Beauty

By Erika Hilson Palmer

I want lips like Angelina Jolie. Yeah, I know, who doesn’t? Her lips look at the world with a sort of “hey, baby, look at me, I can rule the universe” sort of way. Thank goodness for technology (a.k.a. makeup and plastic surgery), because now even the thinnest, pencily lips can look like hers. Whether you only want a temporary solution or something more permanent, here are a few things that can help make Angelina jealous of your jolie lips.

Not ready to take the plunge into having permanently luscious pouters? Here are some great products that can give you the look you want without having to make a life-long decision.

Cinnamon Galore
No, this is not the waitress you had last night at Lucky Cheng’s – although she was pretty damn fabulous. Cinnamon leaf essential oil is one way you can get larger lips naturally. It is often found as a primary ingredient in some of the pricier glam lip plumping products, along with Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens, which are pretty shmancy ways of saying cayenne pepper, jalapeno pepper, and Tabasco extracts. You can purchase cinnamon leaf essential oil at any health food store, and usually costs around $5-$10. Sounds painful, I know. Truth be told, you do have to be careful when using pure cinnamon leaf essential oil (you should always do a test patch on your arm approximately 24 hours before you apply it to your lips); but it is a great cheap way to get the results you want – fuller, plumper, and redder lips! Or, you could just go eat some crazy spicy Mexican food. Throw a margarita in there, and that’s a recipe for a hell of a night, if you ask me.

Shoobie Doobie DuWop, Doo Waa
Usually, women and men alike try to avoid getting any sort of venom near their lips at all costs. Now, fuller lip seeking, makeup loving women can’t get enough venom…DuWop’s Lip Venom, that is. This product enhances your lips natural color and plumps them up by increasing circulation with a blend of essential oils including cinnamon, ginger, and wintergreen. Not only does this gloss taste good and smell good, the tingling effect that happens upon application can be downright addictive (I found myself reapplying the gloss periodically throughout the night because the tingling felt so good!). The gloss, which retails at $15 and can be purchased online at http://www.duwoponline.com, can be used alone or in conjunction with a separate lip color.

If you can’t wait to mix your own lip color in with the Venom, DuWop now makes Venom Gloss and Shades of Venom – both mixing color in with their special “oh, I can have lips like a goddess?” recipe. In addition to containing all the same essential oils as the Venom, the Gloss ($15) also contains jojoba, avocado, and safflower oil to moisturize the lips, beeswax to protect and soften the lips, and green tea to soothe the lips (which is an interesting sensation when mixed with the venom). Shades of Venom ($15) is basically the lipstick form of the Gloss and the Venom. It comes conveniently packaged so you can throw it into the smallest purse or even your pocket. The Gloss comes in twelve shades and the Shades of Venom comes in nine – and each of them is named after a different poisonous plant.

Buyer beware: Lip Venom and its kin will make you feel feisty, sexy, and very a la Jolie (and very a la all the other pucker worthy celebrities that can’t get enough of this product like Jennifer Garner, Ashley Judd, and Britney Spears). So you won’t only look fabulous, you’ll look famously fabulous. Being gorgeous can be so fun!

http://www.DuWop.com

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The Balm Is Da Bomb
Plump Your Pucker…OK! Marissa Shipman, founder and CEO of The Balm, knew that being beautiful shouldn’t be complicated, and brilliantly developed her own solution to the everlasting plea of “I want fuller lips!” Plump Your Pucker Sheer Gloss ($12) is a beeswax-based gloss that has a nice tingly/minty feeling post application. Coming in two sheer shades, Berry My Treasure and Pepper My Mint, you can plump your lips in just three minutes, and as their website, http://www.thebalm.com, says: “Use for 30 days and your lips will take on a pout of their own.” Of course, as the ladies also point out, plumping may vary.

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Because Plump Your Pucker was such a success, The Balm released a sister product to the OG fave, Plump Your Pucker Tinted Gloss ($14). This is basically evolution at its finest. IN addition to being formulated with folic acid, vitamin C and menthol, the Gloss increases circulation to the plump-deprived area, it contains a new, special ingredient called maxi-lip. Maxi-lip hydrates the lip while restoring glycosaminoglycans (Google if curious about details) and collagen, and also acts to make dry and chapped lips a distant memory like your hairstyle circa 1980. After 29 days of using this product, you should definitely see some overall lip plump improvement – and have an awesome gloss that comes in three shades to boot.

http://www.thebalm.com

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Lip Enhancement…with Benefits…
is such an apropos name for this company, especially when we’re talking about their own contribution to the lipless of the world. Lip Plump! ($16) This lip primer fills in lines and builds upon the natural contour of the lips making them look fuller and, well, more plump. This is probably the most mild of all the aforementioned products – there is no antidote needed for this product. It is soft, smooth, and sweet – use it with color or use it alone. Either way, this should definitely be a staple in every lipless or non-lipless gal’s makeup collection.

