If you were alive in the early 2000s, you might recall a little beauty product called DuWop Lip Venom. The slightly terrifying name referred to a middle schooler-beloved lip gloss that promised to give “bee stung lips” to anyone who wanted to have a pout like Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johannson. Along with Too Faced Lip Injection, drugstore lip plumpers (as well as luxury brand lip plumpers) like Lip Venom began gaining popularity over the years, helping to usher in more products that promised fuller lips.
So what exactly is lip plumper and what does it do?
“Lip plumper helps lips appear full and voluminous,” explains Manuel Espinoza, StyleSeat Makeup Artist. “When applied, there is a slight burning and tingling sensation due to mild irritants that are often used in lip plumper formulas,” Espinoza adds. (These mild irritants include ingredients such as cinnamon, menthol, or capsaicin, which is found in hot peppers like cayenne.) Espinoza points out that lip plumper works by slightly irritating your lips, which causes an increase of blood flow, leading them to appear plumper, due to the swelling. “Some lip plumpers may contain bee venom, so be wary if you are allergic to bees or have sensitive skin,” he says, adding that it’s also important to apply a moisturizing lip balm beforehand, as lip plumper can dry out your lips. (Hey, they’re still a safer option than that scary Kylie Jenner challenge a few years back. Remember that?)
Full, juicy lips are trendier now than ever, and while many more people these days opt for getting lip injections than during the aughts, there are still many who crave the look—but would rather go for an alternative approach. Something that requires less commitment and cash than filler, like lip plumpers. And now, there are plenty of options for lip plumpers than ever before, including a wide array of affordable drugstore options. Ahead, find seven of the best including some favorites from Espinoza. Pucker up and let ‘em plump!
7 best drugstore lip plumpers
“This plumper contains cinnamon to enhance the plumpness of your lips,” says Espinoza. “In addition, the primer creates a great base for vivid, smudge-proof lip color that will last all day.” Plus, like all of E.l.f.’s line, this product is cruelty-free and vegan.
Need more hydration for your kisser? This hydrating gloss smoothes and enhances lips, according to Espinoza. “The hyaluronic acid moisturizes lips and creates a high-gloss sheen on the lips. It also comes in a variety of shades to match your makeup look.”
It’s no surprise this Milani plumper has almost 2,500 five-star reviews on Amazon. With a whopping 16 shades to choose from, it contains natural peptides to help stimulate collagen as well as hyaluronic acid to keep lips plump and nourished.
Keep your lips soft and moisturized with this lip gloss that contains vitamin E for a boost of hydration. If you prefer a gloss that’s highly pigmented, you’ll probably find yourself adding a few of these shades to your shopping cart.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Too Faced Lip Injection, try this one out from Soap & Glory. With a minty flavor and a tingly sensation, your lips will be volumized almost immediately after application.
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