Welcome to Deep Reviews—your one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. Every month, the Who What Wear staffers you already know and trust will research, test, and review the market’s most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which formulas (of the hundreds up for consideration) are truly worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, completely uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations. To put it simply, stick with us, and buyer’s remorse will be a thing of the past.
It’s no secret that glossy, tingly, often yummy-scented products with the ability to plump, perk, and prop up our pouts have become increasingly popular in recent years. Not only have they become more effective and comfortable to wear (does anyone else remember the spicy Lip Venom?), but the majority of options are a heck of a lot more elevated, too. For instance, luxury beauty heavy hitters such as Dior and La Mer have stepped into the ring, joining other popular brands like Buxom, Too Faced, Maybelline, and E.l.f. Cosmetics. The result is an overwhelming influx of products designed to boost the volume of our lips sans injections. But, of course, not all of said lip plumpers are as effective or as enjoyable to wear as they’re marketed to be. That’s where we (and a panel of superb experts) come in.
The trend of lip-plumping products isn’t going anywhere, and as more and more brands launch their own tantalizing takes on the category, we wanted to put the crème de la crème to the test to see which formulas actually live up to their claims and deliver the perfect ratio of plumpness, shine, hydration, and comfort, regardless of their price point or popularity.
So after spending hours doing research (if you could only see our color-coded spreadsheets), we curated a list of the 10 “best” lip plumpers to test-drive and review. Keep scrolling to learn more about our review process, panel of experts, and testers and to find out which of the 10 “best” lip plumpers made our final three.
Each installment of Deep Reviews is weeks—and sometimes months—in the making. Once we land on a subject or category to test, we’ll consult our very own staffers and editors (because we happen to think we have damn fine taste when it comes to all things beauty) to come up with our own “best” list.
The Research: For this Deep Review, we looked to other publications—Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Allure, InStyle, Byrdie—and made a list of the products each site recommended above all others. Next, we cross-examined the results from each publication whilst profiling every last review and rating across major online beauty retailers to see which formulas showed up the most and seemed to be the most satisfactorily rated among beauty shoppers (like you) as well.
The Experts: Since our editors also have access to the best makeup artists in the business, we added an additional expert component to the review process and asked three artists to share the one lip plumper they’d crown the absolute best. (They try hundreds of products, so this is a biggie!)
In the end, we came up with 10 lip plumpers that beauty lovers, editors, and makeup artists categorize as the best. Of course, we could serve you that top 10 list and end the process there, but we know that still isn’t narrow enough. Instead, we wanted to land on three completely unbeatable formulas you can invest in and love:
The Overall Favorite: We took everything into account: plumping intensity, smell, comfort level, shine, stickiness, longevity, price point, packaging, finish—literally anything that you can think of, we analyzed to the nth degree. And since we looked at the full picture, that meant the lip plumper that had the most noticeable results wouldn’t necessarily take the cake if it was sticky, smelled bad, or stung the hell out of our lips.
The Most Extreme Results: We solely based our decision on the noticeable plumping effects, awarding the formula that resulted in the most dramatic volume change in our lips.
The Best Budget Buy: We decided which of the more affordably priced options was a standout lip plumper that still held its own against the more expensive numbers in the bunch.
Henney’s pick: “I love Dior’s Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Plumping Gloss. I love this lip plumper because it comes in two finishes—luminous and glittery—and the shade range is divine. The formula glides on to the lips smoothly, it’s not sticky, and it gives the appearance of fuller, juicier lips!”
Ashton’s pick: “When it comes to adding extra volume without having to go the route of injectables or dramatically overlining the lips, Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Plumping Gloss is my go-to! I love that the formula glides on without being sticky and gives a noticeable result whilst adding just enough shine.”
Loiz’s pick: “One of the best lip plumpers I’ve used is the All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask from KNC Beauty. I love that this lip mask has only seven ingredients, one being collagen, which naturally plumps the lips. The lip mask also soothes and hydrates dry and chapped lips and helps erase fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth. Bonus: It’s very easy and foolproof to apply, and the pink lip shape looks super cute on your lips!”
Considering that two of the three expert makeup artists we consulted touted this as their favorite lip plumper, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that it impressed the heck out of our testers as well. An iconic cult favorite, this staple plumping gloss lives up to, if not exceeds, the hype it receives all over the internet.
As Henney mentioned, it comes in two finishes (Shimmer or High Shine—pick your poison) and an array of mouthwatering colors. We tried it in Light Pink and found that it gave a subtle yet noticeable plumping effect, was supremely comfortable on the lips, had impressive longevity, and also raked in the compliments when it came to shine and overall finish. Plus, because it’s Dior, you know the packaging, smell, and smooth-versus-sticky consistency are 11/10 as well.
