Fuller, plumper lips can be achieved by numerous methods, with varying degrees of permanence, without resorting to implants or fillers.
Lip-enhancing colors and glosses line the shelves of beauty stores. They're popular because, for well under $20, they can bring on temporary slight swelling in the lip area — usually via ingredients such as cinnamon, menthol or chili pepper extracts that cause minor irritation leading to that sought-after full look.
California, a refined lip-tattooing procedure. Among the options:
— Kate Somerville, who has a clinic on Melrose Place and counters in Neiman Marcus stores, counts the DermalQuench Oxygen Treatment as one of her most popular, as much for the softening effects on the face as for what it does to the lips. Hyaluronic serum, vitamins and oxygen are applied to the skin and lips, plumping out fine lines. The results last a few days, and the procedures are often booked by celebrities in anticipation of a red carpet event. The treatments cost $150.
— Naked Cosmetics, based in Los Angeles, has recently developed a procedure called Micro-Art semi-permanent makeup that can make lips appear fuller. An acupuncture needle is used to deposit nontoxic mineral pigments just below the skin's surface to create a new extended lip line, which is then filled in. Semi-permanent pigments or tattoo inks do not have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, although the pigments in this procedure have been sanctioned for use by the European Medicines Agency. The process is different from other permanent makeup tattoos because it uses ultra-fine needles and mineral-based pigments that are healthier for the skin and retain their color longer. It takes about an hour and costs $1,000 for results that last up to three years. Salons offering Micro-Art can be found at http://www.naked-cosmetics.net.
— Stem cells taken from the rare Uttweiler Spatlauber Swiss apple are the active ingredient in Perfect Lips, a new plumping product from skin-care company 3Lab. The product, which squeezes out of a tube like an ointment, uses bioengineered growth hormone technology to add volume and definition to lips. Results can be seen almost immediately, and lips stay plumper and moister for as long as the product is used. It retails for $40 and is available through Barneys New York in Beverly Hills.
— New glosses and treatment from MyChelle Dermaceuticals are said to increase the poutiness of lips by about 40% in a month. The company recommends using them a couple of times a day to notice more volume in lips after a week or so. For optimal results, usage should be ongoing. The Lip Plumping Treatment costs around $27 and uses peptides, flash-heated oils, peppermint, menthol and a molasses-based amino acid. The glosses do the same, but deliver color as well. Products can be found at http://www.mychelle.com.
— The C-Lipoic Lip Enhancer from Dermaquest is applied with an applicator brush and uses coffee bean extract, vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid and peptides to moisturize and add volume to lips. It can be used over or under lipstick, and provides instant plumping, which lasts a few hours or until the product is reapplied. It sells for $48 and retailers can be found at http://www.dermaquestinc.com.