Ok, so you guessed it…there’s more. Why would you want to only plump your lips? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a product that had a special vitamin E formula in it that was designed not only to plumpen your pucker but also make it downright Smoochable? That’s why Benefit came up with Smooch ($18). This nighttime formula is specially designed to soften, plump, and rejuvenate your lips while you sleep. When you wake up, your lips will be fully ready to kiss whoever happens to be lying next to you. NB: Breath freshener isn’t included, so maybe you just wanna lie there with your mouth closed looking like the natural gorgeous beauty you are.

http://www.benefitcosmetics.com

Till Death Do Us Part
Even though these glosses are ultra-fab, maybe you’re thinking, “I want more! I want it all, and I want it all the time!” Well, here are some semi-permanent and no turning back permanent answers to your lip enhancing needs. I chatted with Dr. Steven Pearlman, one of the most respected plastic surgeons in New York, about surgical lip augmentation.

Of course, when you’re going in for a surgical consultation, the type of procedure that you will end up having is dependent upon your needs, whether you want a temporary or permanent solution, and other mitigating factors like health, age, and facial structure. Here’s the low-down on Implants, and Fillers, and Lifts…oh my!

Implants
Like with most other things, there are a variety of different implants you can choose from depending on what you want – permanent, semi-permanent, synthetic, or the up-and-coming in popularity human-derived bio implants. Of the synthetic implants, Gore-Tex is the most popular. Yes, it is made of the same material as that coat you may be wearing, but it makes for a damn fine looking lip. The cost of a Gore-Tex implant ranges between $1,000-$2,000 usually, and is permanent yet reversible. Dr. Pearlman says that the results from a Gore-Tex implants are beautiful, but because it is a synthetic material, it can be a little hard and you may feel the implant when you touch the lip. Other popular synthetic implants are Advanta, and UltraSoft, both of which are tubular implants like the Gore-Tex, and average about the same price wise, but range in how soft they are (meaning, you may feel the implant less when touching the lip).

Synthetic isn’t your thing? There are natural human-derived substances that are now being implanted into the lips, and these tends to last for a few years. Alloderm is the substance that Dr. Pearlman recommends. Alloderm is essentially human cadaver skin that is rolled up into sheets and implanted into the lips. Alloderm implants also run in the low thousands.

Don’t worry about contracting anything – the companies that make these products do EXTENSIVE surveying and testing to ensure that all the tissue samples are clean and free of anything you wouldn’t want in your own body.

Fillers/Injections
The injectable implants and fillers are less permanent than the previously mentioned implants, and can last anywhere from 2 months to a year. Of course, the most popular filler is…collagen. Dr. Pearlman says that although collagen is the most popular lip filler, it is by far not the best. Experts say that the results from a collagen injection will last 3-6 months, but from Dr. Pearlman’s experience, he sees results starting to fade after 1-2 months. It’s quick, it’s cheap, and it’s easy, and may be a good springboard into the world of plastic surgery to see if this is something you would really like to do. Cymetra and Fascian are also temporary fillers that are human-derived, and should last about the same amount of time as collagen. Dr. Pearlman recommends using these products only when the patient has an allergy to collagen.

Hyaluronic Acid in the form of restylane, perlane, and hydraform are the newest and hottest products on the market. This filler hasn’t been approved yet, but it is widely available and being used frequently in place of collagen and other temporary fillers. These are clear, gel-like substances that are very low allergy, they last 2-3 times longer than collagen, and patients can’t seem to get enough of it. Dr. Pearlman says that he is “familiar with the use of it,” but because it isn’t officially approved, cannot tell us whether or not he actually uses it (If you’re interested, you’ll have to call his office to find out!).

Some other very new injectables are Artecoll and Radiance. Artecoll is Teflon beads that are coated in collagen and injected into the lips. Since this is a fairly new product, there are still a few kinks to work out. About half the patients that use this get something called Granuloma, which is a grouping of inflammatory cells coming together in a lump or solid structure. Mmmmm, I’m thinking this would probably be unpleasant. Dr. Pearlman says that Radiance has been recently approved for the use in controlling overactive bladders, but some doctors are using it for lip augmentations. I’m with Dr. Pearlman when he says he wants to wait a few years to see how the results pan out…Frankly, I don’t want anything that can help my bladder anywhere near my lips!

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What does Dr. Pearlman recommend to his patients? Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Alloderm, and Gore-Tex. The price ranges for these procedures can go from $300 to a few thousand dollars. Dr. Pearlman always discusses the pros and cons of each procedure with his patients (pros and cons being length of duration, cost, possible side effects, etc.). Basically, it’s important to get a great plastic surgeon that cares, and can look at your face and tell you what is right for you. If you’re interested in getting in touch with Dr. Pearlman, he can be reached at (212) 233-8300 or through his website http://www.mdface.com.

Whichever lip enhancing product you decide is best for you, it’s always important to test the product first (and make sure you won’t have an allergic reaction). Plump away, ladies. Now it’s your turn to make. Eat your heart out, Angelina!

Originally published August 2003
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