So I had a long black wig and Morticia was too easy for the first use of the black wig (plus I need something resembling an evening dress before I can do Morticia), so I decided to do a hair, make-up and costume tutorial for a Wednesday Addams cosplay which I uploaded to Youtube.
Travelling on Interrail south through Germany from Belgium (read about Belgium here), the trains never ceased to amaze me. German trains are a marvel of engineering precision, and comparing them to English trains would be like comparing a BMW to a pony trap. Yes, the pony trap is an important part of our heritage, and it will (usually) get you to where you’re going eventually, but the BMW is the more comfortable ride and, let’s face it, more appropriate for cross-country travel. The BMW doesn’t have to throw everyone onto a bus at Sheffield so it can go to sleep for the night.
Let me tell you about German trains.
The internal doors are made of sliding glass panels; there are small compartments containing conference rooms for business executives; the dining car has seats and tables so you don’t have to walk the length of the train with your food; the seats are reasonably sized and oh so very comfortable; but none of this is the best bit. The suspension likes to fool you into believing you must be travelling very slowly, to feel so few bumps and corners, but then you look out the window and realize you’re going at over eighty. But that’s not the best part either. The best part is, in front of you, wherever you sit, there is a piece of printed paper with the heading “reiseplan.”
And that piece of paper tells you when you will arrive at each of the stations between where you are and the train’s terminus. Not only that, but it tells you what trains are departing from those stations in the next hour or so after your arrival. On a longer journey, the stewards will bring more than one Reiseplan to you so that you know exactly what is going on at all times.
The train passed through several stations, I had a short stopover in Frankfurt (where I ate a Frankenfurter – aka hot dog) and I made a couple of changes onto other, equally well-endowed German trains, and thanks to the Reiseplans on the German trains, I was able to very efficiently plan a route all the way down to Zurich in Switzerland. I’d expected (when I awoke that morning in Brussels) that I might get as far as Stuttgart by the end of the day. Arriving at Zurich was a total coup and a sign that the trip was improving. Now, again, I had a shot at getting to Venice.
The scenery across Germany could be described as cloudy on top with fields underneath, punctuated with the occasional town or city. As we got closer to Switzerland, the clouds seemed to press together, accumulating, a crowd of clouds awaiting entry to some great event, perhaps a thunderstorm concert, on the other side of the Alps. This was a place which held onto the clouds with the first of the Alpine mountains, keeping them safe so the Mediterranean could enjoy sunshine.
I looked up accommodation in Zurich using the directory of hotels that I’d acquired in Paris, and I phoned them on the final leg of the train journey, making a reservation for a room in the Zurich Etap. I conducted the entire conversation in French, and from the train I took a taxi to the hotel, then went to the desk that had a picture of a French flag and started checking in. Out of the corner of my ear, I heard a conversation in English then realized the hotel also had an English-speaking check in desk. D’oh.
Being stubborn, I decided to finish check-in in French, handed over my passport so they could take a copy, then got my key and went to the room. It wasn’t fantastic, but there was an ashtray and a couple of beds, as well as a tiny plastic en-suite bathroom which had probably looked cutting edge in 1998. I had a shower, a smoke and a snack then went to bed. There was nothing to do in the hotel and I wanted to be up early because Zurich was just a hitching post on my journey into Italy.
The next morning, I intended to go straight to the central station. Somehow, this didn’t happen. That’s a story for next time.
I’ll be back on Monday or Tuesday as I’m going away for Easter with my bunnies. Here’s my face of the day:
Want more blue lipstick inspiration? Here’s the David Bowie themed rainbow make up look with blue lipstick (Youtube). I do love my blue lipstick. I never linked to this when I put it online because I had done way too many beauty posts that week but I haven’t done as many this week so here you go. I was so happy that this year’s 2016 beauty trends indicated that lipstick was going to be HUGE this year.
I know my task for the week was to get Instagram but Google Play and my phone aren’t talking to each other so I’ll have to make it next week’s task or maybe it’s time for a new phone lol.
