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According to Google Trends, search interest in lip plumpers has skyrocketed since May 2021. The sudden rise in popularity may be in part due to a few recent viral TikTok videos showcasing how effectively lip plumpers can volumize a pout. The lip-plumping serums and glosses’ popularity could also be attributed to the change in lip filler trends, with many filler-proud celebrities announcing in recent years that they’re allowing their fillers to dissolve. A natural lip-plumping alternative to fillers, the best lip plumpers can provide a temporary add volume to your lips without the needle.
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A topical plumper is any lip product, whether that be in the form of gloss, balms, masks, oils, or serums, that temporarily swells the lips. According to board-certified dermatologist Macrene Alexiades, some lip plumpers “work temporarily by irritating the lip or transiently causing them to swell.” This is usually accomplished from a proprietary brand blend of active ingredients, whether that be hyaluronic acid, peptides, ginger, or cinnamon. For those formulas which rely upon irritating the skin for plumping, you’ll usually feel a tingling or cooling sensation, which is a sign your lips are reacting to the active ingredient.
“These irritants trigger your body’s natural inflammatory response, causing a surge in blood flow that results in a plumper look,” says board-certified dermatologist, Geeta Yadav.
Do Lip Plumpers Actually Work and Are They Safe?
First and foremost, lip plumpers are perfectly safe. Some formulas are more comfortable and less irritating than others, but any of the recommended lip plumpers below are considered safe and effective. And they really work, too.
“I think topical lip plumpers are a fantastic option if you’re like me and looking for full but not faked lips,” says Wende Zomnir, famed founder of Urban Decay and co-founder of the new clean cosmetics brand Caliray.
But maybe leave it to the experts and save DIY experimentation for another beauty product (like a simple turmeric and yogurt face mask). There are a plethora of natural lip plumper recipes online, but our experts do not recommend using ingredients laying around the house. Utilizing these products, like cinnamon, habanero peppers, or lemon juice, as a natural lip plumper “will be very irritating and not recommended,” says Annie Lawless, founder and CEO of Lawless Beauty.
Top Lip Plumpers of 2022
The Different Types of Lip Plumpers
Teens of the early aughts will remember the feverish hype of painful lip-plumping products, like DuWop Lip Venom. The iconic stinging associated with these early iterations of plumpers had one thing in common: no gain without pain. But the modern versions of lip plumpers can be filled with lip-healing ingredients (like peptides, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid) and come in a variety of formulas, from balms to serums.
Lip Plumping Balms: If you are looking for hydration with your plump, a lip balm or lip mask is perfect for you. The formulas are usually enriched with humectants (like hyaluronic acid) and occlusives (usually shea butter or beeswax) to seal in moisture and heal lips while giving them a boost.
Lip Plumping Serums: Just as a facial serum can penetrate the skin more effectively and deeply than a moisturizer can, lip serums follow suit. But just as in skincare, lip serums usually need to be ‘sealed’ with an occlusive to keep hydrated. Most lip-plumping serums will flood the delicate lip area with hydration, usually in the form of hyaluronic acid or proprietary ingredients, to help gently boost lip volume over time. Serums are most beneficial when used consistently and if applied daily, lips can see noticeable fullness around the four-week mark.
Lip Plumping Glosses: If you love a shiny finish on lips or just appreciate the feel of a glossy lip, grab a lip-plumping gloss. The formulas work as a two-in-one: the shine provides an optical illusion of sorts, implying that lips are more full than they may be without shiny gloss; and secondly, lips are plumped with humectants and boosters that temporarily plump.
For long-term lip plumpers, the best hydrating masks-meets-lip-plumper and the greatest drugstore plumping glosses, check out the 18 best lip plumpers below.
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Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Polish
If you’re not sure where to start on this list, maybe go with a bestseller, like Buxom’s Full-On Plumping Lip Polish. With a mild tingling sensation, three shine finishes (shimmer, pearlescent, and glitter), and 36 shades to choose from, this lip plumper is one-size-fits-all. The polish has over 12,000 reviews on Sephora, where users note its versatility, subtle plumping effect, and ease of use.
