9 Lip Plumpers Reviewed: Get Bigger Lips

This is my ultimate guide to lip plumping: I’ve reviewed 9 lip plumpers to show you how to get bigger lips quickly, safely, and on the cheap!

If you’re anything like me, you wish you were born with plumper lips, like Kylie Jenner lips, or Angelina Jolie lips – those voluptuous levels of plump. I hear you. I’ve spent loads of time trying all those “natural” lip plumping ingredients such as mint and cinnamon, as well as store bought products. I didn’t have as much success as I could until I formulated a method to get bigger lips whenever I wanted them.

lips mother pucker b4 after

I found out after trying loads of different lip plumpers that it requires a bit of strategy to get bigger lips, you see – just putting plumpers on your lips and checking them in the mirror won’t actually help. In my experience (and I’ve been plumping my lips since 2005), the absolute best thing for lip plumping are two ingredients: Sodium Hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid, a natural substance that your body produces) and Maxi Lip (a peptide blend; peptides are naturally found in the body). Read on to find out how to use these for the very best results. After my lip plumping method, I’ve reviewed the 9 lip plumping products that I’ve tried and tested: Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss; Collection (was Collection 2000) Plumping Lip Gloss;  Collection Volume Sensation Lipstick; Avon Anew Lip Plumping Conditioner; Lip Venom; Physician’s Formula Plump Potion Needle Free Plumping Cocktail; Boots 17 Volumizing Lip Gloss; Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker XL and Rimmel Volume Booster Lip Gloss.  Then I share links to the evidence that lip plumpers can and do work. Who needs fillers when you can do this instead?

Contents (click to go straight there):

Method for Plumping Lips
My top picks for plumping
The “plumpers” that didn’t work
Products I want to try
What about natural lip plumpers?
How do lip plumpers claim to work?
Does lip plumping really work? The evidence.

Method for Plumping Lips:

Lip plumpers alone won’t give you bigger lips. Why? The skin on your lips needs to stretch and grow to accommodate more lip. We don’t live in a world of magic, and our bodies can only do so much. If you don’t let your lips gradually stretch, they won’t stay plumped, even with the best products. Not only that, but they’ll become incredibly uncomfortable and you’ll probably start getting dry crackly bits on them, and your lips will start splitting when you use plumping products. This isn’t a sign that the plumping products aren’t working, it’s a sign that you need a better lip care regime to enable your lips to plump to their largest.

How do you stretch them? If you’re totally new to lip plumping or you haven’t done it for a few months, start with using a lip plumping product once a day. What do you do the rest of the time? Lip balm. To get plump lips, you need to keep your lips moisturized with lip balm at all times. I take mine off only when I’m eating and drinking. Why? Because dry lips don’t stretch properly when you put a plumper on, they crack. You need to moisturize the lips with balms to get them to plump instead of cracking. By doing this, you are making sure there’s enough room inside the lip for them to get bigger. Additionally, many plumping products dry your lips out, so you need to keep them moisturized for that reason as well. I also recommend taking vitamin E supplements so your lips are well-conditioned inside and out (if you’re currently using vitamin K to banish blue circles, take the vitamin E and the vitamin K at least 4 hours apart; consult your physician before taking supplements).

On well-moisturized and cared for lips, increase the frequency of using the plumper to 3 times a day. You should be using it directly on the lips, not (like one confused customer on Amazon) over lipstick and lipliner. How is it going to get to the lips to give you a great result if there’s loads of lipstick in the way? That’s like trying to drink from a bottle with the cap on (obviously in this analogy, if the lipstick is a plumping lipstick, that’s like drinking from a bottle through a sports cap)!

Once your lips are as big as they’re going to get, you need to keep going with your lipcare routine, keeping them moisturized, and continue using the plumper once every day or two. Lip plumping requires a little bit of effort (if you can call it effort to use a plumping product and lipbalm regularly) to maintain bigger lips, but I think it’s worth it because I like how my lips look when they’re plumped.

To keep lips moisturized, I use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm because it’s the only one I’ve found that seems to moisturize the lips more deeply for a longer lasting result.