Oh WOW this photo challenge was hard! I decided to do a photo story called The White Rabbit. I hope you like the story and theme. It’s only 250 words long (because the photos really tell the story) and it’s told with photos and in the captions. The photo challenge was Snapshots.
Note on the story:
The theme of this story is Alice Through the Looking Glass, but only with the chasing a white rabbit motif. I wanted the White Rabbit to be a girl, with ambiguity as to whether she’s chasing herself or whether the narrator is chasing her, like in the beginning stages of a relationship. I wanted to combine a narrative of Alice with the bizarre surrealism of a Kafkaesque landscape that I found on a walk when I went to the Scottish Borders last year. It is Border Country in a lot of different ways, the interchange between England and Scotland. I wanted this to be ambiguous and open ended, to give it a sense of mystery and open interpretation.
I would appreciate any feedback as I don’t usually share my creative writing on here, although the words were really just to tie the pictures together to explain why I arranged them like this.
PS The pictures are of myself but for the purposes of the story, the person in the pictures is not the narrator telling the story.
This is a Haul and First Impressions video of my MAC, L’Oreal and Collection make-up shopping trip last week, with some exciting new cosmetics including the MAC pro-longwear concealer and the Collection highlighter. I did upload this last night but decided to take it down, re-do a couple of the swatches, then put it back up again, so it’s just gone live on Youtube! I’d love if you right-clicked and watched it over there so it counted towards my stats (they don’t count embedded views on the Youtube stat counter, WTF), but more than that, I’d love if you watched it!
Seconds after writing this and publishing it, I found out that Brussels airport and metro have been attacked in the last couple of hours by terrorists and it’s still unfolding. I am completely shocked and disgusted that this has happened. Nobody deserves this but Brussels is such a lovely place, nothing bad should ever happen there. I hope everyone can get to safety and that they catch the monsters responsible. Terrorists are so utterly evil, but how could even they do this? What has Brussels ever done to offend anyone? I am crying right now because this is so shocking. My heart goes out to everyone in Brussels and all of Belgium right now, and everyone affected by this in any way.
Okay so I may have gotten one tiny detail wrong last week. I didn’t get straight on a train with the intent of going to Belgium from Paris. The Parisian Lecher was basically trying to get me to stay in Paris with him and I told him that if there were no trains to Venice then I would just go back home, and I bought a reservation to Calais. After making myself feel less disgusting in the train bathroom I pored over my maps of Europe and tried to work out a route over the Alps to Italy. I wasn’t going to let one bad experience ruin the whole trip.
I jumped off the train at Lille (France) and continued to Mons (Belgium), which was the interchange to Brussels. As soon as you get into Belgium it’s really obvious that you’re not in France any more, because the Belgians are really big on their art-deco style, and you can see it everywhere. It’s so classy and 1920s, and it’s very easy to see why this is the land of Hercule Poirot. I was relieved I didn’t have to go all the way back to Calais, and after the stress of Paris, Belgium was just delightful. From the moment I stepped off the train in Brussels and saw signposts in English, I knew I was somewhere friendly.
From my travel journal:
“…They have an open tourist information centre, which is in the train station (which has a shopping-centre-like layout map) and it can reserve hotel rooms and give you area maps. It’s dead good. So I’ve had a long, thorough shower, changed my clothes and am sitting on an actual bed in an actual hotel room. And there’s a delicious box of Belgian chocolate truffles in reaching distance.
This evening I plan to have a meal out then plan my next move – likely to Luxembourg or Stuttgart,maybe Cologne. I won’t continue to wax lyrical about Brussells. All I will say is firstly, Belgium deserves its reputation for food and chocolate (they even make the vegetables taste amazing)* I ate a boiled chicken and seasonal vegetables meal with a creme brulee dessert. Secondly, the architecture of Brussells is way underrated. The city’s up there with the big tourist centres as a really beautiful place – only Brussells is totally friendly. I am staying at the Argus Hotel near Metro Louise, amongst the high-end shopping area (Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Sonia Rykiel etc), and it’s tariff says E110 on the door but I paid significantly less.
