May 13th 2022
Move over smokey eye; of late lips have been in the beauty industry spotlight, with everything from ombré colourways to full-on glitter seen on streets and catwalks alike. One ‘trend’ in particular that doesn’t look as though it’s dying out anytime soon is a full, Bardot-esque pillowy lip, and if you’re not naturally cherubic of mouth, there are plenty of glosses, elixirs and serums that promise plump lips in both the short and long-term. What kind of effect can a lip plumper really achieve, and vitally, can swollen lips ever be comfortable?! We put our lips on the line for this one.
The promise: “Moisturizes lips and gives an incredible instant-volume effect.”
Review: “At first glance, the Dior Lip Maximizer looks like a perfectly normal lipgloss so you’d be forgiven for picking it up, swooshing it on and going about your business. It’s only after about 30 seconds that the mint kick starts to amplify and your lips start to tingle a bit. I’m afraid I don’t think that this has had any “lip plumping” effect on my lips but, nevertheless, it is still a nice everyday lip gloss. Just don’t be fooled into thinking you’re going to transform from thin lips Lizzie to Kylie Jenner overnight!”
The promise: “Lips come alive with more colour, volume, and softness. Natural botanicals like avocado and jojoba oil smooth and moisturize for extra kissability and shine.”
We give it: 3/10
Review: “Too Faced were pioneers in the lip plumping arena with their original and best-selling Lip Injection, which claimed to make lips 20 per cent plumper. Now they have added colour with a range of tinted plumping glosses which promise immediate and long-term effects. I was keen to try, but couldn’t wait to get it off - my lips burned as if I had just face planted a plate of vindaloo. Far from feeling ‘extra kissable’, I felt sore and grumpy for a good 30 minutes although did see an increase in volume. This product has garnered Marmite reviews, which must be down to individual sensitivity or the pursuit of plumpness regardless of pain (a bit like squeezing yourself into a killer stiletto). I found the product sticky, plus it bled – probably because I kept pressing my lips together to relieve the discomfort. They do warn you, in an oxymoronic way, of a ‘slight intense tingle that can last up to 5-10 minutes’ and to remove if discomfort is felt. I’m clearly not hardy enough for this product.”
The promise: “Delivers immediate and long-term effects with an advanced formula that works to define lip contours and improve tone for visibly plumper, fuller-looking results, plus a glossy sheen.”
Review: “To be honest, I'm not really sure what this does other than make my lips tingle for hours, but if I can rate it on a hydration level it gets pretty high marks. As a lip plumper though I'm not really sure it does what it says on the 'tin' other than give the lips a glossy shine. It contains Sichuan pepper extract which is said to stimulate blood flow to lips, bringing extra colour and fullness, and to a small degree this does appear to happen. Most of all it gives lips a healthier appearance by smoothing out the surface, but I don't think that they necessarily look any more plumped than normal! It's a pretty nice lip balm, but a lot to spend for a product that’s often considered a basic.”
We give it: 5/10
Review: “The original lip plumper, this thick, tingling gloss brings me right back to pre-gaming my beauty routine in Boots before nights out at Uni (classy/ unhygienic). I recall a particularly dramatic evening when my best friend and I applied this in a chemist in Nottingham. I achieved the desired slightly pink, pillowy lip, but something about the ‘spiced’ formula didn’t agree with her mouth, and the effect was far more than she bargained for. Think convincingly bee stung (by a whole hive), rather than figuratively. It died down, but it’s safe to say we were late to the club that night. For me, on the other hand, this old-skool enhancer does big up lips, and while it tingles it’s not uncomfortable, although I’m not sure it has a particularly more profound effect than any other ‘substantial’ gloss (rather than the drippy kind that rubs off). The precise brush applicator is handy if your lips are thin, but you don’t get a lot of gloss for your cash; the small, plain vial seems a bit stingy for the price. That being said it’s long-lasting and does achieve a degree of plumping, but I’d definitely patch test pre-application…”
The promise: “Fuller looking lips in one easy step."
We give it: 3/10
Review: “When I first read the premise of this product, I thought it sounded pretty cool. I don’t tend to wear lipstick, other than the odd nude lip crayon, but I can appreciate the need for a liner to keep it in tact and with naturally thin lips I thought it was worth giving it a go to try and create a bigger pout. However, the teardrop shaped applicator contains two shades - in the Criminally Coral one I tried, the pointy tip is a brighter pink shade, while the rest is a (very pretty) coral-like nude. You apply this like a lipstick, carefully ensuring the tip is always at your outer edge so as to ‘line’ the lips. Except because the shades are so different, the result is a '90s style, Glamour-model-cum-Barbie look which makes your lips look a little larger, yes, but also rather clown-like. As a lipstick avoider perhaps I’m just not the right audience, or perhaps there are better shades that aren’t so… bright, but this is one 90s throwback I won’t be trying again. Sorry Benefit!”