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- Lip plumpers have active ingredients that cause lips to swell, creating a temporary plumping effect.
- I tested eight lip plumpers, including a handful of TikTok favorites.
- Every lip plumper left my pout shiny and juicy, but only a select few made them visibly larger.
In the name of ~research~ I tested eight lip plumpers ranging in price from $6 to $29 to determine which one(s) reigned supreme.
Several of the lip plumpers I tried – including the Makeup by Mario MoistureGlow Plumping Lip Serum, the Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump, and the Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid – have gone on to achieve peak TikTok fame. However, to narrow down the crème de la crème of lip plumpers, I also threw some under-the-radar drugstore staples (Milani, Physicians Formula) and tried-and-true classics (Too Faced, Grande Cosmetics) into the mix.
I tested (mostly) different shades from each brand.
Here are the full deets…
The winner: Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme Lip Plumper
Too Faced’s Lip Injection Extreme Lip Plumper may be the most expensive lip plumper on this list, but trust me when I say it’s well worth the splurge. This cult-favorite, which has been around for a few years, definitely delivers on the plumping effect.
Within two minutes of applying the product, I noticed some tingling (most – if not all – lip plumpers have this, as it’s the irritation that leads to the temporary swelling). It felt like a slight (albeit painless) burning sensation as if I ate something spicy. My lips appeared visibly larger in the mirror, and I noticed they stayed this way for about an hour after application. The super-shiny finish only enhanced the plumping effect, too. Also, despite the formula’s clear hue, it turned my lips a beautiful soft pink for the perfect wash of color.
Runner-up: Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump
The TikTok-approved Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump isn’t your typical lip plumper, and I mean that in the best way possible. Its creamy, smooth-gliding formula is similar to that of a balm or lipstick (as opposed to that of a gloss or lip oil, which is what’s most commonplace on the market). It also had a cool, minty-fresh sensation (as opposed to a burning one), which, IMO, served as a bonus.
Even better? It’s chock-full of nourishing ingredients – including plumping hyaluronic acid, fatty acid-rich maracuja oil, and moisturizing vitamin E, to name a few – to leave lips feeling smooth and conditioned for hours on end, even after the plumping effect has diminished entirely.
Third place: Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid
The Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid has also taken TikTok by storm for its ultra-hydrating formula, shiny (albeit non-sticky) finish, and of course, its wallet-friendly price tag. I felt an oh-so-subtle tingling sensation upon application, and, within a few minutes, I noticed my pout looked plump and juicy. I especially loved how comfortable and light the formula felt on my lips. I’ll take one in every color, please.
Here’s where the rest of the products fell on my scale.
Makeup by Mario MoistureGlow Plumping Lip Serum
The first thing I noticed – and loved – about the Makeup by Mario MoistureGlow Plumping Lip Serum was how lightweight it was. Additionally, the stick formulation made it incredibly easy to apply while on the go (i.e., in an Uber without a mirror). The cool tingly sensation took about a minute to kick in. And, while I did notice a slight plumping effect, it went away within 20 minutes upon application.
Milani Keep It Full Maxxx Balmshell Lip Plumping Balm
Milani’s Keep It Full Maxxx Balmshell Lip Plumping Balm was recently released in May 2022, so I was especially excited to test it out. I loved the subtle sparkly sheen and the cooling (not burning) tingling. Also, while the plumper is marketed as a balm, its conditioning formula – spiked with antioxidant-loaded mango oil – is similar to that of a gloss.
Despite how shiny, cushiony, and glossy the product looked (and felt!), my lips did not appear physically larger or swollen when I snapped a selfie. It’s also worth noting that this formula is a tiny bit sticky, but, since the weather wasn’t windy when I wore it out, it didn’t bother me in the slightest.
Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Diamond Plumper
The first thing I noticed about this lup plumper was how sweet it smelled (literally like a marshmallow). About three minutes after I swiped on the product, I noticed a cooling sensation. About a minute after that, I was pleasantly surprised by the size of my now-juicy lips in my iPhone camera. However, about 10 to 15 minutes later, the swelling went down, although the glossy sheen remained.
Grande Cosmetics GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper Gloss
The GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper Gloss is among Grande Cosmetics’ most popular products – and for good reason. Despite the fact that the swelling started almost immediately, it took about 15 to 20 minutes for the product to kick into full gear. Plus, the clear, shiny hue is ideal for layering over other lipsticks (liquid ones, too!), glosses, stains, and balms. Meanwhile, the skincare-focused formula, which is enriched with hyaluronic acid, is an incredible added bonus.
NYX Professional Makeup Filler Instinct Plumping Lip Gloss
The NYX Professional Makeup Filler Instinct Plumping Lip Gloss is by far the shiniest option on the list, and I couldn’t help but admire how juicy my lips looked after swiping some on. While I did notice a very subtle tingling feeling, my lips looked more or less the same size pre-application. The light-as-air-formula is non-sticky, too.
The bottom line
As a beauty writer, I’ve tried dozens – if not hundreds – of lip products over the years. This has afforded me the opportunity to test both fan-favorites and hidden gems, the latter of which I’m always keen on discovering. Ultimately, these eight lip plumpers are no exception, and I’m pretty pleased with all of them (even the ones that don’t make my lips look huge!).