I'm no expert on makeup, but I've always had a huge weakness for products that claim to plump up and volumise the lips. As a result of this, I've tried a lot of the lip plumpers out there, and decided to write this guide to help out anyone else on eBay who's looking to buy a good one. This isn't a comprehensive list, just a collection of reviews based on my personal opinions of these products.
This guide has now been up for a number of years and a lot of these products (including the one I thought was the best I've ever tried!) have now, sadly, been discontinued as there doesn't seem to be as much of a 'craze' for lip plumpers as there was a few years back. I have now sorted my list into current and discontinued products - I've left the reviews up for the discontinued products as it may still be possible to find them on eBay.
Last updated 28 December 2012.
CURRENTLY AVAILABLE PRODUCTS
Too Faced Lip Injection - RRP £10
What it is: One of the original lip plumping glosses on the market, it contains vitamin B and capsium Chinese extract in a formula 'based on medically-proven blood vessel dilating technology touted to create the sexiest pout this side of a plastic surgeon's office!'
The good points: This is still one of the most popular lip plumpers around for a good reason - it works. Once it's applied, you immediately feel the 'burn', your lips swell and become noticeably redder and plumper.
The bad points: The gloss is a bit too sticky, and the intense tingling sensation it creates makes it a little painful to apply, especially if you've never used a lip plumper before.
The verdict: 9/10
Too Faced Lip Injection Extréme - RRP £17
What it is: This is Too Faced's latest innovation - supposedly a lip plumping 'serum' rather than a gloss, although its iridescent finish makes it perfect for wearing anywhere. It promises to 'increase lip volume and plumpness permanently with continued use' and is apparently 'based on four of the most scientifically proven and advanced lip plumping technologies' - hence the price.
The good points: This is a fantastic plumper which gives some of the most impressive results I've ever seen. If you want a dramatic, celebrity-style plump pout, this is the one to go for - and the effects last for quite a while too.
The bad points: Like the original Lip Injection, it's a bit sticky. I've also found that the tube leaks very easily, so watch out if you're keeping this in your makeup bag!
The verdict: 9.5/10 - the best on the market!
DuWop Lip Venom - RRP £14.50
What it is: The best-selling lip plumper in the US, this is 'a spicy, tingly gloss that enhances the natural color and shape of the lips by increasing circulation with a blend of essential oils including cinnamon and ginger'.
The good points: It has a deliciously spicy cinnamon taste which makes your lips tingle as soon as you put it on. There's a definite volumising effect which lasts for an impressive amount of time, and the gloss has a good, non-sticky consistency.
The bad points: Despite the more-expensive-than-average price tag, the tube is very small. This seems to sell for much higher prices than other lip plumpers in the UK, probably because it's from a 'cult' US brand and is quite hard to find - it is good, but there are others that are just as good and much cheaper.
The verdict: 7/10
DuWop Lip Venom 2nd Sin - RRP £25
What it is: Like the original Lip Venom, this is based on a blend of essential oils, but also contains antioxidants and cooling ingredients for 'a crisp, refreshing effect and maximum plumping'. It also claims that it will permanently plump up your lips if used regularly!
The good points: The gloss glides easily onto the lips and does indeed have a refreshing and cooling peppermint taste. Just like the original Lip Venom, it really does plump up your lips and you can feel it working for a while after application.
The bad points: It just isn't good enough to justify the high price (or the hype). Yes, it works, but it's no better than any other plumper. And after having used it regularly for a few weeks, I certainly didn't notice any permanent change in my lip shape!
The verdict: 6/10
Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker - RRP £8
What it is: This gloss from Bliss's cheaper sister brand is packed with 'scientifically proven plumping superfill microspheres that explode in volume up to 10x when they come in contact with water'.
The good points: Upon application, this feels amazing, and totally unlike any other product I've tried - it doesn't hurt, it just creates a sensation that feels like thousands of tiny bubbles bursting on your lips. It gives a great gloss finish too.
The bad points: Unfortunately, it doesn't really plump your lips at all. The 'fizzing' feeling just seems to be something that happens on the surface of the skin, rather than actually changing the appearance of your lips.
The verdict: 5/10
Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker XL Extreme Plump - RRP £10
What it is: A stronger version of the original Sexy Mother Pucker, this is 'a super-sizing, extra-strength collagen clear lip shine' containing three trademarked ingredients designed to create an immediate full-lip effect.