What’s the best product to use to plump lips? I’ve had a lot of disasters and a lot of success with a few different products. The best lip plumping products contained either Sodium Hyaluronate (which naturally occurs in the body and as an ingredient it is certified vegan and is gluten-free) or a patented ingredient called Maxi-Lip (a natural peptide blend; these peptides aren’t on any animal-derivative lists but I couldn’t 100% guarantee it’s vegan). The best strategy would be to use a product that contained both, or to alternate two separate products containing Sodium Hyaluronate and Maxi-Lip. Both Sodium Hyaluronate and Maxi-Lip are ones that tingle when you put them on.

Unfortunately, all that tingles is not a plumper, and I’ve also had some bad results from a few products that claimed to be plumping but didn’t actually do anything apart from tingle a lot (I’ll name and shame them further down). There’s a lot of inflated claims on the market regarding lip plumping, and some companies choose their words very carefully to mislead customers. On the other hand, I’ve also had some really good results from some products that surprised me. I’ve reviewed 9 different lip plumpers, and unlike other articles where they have huge lists of these, I’ve actually personally tried all the ones I talk about, so I can say what actually worked instead of what the packaging claimed.

Reviewed!  Here’s my top picks for lip plumpers:

1. Soap and Glory Sexy Motherpucker plumping lip gloss. It now comes in a range of shades but I’ll always love the shade Half Naked because it was the original one and I think it’s the nicest, I’ve been using it on and off since late 2009. It contains sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) and I’ve found it to be really effective. It costs $14-15 at Amazon where you can buy it direct from the manufacturer, and is also available in the UK at Boots for £9. I didn’t like the Silver Tubed XL version because it doesn’t work the same way and only produces a temporary plumping result. I liked this Soap and Glory Sexy Motherpucker plumping lip gloss because it’s easy to apply and in my experience one tube lasts a long time, as you don’t need to use much of this to get a plumping effect. Currently this Sexy Mother Pucker plumping lip gloss is my favourite plumping product. 9/10
Plumping ingredient: Sodium Hyaluronate. See it here

Plump lips
My bare lips after 3 days of following my lip plumping routine, using the Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Plumping Lip Gloss.
This was after 1 full week of using the Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker gloss
This was after 1 full week of using the Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker plumping lip gloss and following my lip plumping method. As you can see, the results speak for themselves.

2. Collection Plump Up The Volume Lip Gloss (aka Collection 2000). This was the first plumping product that I ever tried and I loved it so much! They discontinued it about 4 years ago, and I started buying their Volumizing Lipstick instead. 8.5/10 Plumping ingredient: Maxi-Lip.

3. Collection Volume Sensation Lipstick.  This lipstick was a bit less effective than the Collection lipgloss, but it gave a better result than the Rimmel Volume booster (below).  Collection changed the active ingredient in this lipstick from Maxi Lip (a peptide blend) to Sodium Hyaluronate, then they discontinued it completely 6 months ago as well! Now Collection don’t sell any products that contain Sodium Hyaluronate or Maxi Lip, or even anything that plumps lips.  You can still find an abundance of these on eBay, but I don’t know if I’d trust them to be sealed.  I’ve still got 2 tubes of this that I bought last summer.  I use it as a maintenance to keep my lips plump after they’re as plump as I like, and also as a gentle way to start plumping my lips when I haven’t plumped for a few months (steady does it).  Since it’s been discontinued, I’m looking at alternatives (see below). 7/10. Plumping ingredients: Maxi-Lip, then Sodium Hyaluronate.

Plumping Volume Sensation
I got this plumping result from the Collection Volume Sensation lipstick on lips that hadn’t been plumped for several months. If I use it more frequently, I get more of a result.  As you can see, I haven’t gone over the edges of my lips with the lipstick – this would get an even stronger plumping effect.
Collection Volume Lipstick
This is what my lips look like after using the Collection Volume plumping lipstick 3 times a day for 2 weeks.

