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20 best lip plumpers for a pillowy pout: From high-shine gloss to hydrating serums

With shimmer and skincare benefits, these products prove you don’t need filler to look fuller

Sabine Wiesel
Wednesday 07 June 2023 16:23 BST
<p>Peppermint, capsicum pepper or cinnamon provide temporary fullness while some formulas use ingredients that work over time </p>

Peppermint, capsicum pepper or cinnamon provide temporary fullness while some formulas use ingredients that work over time

Our Top Picks

Once more famous for her pout than her billion-dollar beauty brand, it became big beauty news when Kylie Jenner had her lip filler dissolved. And since then, a slew of celebrities from Molly-Mae Hague to Courteney Cox have followed in her footsteps and talked openly about opting for a more natural look.

Perhaps that’s why we’ve seen such a rise in the popularity of lip plumpers: they’re a needle-free alternative to faking a fuller lip. They come in many forms and finishes, including masks, balms, lipsticks, oils and glosses, but they all work in one of two ways.

The first type of lip plumpers are short-term lip boosters that use mild irritants or inflammatory ingredients like peppermint, capsicum pepper or cinnamon to name just a few, that increase the blood flow and swell the lips temporarily. They cause a warming, tingling sensation (or cooling) and typically come in a glossy texture to add to the illusion.

The second type of lip plumper is more of an extension of your skincare routine. They use actives like hyaluronic acid or collagen-producing peptides to boost hydration levels, smooth lines and plump the pout over time.

It goes without saying, you have to manage your expectations. A lip plumper will never mimic lip augmentation procedures, but they will create smoothness and make the lip appear fuller without the price tag and upkeep of the tweakment.

How we tested

With so many lip plumpers on the market, we glided our way through the latest and bestselling launches to bring you this edit of the best. You’ll find those that work both short-term and over time in this round-up, as well as those that create the illusion of a fuller lip too. Whether you’re looking for a hydrating hero or the ultimate high-shine finish, you’ll find it in our winning line-up…

The best lip plumpers for 2023 are:

  • Best lip plumper overall – Mac squirt plumping gloss sticks: £22,
  • Best value – E.l.f lip plumping gloss: £6,
  • Best for long-wear – Fenty Beauty gloss bomb heat lip luminizer and plumper: £20,
  • Best colour range – Mac powerglass plumping lip gloss: £20,

Mac squirt plumping gloss sticks

best lip plumper
  • Best: Overall
  • Product size : 2.3g
  • Shades: 10
  • Key ingredients : Shea butter, avocado oil

MAC’s latest lip innovation may look like a lipstick, but it is, in fact, a lip-plumping gloss. A twist of the bullet reveals a super soft balm that gives lips a juicy, glossy coverage with just a subtle hint of playful colour. Lip-plumping actives infused in the formula include ginger root extract and capsicum, but it’s the menthol crystals that calm the heat and add a pleasant tingle. For nourishment, there’s a blend of shea butter, avocado and coconut oil to leave lips feeling soft and supple. And while you can get creative layering it on top of other products, our tester loved it as a wet-look finish.

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Too Faced lip injection extreme lip shaper

best lip plumper
  • Best: Plumping lip liner
  • Product size: 0.38g
  • Shades: Six
  • Key ingredients: Capsicum extract

Famed for its lip-plumping collection of products, Too Faced’s latest addition comes in the form of a lip liner. There are six shades to choose between, from a light pink nude to a dark chocolate, designed to line, shape or fill. For a pouty effect, slightly overline your natural lip line and fill in with your lipstick or gloss of choice. Alternatively, use it as a plumping base all over. No matter which way you use it, the thick nib and semi-matte velvety formula glide on, making it easy to sculpt lips even if you’re new to lip liner. Expect a warming sensation to occur, and a long-lasting finish that really prolonged the wear of our favourite lippy.

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e.l.f lip plumping gloss

best lip plumper
  • Best: Value
  • Product size: 2.7ml
  • Shades: 10
  • Key ingredients : Vitamin E, coconut oil

When it comes to affordable and effective make-up, e.l.f so often hits the mark and this lip plumper is another great example. From a hot red to shimmering champagne, there’s a range of shades to choose from that all leave lips fuller-looking at a quick swipe. This is mainly down to its thick and creamy texture creating the feel and illusion of fullness, but also the expensive-looking high-shine finish. Expect a mild tingling sensation which is down to the menthol in the formulation, and a lasting finish on par with premium brands.

