Plumping Lip Gloss Is Perfect For A Faux Filler Look, But Is It Actually Bad For You?

Some people will go to great lengths to achieve a perfectly plump pout. If you remember the viral (and dangerous) Kylie Jenner lip challenge that took over the internet in 2015, which encouraged people to suck on cylinder objects, like shot glasses, to plump their lips in an attempt to look like the makeup mogul, you'll know what we mean.

With society's obsession with full, juicy lips, it's no surprise that the lip filler industry is booming. According to Grand View Research, the market was worth over $2 billion in 2019, with an estimated annual growth of 9.5% until 2027. But what if you want to achieve fuller-looking lips without going under the needle? 

Fortunately, there are other options, like contouring the lips for a fuller, more seductive appearance or overlining for a plumper look. And, of course, you could invest in plumping lip gloss, which provides an intense tingly sensation upon application. While plumping lip gloss is undoubtedly effective in achieving the perfect faux filler look, you may wonder how safe it is to use. Can something that burns so badly be good for you?

What is plumping lip gloss?

Plumping lip gloss is exactly what it sounds like: lip gloss that plumps your lips. But how exactly does it work? You may be intrigued (and slightly concerned) to learn that plumping lip products work by irritating the lips. According to WebMD, the ingredients within the lip plumpers, like cinnamon and chili pepper, don't necessarily soothe the lips — actually, they do the opposite. In turn, blood is forced to the surface of the lips, giving an inflamed and red appearance.

Although we typically see plumping products in the form of gloss, there are several others on the market, from balms to masks, that promise to provide the same juicy results. And since most lip plumpers are infused with similar lip-irritating ingredients, that burning sensation is a likely occurrence regardless of the plumper you choose. You know what they say: Pain is beauty. The downside? The plumping effect is temporary, only lasting about two to three hours, per The Healthy.

Is plumping lip gloss bad for you?

If you've ever applied a plumping product to your lips, the first thing that probably came to your mind in the midst of eye-watering cringes and feelings of instant regret may be the thought that perhaps it wasn't the best idea. That burning sensation is no joke! But, according to medical practitioner and co-founder at National TASC Rachel Scott, they're not as bad for you as they feel. "Since this reaction is also what happens when you eat spicy foods or other mildly irritating food items, then it is generally safe," she told SheFinds.

Although it isn't necessarily harmful to use, plumping lip gloss is still creating something of a reaction on your lips, so it's best not to overdo it. "Danger comes with overusing lip plumper," Scott cautioned, as using it too much and every day can cause "excessive irritation" and "lip cracking." Therefore, it's recommended that you use the product in moderation and try not to reach for it as part of your daily beauty routine.

Lip plumper can be bad for you if you are allergic to its ingredients

It goes without saying that you should immediately stop using any beauty product if you are allergic to it. Mild irritants like cinnamon, wintergreen, menthol, capsicum (a compound in cayenne and chili peppers), and even bee venom can be found in lip-plumping glosses (via Nature's Beauty). But since it's in lip plumper's nature to create tingling and swelling, how do you know if you are allergic to the ingredients?

According to DermNet, obvious signs of allergic reaction to lip products include painful and uncomfortable symptoms that spread past the lips and onto other areas of the face and neck. It can be accompanied by rashes, itchiness, and even blisters. If you notice any symptoms out of the typical temporary burning associated with the plumper, you should stop using it. You can also perform a patch test, which involves applying a thin amount to a small section of your lips. Within a few hours, if no reaction occurs, you're good to go.

The benefits of using plumping lip gloss

Now that we know lip plumper generally is safe to use, let's discuss its benefits. An excellent fallback option for those who desire fuller lips without medical treatments or procedures, lip-plumping gloss is a go-to for many. In fact, the hashtag #LipPlumperGloss has racked up over 45 million views on TikTok, proving just how beloved it is in the beauty community. When compared to mildly invasive and painful lip augmentations, some would argue that the benefits of plumping gloss outweigh the negatives.

"Unlike lip fillers, which can last up to a year, lip-plumping products are relatively inexpensive, relatively painless to put on besides a little stinging, and you don't have to worry about getting a bruise," chief of the division of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine Hooman Khorasani told The Strategist. And although plumping gloss is a temporary solution to your thin-lipped woes, it's easy on the wallet and provides a natural look.

Other ways to achieve fuller lips without plumping gloss

If unpleasant sensations aren't your idea of a good time and you prefer not to experience burning or tingling, then plumping lip gloss may not be the product for you. Rest assured, there are other ways you can achieve plumper-looking lips without any discomfort. Of course, you can overline your lips to get a Kylie Jenner-esque look. 

You can even massage and pinch your lips to make them appear larger, like content creator @_jadync displays in a TikTok video. It sounds bizarre, but according to the comments, this technique works. "This literally helped me so much," one commenter wrote. "It's been four days, and there's definitely more growth and plumpness in my lips." This method is performed by pinching the outside and inside of the lips, but you can even massage the lip muscles to strengthen the mouth and increase the blood flow, giving a fuller appearance (via Daily Mail).

And, as always, drink water. It's not a revolutionary secret that staying hydrated is essential for a healthy body and mind. However, drinking water has more benefits than keeping you nourished and strong — it can make your lips appear fuller. "When your body is dehydrated, your lips literally shrivel up and disappear," double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jaimie DeRosa told Seventeen. So grab that emotional support water bottle and sip your way to healthy lips.