Later still: I have looked over my map and decided to go to Stuttgart tomorrow from Bruxelles (via Frankfurt) aiming to be on the 11:59 (lmao) train from Bruxelles Midi Station (just in case I forget tomorrow). This will give me plenty of extra time to buy a necklace and also to postcard-shop and take some photos, although if I keep snapping I’ll run out of disposable cameras!”
*At the time, I wasn’t the biggest fan of specific vegetables. Looking back, I genuinely have no idea what I was eating. Fast forward 6 months and vegetables were all I ate, because I went vegan!!
What I learned in Belgium:
One of the things that really surprised me at the time was how lovely Belgium is, and it’s completely underrated among the under 30’s. Having seen more of the whole country now, I think it’s a delightful destination and well worth a visit if you like a classy travel experience (rather than a non-stop party). If that sounds duller than a dry white wine, Brussels (or Belgium for that matter) probably isn’t the place for you. I did actually go back to Brussels in 2014, when my husband and I just dropped into Brussels for dinner (we were hungry, and I’ll link the story here when I get to it), and I still think it’s an incredibly sophisticated destination with unparallelled food. In terms of ambience, it’s probably how Paris was forty or fifty years ago and it makes for a good romantic getaway because it’s not packed with tourists but it’s still very ambient.
The main thing I learned though was that there’s a reason people don’t use disposable cameras any more. At the time, I thought it was the amount of space they take up. Actually, I didn’t learn about the photo quality difference for several years – I have always believed that film-cameras are way better than digital, and I think I was right until the last couple of years, when digital cameras finally started having a good enough resolution (number of megapixels) to be able to produce better pictures, and we finally got a unified digital storage method (SD cards) with a reasonable amount of storage per card, at an affordable price. There was a long time when there were so many different types of memory cards for different cameras and devices, that it was pointless buying either cameras or cards because as soon as they stopped making the cards, the camera was useless, and as soon as the camera broke, you had to buy a new set of different cards for the new camera, it was all the most ridiculous situation because of compatibility (and that’s if we don’t get started on those stupid wires we had to use to upload stuff – how many different connectors does the world need? I’m so glad that 99% of everything uses a micro USB these days).
There’s a world of difference between a disposable camera and a regular camera, however, and one of the key differences is aperture. Disposable cameras (and those cheap non-disposable fixed focus 35mm cameras that everyone used to have) have a fixed aperture that’s optimized for daytime holiday shots in the sort of light you get in the Mediterranean. That’s why these tend to come out acceptably on them. But they’re really not useful at all in low-light settings such as evenings or indoors in certain places.
Nowadays, I use a DSLR camera and I have a bridge camera as my backup. Yes, a DSLR is heavier, and OH MY GOD it was so expensive, but it’s worth it to get stunning pictures first-time-every-time when I’m on a once in a lifetime trip or at a concert.
Read part 3 of my Interrail journey here
To see my articles on photography, click here.
So I’ve been nominated by Brandie at The Striped Coyote to do the Beauty Blogger Tag!
Thanks to Brandie for nominating me for this tag! I’m going to try to answer the questions as best as possible!
The Rules for this Tag:
Tag the blogger that nominated you
Answer the questions you were given
Nominate 10 bloggers whose blog is about beauty/lifestyle/fashion
Name 10 questions for your nominees to answer
Inform the bloggers you chose that you nominated them.
Have you ever done yoga and did you like it?
My primary school used to do yoga so I did it with the rest of the kids (it was a very small school with a total of 32 pupils in the entire school) whose parents couldn’t pick them up straight after school. It was okay. I think people like most things at that age. I incorporate some yoga moves into my warmup/cooldowns for my workouts nowadays, but I don’t even think about where they came from any more! I’ve never taken a proper grown up yoga class though!
What products do you splurge on?