Revlon Kiss Plumping Lip Creme
Revlon’s under-$5 lip plumper is incredibly buzzy — and for good reason. It’s available in 10 glossy shades, features the trademarked Volulip technology to help lips look fuller, and feels delightfully creamy and plush. Most reviewers note that the Kiss Plumping Lip Creme doesn’t have an aggressively plumping effect and that it gives more of a subtle look. “It’s not terribly “plumping” but it looks nice, feels great, and I like it enough to have purchased multiple shades,” said one Amazon reviewer.
NYX Cosmetics Filler Instinct Plumping Lip Color
Infused with ginger and hyaluronic acid, NYX’s the Filler Instinct (A+ pun, too) is one of the best lip plumping shiny lipsticks for an affordable price. Available in six bright shades, the formula is satisfyingly light and has a juicy lip gloss-meets-lipstick feel.
Grande Cosmetics GrandeLips Hydrating Lip Plumper
Guess who’s back? Rockstar ingredient Volulip, as well as our other lip-boosting colleagues hyaluronic acid, vitamin B3, and peptides. This serum-meets-lip oil from Grande Cosmetics imparts a high-gloss finish and feels satisfyingly slick, but sans stickiness. This option helps boost the overall lip volume over time, so feel free to swipe on twice a day for at least 30 days to see fuller-looking lips.
Caliray Glazed & Infused
Caliray’s non-stinging lip plumper features the trademarked Maxi-Lip, which Zomnir describes as a “biomimetic peptide that plumps lips by stimulating collagen synthesis and hyaluronic acid synthesisBasically, it helps your lips look fuller immediately because moisture binds to hyaluronic acid and plumps up all those little fine lines.” She notes that they’ve been able to clinically show a 40 percent increase in long-term lip volume as well as a 29 percent smoother appearance of lip lines. It’s perfect for those that prefer the slip of a glossy lip and want more fullness, without the traditional plumper burn.
Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Lip Bath
Featuring mustard sprout extract, marine collagen, coconut oil, and peppermint extract, Charlotte Tilbury’s beloved Collagen Lip Bath is one of the best glossy lip plumpers. It also has pearlescent pigments to make lips appear healthier and fuller.
Macrene Actives High Performance Lip Filler
Dr. Alexiades’ Macrene Actives Lip Filler features a patented blend of injectable-level quality ingredients to mimic fillers for long-term results. First and foremost, the topical lip-plumping oil-meets-serum features encapsulated hyaluronic acid that can permeate the epidermis to deliver deeper hydration. Secondly, “carefully selected peptides stimulate and boost lip thickness to give a more natural look than injections,” she explains. Finally, pharmaceutical-grade ceramides mimic prescription-strength balms to heal chapped lips. “Add to this my lip therapeutic oils and you have a long-term healthier plump and plush lip,” she notes.
Lawless Forget The Filler Overnight Lip Plumping Mask
This overnight lip mask from Lawless Beauty helps to support the lips’ natural collagen production, visibly increase lip volume and improve hydration. “It works by strengthening the cellular matrix, making the lips more dense and therefore looking plumped,” says Lawless. “Unlike the competitor lip-plumping products that irritate the lips for a plumped illusion, our products provide real results over time with continued use,” she explains. This mask is a great option for those that need a serious dose of emollients and hydration but also want fuller-looking lips. It’s one of the best overnight lip products that can also improve lips’ plumpness over time.
Too Faced Lip Injection Maximum Plump Extra Strength Lip Plumper
After going viral on TikTok in 2020, this Lip Injection gloss from Too Faced is almost single-handedly responsible for the modern rise in topical lip-plumping popularity. The serum-like gloss washes lips with a beautiful iridescent, sheer pink color so it can be worn alone, or used as a primer before color: Dab on, let it get to work for a few minutes, wipe off, and follow with your lip color of choice. It has a very strong gourmand scent that some users describe it as bubblegum chocolate.
Dr. Lara Devgan Scientific Beauty Platinum Lip Plump
This is the absolute best SPF-included lip plumper, thanks to the genius of New York-based, board-certified plastic surgeon Lara Devgan. Not only does it have sun protection, but it has broad-spectrum (meaning protection from both UVA and UVB rays) SPF 30. The formula also features a brilliant mix of mixed molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, which is very important because it allows the HA to both sit on the surface and penetrate the tissue for deeper hydration. The Platinum Lip Plump also has vitamin B3 (to give a natural pink flush to the lips) and ceramides to improve the look of fine lines. Basically, it can do it all, in a single sleek tube.
