5 Ways To Make Your Lips Bigger Without Using Plumper (Yep, It's Possible)
It's an exciting time in the lip care space: The lip plumping market is practically exploding with innovative technology to smooth fine lines, enhance color, and provide a plush, pillowy pout. No longer must you resort to a sticky gloss that either doesn't really work or burns with the fire of a thousand suns—now, you can find Hi-Tech formulas that work with the deepest layers of your lip skin to gently encourage volume (gently being the operative word here: These products are sting-free!).
Since testing up-and-coming beauty innovations is part of my job, I've decided to vet all of the new lip plumping options out there so you can ultimately decide which formulas are actually worth your time and hard-earned dollar. And, boy, do I have thoughts:
Topical lip filler
Yes, topical lip filler is a real thing. Now, instead of invasive procedures or sticky, stingy glosses, you can find Hi-Tech products that make the plumping process totally painless. Many brands call upon small molecules of hyaluronic acid to draw water into the surface of the lips (increasing their volume) and deliver much-needed hydration.
These products aren't permanent, but the effects may stick around with regular use—after all, hydrated lips appear way more pillowy and plump. I'm partial to this Lip Filler formula from Ourself; with multi-weight hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3 derivatives, it helps smooth lip lines, increase definition, instantly enhance color, and plump.
I cannot say enough good things about my Droplette—it's truly my favorite skin care tool of late. The micro-infuser transforms liquid serums into a vaporized micro mist, which allows active ingredients to penetrate the skin up to 20x deeper than your typical topical. But did you know the beauty tech company also offers lip plumping capsules?
The 17-Volt Lip Plumper shuffles ingredients like hyaluronic acid and collagen past the skin barrier, increasing lip surface area up to 40% for up to six hours—totally pain-free. After testing this one-minute treatment, my lips definitely looked instantly softer and more pouty; just make sure to treat your lips before applying any sort of balm, as you want the mist to penetrate deep into the thin, delicate skin.
Ingestible skin care
Your skin thins with age due to a decline in collagen—the same goes for your lips, which tend to deflate over time. That's why plenty of topical products include synthetic versions of collagen (derived using biotechnology) or other collagen-stimulating players.
But increasing your natural collagen levels can help, too, which is where ingestible collagen comes into play: Research shows that taking collagen peptides orally can support skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density1, which can result in plumper, more supple lips (and better skin health overall). See here for our favorite collagen powders, all backed by a nutrition Ph.D.
Lip plumping masks
You know how you might slap on a sheet mask to plump your skin with hydration pre-makeup? Well, the same goes for lip care: These serum-soaked patches infuse the lip skin with moisture and plumping humectants, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, for a smooth and supple pout.
Recently, though, I've come across some microneedling lip masks: These provide a more direct penetration than a standard lip mask, which generally just sits on the skin. The term "microneedling" might sound scary, but all it entails is a mild prickling sensation when you press on the patches; it goes away as the micro-darts start to dissolve, then it functions just like your regular lip mask.
This Instant Lip Filler mask from Vitamasques includes collagen, multimolecular hyaluronic acid, plant epidermal growth factors, and over 400 dissolving micro-darts to increase lip volume in just 30 minutes. It's a little tingly at first but not at all uncomfortable. Anyway, that prickling is thought to provide slight collagen stimulation in the affected area—in this case, the lips—which helps the skin appear instantly plump.
Lip liner & balm
And at the end of the day, there's always makeup to help you fake some volume. Just remember to layer on a hydrating lip balm before digging into your makeup bag, or the pigment will surely settle into fine lines. Bonus points if you choose a balm with hyaluronic acid (like mindbodygreen's lip balm), which ushers water into the surface of your lips and provides a subtle plumping effect.
Once you let the lip balm marinate for a bit, grab your liner of choice (I personally love Tower28's One Liner), and trace the perimeter of your pout, going slightly beyond your natural lip border. Concentrate most of the pigment right underneath the center of your bottom lip—this can create the illusion of shadow, which will give you an even poutier effect.
Follow up by tapping on your lip color of choice, then swipe some gloss on the center of your top and bottom lip. A makeup artist once told me that a pop of highlight (using gloss or an actual cream highlighter) makes lips look even juicier, so it's a trick I swear by.
The lip plumping market is becoming way more elevated, with Hi-Tech formulas replacing traditional stingy glosses. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I love the tingles from swiping on a spicy number. But the recent innovations are just so cool, aren't they? Plus, they enhance the health of your lips in addition to providing instant volume—why not snag a plumper that can do both?
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.