This Lip Plumping Hack Is Going Viral, But Does It Really Work & Is It Safe?
With TikTok beauty hacks, it's important to cut through what's helpful (banana masks—fun!) and what's, uh, alarming (sunscreen contours—ouch). Some of the more risky hacks, like the aforementioned suntan, are easier to point out, but others may leave us a bit unsure.
Such is the case with this lip plumping trick: A number of videos have touted the effects of cinnamon oil for a more pillowy pout. Take this tutorial from user Brittany Miller: She pours a bit of cinnamon oil into a tube of gloss, pumps the wand, then slathers on the jelly. After a few minutes, her lips look noticeably more bee-stung.
But wait: Does this lip plumping hack carry any weight? And, more importantly, is it safe? We tapped experts to find out.
How cinnamon oil works.
Cinnamon is a spicy, heat-inducing essential oil that acts as a vasodilator (meaning, it can stimulate your blood vessels and cause them to expand).
"A vasodilatation forces the capillaries, or smaller blood vessels (of which there are many in our lip tissue), to open and therefore allow more blood and fluids to push through and even expand beyond the vessel wall into membranes and other tissues," says board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban, M.D., founder of Ava MD Dermatology, the SkinFive and The Box by Dr. Ava. It's this stimulation that creates a localized "swollen" appearance and a plumper pout as the fluids leak past the vermillion border.
In other words: Yes! Cinnamon oil can plump your lips temporarily. In fact, plenty of market lip plumpers incorporate the essential oil into their formulas, along with other stimulating EOs like peppermint. "Even [traditional] products use these ingredients for their properties," naturopathic doctor Tess Marshall, N.D., told us about how to naturally plump your lips.
You can also take the DIY route, as shown in Miller's video, by finding a clear lip gloss of your choice (this jelly from Tower28 is super shiny) and combining it with three drops of cinnamon oil in a small dish. Mix using the wand, apply on your lips, and wait a few minutes for the cinnamon oil to work.
But is it safe?
So, yes, cinnamon oil can plump your lips, but please be careful—you should know how your skin reacts to it before slathering a glob on your delicate lip area. As we mentioned, cinnamon oil is a stimulating, heat-inducing EO—which can cause irritation on sensitive skin. Plus, cinnamon itself can cause contact dermatitis, making it all the more important to patch-test on your arm before applying the gloss. Even if you consume the spice on the regular, you could face an allergic reaction from it topically. In fact, cinnamon EO (or called cinnamal) is one of the most common allergens as noted by the regulatory standards of the European Union, widely believed to have the strictest cosmetic standards around.
We should also note: Never apply the straight essential oil on your skin, even during a spot-test. You need to have some sort of carrier oil to dilute the potency (in this case, the oily gloss will do).
Other than that? "Unless you are allergic, this should be fine," says Shamban. Monitor your lips after each use, and make sure you don't develop any sensitivity either—if you notice new irritation, you might want to limit the gloss or see a derm.
Essential oils have long been touted by experts as a natural way to plump your lips, and cinnamon oil has become an increasingly popular choice. It works like a charm for a temporarily puckered pout, but make sure you know the risks involved—and if you have an allergy, it's probably wise to steer clear.
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