It really doesn't matter what formulation is used: There are as many opinions about how well lip plumpers work as there are varieties. Independent studies haven't established measurable effectiveness of lip plumpers, but many women are pleased with the results.
Some people object to the stinging sensation. One woman told the New York Times, "You might as well get some extra-spicy Buffalo wings and eat them." In the same article, a beauty and fitness editor of a fashion magazine was definitely unimpressed, but a Washington dermatologist said she and her patients used it all the time to complement lip injections [source: Hayt].
Consumer Reports has a definite negative opinion of lip plumpers. The organization enlisted 12 women to try six different formulas from Avon, Clinique, DuWop, LipFusion, Sally Hansen and Wet n Wild. Products ranged from a few dollars to $36, but none resulted in more than a tiny swelling that disappeared within an hour. In addition to the women's subjective opinions, experts looked at before and after photos [source: Consumer Reports].
Even staunch users of lip plumpers recognize that the effects are subtle. Lip plumpers will never rival what a dermatologist or plastic surgeon can accomplish with injections or other procedures. A variety of methods can provide results that last from a few weeks to about a year. One popular injection is Restylane, a hyaluronic acid filler. Bovine-extracted collagen is another choice, but it's more expensive than hyaluronic acid fillers. Of course, any medical method of lip augmentation will cost far more than a cosmetic method -- in terms of money and sometimes pain.
Perhaps by now you're convinced that lip plumpers should become part of your makeup regimen. You might be skeptical, but you're willing to give them a try. You can enhance the fullness of your lips with some savvy application tips -- read on to learn what those are.