These were the ones that we could actually feel working, resulting in lips that looked bee-stung (but in a good way). Overall Too Faced products lead the pack with their Lip Injection ($18.50, Nordstrom) and Lip Injection Supreme Products ($27.50, SkinStore.com). We really liked that the injection supreme was clear – we felt that we could really see if the product was working that way, and that we weren't deceived by a thick coating of tingly color resting on top of our lips. Sally Hansen also impressed us with the Sally Hansen Lip Blush Plumping Balm, ($9.99, Walgreens) that goes on clear and transforms to a color that matches your natural lip tone while the subtle volumizing effects set in.
Best Smelling/Tasting Lip Plumper:
We had no idea what a strong component the scent and flavor was for lip plumpers! We encountered cinnamon, bubblegum, watermelon, mint, or a total lack of flavor. Some were way more potent than others, so we definitely recommend looking at the list of ingredients, or trying the plumper to make sure you can stomach the flavor before buying it! We loved the strong cinnamon flavor of the Sally Hansen "Lip Inflation Extreme" ($7.79, Walgreens) that made us feel like our breath was cinnamon-y fresh. The cinnamon helps to make the lips tingle, a bit, much like the more expensive and popular plumping options. We also like the ever-so-subtle bubble gum taste of the Sally Hansen Lip Blush Plumping Balm ($9.99, Walgreens) and the delicious watermelon-ish aroma of the LipFusion Color Shine -- but at $38 each, you surely don't want to lick your lips too much!
Best Color Palette:
Beyond having a product that's lip-plumping effects work, it's crucial that the color of your lipstick, lip gloss, what-have-you looks utterly fabulous on your smackers. Most lip plumpers seemed to be a gloss, and relatively sheer, but there were a few that absolutely took our breath away. In the lead was the Cargo blu ray lip gloss ($29, Sephora). At first we were apprehensive that not every color in the palette would work for us (sheer plum/ sheer peachy pink/ sheer rose/ sheer golden beige), but remarkably, they all looked great, not to mention gave fabulous plumping effects! When we wore this Maybelline Volume XL Seduction Lip Plumper ($8.49, Walgreens), the juicy, high gloss yielded lots of compliments from our friends (we wore Sensuous Ruby). We also appreciated the color selection of the Lorac Lotsa Lip Plumping Lip Gloss, ($18.50, Sephora), which took a more dramatic approach to imparting color and lip volume.
Best Overall Bang for the Buck:
For first timers to the lip-plumping craze, try the NYC "Lippin Large" ($3.99, click here to find a retailer near you) if you're not sure if you want to make the investment in a more expensive plumper. Our favorites were the clear, and the peach parfait colors. If you've tried lip plumpers before but don't want to splurge on the incredibly expensive versions, the Sally Hansen "Volumizing Lip Shield" ($7.49, Walgreens) will do the trick. The consistency of this plumper makes it super easy to wear on a regular basis, because it feels like you're just slicking on some chapstick. And, if you get a neutral color, it'll look that way too -- which is great for those of us who don't actually like wearing lip color everyday.
We hope you've enjoyed our product reviews, and taken away some good pointers – namely that you don't have to spend a fortune to have amazing-looking lips!
Note: there may be a way to make the items mentioned above an even better bang for your buck -- remember to search stylenotes for special promotions and coupon codes that may be applied to your order.