This Strange-Smelling Serum Gave Me Pillowy Lips in Exactly One Minute

Victoria Hoff

I was recently in a meeting with a cosmetic dermatologist when she asked me a blunt question: Was there anything about my skin or face that I didn’t like? Hesitating, I eventually confessed my insecurities regarding my top lip. While it’s not completely nonexistent, it’s on the small side—and it feels as insubstantial as ever in this era of pillowy Hadid pouts. “I’ve always wanted a little more oomph,” I admitted.

“Do you want to try some Juvéderm injections?” she asked. Now was my opportunity to finally go for it—and yet I paused for a moment, suddenly realising that I didn’t want to take it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to say so. “No,” she said almost immediately, answering for me. “If you’re hesitating at all, you shouldn’t do it.”

To be clear, my general approach to beauty is to try things without hesitation. I am ever the willing guinea pig. Face acupuncture? No problem. Two hours in a sensory deprivation tank? Sure. A facial using a resurfacing laser and a vial of my own blood? Cake. These experiences are part of what makes my daily gig so, so fun. (And I’ve found so many of my current favourite products and places as a result.)

And yet, there’s one little asterisk to this fearlessness: I’m willing to try just about anything at least once, but I majorly hesitate at invasive procedures or injections. In truth, they ultimately don’t align with my personal MO: I try to keep everything I put on and in my body as natural and synthetic-free as possible.

But the temptation is still there—especially when it comes to my lips. Derma-rolling definitely helps, but it doesn’t quite deliver the dramatic results I’m looking for. And, in my experience, most of the topical lip-plumping products on the market are lacklustre at best. Sure, they tingle for a few seconds, and I might see a little swelling for several minutes afterward. But an hour later? Nada. Back to my lip liner.

Is it so much to ask that a little tube of gloss or serum mimic the results of hundreds of dollars in injections? Yes. Yes, it is. And I had all but given up hope on my pipe dream when a little vial made its way onto my desk.

Want to fake a thicker pout with makeup? Lip contouring is the foolproof technique you need to know.

This post was originally published on August 26, 2016, and has been updated.

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