Praise from our testers:
“I like this lip plumper because it has that tingly feeling where you can tell that it is doing something to plump your lips without being painful or uncomfortable. Of course, I love the packaging, but Dior seems to always know what it’s doing when it comes to its packaging. I would spend my own money on this. I actually have this product in several other shades, and even though it’s a little on the pricey side, it’s also a luxury beauty brand and worth the investment in mind.” — Grace
“I love that it feels like a lip oil, doesn’t have much of a scent, and the color is so sheer it just enhances my own lip color. As far as comfort level, I barley felt a thing, just a cool breeze on a summer day on my lips. I want to keep using this.” — Natalia
While renowned plastic surgeon Lara Devgan’s namesake beauty line might not be as universally famous as a brand like Dior, among beauty insiders, this highly effective and multitasking lip plumper is revered as one of the most coveted beauty items one can own. In addition to being ingeniously spiked with SPF 30, it also contains a host of other plumping and hydrating heavy hitters like niacin, ceramides, and mixed-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid. Overall, this plumper had the most dramatic results with visible increases in plumpness and volume, but it does have some zing.
Praise from our testers:
“I’ve been a longtime fan of this lip plumper and definitely feel like it’s one of THE best on the market. It gives you shine! It gives you plumpness! It gives you hydration! It gives you sun protection! And it even naturally enhances your lip color so no other lip products are needed underneath. You also definitely feel this one. It’s not uncomfortable or intolerable, but it is pretty spicy. You can for sure feel it working its magic, which I happen to love.” — Erin
“Again, this will be one of the few that I will continue to use. I really do like it! I loved that it wasn’t too uncomfortable on the lips, the plump was subtle, and it also felt like a high-quality skincare product that will help with fine lines, etc., over time. I’m more of skincare person, so I love that. The effects also lasted the longest out of all of the lip plumpers I tried.” — Natalia
Who said a lip plumpers have to be expensive to deliver incredible results? If you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for a top-tier formula, this is the one to try. It comes in at just $7, has a variety of pretty colors to choose from (although, our testers did wish there was a straight-up clear option), has lacquer-level shine, and has noticeable hydration perks in addition to the tingly plumping action. Spotlight ingredients like vitamin E and coconut oil also help it feel smooth and nourishing on the pout.
Praise from our testers:
“This is a solid lip plumper, and if I hadn’t known it was from E.l.f., I would have assumed it was a more expensive option. The product itself glides on, gives a pretty dose of color, and has a super-flattering high-shine factor. It’s also not annoyingly heavy or sticky feeling. It definitely has a noticeable zingy, cooling effect, but since it’s more cooling than sting-y, I wasn’t bothered by it. All in all, it’s an unbeatable price point and actually feels and looks like a high-quality gloss in addition to the nice plumping effect.” — Erin
“We got a good tingle going, and while I wasn’t a fan of the two colors I tried, they have 10 colors to choose from, which is a plus given most on the market are clear.” — Kat
Plumping intensity score: 3.2
What we liked: “Five minutes after applying, I looked in the mirror and was shocked. It looked like I had lip injections! Some of the plumpers we tested just seem like glorified lip glosses, but definitely not this one… even if the effect only lasted for about an hour.” — Natalia
What we didn’t: “The packaging and smell (it’s been compared to lemon cake) felt a little ‘young’ and inexpensive-leaning to me. However, if you’re not an annoying packaging snob like I am, it did come through with the plumping as promised, which I’m not surprised at given Too Faced’s reputation for products that deliver results.” — Kat
“This gloss was just a little too uncomfortable for me. It definitely has a more intense stinging sensation than the others we tried, which makes it hard for me to justify the price.” — Grace
Plumping intensity score: 2.5
What we liked: “The shine-and-gloss factor with this lip plumper is spot-on. It has a noticeable plumping effect, it’s comfortable to wear, it features clean ingredients, and it looks elevated. There’s also a refreshing, somewhat intense, cooling sensation that lasts. I’m also a sucker for a big fat doe-foot—I just like the way you can slide the product on with two nice swipes. If there were just a tad more plumping action, I think this one would have collectively scored higher.” — Erin
What we didn’t: “It’s insanely sticky, and I despise that. That said, if you don’t mind or can get over the stick factor, I love that there’s no crazy smell, it has a nice cooling sensation (instead of a tingle), and it gives lips a subtle plumpness. It’s a nice addition into your purse!” — Natalia
