I've always wanted a plump bee-stung pout à la Angelina Jolie, but alas, I have very thin lips. They don't bother me too much until I go to wear lipstick, because, at least in my perspective, they don't provide the perfect canvas for lip color. In fact, that's the very reason you'll never see me wearing nude lipstick. I feel that the neutral tones diminish the look of my already small lips. (I know that over-lining lips with a nude shade is a real and effective way to boost their appearance, but that takes too much time and precision on busy weekday mornings). Consequently, I only use red, pink, and berry shades since they seem to accentuate the shape and volume of my mouth.
I know lip fillers are an option, but I've decided they're just not for me. I don't want to spend the money (since so much of my paycheck already goes to places like hair salons, esthetician offices, and beauty stores). Plus, I'm convinced that I'm too lazy to book regular appointments for touch-ups. So, I turn to lip-plumping glosses and the like, which make my lips appear thicker thanks to their light-reflecting qualities. I have a few staples, but I wanted to know whether or not other members of the Byrdie team had favorite lip-plumping glosses too. Spoiler alert: They did.
Dior's newest lip-plumping glosses are a new iteration of an old favorite: the Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Plumping Gloss($34), which uses collagen and marine-based fillers to smooth lines and plump volume. Byrdie's editorial director, Faith Xue, loves the new version. Just read her stellar review. "Is it a balm? A gloss? A stain? A lip plumper? The answer is it's all four. The color payoff on these new lippies from Dior is amazing—one coat gives a just-bitten effect, or you can apply more to build the intensity. There isn't any burning feeling here, but I did notice that my lips looked smoother and fuller. The final effect is more of a slight sheen rather than full-on gloss, which is great for anyone who doesn't like the high-shine look. It feels watery when you apply, and then it dries down to a comfortable balm feeling. I'm obsessed."
Another favorite of Faith's, this lip-plumping gloss uses chili extract to provide an instant plumping sensation and dragon's blood extract to comfort and restore hydration. "This lip plumper from Rodial flies under the radar and is pretty pricey, but the results are undeniable. I used this once and saw noticeable results. It doesn't feel sticky and definitely has a slight burning sensation (that would be the chili oil), which I actually like because I feel like it's working. My lips looked Kylie-level after just a few minutes, and I've been singing its praises since," she says.
Assistant editor Erin Jahns swears by this Smashbox pick, which transforms uses your lips' unique chemistry to transform into a perfect lip-plumping pink shade. As a plus, it's vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and formulated without fragrance or talc.
Erin also turns to this drugstore lip gloss without fail. It's formulated with peptides that plump and firm lips. It also has a cooling sensation and a refreshing mint flavor that keeps lips smooth and happy (not burned and irritated like other drugstore lip plumpers).
I only recently caught onto the magic that is this new Urban Decay gloss. Seriously, after the first application, I was hooked. It comes in 20 highly pigmented shades and uses peppermint oil and vitamin E to nourish and plump the lips. Personally, I love the ultra-shiny (almost vinyl) finish it imparts. Oh, and the shade Bang, a bright orangey-red, is one of my all-time favorite lip colors. Just saying.
GlamGlow's cult-favorite gloss uses something that the brand calls a pro-lipid complex to plump lips. I don't know how or why it does what it does, but I do know that it works. I swipe a coat of this on after applying red lipstick to make my lips look especially full and pouty, though it can also be used on bare lips to the same effect. This one is a lip-plumping must.
This Soap & Glory lip gloss has been in my makeup kit for what feels like forever now. It uses natural flower oils and peptides to plump and hydrate the lips. When the brand says "pillow plump," they mean it. I love the way it makes my lips feel super soft and smooth (as opposed to red and irritated like so many other plumping formulas I've tried).
This Too Faced plumping gloss promises to boost the volume of your pout by 20%, which is kind of insane, considering it's just a topical product. Avocado and jojoba oils nourish the lips while marine sponge and collagen boosters add density and hydration. I'm a big fan of this one, but there is one catch. I can't wear it over the top of a base of lipstick, as I've found it can cause the color to fade and feather.
Byrdie senior editor Hallie Gould loves this plumping system from SkinMedica. Technically it's a lip treatment, not a gloss, but it can be worn under or over any lip color and adds visible volume and definition to the lips. It's all thanks to super-hydrating ingredients.
So, now that you know about our go-to lip-plumping glosses, check out our favorite lip masks for a full and defined pout (because any little bit helps, right?).