Over the last few years, it seems like more and more women have the desire to get larger, plumper lips. True, we may have Kylie Jenner to thank for that, but one does not need to get fillers in order to have lips like Kylie’s. Many people opt for a much simpler and less expensive solution such as lip-enhancing gloss otherwise known as lip plumpers. These popular glosses are meant to give your lips a temporary fuller and more voluminous look.
Although these lip-plumping products are sold worldwide under several reputable brand names, they may not be as risk-free as they claim to be. One woman from Oregon had a horrifying and painful experience after using a well-known lip gloss plumper.
Today, she hopes her story will act as a warning to others to be careful about the types of products they put on their skin. The truth is, you never really know what sorts of harmful ingredients could be inside even some of your most favorite makeup items.
Singer, writer, dancer, and healing arts practitioner Wahkeena Sitka from Portland, Oregon loves a good lip gloss just like the rest of us. She loves them so much, in fact, that she decided to share a story on her YouTube page about her experience with the best-selling Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Polish Gloss by the leading cosmetics company Bare Escentuals.
Buxom has been on the market for several years now, and is known for its large variety of color choices as well as it’s lip-enhancing abilities which is guaranteed to plump up anyone’s lips – without the need of any cosmetic procedures. However, these glosses are not cheap – and one small container goes for $21.
Although Wahkeena doesn’t usually talk about makeup products on her YouTube page, she thought this was something that her followers just had to hear – somewhat of a cautionary tale so to speak. Her unfortunate story began when she ordered a Buxom kit from Sephora’s website, which came with a full size of the brand’s mascara as well as two sample sizes of their infamous plumping lip gloss.
Wahkeena was extremely impressed with the lip gloss, and continued to wear it every day for a whole week. She said she even “swore” by it, telling her friends just how incredible the plumper was. However, after seven days of using the product – she started to notice something peculiar.
One morning, as she looked in the mirror, Wahkeena noticed that her lips looked strange – she had red, painful cracked skin on the outer corners. Not only that, but the entire perimeter around her lips turned bright red and looked “completely inflamed.” Her lips appeared swollen around “three times their normal size.” In her video, she explained that her lips were so ginormous, that it looked like she had gotten Botox.
Not only was Wahkeena horrified at how her lips looked, she also was suffering from an extreme, burning pain. Wahkeena was miserable and frightened at what these symptoms meant – what if they never went away? Weeks went by, and with no luck – she still looked and felt the same. She was starting to feel hopeless.
At the time, she had no idea what had happened to her or what could have caused her, what seemed to be, allergic reaction. Finally, after a couple weeks later, she decided to stop using the Buxom lip gloss altogether. Instead, she opted for all-natural moisturizing lip balms from brands like Sacred Earth and The Super Salve Co. In her video, Wahkeena explained the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
She typically eats only healthy, organic fresh food and always prefers to use cosmetics that come from all-natural, green companies. Bare Escentuals, the company that makes the Buxom lip gloss, is known for its large collection of its “clean, natural” makeup “free of harmful ingredients.”
After ditching the Buxom gloss for more soothing, calming lip balms – containing ingredients such as beeswax, olive oil, cocoa butter, and tangerine – she began to feel much better and notice a major difference. The redness and swelling went away, and the pain slowly began to disappear.
However, it was a gradual healing process, and it took over three weeks of excruciating swollen, painful, and bleeding cracked lips until she was finally back to her normal self. However, at the time she had no idea that the Buxom lip gloss, that she had used daily for weeks up until switching to natural balms, was to blame for her horrifying symptoms. So, she decided to buy more.
Now that her lips were finally back to normal, Wahkeena decided to go back to using her favorite Buxom lip gloss. So, she ended up purchasing one more full-size Buxom lip gloss. At first, everything seemed okay and she had no adverse reactions.
She loved the gloss so much, that she went to the closest Bare Minerals store and picked up three more. Unfortunately, this would be a choice that she would soon deeply regret.
Wahkeena was in love with the unique colors of the Buxom glosses, and it quickly became the only product that she would use on her lips. However, after a few weeks went by, she woke up one morning only to see that the same symptoms that had happened weeks prior had returned.
Her lips, once more, were back to being red, dry, cracked, swollen and were burning in pain. Wahkeena couldn’t believe that this was happening to her again.
Wahkeena was finally beginning to realize the horrifying truth – that her beloved lip gloss was the culprit to these painful reactions that she had been having. So, she decided to do a bit of research, to find out what exactly is inside of the lip-enhancing product.
She soon discovered that these plumping glosses contain ingredients that purposely try to inflame the lip and increase its size by disturbing the collagen on the lips – hence the weird tingling feeling one gets when putting on lip-enhancing products.
As Wahkeena continued to do some research, she quickly came to realize that she was not the only one who has had a bad reaction from the use of lip-plumping gloss. She came upon hundreds of stories from other women, like her, who had the same exact symptoms as she had after using a similar product.
By this point, she understood that this wasn’t just her, it wasn’t some sort of medical condition – it was some sort of serious reaction that she had gotten due to the chemicals being used in these glosses.
So what exactly are inside of lip-plumping glosses? Many of lip-enhancing products include irritants meant to add temporary fullness to lips. Common ingredients found in these glosses are capsicum – something which is found in spicy chili peppers, as well as cinnamon oil and menthol.
All of these ingredients purposely irritate the skin, causing blood to rush to the surface when applied directly to the lips. It makes sense why so many people had bad reactions to something that is actually meant to bother your skin.
While it was hard for Wahkeena to do so, she had no choice but to return the glosses that she had purchased. During her YouTube video, Wahkeena gushed about the “gorgeous” colors of the glosses, calling it “liquid gold.”
She also revealed how “sad” she was that she couldn’t use them anymore. However, despite how much she loved the product, there was no way she was going to risk having another painful reaction – she knew she had to let them go.
Although when she posted the video onto YouTube months had already passed since her most recent lip-plumping incident, she explained how she was still in recovery. She showed the camera how she still had cracks and bumps all around the edges of her lips, expressing how she was still feeling a burning pain.
However, as embarrassing and frustrating as the whole situation was, Wahkeena was grateful that she was able to learn a valuable lesson from the experience.
Today, Wahkeena confessed, she is much more aware about what she puts on her face. She now tries to use the “most conscious products on the market” sticking to brands that have a solid reputation for being all-natural and gentle on sensitive skin.
She now uses mostly cosmetics made by the company Tarte, which prides itself in being “eco-chic and cruelty-free.” She also is a fan of Josie Maran makeup, which is known for using all organic and pure ingredients.
Wahkeena’s YouTube video received thousands of views, and multiple comments from women who had experienced the same awful reaction as she had due to a lip-plumping product. Many of the commenters even said that they had used the very same Buxom gloss and had the exact same symptoms.
One woman wrote about how she had even tried to contact the company in order to complain about the reaction she had gotten and how they apparently claimed to “not have heard” of this experience before.
At the end of Wahkeena’s video on YouTube, she wanted to be sure that her followers understood that this was not a review or complaint per se – but more of a warning.
She explained how she hoped those hearing about her unfortunate lip-plumping experience will learn a valuable lesson, as did she, when it comes to choosing cosmetics. She said, “Be conscientious and be a smart shopper, and smart consumer, and use stuff that’s going to be really natural and isn’t going to inflame your lips.”