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Makeup by Mario moistureglow plumping lip serum

best lip plumpers
  • Best: Lip-plumping balm
  • Product size : 2.3g
  • Shades: 14
  • Key ingredients : Shea butter, avocado oil, argan oil

Renowned make-up artist and Kim Kardashian’s go-to, Mario Dedivanovic has many creative gems in his make-up brand including this next-level lip serum that acts like a lip balm, gloss and plumper all in one. It’s an innovative formula, in that it’s a propel-stick (like a standard lipstick) but applies like a soft gloss so you do have to be careful not to over-twist and over-apply.

Nourishment comes from shea butter and a blend of avocado, kiwi and argan oil that leaves lips drenched in moisture, while the shine finish is available in a flattering range of suit-all shades that either leave behind a creamy or shimmer gloss finish. We used Mario’s trick of overlining the lips with a pencil before applying, creating the best illusion of fullness and one that wears well.

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Refy lip buff

best lip plumper
  • Best: Lip treatment
  • Product size: 8ml
  • Shades: One
  • Key ingredients : Hyaluronic acid, amino acids, aloe vera

This do-it-all lip treatment gently exfoliates, hydrates and nourishes leaving you with a smoother, plumper-looking pout after just one use. Use the brush-looking applicator attached to the tube to gently buff away lip-dulling dead skin cells perking up the natural colour of your lips as well as leaving you with an even surface that can be better penetrated by the clear, light serum inside.

Packed with no less than five hyaluronic acids, it’s no wonder we were impressed with how well hydrated our lips instantly felt. It also includes amino acids and a plant-based natural plumping agent (without any irritation) which provides such a smooth, plump and soothed pout that is perfect for your favourite lip product to sit on top. This is now a valued member of our tester’s morning skincare routine.

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Clarins lip perfector glow

best lip plumper
  • Best: Lip and cheek formula
  • Product size: 12ml
  • Shades: Six
  • Key ingredients : Shea butter, peptides

Made up of 89 per cent skincare, these next-level lip balms come in both very natural shades ideal for make-up minimalists, as well as popping colours that make a bit more of a statement. A mixture of plumping peptides and moisture-boosters work together to leave lips feeling extraordinarily soft and smooth, while the subtle pearlescent finish gel adds to the plumping illusion. What’s more, you can use the formula on cheeks to highlight with glow or build a hint of colour depending on the shade you choose.

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Soap and Glory sexy mother pucker XL lip gloss

best lip plumper
  • Best: On the high street
  • Product size : 10ml
  • Shades : One
  • Key ingredients: Natural plant oils

Old hands at the lip-plumping game, this bestseller from Soap and Glory doesn’t just make lips tingle – we would more describe it as a buzzing sensation. It’s one of those products you’ll either love or hate, but we sit firmly in the former group, and have become once again addicted to it (this isn’t our first tube). The sensation doesn’t last too long, but it does make lips feel pillowy with a wash of high shine and a subtle chocolate flavour that adds to its appeal.

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Project Lip matte plumping primer

best lip plumper
  • Best: Lip primer
  • Product size : 2ml
  • Shades: One
  • Key ingredients : Vitamin E

Dedicating itself to the quest for a fuller-looking pout with a range of lip-plumping products, you’ll find lip oils, glosses, liners and more by Project Lip. The hero product, and our tester’s favourite, is this balmy primer that starts to tingle on the first swipe thanks to capsicum fruit extract in the formula. It’s certainly not as warming as others we’ve tried but it is a prolonged sensation.

Lips are left feeling hydrated thanks to nourishing oils and vitamin E, plush and pouty as the formula works its magic. It makes a top-notch primer extending the look of our lipstick, but “no make-up make-up” fans will love its clear, natural matte finish.

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StriVectin anti-wrinkle double fix for lips plumping and vertical line treatment

best lip plumper
  • Best: For vertical lines
  • Product size : 5ml
  • Shades: One
  • Key ingredients : Peptides, ceramides

Those wanting to plump the look of vertical lines around the mouth should turn to this double-duty treatment. On one side there’s a lightweight serum to dab around the lip where lines are prominent. It’s a cocktail of peptides, ceramides and niacinamide to strengthen the delicate skin and smooth out lines. Flip the tube over and you’ll find your glossy lip plumper that enhances your natural lip colour when used on its own, or as we found, as a topcoat. It’s ideal for those that find their lip products bleed or feather outside the lip line. Use twice a day, and expect to see ongoing better (and better) results.