4. Physician’s Formula Plump Potion Needle Free Lip Plumping Cocktail: This stuff was quite nice because it was fairly cheap and it contains a few different lip plumping ingredients for a show-stoppingly plump pout when you use it. I really liked how my lips looked with it on. I didn’t like the fact that it wasn’t a very long lasting result, however, and while it contained the all-important Sodium Hylauronate, I don’t think there was very much of it in there because the plumping result should have lasted longer. 6/10. Plumping ingredients: Caffeine, Hyalauronic Acid, Menthol. See it here.

Physicians formula lip plumping potion
This was the effect while I was using it, but my lips went back to their normal size within minutes of it coming off, so definitely not a long term fix but good for an extra boost for a special event.

5. Rimmel Volume Booster Lip Gloss: This stuff didn’t claim to work miracles – it says “up to 40% bigger” on the tube and I would agree that it didn’t go beyond this. If you’re looking for a subtle plump rather than a show-stopping plump, go for this one. If there were no other lip plumping glosses for sale for some reason, I’d buy it again, because it worked a little, but really I wasn’t that impressed. 4/10. Plumping Ingredients: Unknown. See it here

 

Reviewed:  Products that didn’t work for me:

6. Lip Venom: I used this in 2009 until it was empty. Absolutely terrible, it tingled and stung more than some other ones, and made my lips redder due to irritation, but it didn’t plump or increase my lip size at all. It probably works if you have poor circulation. It is a perfect example of a beauty product that got a lot of hype but didn’t deliver results. 2/10. Plumping Ingredients: Nothing.

7. Boots 17 Volumizing Lip Gloss: This did nothing, not even a tingle. I don’t think it even had any active ingredients in it to plump lips. 1/10. Plumping Ingredients: Nothing.

8. Sexy Mother Pucker XL (the silver tube): It does say to finish 2 tubes of the Sexy Mother Pucker lipgloss before using this, and while I had definitely done that in the past, I bought the XL in 2012 after I hadn’t used anything else for about 6 months, so perhaps that’s why it didn’t have much effect on my lips, but I found it to be like Lip Venom – all tingle and no plumping action! 3/10 (because it might work for someone else). Plumping ingredients: Collagen, Menthol. Warning: Contains Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate (shellfish).

9. Avon Anew Plumping Tinted Lip Conditioner: This was basically a tinted lipbalm type product shaped, packaged and priced like a lipstick, that you spread on your lips and it’s supposed to make them bigger. I used it in 2014 for the three months leading up to my wedding and while it was very conditioning of the lips, it did nothing to make my lips bigger, so I didn’t care when I lost it at work. In hindsight I would have spent my money on a better product, especially since it was in the run-up to my wedding. 3/10 (because it was quite moisturizing but didn’t plump). Plumping ingredients: Nothing.

 

Plumping products that I plan to try (but haven’t tried yet):

1. Elizabeth Arden Plump Perfect Lipstick: I do like a good plumping lipstick; I’m hoping this one will be at least as good as the Collection Volumizing Lipstick because now that’s discontinued, I don’t have a go-to volumizing lipstick. I have ordered the Elizabeth Arden Plump Perfect so as soon as it arrives, I’ll add my review. Active ingredient: Maxi-Lip (a peptide blend).

2. Too Faced Lip Injection Power Plumping Lip Gloss: This looks like it’s got some really good reviews and it’s available on Amazon, so when I next have some money to spend on cosmetics, this is what I’m going to try out! Active Ingredient: Unknown.

What about natural plumpers?

Unfortunately, while I’d like to live in a universe where there’s a plant that plumps lips, I don’t, and neither do you. Here’s my thoughts on the main things being labelled “natural” plumpers:
Cinnamon: That tingling sensation is the cinnamon burning your skin. Avoid. It’s become trendy to tell people to use this as an all natural ingredient that magically re-grows lost unicorn horns, because the tingle makes people feel like it’s working, but it’s not. It is classified as an irritant for a reason, and it’s highly allergenic (i.e. that swelling is caused by histamines and can cause permanent disfigurement).
Peppermint/Mint Oil: Less allergenic and dangerous than cinnamon, it will cause a local reaction of swelling but it won’t provide any long term results.

The most natural lip plumper is sodium hyaluronate (aka hyaluronic acid, which naturally occurs in the body anyway), and you can find it along with menthol and some other natural ingredients in the Physician’s Formula Plumping Potion.

