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What Is Plumping Lipstick?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

Plumping lipstick is a lipstick that has been formulated to make lips appear fuller and plumper. Individual formulas vary, but typically a plumping lipstick includes either irritating ingredients that can cause the lips to swell or ingredients that trigger collagen production. Some cosmetic experts are concerned about the efficacy of so-called lip plumpers and the possibility that some of their ingredients may result in aesthetically unpleasing results, because irritated lips become dry and chapped. There are several different types of plumping lipstick and lip color on the market, including lip pencils and lip glosses as well as traditional lipstick.

Many lipstick wearers appreciate the look of full lips, particularly because lip fullness can decrease with age. These individuals may feel that plump lips make them look younger than they actually are. While there are medical treatments that can significantly increase the fullness of a person's lips, such as collagen injections, not everyone can afford this treatment. As such, they may choose to use a plumping lipstick that promises the appearance of full lips without the cost or risks of injections. Lip pumpers generally come in a standard range of lipstick colors, which vary by brand.

A woman applies plumping lipstick.
A woman applies plumping lipstick.

In some cases, the plumping lipstick works simply by creating an irritation that results in inflammation. Ingredients such as menthol or cinnamon may be included in a lip plumper. After being applied to the lips, the user may experience a burning or tingling sensation and may notice some slight swelling of the lips. One potential problem with using this type of plumping lipstick is that the irritation may lead to redness around the mouth and chapping. In some cases, people may find this chapping to be uncomfortable and may respond by licking their lips, making matters worse and removing the lipstick in the process. Even if the wearer has no problem managing the irritation, the plumping result is temporary and will go away after a few hours unless the lipstick is reapplied.

Plumping lipstick can make the lips appear fuller, bigger.
Plumping lipstick can make the lips appear fuller, bigger.

Other lipstick formulations work differently and do not contain significant irritants, such as mint and cinnamon. Instead, they include ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids, which may increase collagen production, supposedly resulting in a more permanent plumping effect. Whether these products actually offer long-term results is a matter of some controversy. Some makeup experts instead advise those who wish to make their lips appear fuller to keep their lips moist and protect their lips against sun exposure by using lip balm or other lip products that contain sunscreen. Using light-colored lipstick can also make lips appear fuller, whereas dark lipsticks can actually make lips appear smaller than they are.

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    • A woman applies plumping lipstick.
      By: bst2012
      A woman applies plumping lipstick.
    • Plumping lipstick can make the lips appear fuller, bigger.
      By: Nicola_Del_Mutolo
      Plumping lipstick can make the lips appear fuller, bigger.