Plumping intensity score: 2.2
What we liked: “This was really one of the only lip plumpers where I looked at the before-and-afters and was like okay, wow! I like that you get an intense rush of ‘cool’ with no sting or burn (kind of like when you suck in air with minty gum in your mouth). I also like how there are SO many shades and finishes to choose from, whereas most lip plumpers only come in clear or have very limited shade options that not everyone may find flattering.” — Erin
What we didn’t: “I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. The plumping effect was just not really there for me. I used the color Samantha, and unfortunately, it’s a lot lighter than my natural lip color, so that may have given the illusion of my lips looking smaller.” — Natalia
“This one is definitely pretty sticky and doesn’t feel or look quite as luxe as some of the others we tried. But that stickiness—it’s not terrible, but not the best, either. It’s also a little worrisome that every one of our testers had very different plumping results. As a beauty editor, I want to make sure something consistently delivers before recommending it.” — Erin
Plumping intensity score: 1.7
What we liked: “I’d rate the tingle factor as baby spice, which I like because I feel like it’s working, but it’s nowhere near uncomfortable. The results weren’t outrageous, but I feel like my lips certainly looked a tad fuller, even more than the illusion of fullness that gloss alone gives.” — Kat
“I loved this for a lip gloss that has a very subtle plumping effect! It felt so nice—not really the feel of a lip oil, but not sticky, either. My lips were super shiny, baby soft, and hydrated! Those fine lines were getting smoothed out.” — Natalia
What we didn’t: “This one just didn’t work well enough for me as a plumper, but I do really like it if I were just shopping for gloss. That being said, there was a slight plump, and the design of the tube is really cute, which I appreciate.” — Grace
Plumping intensity score: 1.5
What we liked: “This one didn’t plump much, but it did make my lips look healthy and hydrated! Who doesn’t wanna look like that? It definitely feels super comfortable too—like cool peppermint—and it smelled like the white Tic Tacs.” — Natalia
What we didn’t: “Like with many of its competitors that we tested, I didn’t notice a difference in the size of my lips with this one. However, I love how the product made my lips feel ultra soft and hydrated. This is the type of beauty product I’d love to receive as a gift, but I don’t think I’d pay nearly $100 for it.” — Grace
“If you’re shelling out this kind of money for a lip plumper, there should be a plump!” — Natalia
Plumping intensity score: 1.0
What we liked: “Even though this didn’t have super-dramatic results, it definitely gave me a bump of subtle plumpness and really softened and smoothed out my lips. (When the lil’ wrinkles are ironed out, my lips always look fuller and more hydrated—less Sahara Desert, if you will.) I would totally do this to prep my lips pre-makeup if I really wanted my lips to look their best under my other lip products, but I’d also do this before bed or on the weekend to subtly enhance the look of my bare lips too. If you want to dip your baby toe into plumping products, this mask is the one. It’s also a great alternative for anyone who doesn’t like glosses or stick factor. I enjoyed the *slight* tingle, which the brand attributes to the collagen. It feels more refreshing than uncomfortable.” — Erin
“This would be such a fun addition to a gift! Stocking suffers, bridesmaids gift baskets, etc. I would 100% bring these on a girls trip.” — Natalia
What we didn’t: “Though adorable, this mask kept slipping down, so I felt like I had to lie down to keep it in place. It did tingle a bit while I was wearing it, so I’m surprised it didn’t do anything for me in the plumping department.” — Kat
Plumping intensity score: 0.7
What we liked: “It’s tough because as a GLOSS, I actually love it. The size of the doe-foot is nice and big, which makes application a snap, it’s smooth, and not sticky, and I personally love the throwback feel of the birthday cake–like scent and clear sparkle. (I’m a sucker for anything that brings on a wave of nostalgia and caters nicely to the Y2K revival happening right now.) Also, it’s $9, and I’ve tried lip glosses three times that price that I didn’t enjoy as much! It’s also super hydrating. Alas, it had zero plumping action—and no tingle or sensation whatsoever—so I was forced to give it a lower score.” — Erin
What we didn’t: “I mostly just noticed how shiny my lips were instead of how plump. I also didn’t like the glittery/metallic finish, but I know there are other shade options I might like better. I know Erin loved glittery effect, so it just comes down to personal preference.” — Grace
“I actually had to double-check that I was given the right lip plumper. It felt like a lip gloss I had in a princess board game from when I was a child, especially due to the heavy vanilla scent. Also, there wasn’t a tingle in sight. Zero effects.” — Natalia