How do these plumpers work?

If it contains sodium hyaluronate (certified vegan hylauronic acid), it will have a similar effect to the hyaluronic acid fillers, but it will take time for this to happen, because you’re putting the plumping lip gloss on the outside of your lips, and the fillers go on the inside. They both do a similar job, though. An even better set of ingredients to use are the Maxi-Lip quartet: Ethylhexyl Palmitate (and) Tribehenin (and) Sorbitan Isostearate (and) Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1. These naturally occurring plumping peptides have been clinically proven to stimulate collagen growth and used to be available in the Collection Volumizing Lipstick. It is the best set of ingredients for long term lip enhancement. This ingredient is now available in Elizabeth Arden’s Plump Perfect Lipstick.

With Sodium Hylauronate, you get two results – there’s the short term when your lips get plumped for a couple of hours, but there’s also the long term – your lips will grow bigger over time as the skin stretches more.

For an even more long-lasting plump, when you use a product containing Maxi-Lip at least three times a day for 28 days, studies show your lips will become plumper longer term because it stimulates collagen growth. Obviously, if you completely stop using it after that, they will gradually go back to their normal size because it doesn’t change your DNA, and that’s what tells your body how plump your lips should normally be. But if you stop using fillers, your lips would eventually go back to their normal size anyway, so in my view the plumping lip glosses are preferable because they’re cheaper and you’re in control of them.

 

Where’s the evidence for these plumpers?

As a science teacher, I think evidence is pretty important. Luckily, patents can’t be awarded without evidence, so while there’s not much about plumpers in the published scientific literature, there’s plenty of evidence for plumping that’s been submitted to the patent office! A patent is given for a new invention (including a cosmetic formula) that does what it claims to do, when an application is filed. All applications have to be made public. This means some of the patent applications are a little vague but it’s easy to see which plumpers have been tested and shown to work, because patents aren’t issued for things that don’t work. Here’s some of the scientific evidence relating to lip plumping (click the links to read original reports):
Use of peptides (e.g. Maxi-Lip) for lip plumping using the collagen stimulation method. (L’Oreal parent company).
Patent for immediate effect lip plumper, 2007 (Arbonne parent company).
Patent for a temporary lip plumping gloss (one that plumps while product is applied) (JAFRA parent company).
A patent for a lip balm containing sodium hyaluronate (aka hyaluronic acid. This also contains other ingredients) which will plump lips and stimulate collagen production in the area for anti-ageing purposes (Supersmile parent company). This patent clearly states: “Hyaluronic acid maintains tissue hydration and helps retain water within the skin tissue…The swelling of the sodium hyaluronate particles increase the volume of the lip tissue, reducing wrinkles and plumping the lips.”
The first patent that was filed that applies to wonder plumping ingredient Maxi-Lip (Sederma Parent Company).
The patent that explains how Maxi-Lip can stimulate collagen production by using a very specific newly-invented (by Sederma) peptide chain to plump.
The most recent patent that was filed that relates to Maxi-Lip’s method of action (this isn’t the patent for Maxi-Lip, which is above, this is a patent that protects the method of action) (Sederma Parent Company).
As you can see there’s quite a body of evidence that, while it’s not easy to find, definitely exists and does show that some lip plumping serums, glosses and lipsticks really do work, if you choose the right one. As these patents show, sodium hyaluronate and Maxi-Lip are the two best plumping ingredients for long term lip plumping effects.

Future ingredients to look out for:
This patent has very recently been granted to use bee venom in a lip plumper, and the evidence is looking pretty exciting.

back to reviews of lip plumpers.

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Lash Growth Serums Revisited: Revitalash Advanced vs Rapidlash Which Is Better?

In this article I am reviewing Revitalash Advanced and Rapidlash, since month after month, my 2nd most popular article is this one: Lash Growth Serums Reviewed: RapidLash, Eveline and Rimmel.  In it, I compared Rapid Lash, Rimmel Lash Accelerator, Eveline SOS Lash Conditioner.  The winner was clearly RapidLash, but this was before I’d tried Revitalash Advanced.  Today I am going to talk about Revitalash Advanced, and how it compares to RapidLash (assume I mean Revitalash Advanced where I say “revitalash” in the rest of this article).