Makeup by Mario MoistureGlow Plumping Lip Serum
Finally back in stock, the MoistureGlow Plumping Lip Serum is one of the buzziest new lip-plumping products that sold out in less than one hour of its initial release. What’s all the fuss about? It’s a glossy balm that instantly melts into lips with a plethora of conditioning oils (including shea butter, avocado oil, refined kiwi oil, and argan oil) that plumps and hydrates. The genius formula is so rich in oils and emollients that it drenches lips with a shiny serum, giving the illusion of a full, juicy, plump pout.
Milk Makeup Electric Glossy Lip Plumper
This high-shine gloss has one very unusual ingredient for the beauty world: Sichuan pepper. Stealing from the kitchen, Milk Makeup included the pepper for both plumping effects and flavor (yes, it has the subtle taste of the vegetable). The formula also includes vegan collagen to boost the appearance of fine lines on the lips and Volulip. As for a tingling sensation, one Sephora reviewer said, “This is more of a buzz feeling but still a strong sensation. Eventually seems a little numbing, but no pain or burn for me.”
Patrick Ta Major Volume Plumping Gloss
The modern version of the OG lip plumping products, this Major Volume Plumping Gloss features warming ingredients with a hydrating boost. The impossibly high-shine gloss has pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and peppermint for an instant plump effect. Those volumizing ingredients are paired with vitamin E, avocado oil, and jojoba oil for a dose of shine and moisture. Available in five shades and scented like cinnamon, this is one of the best lip plumping products to pair atop lipstick. “It’s not painful at all, just has a very faint tingling sensation,” noted one Sephora reviewer.
Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Plumping Gloss
Designed to work in tandem with Dior’s Lip Maximizer Serum, this lip-plumping gloss from Dior has a blend of marine-based fillers, spheres of hyaluronic acid and collagen to smooth the appearance of your lips while hydrating and volume boosting. It gives a cooling, minty feeling and scent. Choose from over 10 shades, all with a subtle, everyday wash of color. This is a fabulous product to swipe on-the-go without even glancing in a mirror for a high-shine, light pop of color and slightly plumped lip.
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Lip Booster
If all of these lip plumpers and filler-inspired products have you smacking your lips in fear, grab this Lip Booster from Make Up For Ever. Infused with a rich dose of hyaluronic acid, this lip serum floods your kisser with moisture, which can naturally make lips appear more lush and plump. It has a nice, soft feel on the lips with a slight natural shine that can be worn alone for a healthy-looking pout. Or use it as a pre-lipstick mask: apply a generous amount, allowing it to absorb for as long as possible, then wipe off any excess before applying color.
111Skin Meso Infusion Lip Duo
This two-step wand is inspired by the mesotherapy treatment (available at 111SKIN founder Dr. Yannis Alexandrides’ Harley Street clinic in London), a subtle micro-injection procedure that boosts the skin with a cocktail of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. This innovative Meso Infusion Lip Duo mimics the potent results of fuller and softer lips sans the needle procedure. Step One is a lip mask that features a trio of proven ingredients: Neodermyl (a collagen-boosting complex), Volulip (hello, again, dear friend), and X Styenol. These key ingredients help create the appearance of a rounder and more curvaceous pout, while also strengthening the delicate lip skin. Follow that volumizing treatment up with Step Two, the conditioning lip balm, which features vitamin E-enriched sweet almond oil, raspberry seed oil, and moisture-locking shea butter to soften and heal lips.
La Mer The Lip Volumizer Serum
La Mer’s lip treatment is not cheap, but it’s well worth the price for this little luxury. Swipe on this healing (and trademarked) marine-sourced complex charmingly referred to as the Miracle Broth. Giant Sea Kelp is hand-harvested off the coast of Vancouver Island, which is the regenerating ingredient at the base of the Miracle Broth. Paired with a plumping collagen mix, The Lip Volumizer softens fine lines and imparts an instant plumping effect. Plus, the luxe gloss has an iridescent sheen that makes lips look impossibly healthy.
