The best lip plumper
Lip fillers definitely aren't for the faint of heart. If you're not a fan of needles, a lip plumper can be a less invasive alternative -- not only does it provide pain-free plumping for your lips, but it's also much kinder to your wallet. Many plumpers even add a hint of color and shine to your lips, too.
If you're not exactly sure what to look for in a lip plumper, check out our buying guide to learn all you need to know to choose the perfect formula. Our top pick from the trusted makeup brand Too Faced plumps the lips instantly and can help keep your lips looking fuller with repeated use.
Considerations when choosing lip plumpers
Lip plumpers are available in two types: instant lip plumpers and treatment lip plumpers.
As their name implies, instant lip plumpers provide an instant plumping effect by stimulating the flow of blood to your lips that increases their fullness. They usually cause a mild stinging or burning sensation that irritates the lips just enough to boost blood flow for the temporary plumping effect. For most users, the irritation lasts 60 seconds or less.
Treatment lip plumpers contain ingredients that help increase the production of collagen and elastin in the lips, so your lips slowly begin to look plumper over time. They're highly moisturizing and may help exfoliate the lips to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines to help your lips look fuller. If you use a treatment lip plumper regularly, you can achieve long-lasting plumping results.
Lip plumpers are available in several different formulas that vary in consistency, texture, and finish.
A lip plumper gloss or serum is fairly thick. It's commonly used for instant plumpers. It has a shiny finish on the lips, so it's an excellent topper for other lip products. A gloss or serum typically comes in a tube with a wand applicator for easy application of the product.
A lip plumper balm is similar to a traditional lip balm but contains lip-plumping ingredients. It's housed in a tube, so you twist up the product to apply it to your lips. A balm usually has a thin texture that sinks into the lips quickly and may feature either instant or treatment lip-plumping ingredients.
A lip plumper gel has an extremely thick consistency and is usually highly moisturizing. It typically comes in a squeeze tube container with a slant-tip applicator that allows you to apply it directly to the lips or a pot that requires you to use a finger to apply it. A gel formula is often used for treatment lip plumpers.
The most effective lip plumpers usually contain certain active ingredients. In instant lip plumpers, the best ingredients are ones that boost the flow of blood to the lips. If you're shopping for a treatment plumper, look for ingredients that help hydrate the lips and encourage the production of collagen.
Effective active ingredients in instant plumpers include:
Effective active ingredients in treatment lip plumpers include:
Most lip plumpers are clear, so they may add shine to the lips but not any color. Some plumpers are also available in tinted formulas, so they leave some color behind on your lips and can eliminate the need for a separate gloss or lipstick. A clear lip plumper is a good option if you want to layer the plumper over an existing colored lip product.
Lip plumper prices
You'll usually pay between $5 and $60 for a lip plumper. Instant plumpers typically range from $5 to $35, while treatment lip plumpers range from $35 to $60.
Q. Are instant lip plumpers painful to use?
A. Nearly all instant lip plumpers cause some type of stinging or tingling sensation upon application to help boost blood flow to plump the lips. For most people, this feeling is mild and only lasts a minute or less. Other individuals are more sensitive, so the effect can be more painful and last longer. It's best to do a test before you use an instant lip plumper: dab a small amount on your lips and wait to see how you react. If the sensation isn't too uncomfortable, you can apply the plumper all over your lips.
Q. Can I use a lip plumper every day?
A. For the best results, treatment lip plumpers should be used every day. In some cases, you may want to use it both morning and night to see the best results. However, with an instant lip plumper, it's best to give your lips a break from the irritation they cause to prevent dry, flaky lips. Try to use them just two to three times a week.
Lip plumpers we recommend
Best of the best: Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme
Our take: A clear lip plumper that instantly provides fuller lips and can be worn under any lipstick or gloss. The most effective alternative to filler injections.
What we like: Offers the most visible plumping effect of instant plumper products. Can also provide long-term results with regular use. Sinks into the lips in less than a minute. Shiny finish helps reflect light to make lips appear fuller. Feels moisturizing.
What we dislike: Some users find its stinging or tingling sensation to be extremely uncomfortable. Can cause irritation if it gets on the skin around the mouth.
Best bang for your buck: Buxom Full-On Lip Polish
Our take: A tinted lip plumper from a trusted brand that instantly plumps the lips and helps boost collagen production.
What we like: Contains both hyaluronic acid and peptides to stimulate collagen production. Features vitamins A and E to help moisturize and smooth the lips. Provides a cool tingling sensation. Available in a wide array of glossy colors. Offers easy application with a sponge-tip applicator.
What we dislike: Some users don't like the sticky feel and strong fragrance. Plumping results don't last as long as those from other products.
Choice 3: Grande Lips Hydrating Lip Plumper
Our take: Lip plumper that provides both instant and long-term plumping effects without any uncomfortable tingling or burning.
What we like: Only requires three to five minutes to plump lips. Moisturizes and smooths. Is available in several shades as well as clear. Has a pleasant vanilla scent. Works well for those with sensitive skin. Cushion applicator makes it comfortable to apply.
What we dislike: Not a lot of product in the tube. Some users don't find the results very noticeable.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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