While lip filler has become increasingly popular in recent years, it’s not the only option for folks hoping to achieve fuller-looking lips. In fact, those looking for a more temporary — and far less expensive and invasive solution — can reach for a lip plumper. Fortunately, you don’t need to shell out $30-plus per product: Enter the best drugstore lip plumpers, which come in gloss and stick formulas.
However, before going into more detail, it’s essential to understand what lip plumpers are and how they work. Put simply, explains New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Diane Madfes, MD, lip plumpers are topical solutions that are applied to the lips and last about four hours. They’re formulated with ingredients like capsicum, cinnamates, caffeine, menthol, and peppermints, which, when applied to the lips, create a plumping effect by causing temporary swelling. With this in mind, Dr. Madfes notes, “It’s very normal when you first apply a lip plumper to feel tingling for about 10 minutes.”
When shopping for drugstore lip plumpers, you’ll notice that some are spiked with hyaluronic acid, a.k.a. the same ingredient found in injectables. However, Dr. Madfes explains, “The hyaluronic acid acts moisturizer and only gives mild smoothing of surface,” as opposed to a plumping effect. Similarly, a handful of the best drugstore lip plumpers contain peptides. This is also noteworthy since New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Michele Green, MD, previously told Allure: “Some peptides stimulate collagen and elastin production, which work by increasing moisture as well, producing localized swelling in the lips.”
While Erum Ilyas, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, previously told Allure that the ingredients found in lip plumpers are safe to use, Dr. Madfes recommends “testing before a big event,” just in case you have an adverse reaction. Additionally, the dermatologist advises those with “a history of eczema or prior allergies to chili peppers” to avoid lip plumpers altogether.
Now that you’ve got the full rundown, keep reading to discover some of our favorite drugstore lip plumpers (including makeup artist picks) for the illusion of fuller lips — no lip injections required.
Our Top Picks:
- TikTok-Approved: Maybelline New York Lifter Gloss Lip Gloss, $10
- Glossy, Never Goopy: Physicians Formula Diamond Lip Plumper, $9
- Smoothing & Soothing: Pixi LipLift Max Lip Gloss, $14
- Whew Chilé: Milani Keep It Full Maxxx Lip Plumper, $11
TikTok Sensation: Maybelline New York Lifter Gloss Lip Gloss
The viral drugstore lip plumper is a favorite of Los Angeles-based makeup artist Elizabeth Seropian, who credits its hyaluronic acid-spiked formula with giving “yours lips a pout with a nice dose of long-lasting hydration.” Its large doe-foot applicator is a bonus, as is its wallet-friendly price. It’s also available in an impressive 18 shades, including Crystal (a golden brown), Heat (a sheer raspberry, pictured above), and Pearl (translucent).
Minty Fresh: Nyx Professional Makeup Filler Instinct Plumping Lip Polish Gloss
For fuller-looking lips in just a few swipes, look no further than this under-$10 pick which, per Seropian, “gives that perfect glossy pout.” This drugstore lip plumper, which offers a sparkly, sheer wash of color, is infused with menthol, which has a cooling and tingling effect. Choose from six glittery shades such as Let’s Glaze (clear), New Money (copper gold pictured above), and Sparkling Please (rose gold).
Classic (But Never Boring) Shades: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Plump Lip Gloss
According to Seropian, this household product “gives your lips a shiny, glossy finish.” It’s also enriched with hydration-boosting hyaluronic acid and moisturizing staples like glycerin and squalane. It’s also formulated with peppermint oil, which, per Dr. Madfes, is one ingredient that can help “achieve the plumping effect.” Take your pick of 12 shades, including a range of pretty pinks and nudes such as Mauve Glow (pictured above) and True Berry.
For Your Bridgerton-Inspired Fantasies: Physicians Formula Diamond Lip Plumper
OK, you might not be deemed the “diamond of the season” by Queen Charlotte but this lightweight gloss-serum hybrid will definitely make you the talk of the ton. The shimmery formula, enriched with vitamin E-loaded avocado oil and conditioning shea butter, simultaneously nourishes and plumps. It also features caffeine and menthol, both of which are responsible for the plumping effect. Choose from five shades, each of which clocks in under $8.
For Your Spiciest Looks: Milani Keep It Full Maxxx Lip Plumper
Kick it up a notch with this lip-enhancing blend of peptides, capsicum (from chili peppers), and hyaluronic acid. Meanwhile, mango seed oil provides an extra dose of hydration. Its ultra-pigmented formula provides some serious shine, while the extra-large doe-foot applicator makes it easy to swipe the product across the lips. This drugstore lip plumper is available in 10 cheekily named shades like In the DMs (burgundy, pictured above).
Best “Clean” Formula: E.L.F. Lip Plumping Gloss
E.L.F. makes some of our favorite drugstore beauty products, and this lip plumper gloss is no exception. Wear this coconut oil–infused formula on its own or layer it on top of another lip color you love for an extra “wow” effect. All 10 shades (including the delectable Mocha pictured) give your lips a sheer wash of color that feels as good as it looks. As for the “fuller lips” results you’re looking for, you have menthol to thank.
Vinyl-Like Finish: Makeup Revolution Pout Bomb Plumping Lip Gloss
At less than $10 apiece, you can’t go wrong with this non-sticky albeit uber-glossy formula, and it’s even enriched with nourishing vitamin E. Oh, and did we mention it’s both cruelty-free and vegan? Select from seven shades like Peachy (bright coral), Glaze (translucent), and Candy (blush pink, pictured above).
Best Steal: L.A. Girl Lip Plumper
This may look like a tube of lip balm at first, but don’t be fooled by appearances. New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Michele Green, MD, previously told Allure that the cinnamon in this formula “causes a tingling sensation and improves blood flow.” Per the dermatologist, cinnamon, combined with the lip plumper’s high-shine finish, provides a “temporary volumizing effect.” Its natural pink tint works especially well for a no-makeup, makeup look.
Rich Aunt Vibes: Pixi LipLift Max Lip Gloss
Available in five beautiful hues, this drugstore darling is beloved for its signature glossy finish and cooling sensation that provides a plumping effect. Its fine-line-smoothing, hydrating formula combines skin-care staples such as peptides and fatty acids, as well as soothing chamomile and moisturizing jojoba oil. The fresh mint flavor is a bonus.