Lip Plumping Gloss Is The Next Big Beauty Trend
Alexa, play “Lip Gloss” by Lil Mama.
“Naturally” plump lips are having a major beauty moment, as consumers’ interest has moved away injectable lip filler and towards treating lips as an extension of the skin. According to data from trend-aggregation platform Spate, searches for lip filler dissolver have skyrocketed while those for injectable filler dwindle, while there are 43.2 thousand searches for “lip plumping gloss” in the U.S. each month — a number that’s increased by nearly 200% in the past year. What’s more, Spate found that consumers are repeatedly expressing interested in glosses that hydrate and deliver a clear yet lustrous finish, ultimately allowing lip enthusiasts to achieve an “organic,” yet elevated, aesthetic.
“Beauty lovers have realized that you don’t need to go under or get an injectable to achieve a pouty or fuller lip,” Deney Adam, celebrity makeup artist and Ulta Beauty pro team member, tells Bustle, noting that the industry is moving in a more “natural” looking direction — one that specifically highlights the lips. “Fuller lips are trending because people are interested in focusing on more sensuality and youthfulness after a stressful few years that have aged us all,” Dr. Lara Devgan, M.D., M.P.D., board-certified plastic surgeon and founder and CEO of Dr. Lara Devgan Scientific Beauty (whose very own lip plumper went viral via the #tiktokmademebuyit hashtag!), concurs. “Those who aren't ready for lip augmentation with filler or surgical lip lift have turned to lip plumping glosses to achieve a bit of that look in a lower commitment manner.”
But what started the lip boom to begin with, and what does this mean for the future of our lips? Read on for everything you need to know about the trend.
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What Prompted The Plump Boom?
Lip-protecting products — like the moisture-infusing Black Honey and Dior’s ultra-hydrating Lip Glow Oil — have surged in popularity over the past year, demonstrating that contemporary beauty consumers really are prioritizing their lip health. According to Lauren Otsuki and Vimla Black-Gupta, cofounders of skin care brand Ourself, however, the mouth-first movement is just getting started. “Lips are the new face,” Otsuki and Black-Gupta tell Bustle. “Consumers are seeing their lips as an extension of their skin, and they are increasingly interested in new alternatives to take care of them.” Thus, consumers are moving away from the “lip injected look,” they continue, pursuing fuller lips achieved by more natural means. “People want to look like themselves, not a third person,” Black-Gupta says.
As for what inspired this generation’s obsession with lips in the first place? Experts attribute the trend to social media, of course, as well as what surgeons have coined “Zoom Doom:” the pandemic-prompted phenomenon during which you notice every tiny flaw on your face via webcam (which, according to Standford research, primarily affects women). “I think a lot of what we see as a focus has come from just having more face time with social media,” Lori Taylor Davis, Smashbox Global lead pro artist, tells Bustle. “There has been a lot of attention focused on lips [online], and dissecting one’s features became a pastime during the pandemic.” But now, Davis says the ways in which people are going about achieving this look are evolving.” “People are segueing from the doctor’s chair to the cosmetics industry with the discovery of more natural formulas to achieve a plumper pout,” she continues. “You no longer need a needle to achieve the lip look you desire.” Instead, all you need is some hard-working lip gloss.
How Does Lip Plumping Gloss Work?
Typical lip plumping products contain ingredients like chili, cinnamon, peppermint, menthol, bee venom, and collagen (remember lip venom? That was cinnamon, wintergreen, and ginger), according to Adam. “Lip plumpers enhance blood flow to the lip area, prompted by the irritation with these ingredients,” he says, adding that for this reason, long-term use of standard lip plumpers can be damaging. “I would advise to use lip plumper only on special occasions, on and off, or use a lip liner to overdraw your lips as an alternative.”
Such is not necessarily the case for more modern lip plumpers, however. Devgan’s Platinum Lip Plumper uses mixed molecular weight hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacin to “plump” the lips via moisture, while Ourself’s Lip Filler also delivers different sizes of hyaluronic acid molecules to the deepest layers of the lips to achieve the aesthetic. As a result, both of these products are deemed safe for daily use.
Meanwhile, in the cosmetics side of things, makeup brands are following suit. “When most people think of lip plumper, you probably think of formulas that leave your lips red, burning, and raw,” Sara Wren, director of artistry at Milk Makeup, tells Bustle, noting that Milk observed a major gap in the market before creating their own gentle plumper with sichuan pepper, jojoba seed oil, and volulip, which hydrate and protect the lips instead of irritating them.
How To Prep Your Lips For Plumper
While most experts assert there is no “required” preparation for lip plumper, there are techniques for making the most of it. For example, both Wren and Adam advise exfoliating the lips before applying lip plumper, while Devgan asserts that what matters most is applying it to clean and dry lips.
There are more practical guidelines, too: Adam suggests doing allergy patch tests before applying any product to your mouth, especially if you’re prone to reacting to products. “Try a few different brands — it’s a trial and error process, give it some time,” he says. Devgan similarly suggests avoiding lip plumper if you have active open sores and/or injuries on the lips, which is sound advice for all lip products, as well as making sure to keep the product inside the lip lines. Lastly, she warns: Avoid kissing your friends and[/or] babies. You may want your lips plump, but babies’ cheeks are fine as is.
Shop Lip Plumping Gloss
For Luminous Lips
One of Adam’s favorites plumping glosses? Fenty’s lip luminizer and plumper, which is formulated with Vitamin E and shea butter to lock in moisture and condition lips while delivering flawless shine.
For All-Day Wear
Beloved on TikTok, Lara Devgan’s Platinum Lip Plumper contains a combination of hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacin to hydrate and plump the lips. “[This formula] prompts healthier, softer, pinker, plumper lips that are 1 to 2 millimeters fuller on average,” Devgan tells Bustle. It can also come formulated with or without 30 SPF, so it’s ideal for both day and nighttime use.
For The Y2K-Era Aesthetic
If you love the Y2k-era lip gloss aesthetic, this one’s for you: Infused with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, this moisturizing lip gloss is lustrous and perfectly glossy without added stickiness.
For Maximum Moisture
Ourself’s “Lip Filler” contains a patent-pending multiphasic vesicle delivery system, which delivers different sizes of hyaluronic acid molecules to the deepest layers of the lips. Translation? This product gives you substantially more hydrated, and plump appearing, lips.
For A Gleaming Gloss
Another TikTok favorite and one of Adam’s go-to glosses (and according to Spate, one of the most searched) is Grande’s lip plumping gloss, which is formulated with volulip, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B3 to visibly improve hydration and promote plumper looking lips.
For A Peptide-Infused Pout
Formulated with a lip plumping peptide complex, mango, koka, and shea butter, Marie Hunter’s lustrous lip gloss instantly plumps and hydrates the lips while stimulating collagen, as Vitamins A, C, and E help protect the skin from radical damage.
For Sensitive Skin
Milk’s Electric Glossy Lip Plumper is formulated with sichuan pepper, which adds an electric-yet-comfortable tingling sensation and subtle flavor, vegan collagen, and volulip, which moisturizes and improves the look of skin while plumping and softening the lips.