An epic eyelash batting contest to the death ensued.
An epic eyelash batting contest to the death ensued.


What do they look like?

The tubes almost look identical.  They’re both a slightly pearlescent silvery colour, although the Revitalash has a blue lid.  But somehow the Revitalash Advanced
one looks more high-class.  And it should do, it’s twice the price on Amazon.  It’s twin colour design also makes it easier to spot in the bathroom.  Although the RapidLash one looks like a bigger tube, they’ve both got 2ml of product in them.

Revitalash looked higher class with it's sapphire lid standing out from it's pearlescent silver body.
Revitalash looked higher class with it’s sapphire lid standing out from it’s pearlescent silver body.

What did it cost?
At full price, RapidLash is about £40 ($55) for 2ml and Revitalash Advanced is about $80 for 2ml or $120 for 3.5ml.  I paid £18.50 ($26) for my RapidLash 2ml before Christmas, and in continuous use that translated to 3 months supply.  Revitalash was £44.50 ($65) for 2ml on Amazon and it said on the listing that it was also 3 months supply, although I haven’t finished the tube yet.

Rapidlash is a slightly different pearlescent silver colour to the Revitalash.
Rapidlash is a slightly different pearlescent silver colour to the Revitalash.

Was it genuine?
One concern I had with buying half price lash serums on Amazon was whether they were genuine products or not.  I scoured the reviews (Amazon had several different listings for each) and found ones that people had said worked, and I looked for ones where people said “I’ve bought this before from my beauty salon, it’s genuine.”   It’s not enough that it says it’s coming from the correct brand name because Amazon (and sellers) frequently get this wrong and lie about where it’s coming from, so I always read the reviews on Amazon.  You have to.  I am glad to say that both the RapidLash and the Revitalash I purchased were genuine.  NOTE: Revitalash Advanced is the only Revitalash currently being made, so if it doesn’t say “Advanced” on the box you are buying old, discontinued product that could be out of date.  My Revitalash tube was also sealed in plastic inside a box that was stuck down with a circular see-through sticker, so I knew it hadn’t been opened. Even though I’ve linked to the same one I’ve bought, please do check it’s still coming from a reputable source – if there are recent listings saying it’s a fake, listen to them, as suppliers change sometimes!

This is what the box should look like.
This is what the box should look like.

How do You Use Rapidlash?
Rapidlash goes over the very root of your eyelash, where it touches the eyelid, and you have to get the product on the eyelid for it to work.  As I said in my previous review, because I have a double line of eyelashes, like Elizabeth Taylor, I have to work the stuff between the two layers because it doesn’t soak in or travel between lashes very well.


How do You Use Revitalash?

Revitalash Advanced
goes on your actual eyelashes, and should not touch your eyelid at all.  I was concerned that it might spread to my under eye area and cause irritation, but it dries very quickly (much faster than RapidLash) and yet seems to reach all my upper lashes WITHOUT spreading to my lower lashes.  See this video the manufacturers have made for an idea of how to use Revitalash: 

What About those dodgy ingredients?  The safety facts:
Neither of these products have the “glaucoma” drug in it (that’s used in Latisse, which is only available in the US and is prescription only, and will make your lashes grow PAST your eyebrows.  Latisse are VERY defensive with their patents and don’t currently let any other company use their patented lash ingredient bimatoprost) and while they both use a molecule that MIMICS the lash growth effect of the glaucoma molecule bimatoprost, they don’t have the same effect on eyes and there is literally not one single case of either Revitalash or RapidLash causing eye colour change either.

This criticism is all a VERY old story from 2005 and this was all aimed at Latisse, which has never caused eye colour change, but which is a licenced Prescription Only Product for a reason – it’s a more effective lash growth serum, but it’s also got more potential side effects!!  The story behind the eye colour change is that the INGREDIENT (bimatoprost) used in Latisse has caused eye colour change in VERY high quantities when it’s used in a different formula to treat glaucoma (where it needs to be in a high enough concentration to cause significant eye pressure drop, y’know, to treat glaucoma, a serious eye disease).  It got cross applied by those people who don’t understand science but love to talk beauty with pseudoscience.  But the truth is, nobody’s eyes have changed colour using any of these lash serums, which I’m sure Allergan and Athena (the companies that make Latisse and Revitalash respectively) are sick of having to reiterate and confirm again and again.

