My associations with lip plumper are both numerous and vivid: an overwhelming scent of cinnamon followed immediately by redness, pain, swelling, more pain, and a considerable amount of buyer’s regret. The options I remember trying years ago were packed with stinging agents that instantly set my mouth on fire. Technically speaking, you could say they worked—but the effect was somewhat ruined when tears began streaming rapidly down my face. But years later, when I stumbled upon Dr. Devgan’s Platinum Lip Plump (which is on sale for Cyber Monday, more on that later)—I had a totally different experience.
$50.00, Violet Grey
I’ve heard plenty of times since then that formulas have come a long way, a claim I had no desire to test for myself. Having already been down the path of suffering once, I didn't need to repeat that memorable experience. Naturally, fate had other plans in mind and Glamour’s senior beauty editor, Lindsay Schallon, knew exactly how to get my attention. When she told me that Dr. Devgan’s Platinum Lip Plump was even better than filler)—complete with photo evidence—I felt an inexplicable urge to try it. I’m both endlessly fascinated by injectables and heavily skeptical that any topical product can realistically mimic their effects. If you’re not putting hyaluronic acid in your lips or working detailed makeup artistry with multiple products, can it really be done? (Without a full-blown allergic reaction?)
In the interest of not bursting into hysterical sobs for the second time, I did some research on the ingredients before letting the doe-foot applicator anywhere near my mouth. According to board-certified plastic surgeon and brand founder Lara Devgan, M.D., her new-gen formulation swaps common irritants (chili pepper, menthol, or cinnamon) for niacin (aka vitamin B3). Her hero ingredient causes a relaxing of tiny superficial blood vessels, which translates to a mild flush and makes your lips look “1 to 2 millimeters larger.” Devgan and fellow beauty editors all assured me the sensation would amount to no more than a slight tingle, levels below what I had previously felt. The product is designed to be gentle, although Devgan stresses that you should stay inside your lip line when putting it on.
Armed with this knowledge, I chose an uneventful weekend to finally uncap the shiny silver tube. The first thing I noticed was the lack of eye-watering scent. To my immense relief, the clear formula just smelled faintly of watermelon Jolly Rancher candies. The consistency was halfway between a thin balm and a gloss, with none of the stickiness associated with the latter.
I began with a single light layer, making sure to stay within my lip line, as Devgan advised. At first it just looked appealingly shiny—but within a few seconds the tingle kicked in. Please believe that I would never want you to suffer as I have suffered, so when I say “mild tingle,” I promise that I actually mean tingle and not the seventh circle of hell. The sensation lasted for a minute, 90 seconds, tops. And then I was left with enhanced, poutier, slightly flushed lips that looked as if they’d just exited a derm’s office.
To be honest, this is not even a product I personally need, and yet I can’t stop applying it just to marvel at a rare case of something exceeding its hype. My lips have always been full to begin with (chalk up my previous inexplicable desire to try plumper to a case of road-testing every beauty trend at least once), but I love that I have the option to fake an excellent lip blushing and filler session in a single swipe. In addition to niacin, it also contains hydrating additions like hyaluronic acid and ceramides that help smooth and soften. A single $50 tube lasts one or two months, depending on how often you use it, which is a significantly smaller investment than injectables. And while the lip plumping lasts only a few hours, you can easily reapply once it begins wearing off—no doctor’s appointment needed.
Now, about that sale: For today only, Violet Grey is having a “buy more, save more” Cyber Monday sale. This means you can get luxe beauty products from Tom Ford and La Mer, as well as (drumroll, please) Dr. Devgan Platinum Lip Plump, for less. Buy two lip plumpers for $85 (save $15) and consider your beauty bag blessed.
Dr. Devgan Platinum Lip Plump, two for $80, violetgrey.com
$50.00, Violet Grey
Sarah Wu is a writer in Berlin. Follow her on Instagram @say.wu.
Originally Appeared on Glamour