Nothing really. I’m flat broke at the moment so I can’t really afford anything fancy. When I do have money, I tend to buy high end primers and concealers because they’re the most important thing to get right. Oh, and good hair products of course!
What products do you save on?
Eyeshadow! I bought a pallette called the Jazooli pallette for £14.99 about 2 years ago, and it’s got literally every colour of the rainbow, so I use it in pretty much all of my Youtube tutorials, especially the most outrageous ones! I’d like some fabulous high end eyeshadows but this will do for now. Apart from my Laura Mercier neutrals, that’s all the eyeshadow I own!!
What is your best tip for maintaining healthy skin?
Drink lots of water. I know it’s a cliche but it totally works.
What do you use to remove your makeup?
I use cotton wool and rosewater, but I get the stuff that’s in the cooking aisle at the supermarket, not the stuff that’s in the drugstore, because I want the one that’s just 100% water and roses!
How do you maintain your eyebrows (example, threading/waxing)?
I did a video on Youtube on this last week. I shape them myself then draw the brow in to fill it out.
What is your favorite mascara?
L’Oreal Million Lashes. I’ve got the MAC Extreme Dimension as well, and it was my favourite when I first got it, but over time I’ve found Million Lashes still looks perfect at the end of the night, whereas Extreme Dimension always needs topping up. Also after about 6 months Extreme Dimension started burning and flaking, but Million Lashes still doesn’t do that and I’ve had it for over a year.
Where do you buy most of your makeup?
All over the place! Basically I just buy it wherever I see it – I got to like four different department stores because they all have different counters, I go to three different drugstores and two independent beauty shops as well as Amazon and other online retailers. Sometimes I buy at the supermarket as well. It totally depends who’s got the item I want.
What is your favorite shade of lipstick?
Nudes. If it’s got “bare” or “nude” in the name, chances are good that I love it. I also really like brown shades because they suit my complexion WAY better than pinks (I’m neutral toned, bordering slightly on warm toned).
What is your favorite perfume?
That’s such a hard question to answer! I honestly don’t know which one I love the most. I love so many different ones for different reasons. I guess Glow by JLo will always have a special place in my heart, it’s so fresh. I also love Chanel No. 5 (because it’s the polar opposite to Glow), and Avon’s Perceive has been a longtime favourite. I like something understated for daytime and something that matches my outfit for evenings! I think wearing one perfume all the time is like wearing the same pair of shoes – it’s just not going to go with every outfit or situation!
Do you prefer matte or dewy foundation?
What’s your favourite high end product?
What’s your favourite drugstore bargain?
Do you spend more time doing your hair or your makeup?
Do you co-ordinate your shoes/purses?
If you could only use one brand of makeup for the next month, which would you choose?
What’s your skincare routine?
Would you ever/have you done the no-poo shampoo method? If you’ve already done it, what were your results?
What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve found about blogging?
Name your go-to lip balm?
I got this infographic about how to pick up and hold a rabbit, in an email from Pets At Home, and while I know how to look after my bunnies, I thought it might be useful for anyone with a rabbit (or considering getting a rabbit) just to see one of the ideal ways to handle a pet bunny. There are other ways you can hold a rabbit that will still bring them comfort and reassurance but this is definitely useful if you’re thinking of getting a beautiful rabbit (don’t worry about the “rabbits are calmer when they can’t see,” all of my bunnies like to see what’s going on when they get picked up). I think this is helpful whether you’re getting a bunny either as a houserabbit or a garden rabbit. Bunnies are especially popular to buy over Easter time, and I urge you to wait until four weeks after Easter if you’re getting a bunny, because that’s when the shelters (and Pets at Home’s adoption section, where 3 of my 5 rabbits have come from) start getting inundated with unwanted Easter bunnies. It’s a very, very sad situation and I wrote a story about it last year to show what life is like for a lot of rabbits, from the rabbit’s point of view. People buy them, don’t understand how to care for them, then leave them in a tiny hutch and throw food at them once a day (if they remember). If the rabbit is lucky, the owner finally admits they were wrong and gives the animal up for adoption so it has a chance of a loving home, but many owners of unwanted rabbits don’t bother. No animal wants to live like that and I’d like to think that all my readers are compassionate enough to read my other rabbit care articles before getting a bunny. It’s very tragic that the most popular rabbit article on my site is “what to do with an unwanted rabbit” and last year it made the top 10 after Christmas and Easter (and after Christmas this year). Anyway, here’s the infographic. Click the picture to enlarge:
I don’t own the image, it’s copyright to Pets at Home, this post is not sponsored and no affiliate links, I just thought it would be a useful resource for people with rabbits who aren’t members of Pets at Home VIP club (if you live in the UK, I strongly recommend you join them because it’s free and you get loads of benefits such as discount vouchers and free magazines with useful information like the infographic above). You can join in any Pets at Home store or online.
