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Pouty, full lips have been a feature long coveted, though not everyone wants to achieve them with a poke! 💉 Enter: lip plumping glosses. These lipglosses contain a mild irritant in the ingredients aimed to cause temporary blood flow and inflammation to the lips. There are a few drugstore makeup options, but which ones actually work?

Maybelline Lifter Plump Gloss, NYX Duck Plump Gloss and Milani Keep It Full MAXXX Lip Plumper tubes standing side by side with text: Drugstore Lip Plumping Glosses | Slashed Beauty

Today we’ll look at three popular drugstore lip plumping glosses: the newer Maybelline Lifter Plump Gloss, the NYX Duck Plump Gloss, and an old favorite of mine, the Milani Keep It Full MAXXX Lip Plumper.

Before & After Maybelline Lifter Plump Gloss in Red Flag | Slashed Beauty
Maybelline Lifter Plump Gloss in Red Flag

This lip plumper is not for the faint of heart. The new Maybelline Lifter Plump Gloss uses Chili Pepper and a proprietary “Maxi-Lip” formula to initiate the plumping effect and I can’t lie… this stuff burns. This sting the most out of any lip plumper I’ve tried, and the sensation is strong on the lips for over an hour.

But is the burn worth it? As you can see above, after 15 minutes we get a flush of color to the lips under the sheer formula, and a slight filling of the lip lines for a plumper effect. I wouldn’t say this makes my lips look that much bigger,

Before & After Milani Keep It Full MAXXX Lip Plumper in Situation-ship | Slashed Beauty
Milani Keep It Full MAXXX Lip Plumper in Situation-ship

For the past few years, the Milani Keep It Full MAXXX Lip Plumper has been my favorite. I love the cushy, pigmented formula that’s not sticky at all. This one also utilizes Chili Pepper to create inflammation, though it’s not nearly as strong of a sensation as the Maybelline gloss. There’s definitely tingling/stinging, but it doesn’t feel as hot.

After 15 minutes, I get more noticeable roundness at the center of my bottom lip, and my top lift looks slightly lifted. While this one gives me the most visual effect in my opinion, it doesn’t last very long. After thirty minutes, the swelling starts going down as the reaction subsides. This formula also contains Mango Seed Butter and Hyaluronic filling spheres for moisture retention, so after the plump is gone you at least get a nourishing lip gloss.

Before & After NYX Duck Plump Gloss in Mauve Out Of My Way | Slashed Beauty
NYX Duck Plump Gloss in Mauve Out Of My Way

Another new release, the NYX Duck Plump Gloss made waves during their Big Game commercial. However, despite all the hype, I felt like it gave me the least amount of visual effect. This formula uses spicy ginger to plump, and at the most, I see my lip lines smoothing out as shown above. Again, this is enough for a generally fuller effect, but I couldn’t see much change in terms of the shape of my lips as I did with the Milani gloss. This one did have heat behind the tingling, but it lasted maybe 30 minutes tops. I did like the pigmentation of this gloss, though it feathers if you don’t wear it with lip liner.

So here’s the thing… when it comes to lip plumping glosses, I personally don’t feel like they’re worth the buy.

First of all, after 5 days testing these back to back and comparing them, my lips were dried the heck out. You have to remember that you’re essentially causing a mild allergic reaction when you apply these, and depending on how sensitive you are this could leave your lips in bad shape. I wouldn’t recommend these for daily use, especially because you could end up de-sensitizing your lips to the plumping ingredient, making them less effective.

Second, the effect is just too temporary. Especially in the case of the Maybelline gloss which stung the crap out of me, it wasn’t nearly enough effect for the discomfort. But even with the Milani lip plumper which didn’t hurt as much and gave me more lip fullness, the effect fades so quickly that I might as well just grab a normal lip gloss that’s more comfortable to wear in general. If I want the illusion of fuller lips, I’ll create it with lip liner which will last much longer.

Unless a brand comes out with a super innovative formula that lasts several hours without massive stinging, I don’t think I’ll be adding any more lip plumpers to my collection.

What do you think of plumping glosses? Do you have a favorite that works?

– Miranda


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