I Tried A Plumping "Lip Filler" Gloss & The Results Were Pretty Amazing

You have to see the before and after photos.

An honest review of the pout-plumping Macrene Actives Lip Filler gloss.
Getty Images/ Evgeniy Kleymenov / EyeEm

I’ve experimented with the Botox lip flip, a cosmetic treatment that relaxes the muscles at the top of your mouth and results in an ever-so-slightly fuller-looking pout. I have a thin upper lip that pulls back and becomes practically invisible when I smile, so I love the illusion of volume it gives me — and hate when it fades away within just six weeks. Since I’ve yet to take the plunge and get longer-lasting filler injected, I was down to try perhaps the next best thing: the Macrene Actives High Performance Lip Filler, a plumping treatment you apply topically for a similar effect.

New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Macrene Alexiades, M.D. created the Macrene Actives Lip Filler to provide those who don’t want (or aren’t ready to get) injections an easy way to achieve a thicker pout. A treatment-slash-gloss hybrid, the product contains a cocktail of ingredients that deliver an oomph to your lips upon just a couple of swipes. “As a specialist in the principles of injectable plumping, I realized I could fill the lips without using a needle by using hyaluronic acid fillers,” Alexiades tells Bustle. And it’s all bottled up in the form of a tube you can throw in your purse and use on the reg.

You can pick from thousands of lip plumping glosses on the beauty shelves, so how does this one stack up? Keep scrolling for how it works and to see my pretty impressive before and after pictures.

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How The Macrene Actives Lip Filler Works

The star active within the formula is hyaluronic acid, of course, which is the same ingredient used in actual lip filler injections. But it’s encapsulated inside liposomes (a spherical molecule made out of lipids) that bind to the lip surface and penetrate your epidermis (the outer layer of your skin) to deliver moisture.

The treatment also contains a duo of collagen-stimulating staples: peptides and ceramides. Peptides are the building blocks of protein that help make up the structure of your skin, while ceramides support your skin barrier and help seal in moisture. There are also hydrating ingredients for good measure, including sunflower seed oil, squalane, coconut oil, and shea butter, all of which ensure your lips stay plump and smooth.

But how does this particular formula compare to that in other lip plumping products? According to Alexiades, it’s all due to the microencapsulation of hyaluronic acid. Typically, glosses that boost volume rely on tingly extracts like menthols, cinnamon, and capsaicin, all of which can sometimes be irritating. Instead, the Macrene Actives turns to a roster of 20 science-backed moisture-boosting ingredients for the job.

Testing The Lip Treatment

Alexiades recommends applying just one dab of the product to both the upper and lower lip twice a day. You’re supposed to see full results by the fourth week of use, which is different than most plumping lip glosses that only deliver instant gratification. Needless to say, I was wary of how much of a difference it would make on my lips.

Twenty-ish seconds after applying it, I was surprised to see a little zhuzh in my pout. My lips felt hydrated but not sticky, and although it’s meant to work gradually, I noticed the most subtle boost in volume. I couldn’t stop pouting in the mirror to check out what I might look like with actual lip filler.

The immediate effect may have been mostly a placebo, so I continued dabbing some on each day and hoping for an even more recognizable change in my lips. Fast forward to almost a month later, and I can confidently say my pout is smoother, softer, hydrated... and, perhaps, just a touch more voluminous. Maybe I’m the only one who notices, but that’s OK with me.

Studies referenced:

Akbarzadeh, A. (2013). Liposome: classification, preparation, and applications. Nanoscale Res Lett.