Looking for a more grownup version of DuWop's iconic little tube of Lip Venom? You've got some options. Like Lip Venom, the best plumping lip glosses contain stimulating ingredients for a temporary swell and flush, while high-shine or iridescent finishes give the illusion of plumper lips. But many of them have features that Lip Venom doesn't, like a cleaner formula or the ability to double as lip color.
As much as we might like to think of Lip Venom as a relic of our younger, naiver selves in a younger, naiver world, that product was onto something: The “plumping” effects came courtesy of essential oils like peppermint, ginger, and cinnamon to encourage blood circulation and give it that titular sting. Lots of plumping lip glosses on the market now employ a similar strategy. All the glosses on this list contain menthol, for instance, though you’ll also find some more 21st century-favorite ingredients, like collagen, retinol derivatives, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid.
And remember that these lip glosses are just makeup — and, alas, their effects are fleeting. If you’re after a more substantive plumping solution, try a lip treatment like this budget-friendly serum or this dermatologist-grade lip booster.
Otherwise, scroll on for four of the best lip-plumping glosses you can get on Amazon. Wear them on their own or over another lip color for instant volume (and a bit of that good old-fashioned sting).
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1. The Best Premium Plumping Lip Gloss
Other than DuWop, Buxom is the cosmetics company whose name is most synonymous with lip-plumping products. The Full-On Plumping Lip Polish is the brand’s OG and a best-seller: It comes in approximately one million shades with either sparkly, pearlescent, or shimmery finishes, it’s not sticky or tacky, and it lasts a little longer than some other lip glosses we know (i.e. most of them). The “plumping” is a three-part deal: The formula contains menthol, a peptide complex that helps stimulate collagen production, and retinyl palmitate, a very mild retinol derivative that encourages smoother, plumper skin at a cellular level.
2. The Best Plumping Lip Gloss With Natural Ingredients
It can be tough to find a quality plumping lip gloss made entirely of natural ingredients, but this clear PYT Beauty lip gloss is as close to “clean” as you can get: The brand manufactures all their products without 1,300 potentially harsh chemicals, and it’s also hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and vegan. In addition to some non-toxic synthetics, the formula contains botanically derived ingredients like avocado oil, jojoba oil, mango butter, and shea butter to keep your lips comfortable and non-sticky, while peppermint oil does the “plumping.”
- Available shades: Skinny Dip (clear shine), Horoscope (clear with iridescent sparkle), Influence (rosy nude with shimmer)
3. The Best Budget Plumping Lip Gloss
This e.l.f. lip gloss costs just $6, but the reviews are no less enthusiastic than they are for the more expensive lip glosses on this list. In here, coconut oil and vitamin E provide nourishing and conditioning benefits, while menthol and menthyl lactate (a compound derived from menthol and lactic acid) do the volumizing work, plus some light exfoliation. Also, e.l.f. is vegan and cruelty-free, and their products are free of the most common questionable additives — and, of course, they're extremely budget-friendly.
- Available shades: Pink Cosmo, Mocha Twist, Peach Bellini
4. Another Budget-Friendly Plumping Lip Gloss
If you’re not finding the shade you want from e.l.f.’s limited range, you may have better luck with this NYX plumping lip gloss: They offer twice the number of shades — including five shimmering pinks and neutrals, plus a clear gloss — and each costs just a dollar more than a tube from e.l.f. (The brand is PETA-certified cruelty-free too, but this product isn’t vegan.) Keep in mind that the pigments are fairly subtle, since they’re designed to be worn over another lip color, or for their plumping and smoothing effect when worn on their own.
- Available shades: Brunch Drunk, Cheap Fills, Major Mouthage, New Money, Sparkling Please, Let’s Glaze