Revitalash DOES contain a very similar active ingredient to Latisse (dechlorodihydroxydifluoroethycloprostenolamide is the active ingredient in Revitalash) which is why it is more effective than RapidLash but it is NOT the same or Allergan (who are famously rivals with Athena Cosmetics over their lash serums) would have slapped more patent infringements on Athena for it.  RapidLash and Revitalash also DON’T contain snail secretion filtrate, unlike Marvelash (EWWWWW THAT’S GRODY TO THE MAXXX) which I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole because I have a phobia of slugs and snails.

Basically, you know Revitalash is good stuff because otherwise Allegan (who make Latisse) wouldn’t feel so threatened to keep constantly trying to get Revitalash relegated to “prescription only” (or withdrawn) because they’re scared of it being “unfair competition,” and you know Revitalash is safe because otherwise the FDA would have banned Revitalash permanently by now (and if you read the history you’ll see how many times Allergan/Latisse have tried to make this happen).  The only time Revitalash was banned, it was because of a “fair competition” law that then got laughed out of court on appeal, it was nothing to do with safety.  As a qualified chemistry teacher who knows a thing or two about science, I can wholeheartedly say that while ANYTHING can cause you an allergy (some people are allergic to water), these products are all safe.

Did they work?
They both made my eyelashes grow.  They both took a few weeks to show results.  However, I like Revitalash
better than Rapidlash for two reasons:
1. It made my eyelashes grow LONGER.
2. Revitalash
did not leave my eyes with a red rash, and didn’t leave my eyeballs feeling dry and tired.  When I used Rapidlash I was more sensitive to eye strain and dry eyes.  The first time I used it it went away after a while, but I stopped using it for 3 months and when I started again the redness and dryness never went away (but I didn’t get the under eye irritation this time).  Revitalash didn’t affect my eyes at all.

As you can see, my lashes got longer from RapidLash, but my eyelids were not happy (usually they're the same colour as the rest of my face).
As you can see, my lashes got longer from RapidLash, but my eyelids were not happy (usually they’re the same colour as the rest of my face).

What happens if you use RapidLash and Revitalash together?
You get stupidly long lashes very quickly but after 1 day your eyes feel really weird and achey and oversensitive to light and your eyelids go worse than in the picture above.  So I am quite sure the two products cannot be used together and I stopped using the RapidLash completely on day three (I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a coincidental eye ache) before I went blind or my eyes turned into antennae or I got x-ray vision or something.  I couldn’t find any information about this online so I may have been the first person to try this then write about it.  Revitalash is more expensive, but if you want properly long lashes, Revitalash is the real deal and is the one to go for because RapidLash is good, but it’s not AS good as Revitalash, and for me, the redness and occular irritation were deal breakers once I’d found a product that didn’t upset my eyes but still did the job.

The bottom line: 
I liked Revitalash
best.  It grew my lashes longer and didn’t damage my eyes at all (unless combined with RapidLash – that’s a big no no).  I wish I hadn’t hesitated in buying it, but the price really put me off.  At the end of the day, if you’ve only got £20, buy RapidLash and you won’t be too disappointed, it’s certainly the best of the original three serums I reviewed.  But if you can stretch your budget, I think Revitalash is worth the extra money.  Once your lashes are long, people say you can use Revitalash once a week for maintenance, so that will be cheaper than using it every day as the tube will last longer. As long as you’re careful about who you buy from, I strongly recommend you buy from Amazon.com
as it’s the best value for money.

The clear winner.
The clear winner: Revitalash.

Which serums have you tried?  Would you ever try one?  Let me know in the comments!

UPDATE MAY 2016: I have now written a review comparing RapidLash and Revitalash to Grande Lash MD, see which lash serum is better, Grande Lash MD, Rapid Lash or Revitalash!!