Would you ever get a rabbit? Have you already got one?
And how to work out the right proportions for your own eyebrows! What do you think? I’ve thickened my brows up a bit since I recorded this (last week, can you tell because my lips are a bit bigger than they were the week before, but not as big as they are in this pic from this morning)!
I used the Collection 24 hour eyeliner in Brown to do my brows. Use what you’re comfortable with (unless you don’t have anything, in which case I recommend this eyeliner because it doesn’t run or smudge which is SO important for brows unless you live in a safe bubble of no rain, steam or showers)!!
This is my ultimate guide to lip plumping: I’ve reviewed 9 lip plumpers to show you how to get bigger lips quickly, safely, and on the cheap!
If you’re anything like me, you wish you were born with plumper lips, like Kylie Jenner lips, or Angelina Jolie lips – those voluptuous levels of plump. I hear you. I’ve spent loads of time trying all those “natural” lip plumping ingredients such as mint and cinnamon, as well as store bought products. I didn’t have as much success as I could until I formulated a method to get bigger lips whenever I wanted them.
I found out after trying loads of different lip plumpers that it requires a bit of strategy to get bigger lips, you see – just putting plumpers on your lips and checking them in the mirror won’t actually help. In my experience (and I’ve been plumping my lips since 2005), the absolute best thing for lip plumping are two ingredients: Sodium Hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid, a natural substance that your body produces) and Maxi Lip (a peptide blend; peptides are naturally found in the body). Read on to find out how to use these for the very best results. After my lip plumping method, I’ve reviewed the 9 lip plumping products that I’ve tried and tested: Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss; Collection (was Collection 2000) Plumping Lip Gloss; Collection Volume Sensation Lipstick; Avon Anew Lip Plumping Conditioner; Lip Venom; Physician’s Formula Plump Potion Needle Free Plumping Cocktail; Boots 17 Volumizing Lip Gloss; Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker XL and Rimmel Volume Booster Lip Gloss. Then I share links to the evidence that lip plumpers can and do work. Who needs fillers when you can do this instead?
Lip plumpers alone won’t give you bigger lips. Why? The skin on your lips needs to stretch and grow to accommodate more lip. We don’t live in a world of magic, and our bodies can only do so much. If you don’t let your lips gradually stretch, they won’t stay plumped, even with the best products. Not only that, but they’ll become incredibly uncomfortable and you’ll probably start getting dry crackly bits on them, and your lips will start splitting when you use plumping products. This isn’t a sign that the plumping products aren’t working, it’s a sign that you need a better lip care regime to enable your lips to plump to their largest.
How do you stretch them? If you’re totally new to lip plumping or you haven’t done it for a few months, start with using a lip plumping product once a day. What do you do the rest of the time? Lip balm. To get plump lips, you need to keep your lips moisturized with lip balm at all times. I take mine off only when I’m eating and drinking. Why? Because dry lips don’t stretch properly when you put a plumper on, they crack. You need to moisturize the lips with balms to get them to plump instead of cracking. By doing this, you are making sure there’s enough room inside the lip for them to get bigger. Additionally, many plumping products dry your lips out, so you need to keep them moisturized for that reason as well. I also recommend taking vitamin E supplements so your lips are well-conditioned inside and out (if you’re currently using vitamin K to banish blue circles, take the vitamin E and the vitamin K at least 4 hours apart; consult your physician before taking supplements).
