How to Plump Lips Without Injections or Fillers

by Violet Knight

Unless your name is Patrick Star—of the cartoon variety, not the beauty guru—and you live under a literal rock, you’re undoubtedly aware that a large derriere and puffed up pout are still reigning as the most sought-after body modifications of the new decade. While some folks are embracing confidence no matter what their body shape (with a section of this demographic instead focusing on the importance of character and personal merit), another slice of the population has become obsessed with emulating celebrity beauty trends. These naturally unattainable goals have led to a massive spike in plastic surgery, with lip injections, fillers, and implants topping the list.

If we take a look at history, however, we can see that body trends come and go; at one point not so long ago, thin brows with high arches were all the rage and being stick-skinny was seen as the ultimate body type. Hairstyles, too, have changed drastically over the years, as have opinions regarding curves, piercings, acrylic nail styles, and a host of other body modification possibilities.

While some people insist on going under the knife or subjecting themselves to chemical injections in order to achieve what they hope will be a more idealized face or figure, there are a host of other non-permanent, non-surgical alternatives, especially when it comes to creating the appearance of full lips. Read on for a thorough ‘how-to’ on plumping your lips without using any injections or fillers.

OPTICAL ILLIPSION

The first method was re-popularized circa 2014 by King Kylie, herself: overlining the lips. It only takes a short browse through some YouTube beauty videos or an “Instagram realities” page to realize the full power and potential of makeup. 

The fantastic part about this option is that it offers the most natural look. Yes, the full-size lip is an unnatural phenomenon at its core, but it’s also a trend that can create an unpredictable and serious imbalance in the face. Unfortunately, this can quickly result in either regret or a feeling of needing more procedures to “even it out.” When working with makeup, we can create the illusion of a larger eye, smaller nose, more well-defined face, and of course, fuller lips—with zero surgeries, fillers, or injections needed.

This method also gives you free reign to try your puffy pout in a wide range of colors and styles. You can try lining your lips to their natural shape, or you can create a new shape if you prefer. Want a more defined cupid’s bow? Need some extra help on the top lip, but not the bottom? Wish your lips rounded out instead of cutting on a diagonal? Just draw it in! Pair your liner with a complementary lipstick, and enjoy your handiwork whenever it suits you. Being able to play with your lip shape is not a fluid option when dealing with injections and fillers, which is another major perk to this playful solution.

PLUMP, PLUMP, PLUMP IT UP

Depending on your age, you may remember the rise of lip plumping glosses back in the 1990s. These sticky, high-shine formulas created fuller-looking lips predominantly by irritating them; formulas would include ingredients known to sting the skin, which was markedly painful but did effectively call on the body to increase blood flow to the lips, making them look plumper for a short period of time.

The current plumping glosses on the market take a varied approach, with some repackaging the old technology and others adding to it or solely using new ingredients. These new formulas strive to increase collagen and elastin in the lips, which works to fill in lip lines, minimize cracking and improve the overall appearance of lips. As a result, lips visually appear fuller and more hydrated with continued use.

As a word of warning, it’s important to read the package when dealing with plumping glosses. Some of these products have a limit on safe usage per day, some are offering only short-term results, and others are meant to slowly enhance lips for a longer period of time. With the latter option, the typical time frame advertised is about two weeks; these products may or may not include a short-term plumping effect, as well. So long as you know what you’re buying, there shouldn’t be much disappointment to deal with.

KEEP, KEEP, KEEP IT UP

Another interesting technology to try is the handheld lip plumping device. There are a number of these circulating nowadays with varied instructions for use, but the same general outcome. Some of these devices are battery-powered, while others use your own breath to create a suction field around the lips. As extreme suction can lead to lip bruising, consider first trying a plumping device that has a number of intensity levels or the ability for you to control the suction on your own, and work your way up slowly.

There are definitely a number of perks to the handheld device route. First off, you can carry these babies around in your purse or bag and refresh your look whenever it suits you. While the makeup option can last all day long, the results of plumping glosses and lip plumping devices tend to fade faster. Being able to discreetly refresh your pout on the go (even sans mirror) is a significant bonus!

Adding to the allure of these devices is the fact that you don’t have to wear any makeup at all if you so choose. The main reason I shy away from cosmetic products is that they can be incredibly time-consuming, so you really have to want the results if you’re going to regularly dedicate the time. For others out there like me, who would rather get up and go, using a handheld device means that bare lips or your favorite lip balm is plenty good enough.

THE THICK AND THIN OF IT

Whatever your preferred style, it’s worth it to play around before deciding to take the more dangerous step of opting for injections or fillers. Aside from the fact that you could leave the doctor’s office looking botched and feeling tremendous pain, these treatments do have long-term consequences. Even if your fillers or injections look excellent at the outset, these products are notorious for creating bumpy, uneven lip texture which will remain with you for the rest of your life, even with routine maintenance.

There’s no shame in choosing to live your best life, but it’s always wise to weigh your options and be sure that following a temporary trend is going to be worth it in the end.

Resources: WebMD, Chicago Tribune