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Dior addict lip maximizer

  • Best: Selection
  • Product size: 6ml
  • Shades: Nine
  • Key ingredients : Hyaluronic acid

Dior’s iconic lip plumper has had a 2023 makeover, and it’s better than ever. Now available in a huge variety of 31 shades and four different finishes, there’s something to suit every taste and skin tone. Other changes include a reformulation, so the luxe gloss is now made up of 90 per cent natural ingredients. But its instant plumping effect and long-term lip hydrating powers remain the same.

The refreshing formula leaves a mirror shine that plays with light to make lips appear fuller. Infused with hyaluronic acid microspheres that attract and lock in moisture, this acts as lip care at its finest to smooth and plump the look of lips over time too.

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Ciate London pump plump plumping lip gloss

best lip plumper
  • Best: Glossy finish
  • Product size: 4.5ml
  • Shades : Two
  • Key ingredients : Hyaluronic acid, squalene

This luxuriously thick lip gloss teamed with the perfect amount of natural-looking shimmer creates the illusion of a fuller pout with a flick of the easy-to-apply oversized doe-foot wand. It’s been reformulated, so now it’s even better with lip-loving raspberry seed oil, squalene and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration and plump the look of lines. It’s available in two subtle shades that work well when used on top of other products or on its own – either way lips appear big and juicy.

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Huda Beauty silk balm spicy thermo plumping lip balm

Huda Beauty silk balm spicy thermos plumping lip balm.jpg
  • Best: For maximum tingling sensation
  • Product size: 3ml
  • Shades: One
  • Key ingredients: Sichuan pepper extract

If you’re looking for serious heat-up from your lip plumper then look no further, because this is as spicy as it gets (hence the name). You really do feel like you’ve eaten a vindaloo after applying, so this is one that will divide people – you’ll either love it or hate it.

We, of course, sit in the former category and can’t get enough of the warming sensation, which is the Sichuan pepper extract working its magic to warm and swell the lips for a temporary effect. What’s more, it has the same hydrating ingredients as the popular lip balms that work to fill lines and plump the lips. Unfortunately, there’s only one shade, but it’s a translucent orange that will work with all skin tones.

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Morphe make it big plumping lip gloss

Morphe make it big plumping lip gloss.jpg
  • Best: For high shine
  • Product size : 4ml
  • Shades: Ten
  • Key ingredients : Peppermint oil

Create the illusion of a juicier lip with this thick and cushiony formula. It’s available in 10 shades, from a clear you can use as a topcoat over your favourite lippy right through to a bold red perfect for the party season. Made with peppermint oil, on contact with lips it has a pleasant cooling sensation that adds to its appeal. But what makes this lip plumper really stand out is that it saturates the pout in a glazed finish that’s long-wearing. And just because it’s more purse-friendly than most doesn’t mean it’s stingy with its moisturising ingredients, as hyaluronic acid seals in moisture, leaving lips feeling soft and well hydrated.

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Fenty Beauty gloss bomb heat lip luminizer and plumper

Fenty Beauty gloss bomb heat lip luminizer and plumper.jpg
  • Best: For long-wear
  • Product size : 9ml
  • Shades: Five
  • Key ingredients : Ginger, capsicum pepper extract, shea butter and vitamin E

Rihanna has dialled up the heat with these lip plumpers that provide the same wet look as her bestselling gloss bombs, yet provide sheer colour and a dose of plumping ingredients that make lips appear fuller. Enriched with ginger and capsicum pepper extract, the warming sensation creeps up on you in a rather addictive way, as once it wore off we couldn’t wait to apply more. It’s teamed with moisturising shea butter and vitamin E, so it also feels like a lip balm keeping the pout comfortable at the same time. There are now six gorgeous shades to pick from, now they’ve just included a crystal clear perfect for layering over lippy.

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Essence what the fake! Plumping lip filler with cinnamon oil

Essence what the fake! Plumping lip filler with cinnamon oil.jpg
  • Best: For on a budget
  • Product size: 4.2ml
  • Shades: Three
  • Key ingredients : Cinnamon oil, hydrating hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, chilli and hyaluronic acid

The problem with glossy budget-friendly buys is they usually leave some level of stickiness behind, but this lip plumper is made with cinnamon oil so you get zero tackiness – just beautifully smooth feeling lips. We found the spice left lips tingling pleasantly boasting a just-been-kissed pouty fullness matched with a flattering natural nude hue. Add to the mix hydrating hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, and you can expect lips to also feel comfortable without the dreaded dry out. There’s also a chilli and hyaluronic acid formula to choose from, but this is our favourite. Brilliant value!

