The science behind lip plumpers

It’s funny, we worry about being stung by a bee, but it seems we totally love the post sting look on our lips. A study has shown that the more plump women’s lips were, the younger their age was guessed as! This makes it no surprise that so many of us use lip plumpers to achieve that ‘just kicked in the mouth’ look. But how do they actually work? I looked into the science behind the pout

Lips like Angelina Jolie please?!?
Lips like Angelina Jolie please?!?
  • Irritation – When our skin is irritated by something it can swell up, and this is the basis behind many lip plumpers. They cause irritation of the delicate skin on the lips, which causes blood vessels in the lips to dilate, so more blood and tissue fluid flows to lips and they swell, giving you the daffy duck look. Ingredients that can annoy our lips so they puff up nicely include ginger, menthol, niacin and even chemicals such as capsacin which is found in chilli peppers! No wonder lip plumpers can often feel weird when we apply them! This also might explain why some women find that eating spicy food puffs up their lips just as well as a fancy lip plumper.
  •  They reflect light– A more simple way that lip plumpers work is by reflecting the light, giving the visual illusion of fuller lips. They contain ingredients that reflect light well such as glitter or mica (a silicate mineral present in many make-up products including mascara and foundation). 
  • They can increase collagen and elastin production – recently some more expensive lip plumping products claim to have a lasting effect, by increasing the amount of collagen and elastin fibres produced in your lips. They claim to do this using special oligopeptides, but to be honest I’m not that convinced on the effectiveness of this.
  • Or you could just use a shot glass… a more simple solution could be to place a shot glass over your lips and suck. Sounds weird, but it creates a vacuum seal and physically draws fluid to your lips, making them swollen. It has been found to work, but it can bruise your upper lip and give you a weird line around your mouth, so it isn’t the best idea!

So there we have it, lip plumpers give us a perfect pout mainly from irritating us, so don’t over use them as lips can get too irritated and start to peel!

Till next time,




3 thoughts on “The science behind lip plumpers

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