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Lip Gloss or Filler? MECCA HQ Tries our Top Plumpers

January 1 | 4 minute read

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Words by Ruby Devlin

Originally published on | April 17

Lip-plumping glosses have been around since the 2000s, but it was the rise of the ultra-puffy pout trend in the mid-2010s that turned them into a beauty bag staple.

With zingy new ingredients and an increasing overlap between skincare and makeup, they’ve come a long way. Gone are the days of uncomfortable tingles that only result in 10 minutes of plump; instead, we’re seeing glosses spiked with peptides and hyaluronic acid in an effort to promote juicier-looking lips, long-term – as well as the usual (slightly spicy) suspects.

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More options means there’s a formula for every effect – whether you’re searching for a skincare-y gloss one might expect to find in Hailey Bieber’s Pilates tote, or a faux-filler style booster of Kylie Jenner proportions.

To help work out which lip plumper is for you, we asked MECCA HQ to try some of our favourites and report back on the results. Here they are, ranked from subtle to supersized…

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Hannah wears Kosas Plump + Juicy Collagen Lip Boost

Our Head of Digital Marketing, Hannah, prefers a lip product that combines shine with just a touch of plump.

Enter Kosas’ Plump + Juicy Collagen Lip Boost. Packed with hyaluronic acid and peptides, which help make the lips appear fuller instantly and over time, it has zero tingling sensation – making it perfect for first-timers.

Hannah loved how the product looked and felt on her lips, praising its balm-like texture. “It wasn’t sticky at all,” she says, adding, “It felt glossy and moisturising.”

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Ashley wears Morphe Make It Big Plumping Lip Gloss

Ashley says plumping glosses aren’t usually her vibe, but “sometimes I want a little bit of ‘va va voom’.”

Since her preference is for nothing too tingly on her lips, this slightly cautious New Brand Manager tried the Make It Big Plumping Gloss (in the shade ‘Clear’) from Morphe, paired with a brown lip liner.

Per the brand, this formula provides a high-shine gloss finish with hydrating hero ingredients and plumping peppermint oil.

Ashley praised its gentle sensation and just-right level of plump – (“not too plump-y”) – but what most impressed her was the outstanding shine Make It Big gave her lips, which may earn it a spot in her everyday rotation.

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Viv wears M.A.C Cosmetics Squirt Plumping Gloss Stick 

With 10 shade options and a handy stick format, M.A.C Cosmetics’ viral Squirt Plumping Gloss Stick (Viv wears it in ‘HEAT SENSOR’) is the perfect tinted plumper on the go.

You can thank a combination of nourishing oils for the high-shine finish, while ginger root oil and capsicum extract bring the heat and, for balance, menthol crystals provide a cooling effect.

“In terms of feeling, it's peppermint-y; a little bit cooling,” Viv tells us – but it’s that shine and tint that she raves about: “Super, super glossy! Not too overpowering, but still sheer with enough colour.”

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Sophie wears Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Big Lip Plumpgasm

When we tapped MECCA HQ’s Charlotte Tilbury connoisseur for this story, Brand Marketing Lead Sophie insisted she sport the brand’s latest release, the Pillow Talk Big Lip Plumpgasm: “I'm a big Pillow Talk girl, because I love an elevated neutral,” she reveals.

This iconic shade - now with plumping power - isn’t the only perk. Heat + Ice Technology gives your lips a comfortable, instant (and satisfyingly sensorial) volume boost. Plus, hyaluronic acid and a Plump-Effect Collageneer™ will help make your lips appear smoother, firmer and more voluptuous over time.

When we asked Sophie for her thoughts, “Obsessed!” was what she told us. “I love it. It doesn't tingle too much, which is nice – I feel like I could leave it on all day,” she adds.

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Tisha wears Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme

Too Faced’s Lip Injection Extreme became an instant classic when it first hit shelves in 2005, and surged back into the spotlight when TikTok (re)discovered its lip-enhancing powers. Formulated to give you results that last longer than the original, it’s known for a ‘zing’ that leaves your lips looking like you’ve just walked out of the clinic. Plus, it has jojoba and avocado oils to banish dryness and flaking (a bonus for the cooler months).

Events Manager Tisha enjoyed the natural flush it brought to her lips: ”You can straight away see the change in colour, which is always what I’m looking for as my lips are pretty pale naturally,” she explains.

And as for that famous tingling sensation? “You can tell the product is working, as it has quite an immediate tingly reaction. But I’m definitely a fan!”

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