As beauty editors, we get bombarded with a ton of new products every day (we know—tough life). Reviewed is a series where we report on some of the best products we’ve tried. Whether it’s a drugstore lipstick that lasted all day or a hand cream that saved us this winter, you’ll find all of our favorites in this column. Enjoy!
Though I haven’t always appreciated the size and shape of my lips, in recent years, they’ve grown to become one of my favorite features. Nevertheless, when I heard about JuvaLips—an electronic lip-plumping device promising an increase in smoothness and size with a decrease in fine lines and wrinkles—I was cautiously intrigued. Just as someone with naturally long lashes might still dabble in XXL-length mascaras, I can’t help myself when a new lip-plumping product or device promises a fuller, smoother pout, sans lip injections.
Unlike the not-so-safe #KylieJennerChallenge (think suction meets shot glass if you’re unfamiliar) from a few years back, the JuvaLips device incorporates the same basic idea sans crazy consequences. Read on for my honest review of the JuvaLips Original Lip Plumper.
- Best for: Loss of lip volume, thin lips, fine lines
- Uses: Non-invasive lip plumping
- Star Rating: 4.5/5
- Price: $100
- About the brand: Inspired by the Kylie Jenner lip challenge, JuvaLips was founded to create the best tool and serums for non-invasive lip plumping without bruising.
About My Lips: Full with a thinner top lip, fine lines, a few deep wrinkles
Although I’m completely happy with the size and appearance of my lips, my top lip is quite a bit thinner than my bottom, and I do have some deep wrinkles that can easily veer pruney (and chapped-looking) if I start to neglect my scrub and balm routine. So yes, I was excited to see what the JuvaLips device would do for my upper lip and if consistent usage might blur and smooth those pesky, deep-set lines.
The Design: Ergonomic and compact
Easy to use and adorably packaged, the patent-pending product stimulates the lips with timed treatments at a regulated pressure via a calibrated vacuum. The mouthpiece is removable for easy cleaning and replacement and features a soft, contoured fit to create a comfortable seal on the lips.
The Feel: Light pressure
Vowing to use the treatment four times per day (twice in the morning and twice in the evening), I volunteered my lips to play guinea pig for a week. That being said, I was slightly intimidated before my first go-around. I have sensitive skin, and the potential for bruising was slightly concerning to me. However, I was immediately surprised by the light intensity of the pressure, and the suctioning sensation was far less intense than I had initially anticipated. (If I had to make a comparison, it’d be to that of a large fish sucking on your lips—which, as a disclaimer, I haven’t experienced firsthand but sounds about right, regardless).
How To Use: Go easy at first
The device is relatively simple to use—like a push of a button simple. Per the brand's instructions, start by inserting the batteries (which come included—amazing, I know) into the device and apply chapstick to the lips "to ensure a strong seal." Next, pucker your lips while keeping them as relaxed as possible—you don't want to create tension and stiff pucker lines. Press the power button and place the mouthpiece over the lips. The device will automatically run for 60 seconds at a time, which is enough for most users to see results.
Remove the mouthpiece and wash with warm soap and water to clean. Do not submerge the device in water.
Sensitivity: Do not overuse
The brand warns that light bruising can occur if you overdo it with treatments. JuvaLips recommends starting with only one to two treatments at a time to test your tolerance and slowly increasing as needed.
The Results: Subtle plumping
The first few times I tried the device, I couldn’t have been more surprised (or pleased!) with the significant difference I saw in my pout—flushed, plump, and all-around perkier. Plus, the results seemed to last for a good part of the day, and I didn’t experience any of the aforementioned bruising.
However, after the days and treatments wore on, I did notice a drop-off on impact, and though the brand does stipulate you may need to experiment with technique (so it could have been user error), it almost seemed as if my lips were growing accustomed to the pulsating and becoming resistant to the device’s previous magic. So while I noted a subtle difference in the size of my lips over the week, I just wasn’t seeing the same staggering results I had noticed right off the bat.
What I did notice, however, was a significant difference in how smooth my lips looked. Since the device had, indeed, plumped my lips (even if it was to a lesser degree than I had initially hoped for), those fine lines and wrinkles had virtually disappeared and were all of a sudden much less visible underneath my favorite lip products.
JuvaLips recommends keeping your lips hydrated for the best long-term results.
The Science: Increases blood flow to the lips
It’s that vibrating, suction-like pressure that increases blood flow to the lips' capillaries creating that coveted, smooth, and swollen look. The vacuum effect works similarly to cupping, where negative pressure is created on the skin to stretch and dilate capillaries, which stimulates an increase in tissue blood flow.
"The inflammation that results from blood circulating to that specific area helps to achieve the plump “bee-stung” lip look," explains Howard Sobel, MD, a dermatologic surgeon and attending dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and founder of Sobel Skin. "The body’s natural response to increased blood circulation to a specific area is swelling and inflammation," he continues. "When your lips swell, they appear larger and plumper."
The Value: Comparably affordable for the results
High-tech lip plumping tools typically range from $70 to $140. While there are not many similar vacuum-seal lip enhancers on the market to compare to (more on that later), JuvaLips sits at the affordable end of the scale while still being an effective treatment.
Similar Products: You've got options
PMD Kiss Lip Plumping System: Most comparable in technology, the PMD Lip Plumping System ($139) also utilizes a form of controlled vacuuming to increase blood flow to lips. The system differs in the way the vacuum suction is delivered, however. Instead of treating the entire lips all at once, the PMD device divides the lips into smaller quadrants for targeted application. It is notably more expensive than JuvaLips, but the system does come with two Changeable Plumping Tips, a USB charging cable (JuvaLips runs on batteries), and a lip serum in addition to the Kiss Device. Although, there is also a similar kit system available for JuvaLips that's on sale for $100 (regularly $120) including the device, a lip serum, a microfiber bag, two AAA batteries, 25 felt liners, and an extra mouthpiece.
ReVive Light Therapy Lip Care: LED therapy promises collagen-inducing, rejuvenating properties. Red light, in particular, is generally used to combat aging skin and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, but ReVive Light Therapy Lip Care ($99) employs the collagen- and elastin-building factors to increase and restore lip volume over time. While likely not as dramatic in the plumping department—there is no swelling occurring—there is something to be said of the result's potential longevity that comes from increasing collagen in the lips.
Though the difference is minimal (I tried to keep my lip color virtually the same in both photos for the sake of accurate comparison), you can see a slight difference in the size of my upper lip and the all-around fullness and smoothness of both. Essentially, the JuvaLips device breathed some much-needed life into my lips, and I truly believe it works. However, depending on skin sensitivity, lip shape, etc. results will probably be pretty mixed. So, though I’m not completely sold, I’ll keep using the JuvaLips device and have (and will continue) to recommend it to those seeking a subtle, non-invasive volume boost.
Mehta P, Dhapte V. Cupping therapy: a prudent remedy for a plethora of medical ailments. J Tradit Complement Med. 2015;5(3):127-134. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2014.11.036