The Scrubbing Effect
Makeup artists sometimes prep lips for lipstick by rubbing a wet, nubby washcloth across the mouth.
Lip exfoliators are a convenient update on this old trick. Sold by themselves or with either cosmetic or therapeutic lip plumpers, these exfoliators use gentle ingredients like sugar or poppy seeds or mild acid exfoliants to buff away dry skin. That gentle scrubbing amplifies the natural color of lips and provides a smooth, crease-free surface so that the application of a plumping lip gloss creates an even more heightened illusion of voluptuous lips.
The bottom line, says Farris, is lip plumpers may slightly enhance your lips.
"Women need to be realistic in what they can expect from these products," Friedman says. In other words, these products won't enlarge your lips the way a $400 injection of a filler such as Restylane or Juvederm will.
Farris suggests choosing a plumper with SPF since your lips also need sun protection.
"Our lips are always exposed to the environment," she says, "but we generally don't think about protecting them."