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Bobbi Brown extra plump lip serum

Bobbi Brown extra plump lip serum.jpg
  • Best: For hydration
  • Product size: 6ml
  • Shades: One
  • Key ingredients : Botanical oils and super hydrating hyaluronic acid

Boosting your pout’s hydration levels will not only keep chapped, dry lips at bay but is the natural way to plumper-looking lips, as high moisture levels lead to a smoother, fuller-looking pout. A blend of botanical oils and super hydrating hyaluronic acid work together to strengthen the lip’s moisture barrier like a must-have skincare extension for the lips – essential for the change in season as we move into the colder months.

We used this every day for two weeks and found the continuous use not only made our lips feel comfortably soft but much smoother – so much so it was missed when we stopped using it.

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Kylie Cosmetics lip plumping gloss

Kylie Cosmetics lip plumping gloss.jpg
  • Best: For shimmer
  • Product size: 3.2ml
  • Shades: Six
  • Key ingredients : Portulaca pilosa extract and peptide

From reality star to beauty entrepreneur, Kylie Jenner has her pout to thank for becoming the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. It all started with her lip kits, and now there’s a range of lip products, including these new lip-plumping glosses that pack a plumping punch.

The easy-to-apply oversized applicator drenches the lips in a luxuriously thick and ultra-shiny formula that adds to the plumping effect. Choose from six shades that add a subtle wash of colour that’s easy to layer over lipstick. All shades, apart from “on neutral” are shimmer formulas with light-reflecting particles that add to the illusion of a fuller pout too.

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Mac powerglass plumping lip gloss

Mac powerglass plumping lip gloss.jpg
  • Best: Colour range
  • Product size: 8ml
  • Shades: 18
  • Active ingredients : Ginger, capsicum, mentho hyaluronic acid, avocado and coconut oil

From subtle nudes to full-on berry, there are 18 shades of this lip-plumping gloss to choose from, so something to suit every taste, look or skin tone. A coat of the non-sticky, high-shine finish leaves a pleasant tingle effect on the lips – that’ll be the ginger, capsicum and menthol used to swell and plump the pout. But don’t think that will dry the lips out as it’s teamed with a cocktail of moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid, avocado and coconut oil that we find leaves the lips pillowy soft and comfortable. Plus, the wand is conveniently S-shaped, which curves to the lip making mirror-free application easy.

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Too Faced maximum plump lip injection in chocolate plump

Too Faced maximum plump lip injection in chocolate plump.jpg
  • Best: For a Nineties brown lip
  • Product size: 4ml
  • Shades: Five
  • Key ingredients: Avocado oil and jojoba Oil

The lip injection line of lipsticks and glosses from Too Faced is nearing iconic status in the beauty world, and the most advanced formula in the line-up is the maximum plump tube that comes in five suit-all shades. Promising to plump lips over time as well as instantly, we can certainly vouch for the latter. Our lips heated up nicely balanced with a sweetness in flavour, but it is one of the spicier formulas so it’s not for everyone. After applying, expect your pout to feel instantly plumper, as well as super soft and smooth courtesy of a blend of hydrators.

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Indeed Laboratories hyaluronic + tinted lip treatment

Indeed Laboratories hyaluronic + tinted lip treatment.jpg
  • Best: Lip care and make-up all-in-one
  • Product size: 9.3ml
  • Shades: One
  • Key ingredients : Hyaluronic acid and peptide

For a lip plumper that ticks all the boxes when it comes to nourishment, line-smoothing and leaving the pout with a shiny wash of colour, turn to this tube. It provides continuous super hydrating lip care that smooths lines and plumps the lip contour with ongoing use (we saw a difference after two weeks), courtesy of the hyaluronic acid and peptide formulation. Plus, it instantly soothes and comforts lips if you’re prone to chapped lips in the colder weather. Pick from four shades that leave a natural tint and shiny finish: this is a daily multitasking must-have to keep in your bag or on your desk for top-ups.

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The verdict: Lip plumpers

Our best buy is the Mac squirt plumping gloss sticks, as it creates the illusion of a fuller lip with an innovative balm, while the gloss stick formula leaves behind a glass like shine and a pleasant tingling sensation, which makes you feel like your lips are more pillowy.

For colour and finish selection, you still can’t beat the iconic Dior addict lip maximizers. And if you’re on a budget, the e.l.f lip plumping gloss is excellent value.

For more beauty buys, check out our review of the best tinted moisturisers for a natural, glowy look

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