I Tried This Popular Plumping Gloss, and My Lips Actually Looked Bigger in Minutes

We tapped two dermatologists to see how it works.

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I Tried This Popular Plumping Gloss, and My Lips Actually Looked Bigger in Minutes
Photo: Too Faced/ InStyle

In the name of honesty, I've never been a fan of lip gloss. Most of them are too sticky, have less weartime than a lip balm, and offer little color pigment. But recently, one brand's gloss formula made me reconsider: the Too Faced Lip Injection Maximum Plumping Gloss, which just expanded from its original clear version into four new tinted shades.

While I may not be a full-blown lip gloss stan now, I do stand by this particular one for its ability to do more than just shine. The gloss is a potent upgrade of its predecessor, the brand's popular Lip Injection Extreme, and brings extra-strength plumping abilities and long-term results (we're talking hours here, people) to the lips. It's described by Too Faced as being "so powerfully effective, it's not for plumping rookies," since the brand's advanced volumizing technology immediately gets to work on visibly filling out even the smallest pouts.

I audibly gasped the first time I applied the hot pink version of the plumping gloss — one of the new color extensions, alongside light pink, lavender, and coral; my lips truly did appear fuller within several minutes, the effects of which lasted upwards of two hours, even after the shine had disappeared altogether. While it does sting upon application, the results are worth the 30 seconds of pain. It creates such naturally-looking, plump lips, it has easily become my most reached for lip product. Plus, it feels more like a nourishing lip oil than a classically sticky gloss.


Shop now: $33; toofaced.com

But how can a plumping lip gloss provide such drastic changes? According to Dr. Margarita Lolis, board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, the concept behind how they work their magic is pretty simple: plumping formulas latch onto the moisture of your lips to cause temporary swelling. "By irritating the lip and causing a mild allergic reaction, the lips swell, giving you a plumper pout. This is the reason why your lips may tingle, sting, or burn after application," she said. As dermatologist Dr. Hadley King chimed in, it's also because plumping formulas contain both moisturizing ingredients (such as humectants and emollients), alongside swell-inducing irritants that produce these effects.

With that in mind, Dr. Lolis advises that those with sensitive skin tread lightly with use. "The main goal of these glosses is to irritate your lips," she shared. "They are purposely formulated with known irritants such as cinnamon oil, capsaicin, and menthol. This is a problem for individuals with sensitive skin who are inherently prone to skin inflammation." Continued application of these ingredients can result in burning, flaking, or itching, so spacing out applications (approximately three to four hours apart) can keep these concerns from arising.

While I've personally yet to experience any dryness on my lips through countless applications, I always make sure to supplement with hydrating lip masks and balms to ensure I can continually reap the gloss' benefits whenever I please — and I please daily.

If you're looking for a quick way to achieve fuller lips, look no further than Too Faced's Lip Injection Maximum Plumping Gloss, which is available in five shades for $33 each.

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