Has a pleasant texture that's creamy and soft without any tackiness. The colors are subtle with a light shimmer. Comes in 12 lovely nude shades to complement every skin tone. From a cruelty-free drugstore brand known for their high-quality.
Only a minimal tingle. Requires frequent reapplication to keep the shine.
This plumping lip gloss has a moisturizing, non-sticky feel on the lips. It works on its own or over lipstick. The range has great colors with good staying power. Plumping action has more of a cooling sensation than a tingle.
The plumping is less noticeable than with some other drugstore plumpers.
Infused with hyaluronic acid which deeply moisturizes lips. Formula is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and safe for sensitive skin. Long-lasting shine holds strong for several hours, even while eating and drinking.
Some wearers felt the gloss transferred rather easily. Better for short-term wear.
Only takes one or two swipes to cover lips and achieve a plumping effect. Available in more colors than most drugstore lip plumpers. Works well just with lip liner. Leaves lips feeling smoother and fuller. Doesn't leave lips with a tacky feeling.
May require frequent reapplication. Doesn't offer a noticeable plumping effect according to some wearers.
Has a sheer-shine effect and can be worn on its own or on top of lipstick. Creamy, luxurious application that feels thick without being too heavy. Cruelty-free formula. Available in several sheer shades. Has a velvety finish.
Effective at holding shine, but some wearers felt its plumping fell short of expectations.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
As we age, our lips lose collagen, appearing less plump and full than before. Lips aren’t immune to the fine lines we develop elsewhere on our faces either. This aging process starts in our twenties, and the difference can be noticeable by the time we hit our middle years.
Lip injections can certainly puff up your pout, but they’re invasive and expensive. That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to thin lips, though. Drugstore lip plumping products are an economical way to juice up your lips. These products cause short-term swelling of the lips, helping to temporarily restore youthful fullness. Most add volume with ingredients that mildly stimulate or irritate your lips.
However, with the number of drugstore lip plumpers increasing, it can be hard to know which one to choose. Our buying guide covers everything you should consider when shopping for drugstore lip plumpers.
While you’ll find the occasional volumizing serum or lipstick, most drugstore lip plumpers are formulated as lip glosses. Lip gloss acts as the perfect medium for lip plumping ingredients because glosses apply and spread more easily than traditional lipsticks. Some lip plumping glosses deliver a subtle sheen, while others are packed with high-voltage shine. Lip glosses are often transparent, but you can also find plumping glosses at the drugstore in an array of pretty hues and sparkly glitters.
Lip plumping serums are designed for ongoing use. Serums are designed to penetrate the lips rather than simply sit on the surface. This allows them to combat collagen loss over the long run, compared to the temporary volume of plumping glosses and lipsticks. Serums are among the pricier drugstore lip plumpers, and they must be applied regularly to make a difference.
Lip plumpers can occasionally be found in lipstick form. This is a less popular delivery method, since lipstick formulas are usually thicker and harder to apply. These products tend to be more about delivering the desired lipstick shade than maximizing volume.
There are two types of active ingredients found in most drugstore lip plumpers: those that lock in moisture and those that irritate the lips.
Many lip plumping glosses use natural products to lightly irritate the lips, increasing blood flow. This causes light swelling of the lips, which can last for several hours, adding volume and tightness. These formulas include mildly stinging ingredients like menthol, cinnamon, wintergreen, caffeine, and capsaicin, which comes from chili peppers. Some more expensive formulas even use bee venom for a stronger sting. These products are designed to create a physical response, so check the ingredient list if you have a history of skin irritations or allergic reactions.
Some plumpers use ingredients like hyaluronic acid to hydrate the lips so they appear naturally larger. Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that’s extracted from sugar, so allergic reactions are highly unlikely. This hard-working molecule can absorb a large amount of water, giving your lips a fuller appearance without creating a stinging reaction.
Other lip plumpers use peptides, natural molecules used to make proteins, to increase collagen levels in the lips. Peptides are often a key ingredient in long-term plumping products like serums, but they aren’t very effective as instant plumpers.