The good points: This is definitely better than its predecessor; it has the same 'fizzing' feeling, but actually produces a plumping effect too. It makes lips look pinker and enhances the fullness of your lipline. The flavour and scent is really nice too - quite chocolatey.
The bad points: Although it's an improvement on the original, the effect this plumper has is still not that impressive, and doesn't live up to the promise of its name. There are far better products you can buy for this price.
The verdict: 6.5/10
Sally Hansen Lip Inflation - RRP £5.95
What it is: Another budget-priced addition to the lip plumper market, this gloss (which comes in a number of colours - I tried the clear one) contains ginger, cinnamon and peppermint, says it will 'instantly inflate lips', and promises 'guaranteed visible results'.
The good points: This gloss has a delicious taste - it reminded me of cocktails! The brush applicator makes it very easy to put on and the consistency is good; it lasts a while, but isn't too thick or sticky, and looks great too.
The bad points: The results were disappointing - despite the promise of 'guaranteed' plumping, my lips didn't look any different. There was a slight cooling sensation, but overall this just seemed like an ordinary clear lip gloss.
The verdict: 5/10
Sally Hansen Lip Inflation Extreme - RRP £7.95
What it is: A strengthened version of the above product, promising to deliver more noticeable results than the original Lip Inflation, claiming it 'supersizes lips for hours'.
The good points: This gloss has a pleasant cinnamon flavour and feels slightly (but not painfully) tingly when you apply it. After a few minutes, there's a clear difference in lip volume.
The bad points: While there are definitely noticeable results, they don't last for the amount of time the packaging claims. The gloss is also very sticky and is too shiny for my liking.
The verdict: 6/10
Benefit Lip Plump - RRP £14.50
What it is: A flesh-colored lip primer which 'fills in lines and builds up the contour of the lips, giving them a fuller, smoother look' for a 'full, sexy pout'.
The good points: This product is aimed at making your lips and lip line look smoother, rather than actually increasing volume. It's intended more for wearing underneath lipstick than applying on its own.
The bad points: It may fill in fine lines, but it certainly doesn't make your lips look any 'fuller'. The colour is unattractive - it looks more like concealer than a lip treatment. The name is misleading - if you want plumper lips, don't buy this!
The verdict: 3/10
Urban Decay Big Fatty Lip Plumper - RRP £10
What it is: A 'warm, sheer, golden' gloss containing chili, jasmine, and hyacinth to 'dilate blood vessels, which increases circulation and blood flow to the lips for a 20% fuller and noticeably pinker pout'.
The good points: This is the best lip plumper I've ever tried, and the only one I've bought tube after tube of. The gloss has a fantastic consistency - it's smooth, not at all sticky, and has a subtle golden sheen which gives your lips a sexy, shiny look. The volumising effect begins immediately - it makes your lips tingle, but isn't too irritating - and it definitely makes your pout look plumper and pinker. It's brilliant for creating luscious, pillowy lips but is subtle enough to use as an everyday lip gloss too!
The bad points: It's difficult to think of any - the only one that comes to mind is that it can cause irritation and redness if you get it on your skin outside the lip line, but the same is true of virtually all lip plumpers.
The verdict: 10/10 - the best ever - so sad/annoyed they stopped making this...
Freeze 24/7 PlumpLips Lip Plumper - RRP £25
What it is: From a renowned (and expensive) US anti-ageing brand, this claims to be a 'revolutionary lip plumper and gloss that delivers full, pouty, buttery [buttery?!?] lips in minutes' but 'eliminates the drying, burning and irritation associated with most lip plumpers'.
The good points: You can tell this is a high quality product as soon as you apply it - it's very smooth and has a nice vanilla taste. As promised, it doesn't burn or irritate your lips and instead produces a cool, tingling sensation. The plumping effect is very subtle and natural-looking.
The bad points: I was really expecting more dramatic and impressive results from a product that retails at such a high price. It does make a difference and has a very pleasant softening finish, but my lips didn't look THAT different from normal. Only worth buying if you can find it cheap.
The verdict: 7/10
Too Faced Lip Injection Intensive Plumping Lip Mask - RRP £19
What it is: It's the lip equivalent of a face mask, and claims to be packed with ingredients that will 'moisturise, nourish, condition, plump, exfoliate, and rejuvenates the lip area' and that 'vertical lines seem to disappear, while the blood vessel dilating properties of this plumping miracle fill the lips with a lasting and healthy rush of blood and oxygen'.
