Get plumper, kissable lips

By Charmaine Gillespie, a chemist for the Health, Beauty, and Environmental Sciences department of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. She contributes to the Good Housekeeping "From the Lab" blog.

If you ride the subway in New York City, you are bombarded with the conversations of hundreds of strangers, some more interesting than others. So to tune out all the drama, I usually have something on hand to read.

But on one recent Thursday night, the conversation of two of my fellow subway riders caught my interest. They went into a whole "show and tell" of their latest beauty products, and my ears perked up. The younger of the two women started raving about her new lip plumper, after which her older friend commented on the tingling sensation she felt when using them. "Oh yeah, that's the medicine working--that's how you know it's working," the younger woman said. I was itching to jump in on the conversation.

The "medicines" in this case are the cosmetic actives of the lip plumper formulations. Most brands rely on "naturals," such as menthol, cinnamon, camphor or even ginger. These ingredients irritate the skin of the lips to induce swelling of the blood vessels, and the outcome is ... a pouty pucker! The results are usually temporary, however, so reapplication is sometimes necessary.

Other plumpers use retinol to increase natural collagen production in the lips. The collagen boost makes lips appear fuller.

Want more tips to make your lips perfect? Check out our recent study on plumpers, and learn how to find one that really works.

More Ways to Look Gorgeous
Try On New Hair Colors with our Virtual Makeover Tool
Dress For Your Body Type
Find Inspiration for a New Cut
Know When to Toss Your Makeup

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.