On well-moisturized and cared for lips, increase the frequency of using the plumper to 3 times a day. You should be using it directly on the lips, not (like one confused customer on Amazon) over lipstick and lipliner. How is it going to get to the lips to give you a great result if there’s loads of lipstick in the way? That’s like trying to drink from a bottle with the cap on (obviously in this analogy, if the lipstick is a plumping lipstick, that’s like drinking from a bottle through a sports cap)!
Once your lips are as big as they’re going to get, you need to keep going with your lipcare routine, keeping them moisturized, and continue using the plumper once every day or two. Lip plumping requires a little bit of effort (if you can call it effort to use a plumping product and lipbalm regularly) to maintain bigger lips, but I think it’s worth it because I like how my lips look when they’re plumped.
What’s the best product to use to plump lips? I’ve had a lot of disasters and a lot of success with a few different products. The best lip plumping products contained either Sodium Hyaluronate (which naturally occurs in the body and as an ingredient it is certified vegan and is gluten-free) or a patented ingredient called Maxi-Lip (a natural peptide blend; these peptides aren’t on any animal-derivative lists but I couldn’t 100% guarantee it’s vegan). The best strategy would be to use a product that contained both, or to alternate two separate products containing Sodium Hyaluronate and Maxi-Lip. Both Sodium Hyaluronate and Maxi-Lip are ones that tingle when you put them on.
Unfortunately, all that tingles is not a plumper, and I’ve also had some bad results from a few products that claimed to be plumping but didn’t actually do anything apart from tingle a lot (I’ll name and shame them further down). There’s a lot of inflated claims on the market regarding lip plumping, and some companies choose their words very carefully to mislead customers. On the other hand, I’ve also had some really good results from some products that surprised me. I’ve reviewed 9 different lip plumpers, and unlike other articles where they have huge lists of these, I’ve actually personally tried all the ones I talk about, so I can say what actually worked instead of what the packaging claimed.
Reviewed! Here’s my top picks for lip plumpers:
1. Soap and Glory Sexy Motherpucker plumping lip gloss. It now comes in a range of shades but I’ll always love the shade Half Naked because it was the original one and I think it’s the nicest, I’ve been using it on and off since late 2009. It contains sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) and I’ve found it to be really effective. It costs $14-15 at Amazon where you can buy it direct from the manufacturer, and is also available in the UK at Boots for £9. I didn’t like the Silver Tubed XL version because it doesn’t work the same way and only produces a temporary plumping result. I liked this Soap and Glory Sexy Motherpucker plumping lip gloss because it’s easy to apply and in my experience one tube lasts a long time, as you don’t need to use much of this to get a plumping effect. Currently this Sexy Mother Pucker plumping lip gloss is my favourite plumping product. 9/10 Plumping ingredient: Sodium Hyaluronate. See it here
2. Collection Plump Up The Volume Lip Gloss (aka Collection 2000). This was the first plumping product that I ever tried and I loved it so much! They discontinued it about 4 years ago, and I started buying their Volumizing Lipstick instead. 8.5/10 Plumping ingredient: Maxi-Lip.
3. Collection Volume Sensation Lipstick. This lipstick was a bit less effective than the Collection lipgloss, but it gave a better result than the Rimmel Volume booster (below). Collection changed the active ingredient in this lipstick from Maxi Lip (a peptide blend) to Sodium Hyaluronate, then they discontinued it completely 6 months ago as well! Now Collection don’t sell any products that contain Sodium Hyaluronate or Maxi Lip, or even anything that plumps lips. You can still find an abundance of these on eBay, but I don’t know if I’d trust them to be sealed. I’ve still got 2 tubes of this that I bought last summer. I use it as a maintenance to keep my lips plump after they’re as plump as I like, and also as a gentle way to start plumping my lips when I haven’t plumped for a few months (steady does it). Since it’s been discontinued, I’m looking at alternatives (see below). 7/10. Plumping ingredients: Maxi-Lip, then Sodium Hyaluronate.
