Commitment-phobes, unite! In case you've been living under a rock these past few years, the age of the supermodel is still going strong. While tweakments are on the rise, understandably not everyone is looking to dive in headfirst and crack on with the lip fillers. Instead, a gentle introduction into the wonderful world of lip volumising might feel more apt.
For long enough we've admired the pillowy lips of Emily Ratajkowski, Adut Akech and Hailey Bieber from a distance – now it is time for you to perfect your pout with our edit of high-performing lip plumper products.
But first, it feels necessary to address the elephant in the room: lip gloss has a pretty bad rap. Back in the day, all it took was one mischievous gust of wind to ruin an otherwise impeccable lip gloss moment. However, luckily these days, sophisticated, non-jammy formulas reign supreme.
Do lip plumpers work?
In short, yes, lip plumpers "work", but be realistic with your expectations. Topical products are not going to give you long-term plumping effects, and so, if you're on the hunt for something permanent, lip fillers might be the way to go.
However, you fancy a short-term volume boost, go full steam ahead. Some products contain hyaluronic acid, a humectant which retains moisture, giving your lips a slightly fuller effect.
Other more heavy-duty products use ingredients such as capsaicin (present in chilli peppers), menthol or peppermint to invoke temporary mild irritation – giving you that plumped-up look.
Industry giant Charlotte Tilbury gets it bang on with her Collagen Lip Bath. Available in a selection of gorgeous, better-than-your-lips shades, expect a subtle tingle and a super-comfortable high-shine finish. As someone who has always generally shied away from a gloss - I can’t bear the feel - I was seriously impressed. The light-reflecting pearlescent pigments worked really well in giving the illusion of a fuller lip.
Gloss girlies will adore this more extreme version of a Too Faced classic. The tingling sensation is subtle and pleasant and when you open it up, you are hit with a comforting, syrupy scent. The doe foot applicator is a doddle to use and my lips had a noticeable plumpness and the nourishing oils infused them with a pretty, subtle shine. The clear gloss formula is comfortable to wear, and not overly sticky, although I'd personally avoid wearing my hair down at the same time to avoid catching rogue hairs.
Packed with a plant-based plumping agent and complex five hyaluronic acids, Refy's Lip Buff was an unexpected favourite. The formula was so different to the other plumpers I tried, far more serum-like and fluid than viscous. Rather than leaving a glossy finish, it absorbed almost instantly. Even during the warmer months, my lips are rough, and the unique, exfoliating tip worked a treat, gently employing some good old physical exfoliation to eliminate any dead skin cells. The effect was definitely on the more natural end of the spectrum, but that didn't faze me – the buffing motion gave them a healthy, flushed colour.
Don't let the lacklustre packaging put you off, this plumper by Transformulas really packs a punch. Peppermint oil and collagen stimulating peptides join forces to deliver an energising tingle, and I found that my lips visibly increased in volume. An underlying heat remains throughout (if you want the sensation to fade away to nothing, this is not the one for you), but the formula was pleasingly non-sticky, and the effect was high-octane.
Don't let the barely-there tingle fool you – Plump It!'s Hyaluronic Lip Plumper is worth its weight in gold. The low-key sensation amps up into a comfortable warmth and lips are quite dramatically more voluminous than before. Not the one if you want a wash of colour as this one is clear, and the packaging is noticeably less luxurious than some other products I tried at similar price points, but handily, it can easily be layered over your favourite lipstick.
For those intent on achieving a flattering plumped-up effect without the customary tingling sensation, look no further than U Beauty's The Plasma Lip Compound. It delivers a comfortable shot of moisture via long-chain hyaluronic acid and its pleasing part-lip balm, part-lip enhancer formula means it's not even remotely jammy. Granted, it’s on the higher of the price spectrum, but my lips did feel hydrated for hours after application.
Project Lip's Matte Plumping Primer is not for the fainthearted – delivering a pretty enthusiastic (although entirely bearable) tingle. It's definitely a handy product for when you're wanting to wear your favourite shade with an extra volume boost. Plus, its reasonable price point is a major bonus.
An oldie but a goodie, the hero product in Soap & Glory's iconic Sexy Mother Pucker range is its XL Lip Gloss. Expect fuller, plumper lips and a noticeably shiny pout at an affordable price point. Teenage nostalgia overload.
Fenty Beauty's Gloss Bomb Heat Universal Lip Luminiser + Plumper wins when it comes to versatility. Its sheer shades are incredibly forgiving - necessary, given my often slapdash approach towards application - and can be worn by themselves as a light wash of colour or over a lipstick to give off a cool, wet-look shine.
Which lip plumper lasts the longest?
For me, the lip plumper that came out on top in terms of staying power was Charlotte Tilbury's Collagen Lip Bath. Considering I'm not usually a gloss girl, I was seriously impressed by how comfortable the formula felt on my lips. In comparison to some of the others I tried the tingle sensation was less punchy, but that didn't affect the uber flattering lip plumping results which lasted for several hours.
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