of defined lengths, angles, the lip area, and perimeter were measured. Lengths were expressed as a ratio of the intercanthal distance. A group of 14 nonmodel hospital employees were used as controls, with images obtained using a digital camera, and the same measurements were calculated. Results were compared for the two groups, and statistical analysis was performed using the Student's t-test. Overall lip width was not significantly different between the two groups (models, 15.7 units; nonmodels, 15.9 units). Both upper- and lower-lip height was significantly greater in models than in nonmodels (models, 2.1 and 3.6 units; nonmodels, 1.6 and 2.7 units, respectively), as was the upper-lip height laterally at the point of the angle of cupid's bow. Correspondingly, the angles of both upper and lower lips were also greater in models (models, 30.0 degrees and 47.3 degrees; nonmodels, 23.2 degrees and 37.6 degrees, respectively). We have assumed the model group to have esthetically beautiful lips. Our quantitative measurements have confirmed that this population has fuller lips compared with nonmodel controls, as determined by the lip height and angles.

MeSH terms

  • Cosmetic Techniques
  • Esthetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Hyaluronic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Lip / anatomy & histology*


  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Restylane