4. Physician’s Formula Plump Potion Needle Free Lip Plumping Cocktail: This stuff was quite nice because it was fairly cheap and it contains a few different lip plumping ingredients for a show-stoppingly plump pout when you use it. I really liked how my lips looked with it on. I didn’t like the fact that it wasn’t a very long lasting result, however, and while it contained the all-important Sodium Hylauronate, I don’t think there was very much of it in there because the plumping result should have lasted longer. 6/10. Plumping ingredients: Caffeine, Hyalauronic Acid, Menthol. See it here.
5. Rimmel Volume Booster Lip Gloss: This stuff didn’t claim to work miracles – it says “up to 40% bigger” on the tube and I would agree that it didn’t go beyond this. If you’re looking for a subtle plump rather than a show-stopping plump, go for this one. If there were no other lip plumping glosses for sale for some reason, I’d buy it again, because it worked a little, but really I wasn’t that impressed. 4/10. Plumping Ingredients: Unknown. See it here
Reviewed: Products that didn’t work for me:
6. Lip Venom: I used this in 2009 until it was empty. Absolutely terrible, it tingled and stung more than some other ones, and made my lips redder due to irritation, but it didn’t plump or increase my lip size at all. It probably works if you have poor circulation. It is a perfect example of a beauty product that got a lot of hype but didn’t deliver results. 2/10. Plumping Ingredients: Nothing.
7. Boots 17 Volumizing Lip Gloss: This did nothing, not even a tingle. I don’t think it even had any active ingredients in it to plump lips. 1/10. Plumping Ingredients: Nothing.
8. Sexy Mother Pucker XL (the silver tube): It does say to finish 2 tubes of the Sexy Mother Pucker lipgloss before using this, and while I had definitely done that in the past, I bought the XL in 2012 after I hadn’t used anything else for about 6 months, so perhaps that’s why it didn’t have much effect on my lips, but I found it to be like Lip Venom – all tingle and no plumping action! 3/10 (because it might work for someone else). Plumping ingredients: Collagen, Menthol. Warning: Contains Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate (shellfish).
9. Avon Anew Plumping Tinted Lip Conditioner: This was basically a tinted lipbalm type product shaped, packaged and priced like a lipstick, that you spread on your lips and it’s supposed to make them bigger. I used it in 2014 for the three months leading up to my wedding and while it was very conditioning of the lips, it did nothing to make my lips bigger, so I didn’t care when I lost it at work. In hindsight I would have spent my money on a better product, especially since it was in the run-up to my wedding. 3/10 (because it was quite moisturizing but didn’t plump). Plumping ingredients: Nothing.
Plumping products that I plan to try (but haven’t tried yet):
1. Elizabeth Arden Plump Perfect Lipstick: I do like a good plumping lipstick; I’m hoping this one will be at least as good as the Collection Volumizing Lipstick because now that’s discontinued, I don’t have a go-to volumizing lipstick. I have ordered the Elizabeth Arden Plump Perfect so as soon as it arrives, I’ll add my review. Active ingredient: Maxi-Lip (a peptide blend).
2. Too Faced Lip Injection Power Plumping Lip Gloss: This looks like it’s got some really good reviews and it’s available on Amazon, so when I next have some money to spend on cosmetics, this is what I’m going to try out! Active Ingredient: Unknown.
What about natural plumpers?
Unfortunately, while I’d like to live in a universe where there’s a plant that plumps lips, I don’t, and neither do you. Here’s my thoughts on the main things being labelled “natural” plumpers: Cinnamon: That tingling sensation is the cinnamon burning your skin. Avoid. It’s become trendy to tell people to use this as an all natural ingredient that magically re-grows lost unicorn horns, because the tingle makes people feel like it’s working, but it’s not. It is classified as an irritant for a reason, and it’s highly allergenic (i.e. that swelling is caused by histamines and can cause permanent disfigurement). Peppermint/Mint Oil: Less allergenic and dangerous than cinnamon, it will cause a local reaction of swelling but it won’t provide any long term results.
