Lips are a huge business in the beauty industry. Many people strive to enhance their pout slightly and others want to go full with Angelina Jolie in mind. From the one and only King Kylie, to YouTube Makeup Influencers such as Carli Bybel having fillers, with their fans following suit, it has become one of the most popular non-surgical procedures. There's absolutely no shame in having them, but not everybody can afford it, or simply aren't suitable candidates to have the procedure done (that's me!)
|Upper left lip collapses into my mouth.|
A luscious pout is something I've always dreamed about. I don't have the thinnest lips in the world, but I certainly wasn't blessed with, or have been able to achieve the size or shape I want. Having braces as a teenager pushed my lower lip further out than it originally was, and a dog bite left me with some scarring and a crooked smile, not to mention nerve damage to part of my face. I'm so contraindicated to having lip fillers that even cosmetic doctors have said no, so in my quest of getting the pout I want, lip plumping products will have to do.
Lip plumpers are basically lip glosses or balms that have specialized active ingredients that boost circulation and encourage edema. In simpler terms, they encourage blood flow and swelling through a controlled allergic reaction. Out of the four products I have used, all contain a different blend of actives but are designed to achieve the same results. Back in the day, my Mum bought me a lip plumper that had a distinct flavour of cinnamon, but it is only one ingredient in the many that can create these reactions.
|My arsenal of lip plumpers.|
The four products I have tried that will be featured in this post are:
Transformulas Lip Volume [PR Sample]
DuWop Cosmetics Lip Venom [Purchase]
Freeze Frame Lip Injection [Purchase]
Manuka Dr. Lip Enhancer with Purified Bee Venom [Purchase]
Cinnamon Oil – Approximately two-thirds of this oil is based upon cinnamaldehyde, the molecule responsible for the cinnamon aroma and taste. When applied to the skin at full concentration, this compound can cause burns and is an irritant, but in the right amount, can assist in getting the blood flow happening. Cinnamon oil is used widely used in topical muscle therapy products because it gives a warming sensation to the skin. It doesn't cure anything, but it feels nice, especially with a massage!
Found in: Freeze Frame Lip Injection, DuWop Lip Venom
Peppermint Oil – This is the most common active found in lip plumpers. Peppermint is rich in menthol, which unlike cinnamaldehyde, has a cooling sensation on the skin but is still used topical muscle therapy products because of that effect. Whilst there are different varieties of mint, peppermint is just the most commonly used oil. It is used in a lot of lip products because it gives flavour, a freshness, and also does a wonderful job of irritating your lips. A derivative of menthol, methyl lactate, is also found listed in the ingredients of some plumpers.
Found in: Transformulas Lip Volume, Manuka Dr. Lip Enhancer with PVB, Freeze Frame Lip Injection (as methyl lactate)
Wintergreen Oil – This is where Asprin [acetylsalicylic acid] comes from, the main component is methyl salicylate. Similar to the menthol found in Peppermint, it creates the irritation needed to swell lips.
Found in: DuWop Lip Venom
Dictyopteris Oil – There's not much information flying around on this ingredient as it may hold a patent, but it is derived from Brown Algae and claims to increase volume of adipose (fatty) tissue.
Found in: Freeze Frame Lip Injection
Chilli – Not even kidding, if there's a way to irritate lips, it's chilli. The a resin from the genus Capsicum Frutescens (think of Piri Piri and Tabasco chillies) has been listed as an ingredient in the Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme gloss, not a product I have tried, but it seems worth a go.
Vacuum type tools – CandyLipz are probably the most well known non-surgical tool to enhance lips, and they do work, but incorrect use, or use of non-specific apparatuses can permanently damage the tissues around your lips; see Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge. These must be used with caution and have a long list of contraindications (and guess who has one).
The big question, DO THEY WORK?
Yes, they work. No, they do not give you the look of fillers or reshape your pout. The realistic expectation is going to be slight swelling and a slightly larger looking pout, but you will definitely not look like you've had 1mL of Juvederm or Restylane injected. You can definitely achieve an overall larger pout over time if you keep using the product regularly, but depending on your tolerance levels, and how quickly your body adapts to the irritants.
Transformulas Lip Volume 10mL - $49.00 from BeautyHQ
|Transformulas Lip Volume 10mL|
Claims to increase volume of lips by up to 40% when used three times per day for 30 days, moisturise lips, reduce fine lines, and no sting.
This was the first of the lot that I tried and I did use it for the time period specified. I took specialized photos with my finger for reference and did a complete review (which will be available to view in the #RivetReview archive soon). I did notice an increase in volume, but when I ran out of product (it lasted approximately a few more weeks), my lips returned to their flattened state.
DuWop Lip Venom 5mL - $24.00 from PM Studio
|DuWop Lip Venom 5mL|
Claims to give a “bee stung pout” from a mix of essential oils including cinnamon, wintergreen and ginger. The first product of its kind to enter the market.
This is a true gloss type product; sticky and shiny. It does sting, but my lips really do increase in size, more so than the Lip Volume. The result is only temporary as this product is probably designed more with a “plump as you wear” approach, and once it has come off, the effect only lasts as long as it takes for my lips to return to normal, but this is still probably my favourite. However, the other products in the line, including the Venom Lip STYXX and Venom Gloss have less concentration of the actives and serve to slightly plump on wear.
|Probably the most effective of the lot. Typical glossy finish.|
Freeze Frame Lip Injection 10mL - $59.00 from Priceline
Note: My product is 5mL from a gift set and the full size comes in different packaging.
|Freeze Frame Lip Injection [5mL gift set packaging]|
Claims to be a serious treatment rather than a plumping cosmetic gloss (with irritants), that instantly plumps lips when used once daily and gives long term results when used twice daily. Uses “micronised hyaluronic acid” and a special blend of two ingredients that stimulate fatty tissue to grow in the area.
I find myself often massaging this one in for a long time in hopes of it helping to break down scar tissue (wishful thinking), and whilst it does give me an instant pout, I have not studied the effects of use if I were to use it twice per day for X amount of days. The pout I do get isn't that amazing, but it's definitely better than what I already have, probably due to hydrating HA.
Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Lip Enhancer with Purified Bee Venom 15mL - $25.99 from Priceline
|Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Lip Enhancer 15mL|
Claims to increase lip volume in 5 minutes with added manuka honey and bee venom to encourage natural collagen production. Of course, Kourtney Kardashian is the poster girl for this NZ born brand.
This is the most irritating of the lot, and it actually states that I should be able to feel it working. Seeing as I have just opened this one and used it a handful of times, it does compare to other products that are designed to plump via irritation. This comes in a close second to Lip Venom.
I have had good innings with these products, not to the effect I'd like, but there is a visible improvement.
Have you tried any of these products? Let me know!
Products mentioned in this post were purchased by myself and received as a PR Sample. My opinions are honest.