This Lip Plumper Won’t Sting Your Wallet OR Your Lips — and It Actually Works

The best lip plumper in Australia, as called by beauty editor Ruby Feneley.

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Lip plumpers are one of the most troubling beauty categories. They promise what we all want — full lips without the filler, the expense, or the risk — but they also pose a lot of problems. For one, they hurt. A lot. Most lip plumpers use topicals like cayenne pepper, and presumably napalm. This makes applying them so painful you can’t put your lips within 0.0mm of each other without causing yourself even more pain. The result? A “pout” (primal scream).

This “pout” is often accompanied by a rash that, for me, sometimes reaches up to my nose and makes it look like I’ve been eating jam. The peppery formulas also dry my lips so much that by EOD they’re red raw and look more like scabs than 1990s Lancôme Juicy Tubes campaigns. These side effects offset the sexy benefits of plump lips quite a bit.

Despite that, I’m perennially dissatisfied with my natural lips. From 1991 to 2023, they have been neither Angelina Jolie, Scarlette Johansson, nor Emily Ratajkowski-full. They’re not super thin, but they could be serving *more*. However, most of my experiments with lip plumper have ended the same way: a slightly fuller pout, followed closely by disaster. 

My Lip Plumper Discovery

Sephora Collection Outrageous plump Extreme
Sephora Collection, Outrageous Plump Extreme in “Inferno” ($24) Image Credit: Supplied

When I stumbled across the Sephora Collection, Outrageous Plump Extreme Gloss ($24) in a holiday gifting pack, I decided I didn’t need a full face rash that day and skipped it. 

Eventually, I tried it by accident, having grabbed a lip gloss blindly from my overflowing makeup drawer. 

I was notified that I’d tried a lip plumper by the first tingle, and steeled myself. But unlike the lip plumpers of my past, this bad boy didn’t dial up from a slow burn to a screeching burn. Instead, it had a cooling, tingling effect that… wasn’t entirely unpleasant. 

Still, I was ready for the rash. When I checked in the mirror half an hour later, I was stunned. Not only was my face rash-free, but my lips were noticeably fuller.

I looked back at the gloss in wonder. It has some pretty unassuming packaging. No sexy name, a little red cap, and a pretty, diamond-cut design. Intriguing. A few hours later I was downstairs making dinner while chatting with my housemate when she asked me if I’d “taken the plunge”.

My housemates and anyone in a 20-metre radius are all across my beauty editor shenanigans and my on-again, off-again psychological flirtation with filler. I dashed back upstairs to check — my lips were still pouty hours later, with no ragged dry edges. Miraculous.

Ruby Feneley lands on the best lip plumper in Australia
Perfection. Image Credit: Supplied

The *Science* Behind the $24 Magic Wand

I later (while penning this article for you) found out that these hours-long results are backed up by science. (And by science I mean an admittedly limited scientific study.) A clinical trial involving 10 participants found the Sephora Collection, Outrageous Plump Extreme Gloss makes lips 27 percent plumper for several hours after application. While I find that percentage difficult to visually estimate, I’m happy to say I noticed similar results. Importantly, my mouth remained plush and pink with no blistering texture.

The Sephora Collection, Outrageous Plump Extreme Gloss contains a combination of ingredients that make it ahead of its class. Firstly, instead of cayenne pepper or straight-up chilli oil, the Sephora Collection gloss contains a simple pepper extract mixed with menthol (for its tingling and plumping effects). Then castor oil and hyaluronic acid (a water-binding ingredient with hydrating and plumping properties) keep lips conditioned.

Plus, this lip plumper’s glossy sheen and subtle pearlescent finish serve serious Lancôme Juicy Tubes vibes, which my early ’00s teen self sincerely appreciated.

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