The most natural lip plumper is sodium hyaluronate (aka hyaluronic acid, which naturally occurs in the body anyway), and you can find it along with menthol and some other natural ingredients in the Physician’s Formula Plumping Potion.
How do these plumpers work?
If it contains sodium hyaluronate (certified vegan hylauronic acid), it will have a similar effect to the hyaluronic acid fillers, but it will take time for this to happen, because you’re putting the plumping lip gloss on the outside of your lips, and the fillers go on the inside. They both do a similar job, though. An even better set of ingredients to use are the Maxi-Lip quartet: Ethylhexyl Palmitate (and) Tribehenin (and) Sorbitan Isostearate (and) Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1. These naturally occurring plumping peptides have been clinically proven to stimulate collagen growth and used to be available in the Collection Volumizing Lipstick. It is the best set of ingredients for long term lip enhancement. This ingredient is now available in Elizabeth Arden’s Plump Perfect Lipstick.
With Sodium Hylauronate, you get two results – there’s the short term when your lips get plumped for a couple of hours, but there’s also the long term – your lips will grow bigger over time as the skin stretches more.
For an even more long-lasting plump, when you use a product containing Maxi-Lip at least three times a day for 28 days, studies show your lips will become plumper longer term because it stimulates collagen growth. Obviously, if you completely stop using it after that, they will gradually go back to their normal size because it doesn’t change your DNA, and that’s what tells your body how plump your lips should normally be. But if you stop using fillers, your lips would eventually go back to their normal size anyway, so in my view the plumping lip glosses are preferable because they’re cheaper and you’re in control of them.
Where’s the evidence for these plumpers?
As a science teacher, I think evidence is pretty important. Luckily, patents can’t be awarded without evidence, so while there’s not much about plumpers in the published scientific literature, there’s plenty of evidence for plumping that’s been submitted to the patent office! A patent is given for a new invention (including a cosmetic formula) that does what it claims to do, when an application is filed. All applications have to be made public. This means some of the patent applications are a little vague but it’s easy to see which plumpers have been tested and shown to work, because patents aren’t issued for things that don’t work. Here’s some of the scientific evidence relating to lip plumping (click the links to read original reports): Use of peptides (e.g. Maxi-Lip) for lip plumping using the collagen stimulation method. (L’Oreal parent company). Patent for immediate effect lip plumper, 2007 (Arbonne parent company). Patent for a temporary lip plumping gloss (one that plumps while product is applied) (JAFRA parent company). A patent for a lip balm containing sodium hyaluronate (aka hyaluronic acid. This also contains other ingredients) which will plump lips and stimulate collagen production in the area for anti-ageing purposes (Supersmile parent company). This patent clearly states: “Hyaluronic acid maintains tissue hydration and helps retain water within the skin tissue…The swelling of the sodium hyaluronate particles increase the volume of the lip tissue, reducing wrinkles and plumping the lips.” The first patent that was filed that applies to wonder plumping ingredient Maxi-Lip (Sederma Parent Company). The patent that explains how Maxi-Lip can stimulate collagen production by using a very specific newly-invented (by Sederma) peptide chain to plump. The most recent patent that was filed that relates to Maxi-Lip’s method of action (this isn’t the patent for Maxi-Lip, which is above, this is a patent that protects the method of action) (Sederma Parent Company).
As you can see there’s quite a body of evidence that, while it’s not easy to find, definitely exists and does show that some lip plumping serums, glosses and lipsticks really do work, if you choose the right one. As these patents show, sodium hyaluronate and Maxi-Lip are the two best plumping ingredients for long term lip plumping effects.
Future ingredients to look out for: This patent has very recently been granted to use bee venom in a lip plumper, and the evidence is looking pretty exciting.