Ourself Lip Filler
Ourself is the brand new subtopical skin care system that provides only topical alternatives to common cosmetic procedures, like injectables, fillers, and lasers. The brand’s patent-pending topical lip filler focuses on reclaiming volume, suppleness, and definition with the help of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3. According to clinical trial results for the lip filler, 100 percent of users saw long-lasting naturally fuller lips in just three weeks.
How Long Do Lip Plumping Effects Last?
The only way you’ll achieve a more permanent plump in the lips is with filler. All topical lip plumpers are only temporary, with some lasting between only 15 minutes to a few hours. “Users should know that lip plumpers are a temporary fix,” says Zomnir.
“In most cases, the effects of topical lip plumping treatments and glosses are temporary,” says Dr. Yadav, adding that results last up to about three hours.
But buyer beware: “Because they typically work by causing irritation, over time, they can cause minor damage to the skin,” she says.
That being said, several of the plumping products above have ingredients in them that are scientifically proven to gradually increase lip thickness, which helps to strengthen and boost the lips’ appearance both immediately and over time. “Many plumpers can deliver great, long-term results, but you have to keep applying daily to see continued plumping benefits,” Zomnir explains.
These newer lip plumper formulas rely on hyaluronic acid and peptides to create fullness in the lip without the irritation of “old-school” formulas, says Dr. Yadav. “Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that draws moisture into the skin, holding up to 1,000 times its molecular weight in water to smooth the look of lines and create a slightly plumper look,” she explains.
“Another popular choice for lip-plumper formulations is Maxi-Lip, a proprietary peptide complex that stimulates your natural collagen production to create firmer, plusher lips,” says Dr. Yadav. You’ll see several products below that feature this innovative ingredient. Though these products need to be applied quite frequently – as often as three or more times a day for a month – to see results, Dr. Yadav notes that they can be effective. “Just keep in mind that no topical product can achieve results that are comparable to injectable filler,” she explains.
Should I Try A Lip Plumping Tool?
Lip-plumping tools are a category of devices that work to temporarily plump lips with suction, poking, or inflaming the skin. As you might guess, dermatologists are not fans. “Most ‘tools’ work by traumatizing the lip skin,” says Dr. Alexiades. “If you poke, abrade or otherwise inflame the lips, they will swell temporarily. However, I am against violence and harm to the lip; I believe you are far better off by gently and permanently boosting your stem cells and actual lip structure.”
How to Extend the Effects of Lip Plumpers?
So you’ve purchased one of these products above, but how do you extend the impressive results? Thankfully, some of the best lip-plumping serums and products have formulas that can penetrate the lips deeper, helping to gradually increase lip thickness over time while strengthening and boosting the lips overall health and appearance. With daily reapplication, these highly-technical formulas are designed to mimic injectable fillers without an actual injection. Similar to reapplying lash growth serum every night for fuller, more lush eyelashes in a few weeks, a lip plumper (if formulated to do so) can be reapplied twice a day for more plump, full lips in as little as four weeks.
A great rule of thumb is to exfoliate with a lip scrub prior to the application of a plumping product. This will help remove excess dry skin and help the lips absorb the lip plumping ingredients even better.
Meet the Experts
Dr. Macrene Alexiades: Manhattan-based, double-board certified, research-focused dermatologist, Dr. Alexiades, holds three degrees from Harvard and is an associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine. She founded her eponymous skin care brand, Macrene Actives, and continues to upgrade her formulations, like the recently relaunched Tinted Moisturizer.
Dr. Geeta Yadav: Dr. Geeta Yadav practices general, medical and cosmetic dermatology at her Toronto practice. She performs the entire range of procedures, from Botox injections to skin cancer screenings, all in the course of a day.
Wende Zomnir: She’s the founder of Urban Decay, one of the original start-up makeup brands in the 90s, as well as Caliray, her newly launched makeup brand with a focus on clean, cruelty-free beauty.
Annie Lawless: After selling her first multimillion dollar venture to Coca-Cola, Annie turned her attention to developing Lawless Beauty, a toxin-free, full coverage makeup line. She serves as the brand’s CEO, which is one of the fastest-growing brands at Sephora.