The good points: This stuff really does work, and because you don't have to apply a shiny gloss to get the plumping effect, the results look incredibly natural. It may be expensive, but the pot is HUGE - you'll get literally hundreds of applications out of it. It tastes gorgeous too!
The bad points: The major problem with this product is that you can only apply it once a day - as it works (and looks) like a face mask, there's no chance of reapplication when you're out and about, and the effect doesn't last all day. It also takes a while to work, which can feel like unnecessary hassle if you're rushing to get ready.
The verdict: 7/10
Too Faced Fat Kiss - RRP £11.50Pout Pout Plump - RRP £16
What it is: This contains a blend of essential oils that's supposed to 'stimulate and plump the lips', and claims to add 40% more volume to your natural lip shape.
The good points: It's beautifully packaged and has a rollerball applicator which makes it easy to apply. It tastes nice - slightly spicy - and gives a lovely sheer gloss effect.
The bad points: The plumping effect is negligible - in fact, I'm not sure it made any difference to the volume of my lips at all, let alone increasing them by 40%! Great as an everyday gloss, but not much use if you really want to pump up the volume.
The verdict: 6/10
What it is: The UK's original lip plumper is 'a peppermint-infused gloss that instantly cools the lips with a stimulating, subtle tingle when applied for a sexy, bee-stung look', and contains Maxi-Lip to restore collagen.
The good points: Very similar to Too Faced Lip Injection, but with a gorgeous minty taste. It may cost a bit more than some of the others, but it comes in beautiful packaging and you get a relatively big tube for your money. Perfect as a first lip plumper, or to buy as a gift for a friend.
The bad points: The consistency is very gloopy, which can make it difficult to apply. Also, now that the Pout brand doesn't exist anymore, this product is much harder to find than it used to be. (NB I would be wary of anyone still selling this product on eBay, as Pout went into administration in 2007!)
The verdict: 7.5/10
Go Cosmetics Lip Sting - RRP around £3.99
What it is: A real bargain - the cheapest lip plumper out there! It's been promoted as an inexpensive (but 'just as good') alternative to Too Faced Lip Injection.
The good points: Well, if you can get past the pain, it does work, which I suppose is impressive at such a comparatively low price. But...
The bad points: 'Sting' is a good name for it - this really is the most painful lip plumper I've ever used. It hurt so much to apply that I immediately wanted to scrub it off my lips. Only suitable for those with a high pain threshold!
The verdict: 4/10
Go Cosmetics Hyper Lip Plumping Lipgloss - RRP £3.99
What it is: The new version of the very painful Lip Sting, this cheap plumper claims it works just as well as the best-selling brands.
The good points: This is the complete opposite of the previous lip-plumping product made by this brand - it isn't at all painful to apply, but unfortunately, it doesn't plump your lips at all either.
The bad points: As far as I could tell, this had no plumping effect at all and it wasn't even particularly good as a normal lipgloss either - it was very sticky. Not recommended; don't be fooled into buying this because it's cheap, it isn't even worth a few pounds.
The verdict: 2/10
Of course, there's plenty of products out there I haven't tried and can't offer a review of. Some of these (which are definitely currently available to buy!) are:
Smashbox O-Plump Intuitive Lip Plumper - RRP £17.50: 'An intuitive lip plumper that transforms into your own perfect shade of pink while instantly plumping to perfection.'
ModelCo Lip Plumper Hydra Lip Therapy - RRP £18.00: 'A dual-purpose, clear lip enhancer & moisturising lip gloss which utilises cutting-edge technologies to work in synergy with the body’s natural water to plump up the lips and provide a light-reflecting, high-shine finish.'
Champneys Spa Facial Plumping Lip Gloss - RRP £8.00: 'This super moisturising lip gloss from Champneys Spa Facial range makes lips look fuller and plumper.'
Molton Brown Pep-rich Lip Booster - RRP £30.00: 'Out with the appearance of fine lines and dryness. In with lips that appear fuller, less wrinkled and more defined.'
Transformulas LipVolume - RRP £29.95: 'This cult product feels like a balm, looks like a gloss and is clinically proven to increase lip size by up to 40%.'
New CID i-Plump - RRP £17.50: 'A transparent gloss that enhances the natural colour and shape of the lips by increasing circulation.'
I hope you've found this guide useful - please click 'yes' below if you did! And remember to check back in future, as I'll add more products as and when I try them!