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- Lip plumpers have active ingredients that cause the lips to swell, creating a temporary tightening effect.
- I tested eight lip balms, including a handful of TikTok favorites.
- Every lip plumper left my pout shiny and juicy, but only a select few made them visibly bigger.
In the name of ~research~, I tested eight lippies ranging in price from $7 to $29 to determine which one(s) reigned supreme.
Several of the lippies I tried—including Makeup by Mario MoistureGlow Plumping Lip Serum, Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump, and Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid—achieved top-notch TikTok fame. However, to narrow down the lip cream, I also threw in some under-the-radar drugstore staples (Milani, Physicians Formula) and tried-and-true classics (Too Faced, Grande Cosmetics).
I tried (mostly) different shades from each brand.
Here are all the details…
The winner: Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme Lip Plumper
Too Faced’s Lip Injection Extreme Lip Plumper might be the most expensive lip on this list, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. This cult favorite, which has been around for a few years, definitely delivers on the flavor.
Within two minutes of applying the product, I noticed some tingling (most – if not all – chapped lips have this, as it’s the irritation that leads to the temporary swelling). I felt a slight (though painless) burning sensation as if I had eaten something spicy. My lips looked visibly bigger in the mirror and I noticed they stayed that way for about an hour after application. The high gloss finish only enhanced the filling effect. Also, despite the sheer shade of the formula, it turned my lips a beautiful pale pink for the perfect wash of color.
Runner Up: Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump
The TikTok-approved Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump is not your typical lip plumper, and I mean that in the best possible way. Its creamy, glide-on formula is similar to that of a balm or lipstick (as opposed to that of a lip gloss or oil, which is more common on the market). It also had a cool, fresh minty feel to it (as opposed to a burning sensation), which, IMO, served as a bonus.
Even better? It’s packed with nutrients – including hyaluronic acid, fatty acid-rich maracuja oil and hydrating vitamin E, to name a few – to leave lips feeling smooth and conditioned for hours, even after the event has completely faded. .
Third place: Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid
Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid also won TikTok for its ultra-moisturizing formula, glossy (though non-sticky) finish, and of course, its wallet-friendly price. I felt a very slight tingle upon application and within a few minutes I noticed that my pout looked plump and juicy. I especially loved how comfortable and light the formula felt on my lips. I’ll take one of each color, please.
This is where the rest of the products landed 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. Plus, the stick formula made it incredibly easy to apply while on the go (i.e. in an Uber without a mirror). The cool tingling took about a minute to kick in. And, while I did notice a slight plumping effect, it disappeared within 20 minutes of 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 try it out. I liked the subtle sparkly sheen and the cool (not burning) tingle. Also, while the thick product is marketed as a balm, its emollient formula—infused with antioxidant mango oil—is similar to that of a gloss.
Despite how shiny, cushiony and glossy the product looked (and felt), my lips didn’t physically look bigger or puffy when I took a selfie. It’s also worth noting that this formula is a bit sticky, but since the weather wasn’t blowing when I wore it, it didn’t bother me in the slightest.
Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Diamond Plumper
The first thing I noticed about this lumbo was how sweet it smelled (literally like marshmallow). About three minutes after I applied the product, I noticed a cooling sensation. About a minute after that, I was pleasantly surprised by the size of my now juicy lips on my iPhone camera. However, about 10 to 15 minutes later, the swelling went down, although the shiny glow remained.
Grande Cosmetics GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper Gloss
GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper Gloss is one of Grande Cosmetics’ most popular products – and for good reason. Although swelling started almost immediately, it took about 15 to 20 minutes for the product to kick into full gear. Plus, the sheer, glossy shade is great for layering over other lipsticks (and liquids!), 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
NYX Professional Makeup Filler Instinct Plumping Lip Gloss is by far the glossiest option on the list and I couldn’t help but marvel at how plump my lips looked after just a little bit. While I did notice a very slight tingle, my lips felt pretty much the same size as before application. The light-as-air formula is also non-sticky.
The bottom line
As a beauty writer, I’ve tried dozens—if not hundreds—of lip products over the years. This gave me the opportunity to sample both fan favorites and hidden gems, the latter of which I always want to discover. All in all, these eight full lips are no exception, and I’m pretty happy with all of them (even the ones that don’t make my lips look huge!).