Craving fulls lips a la Angelina Jolie but the thought of getting injections scares the hell out of you?
Lip plumpers look like the perfect solution. They make your lips bigger without pain, downtime or hours spent overdrawing your lips.
But… do lip plumpers really work? Do they have what it takes to make your lips bigger or are they just a temporary fix?
Let’s find out:
What Are Lip Plumpers?
Lip plumpers are a type of lip product designed to make your lips appear fuller.
Note I said “appear” fuller, not “make” fuller. There’s a difference. Lip plumpers are cosmetic products and cosmetics can only change the look of your lips (or skin), not alter their size.
If they could go that extra mile, they’d be classified as drugs. Those are strictly regulated. Translation: beauty brands need to do a lot of expensive testing to make sure drugs don’t have nasty side effects… like cancer or death.
What does it mean? No matter what fancy claims a brand comes up with, a lip plumper will only give you the illusion of slightly bigger lips.
One more thing: the effects of lip plumpers are only temporary.
Related: What’s The Difference Between A Cosmetic And A Drug?
How Do Lip Plumpers Work?
There are three kinds of lip plumpers – and they all work in a different way:
1. Swelling Lip Plumpers
I call them swelling lip plumpers because they literally make your lips swell up. How?
They use ingredients, like menthol and camphor, that irritate lips, making them swell up so they look bigger.
FYI, that tingling you’re experiencing? That’s your lips being irritated. Ouch!
I do NOT recommend swelling lip balms at all. Irritation is NEVER good news. It just makes your lips more sensitive to anything and speeds up premature aging. Scary, huh?
Not sure what ingredients are irritating? Click on the image below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive the “Irritating Ingredients Cheat Sheet” with the most irritating ingredients lurking in your cosmetics:
Related: What To Do If A Skincare Product Irritates Your Skin
2. Collagen-Boosting Lip Plumpers
Collagen-boosting lip plumpers do just that: they stimulate collagen production. Here’s how:
These lip plumpers contain ingredients, like peptides and retinol, that have been proven to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep skin firm and full.
In theory, this trick keeps your lips fuller and prevents them from thinning with age. In practice? Some dermatologists don’t think they can reach deep enough into the skin to stimulate anything.
There’s nothing wrong with giving these types of lip plumpers a try, if you can afford the splurge. Just don’t expect miracles.
Related: Are Copper Peptides Better Than Retinoids?
3. Moisturising Lip Plumpers
Ah, moisture! That old trick. Let me share the secret with you…
Moisturising lip plumpers work by moisturizing lips. They contain microspheres that attract water molecules to your lips. The extra moisture plumps up your lips, giving them a fuller appearance.
Of course, the effect is subtle and temporary. But if you really must try a lip plumper, this is your safest (in every sense!) bet.
Related: 4 Things I’ve Learned From Korean Skincare
Do Lip Plumpers Work?
Yes, lip plumpers work – just not as well as you think. They can make your lips appear a little thicker for a few hours, but they won’t give you the full Angelina Jolie look you’re craving for. Even then, you need to constantly keep reapplying them during the day to maintain the results.
What Are The Best Lip Plumpers?
I’m not into lip plumpers. The results are too little for my taste. But if I had to use them, I’d pick the ones below:
- PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Lip Booster ($45.00): available at Dermstore and Nordstrom
- Replenix Plumping Lip Treatment SPF 30 ($37.00): available at Dermstore
Have you tried lip plumpers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.