So, How Exactly Do Lip Plumpers Work?

And why do they sting?

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

Fuller lips have become a coveted look for many. From fillers to lip plumping devices and lip liner hacks to lip filler, there are a number of ways to create a plumper pout. For those who opt out of professional in-office treatments or aren’t makeup aficionados able to create the illusion of fuller lips, lip plumpers offer a quick and easy way to achieve a fuller look.

Long gone are the days in high school where we secretly bought Lip Venom in the hopes our parents wouldn’t notice but our crush would. Now, there are so many products on the market that give you a quick boost to achieve your desired look — but how exactly do lip plumpers even work?

Scroll on for the lowdown from makeup artists on how they work, what to watch out for, and why they may be a good option for giving your pout some plumping.

Related:We Tested 27 of the Best Lip Plumpers — These 6 Give Lips Needle-Free Volume and Fullness

What is lip plumper?

For starters, lip plumpers are products meant to give you short term fuller looking lips sans injections. “It's a product you use before putting on lipstick or lip gloss to give you more surface area for the product," says Shaina Ehrlich, a New York-based makeup artist. "Lip plumper can also be used alone as well if you are more low-key with your makeup and are looking for a quick pout.”

What are the benefits of using a lip plumper?

“The benefits are instant payoff,” says celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg. “If one day you want bigger lips you can use it, but unlike fillers, you don’t have to go with the trend the next day if you’re so inclined. Plus, they’re way more affordable.”

How does lip plumper work?

Greenberg says, they usually contain ingredients like mint, pepper, ginger or other ingredients that mildly irritate the lips and cause them to temporarily swell. "The lips react by expanding a little and the blood usually flows to the lips giving the lips the perfect natural pout color,” she explains.

That's why it tingles or can be a little painful, Ehrlich adds. “They appear larger and the color is more pronounced because they are actually irritated.”

Are there any potential side effects from using lip plumper?

As with any product, there is the potential your skin doesn’t react well with the formula. But with its short-term effects, the fix can be as easy as wiping it off and discontinuing use.

Greenberg adds that she usually wears a lip mask the night before to minimize irritation. “Make sure your lips are well moisturized because if your lips are chapped or dry it can make them worse.”

What's the best way to use lip plumper?

For events, Ehrlich says she would put on the lip plumper mid-makeup application so your lips become fully plumped by the time you're done with the rest of your makeup, and then you can do your lip. “Lip plumpers usually last between two to four hours, so I would make sure to apply it closer to the event so your lips will stay plump all night,” she says. Lip plumper can also be used alone as well if you are more low-key with your makeup and are looking for a quick pout.

“Sometimes, I use them alone and after they’ve kicked in I will outline the lips with a lip liner — they look huge that way," shares Greenberg. "Other times I’ll put it on and then apply a color over it.” Ultimately though, it's up to you.

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