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At-Home Lip Filler: Dermatologists Weigh In on How to Get Fuller-Looking Lips for Less

No needles needed!

If you’re forever on the quest for more voluminous lips, you’re not alone. A study in the journal Scientific Reports found that people with thicker lips were viewed as more attractive, and there has been a 1000% increase in lip fillers since the turn of the century — proving that people just seem to prefer a plumper pout. Plus, fuller lips are a sign of youth and attract attention to the center of your face, making your face appear slimmer overall. But what if you don’t want to spend the money or time or feel the pain of in-office lip fillers? You may be happy to learn about a trendy new ‘at-home lip filler’ circulating on social media. Similar to the old school temporary lip-plumping trick where you mix cinnamon and olive oil and dab it on your lips for a bee-stung look, this technique is the new and improved version — and it acts like a filler in that it can keep your lips from deflating as you age too. Keep scrolling to learn more about this easy at-home lip filler, how to do it and why it works.

Why do lips get thinner with age?

Since lips lack oil glands, any sort of dehydration causes them to shrink and look even smaller, especially when they’re forced to stretch when you smile. Sun exposure and smoking can also play a part because nicotine decreases oxygen and blood flow to the lips. 

What is lip filler?

 Close up of beautician in white gloves making hyaluronic acid  lip filler injection in lips for adult lady.
Creative Credit/Getty

Lip filler, also known as lip augmentation or lip enhancement, refers to a cosmetic procedure where a substance is injected into the lips to increase their volume, alter their shape or improve their symmetry. 

“The most commonly used filler substances include hyaluronic acid, which is a natural substance found in the body, and collagen. These fillers help plump up the lips, smooth out fine lines around the mouth and create a fuller, more youthful appearance,” says board-certified facial plastic surgeon Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD.

Lip fillers are often used to enhance the size and shape of the lips, correct asymmetry, define the lip borders and provide hydration and structure to the lips. The effects of lip fillers are temporary and typically last several months to a year, depending on the type of filler used and individual metabolism.

Like any cosmetic procedure, lip fillers carry risks and potential side effects, such as swelling, bruising, asymmetry and allergic reactions, so it’s crucial to weigh the benefits and risks before undergoing the treatment. And it’s a great reason to consider an at-home lip filler.

What is the viral at-home lip filler?

Serum droplet and drops against pink background
Vera Livchak/Getty

The at-home lip filler on everyone’s social media feeds? A simple application of popular skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides, with a lip balm like Vaseline.

To do: Grab a peptide-based serum The Ordinary and a hyaluronic serum like The Inkey List and put a few drops of each into a small glass jar filled with a petroleum jelly (like Vaseline or Aquaphor). Mix it all and apply it to lips three times a day for four weeks, and doctors like Dr. Charles, MD, say you’ll see results! “The moisture from petrolatum will help seal in this blend,” says Dr. Vasyukevich.

“Hyaluronic especially needs water to grab onto to work,” says Erika Luren MA, MS, NP, founder of Parasol Aesthetics, Dermatology and Wellness. “So make sure that lips are damp before applying and that you are drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated, and you can further boost the moisture benefits by putting a humidifier in your home,” she adds. 

Plus, there’s little to no risk. “There is no significant risk to using these ingredients topically so long as patients don’t have an allergy to any of them,” says New Jersey-based ENT Samir Undavia, MD.

Users say the at-home remedy is as good as pricey lip injections for a fraction of the cost (without the needles, risk and pain). @DarcieRatcliff told TikTok followers that with just using the hyaluronic acid, she saw bigger lips in just one week.  


Replying to @venny before & after of using Hyaluronic acid serum on my lips for a week #hyaluronicacid #lipplumper #beforeandafter

♬ Real Love Baby – Father John Misty

Best of all, doctors say it works, too. 

@Dermarkologist, a dermatologist/influencer on TikTok says doing this can also prevent you from “ever having chapped lips again,” while @Dermatologysurgeon says she tells her patients this is an effective treatment for plumper lips without the needles. 

“Through their plumping and hydrating powers, hyaluronic and peptide serums can plump lips while controlling inflammation and redirecting blood flow,” says Dr. Vasyukevich.

But Luren notes that it won’t have as dramatic an effect as injectable lip fillers, which plump below the surface of the skin and last longer. 

Related: The $9 Serum That Works Like Botox + More Viral Botox Dupes You Can Do From Home

How does the at home lip filler work?

Hyaluronic acid in lip filler

For starters, hyaluronic is a gooey substance that’s actually used in injectable facial and lip fillers and one that’s made naturally by our bodies. Scientists have found that hyaluronic can lubricate eyes, joints and skin. 

