This New Plumping Lip Mask Sold Out Within Days, and the Hype Is Worth It

It exfoliates as it hydrates.

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Alpyn Lip Mask
Photo: Courtesy

Here's something gross about me: Thanks to an OCD-related condition called dermatillomania, I love to pick at dead skin. It's a bit of a psychological nightmare, especially when my lips get chapped — I'm irresistibly drawn to yanking off the flakes in a classic tale of head versus heart (or fingers, as it happens). So when clean skincare brand Alpyn Beauty offered to send over its new Willow and Sweet Agave Plumping Lip Mask after it sold out within five days of launching, I was excited to give the overnight treatment a try.

This isn't my first whirl with a lip mask, by a long shot. I was one of those people in high school who carried around 10 lip glosses and balms (not much has changed), but the first to truly impress me was Bite Beauty's Agave+ Intensive Vegan Lip Mask. Its thick texture can be difficult to work with, though, so I was thrilled to see Alpyn's apply a bit thinner. The mask likewise recruits agave for its antioxidants, and then ups the ante with hyaluronic acid to plump, willow bark to exfoliate with salicylic acid, and jojoba, castor, apricot oil, and vitamin E to moisturize.

Castor oil alone is a potent hydrator thanks to its omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids; last November, Helen Mirren praised its effects on her hair, skin, and nails. The Plumping Lip Mask is a much more elevated version of the CVS-brand castor oil she mentioned, and it's further enhanced with antioxidants from arnica, borage, calendula, chamomile, sage, huckleberry, and chokecherry extracts. I was also intrigued by the plumping component, since you can't pay me enough to return to stinging lip gloss after the aughts.

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The mask comes in a .35-ounce tub, which might be a con for some people, but I don't mind (hand sanitizer is never far from my person). The balm is light pink but goes on sheer and juicy, and smells like zippy citrus, similar to Fresh Beauty's Sugar Lip Treatment. On my lips, the moisturizing effect is immediate: It makes dryness vanish on contact, replaced by plush, smooth, supple skin. For science, I even gave my cat a dozen kisses with the mask on, and it stayed 90 percent intact. No hair clung to my lips, so +1 for being nonsticky.

Plumping-wise, I can't say I notice too much of a difference, but I might be in the minority. A Credo reviewer who used it at night said they woke to outrageously "hydrated, plump, soft lips," and a fan on Alpyn Beauty's website wrote they noticed it filled in the lines around the border of their mouth. Someone on Sephora's website, where the mask is still sold out, agreed it reduced their fine lip wrinkles — but perhaps most impressively, multiple people said that when they applied it before bed, the moisture lasted into the next day.

If you're looking for an intensive, fragrance-free, antioxidant-laden lip treatment, Alpyn Beauty's $28 Willow and Sweet Agave Plumping Lip Mask goes above and beyond thanks to the exfoliating advantage. It very slightly pains me to say, but this might be the end of the line for my chapped skin picking. Time to get a better stress management technique, I guess.

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