A clear plumping gloss might be the most versatile, but a tinted gloss can really amp up a lipstick or lip liner when layered on top. Drugstore lip plumpers come in a range of shades, from neutral nudes to fun pops of color. For a nighttime look that dazzles, opt for a drugstore lip plumper that sparkles with multi-colored glitter.
When used repeatedly, plumping formulas can take their toll on your lips. Ingredients that repeatedly irritate or swell your pout can also dry and crack your lips. Some plumping formulas include ingredients like shea butter, avocado oil, ceramides, and other moisturizers to help keep your lips healthy.
While drugstore lip plumpers are budget-friendly, waste isn’t good for your wallet or the environment. Squeeze bottles make it easy to overdo the application of a lip plumper, and roll-ons often require multiple swipes. A doe-foot applicator makes it easy to apply a lip plumper without wasting product or making a mess.
High-end lip plumpers: Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme Lip Plumper
Underwhelmed by drugstore formulas? Take it to the next level with this lip plumper from Too Faced. It starts working in less than a minute and gives results many describe as the best alternative to lip injections.
Lip plumper devices: Fullips Lip Plumping Tool
Lip plumping glosses can be goopy and stick to your hair. For a mess-free pout, try a lip plumper device, like this silicone tool from Fullips. It suctions your lips to stimulate the skin and produce temporary swelling.
Lip sleeping masks: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
Lip plumpers can leave your lips dry, irritated, and even chapped. Restore hydration with a lip sleeping mask, like this cult favorite from Laneige, which can be worn overnight or during the day.
Habitual straw use can contribute to thinning lips and fine lines.
The good news is that drugstore lip plumpers won’t break the bank. You do get what you pay for, though, so here’s what to expect.
It’s possible to find drugstore lip plumpers for less than $5 per tube. Lip glosses in this price range often provide subtle results that are short-lived. Cheaper formulas may use lower-quality ingredients, which can mean increased irritation or lackluster results.
Most drugstore lip plumpers cost between $5 and $10. You’re more likely to find plumpers from recognizable, trusted cosmetic brands in this price range. Their effects last several hours, and they use better ingredients. They come in a variety of colors, too. Products in this range are more likely to include effective moisturizers to prevent dry lips.
The most expensive drugstore lip plumpers can cost up to $20. If you’re paying this much for a drugstore product, the results should be significant and last most of the day. These drugstore lip plumpers often use mostly natural ingredients and effectively moisturize your lips while plumping.
If you use lip plumpers regularly, make sure you moisturize your lips afterward with a balm or lip mask.
A. Reviews are mixed. Some experts say you’ll get better results applying a lip plumper directly to the lips, whereas applying it over lipstick can lead to uneven results. Others recommend always using a thin layer of balm or lipstick underneath a lip plumper to help protect the lips. If you have a history of skin reactions or sensitive skin, including a barrier layer is wise. You can always use a lip liner in a shade that matches your natural lips underneath a lip plumper.
A. Today’s lip plumpers feel nothing like older products, which most agreed were highly uncomfortable. Still, many modern products use irritating ingredients that produce at least a minor tingle. If this sensation bothers you, look for formulas that include cooling ingredients to help reduce any side effects. Discontinue use if a lip plumper makes your lips cross the line from full to painfully swollen – you could be having an allergic reaction.
A. It’s best to save these formulas for special occasions. Your skin can build up a tolerance to the irritating ingredients used to swell your lips if you use lip plumpers too often. This can lead to less dramatic results over time. Frequent use can also lead to dry, damaged lips. If lip plumping is more of a daily concern, consider investing in a serum that will rebuild collagen over time.
A. Results vary by formula, but most quality lip plumpers work for two to eight hours. For best results, apply a lip plumping gloss about 10 minutes before your big entrance to give the formula time to work without wasting precious volume in transit. To maintain lip health, you shouldn’t apply most lip plumpers more than twice a day.