“Hyaluronic acid acts as a moisture magnet and has a powerful ability to absorb water at six times its weight,” says New Jersey-based ENT Samir Undavia, MD. “When applied topically, it causes water to hydrate the molecule absorbed through the lip lining, temporarily causing swelling of the lip,” explains Dr. Undavia. 

In skincare, hyaluronic acid shows up as either a high molecular weight (HMW) ingredient or a low molecular weight (LMW) ingredient. Although you don’t need to know all of its chemistry, understanding molecular weight distinctions can be helpful, as one or the other will be better for your lips. 

Hyaluronic acid with a LMW (sometimes listed as sodium hyaluronate) absorbs more fully into the deeper layers of your skin. That’s because its molecules are so small that they can go farther in penetrating your dermal layers than HMW hyaluronic acid. 

You might not immediately see results since LMW hyaluronic acid sits deeper in your skin. Also, LMW hyaluronic acid can’t hold as much water as its HMW counterpart. However, LMW hyaluronic acid provides longer-lasting effects.

Peptides in lip filler

Peptide serum droplet
Julia Cherkasova/Getty

Peptides — or chains of amino acids known to boost collagen production in the skin — work similarly and pack a powerful punch for your pucker when paired with hyaluronic acid.

Just like our skin, lips age by thinning and getting fine line and wrinkles due to the collagen and elastin that depletes over time. Research shows some of the most effective collagen regenerators are peptides, i.e. tiny particles that trick the body into thinking they are broken collagen proteins which in turn prompts the skin to produce new collagen to repair the “broken” pieces, making peptides a powerful anti-aging ingredient for skin and lips. 

“Peptides are also humectants, attracting water and pulling that hydration into the skin,” says aesthetician Cassandra Bankson

“People often forget that the lips are also a part of the skin organ, albeit a tad different being of mucosal type. Creams and serums with these ingredients can be dually purposed to slather on the face and lips at night for hydration,” says Luren, founder of Parasol Aesthetics, Dermatology and Wellness

Don’t want to make your own at home lip filler?

Of course, if you don’t feel like making it yourself, there are lip balms you can buy that contain these ingredients and will give you the same effect. Here, 6 that work well!

PCA Hyaluronic Acid Lip Booster

PCA Hyaluronic Acid Lip Booster (Buy from Dermstore, $49.50)

This one’s a splurge for sure, but claims to plump your pout temporarily and stimulate collagen production, so volume increases over time. 

Vitamasque Instant Lip Filler

Vitamasque Instant Lip Filler (Buy from Amazon, $13.49)

This vegan lip mask promises a plumper pout in 30 minutes. Just apply the soothing mask (probably during a time you won’t need to talk!) and relax, then voila, lips will be revitalized instantly! 

Tobcharm Lip Collagen Sleeping Mask

Tobcharm Lip Collagen Sleeping Mask (Buy from Amazon, $19.99)

Designed to be used overnight, this lip mask contains collagen, peptides and a blend of nourishing elements to naturally revitalize and hydrate your lips while you snooze! 

The Inkey List Tripeptide Plumping Lip Balm
The Inkey List

The Inkey List Tripeptide Plumping Lip Balm (Buy from Sephora, $13)

This budget-friendly plumping balm works over time to visibly increase lip volume and is formulated to hydrate, repair and fill in lines and wrinkles without tingle or irritation.

Burt's Bees Hyaluronic Plumping Lip Serum
Burt’s Bees

Burt’s Bees Hyaluronic Plumping Lip Serum (Buy from Burt’s Bees, $9.99)

This lip serum is infused with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump lips, while juicy mango and shea butter condition and leave lips glossy and super soft. Plus, it leaves behind a subtle rosy hue.

GrandeLIPS Hydrating Gloss
Grande Cosmetics/Dermstore

GrandeLIPS Hydrating Gloss (Buy from Dermstore, $27)

In a study the brand conducted, 90% of users saw fuller lips after applying the gloss twice a day for 30 days. It uses a combo of — you guessed it — hyaluronic acid, plus vitamin B3 to firm, hydrate and plump. 

For more skincare tips and tricks, click through these stories:

Skincare’s Best-Kept Secret For Hydrated, Plump + Glowing Skin Instantly? Glycerin

This Easy At-Home Gua Sha Facial Gets Your Skin Glowing + Relieves a Headache Fast

Skin Flooding: The Viral Trend Dermatologists Swear By + How to Get the Best Results

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