K, so last time I tried a lip plumper it didn’t go particularly well :
But you know what? It would be rude to judge an entire category of products based on one sample. Would YOU trust a study in which n = 1? (You shouldn’t.) So I’m actually being logical, not foolish, by trying a new lip plumper.
GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper ($27/.084 oz; no affiliation with Ariana Grande) promises “INSTANT plumping effect within 3-5 minutes that lasts for hours,” and “clinically-proven” volume, softness, and firmness if used long-term. MOST IMPORTANTLY (in my book), it promises that it’s hydrating. Because nothing says “I love my lips” like purposefully and painfully irritating them to the point of inflammation, and then being all “ugh whatever I guess you can have some hydration, lips. Stop whining”
PACKAGING : The deluxe-sample-size lip plumper comes in a standard acrylic lip gloss tube with a flexible flat doe-foot applicator and brushed metal cap — it feels cold to the touch, so I’m guessing it’s real metal and not just a metallic paint that will chip off and look nasty in a couple of months. Classy move, GrandeLIPS! The full-sized product comes in a click-pen tube with clear slant-tipped applicator and more of that brass casing (on the tube AND cap this time, but with a clear neck through which you can view the gloss color).
HOW IS IT? The gloss smells lightly vanilla-sweet in the tube, but once on the lips I mostly get a musty scent — the kind of mustiness I associate with ancient apartment complexes that are a little bit on the slumlord side, or a grandparents’ house in which grandpa added a screened-in porch that it isn’t exactly up to code. Oddly, I kinda like it. It smells old and shabby and a little sweet, though the scent does fade significantly within half an hour or so. It has no discernible taste — maaaaybe a faint sweetness, but that’s it.
DOES IT DO ANYTHING? Once applied, the gloss is every-so-slightly cooling/tingling (feels nice in the summer heat!). Fortunately, this isn’t anywhere near the “I literally just put hot pepper oil on my lips because #beautyispain” burn I got from the Too Faced Lip Injection. Heck, the Buxom glosses are FAR more tingly and cold than this! But I also don’t notice any corresponding ‘lip plumper’-style physiological increase in lip plumpness.
DO YOUR LIPS LOOK PLUMPER? Sure! A little! But mostly because they’re covered in a plush, thick, lightly-tacky gloss (very comfortable formula, for what it’s worth — the texture actually reminds me a LOT of the Malin & Goetz Mojito Lip Balm, just a bit tackier). My lips are less shriveled (since they’re hydrated — any good balm should do this), and look fuller (due to the glossiness, which is just a visual trick). Is this the “INSTANT plumping effect within 3-5 minutes that lasts for hours” they promise? Not really. It does contain methyl nicotinate (an ingredient that dilates capillaries and improves short-term circulation — basically, it causes intentional inflammation), but I’m really not getting much of a result as far as that goes.
I’m ALL FOR non-inflamed results, though. I don’t like it when my lips sting and swell. I DO like it when they’re covered in a comfortable, hydrating, nicely-textured gloss that lasts a couple of hours and makes my lips feel better afterwards than they were before.
TO BE FAIR, GrandeLIPS’s other claim to plumpness rests less on the “immediate plumping” approach (a la DuWop Lip Venom or Too Faced Lip Injection) and more on long-term results. The company promises that if used twice daily for thirty days, their “clinically-proven” product will improve ‘hydration, volume, softness, and firmness.’ I mean … yeah, keeping your lips hydrated is probably going to improve all of those things. (Not as sure about the firmness, nor by what standard they are measuring ‘firmness.’) But honestly, I don’t care enough about this claim to turn it into a Human Guinea Pig. I’ve never even used my Drunk Elephant Lippe or Bite Beauty Agave Mask for thirty straight days, and y’all know how I feel about those.
Nah. Though I didn’t get much plumping action, this is one of the most comfortable gloss formulas I’ve tried. I like the finish, I like the weird scent (… I suspect a lot of people won’t …), I like the mild cooling feeling, I like the wear time, I like how hydrating it is. But plumping? Not really. They could have just marketed it as an ultra-hydrating, ultra-comfortable lip gloss and called it a day. And at $27 per .084 oz tube (yikes), I need more than a plush, comfortable, hydrating, glossy finish — I can get that from Malin & Goetz for $14 (with twice as much product).
Tried it? Like it? Hate it? Not worth the effort? Discuss!