As someone with a zip, rather than a pout, lip-plumping products are of more than passing interest. I grabbed our trial sample of Deciem NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate ($60) with unseemly haste. But this, being NIOD, was no ordinary anti-aging lip plumper. It was so unusual that I didn’t use it for a week, feeling perplexed and intimidated by the instructions. I got over it, of course, and found a lip sculptor to love. But first, my journey there.
Here’s what rattled me: The instructions say, “To avoid redness of the surrounding skin, apply only a very small amount with your fingertip directly on the lips. Do not apply to the skin and especially avoid sensitive areas. NIOD recommends washing your hands lightly after application.” What kind of product would you put on your lips, risk ingesting yet avoid the skin and wash off of the hands? One that I would leave on the bathroom shelf until I had the time to research it.
It turns out that Deciem NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate has an active that increases lip redness through enhanced blood circulation. I scanned the ingredients and realized that this was due to nicotinic acid methyl ester. In the cosmetic world it is a “rubefacient”, meaning something that induces redness via dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation.
This was enough for me to give it a try, so I applied it carefully to my lips. The caution to wash hands afterwards is superfluous. My fingertips did not turn red in the slightest. My lips, on other hand, were worthy of Snow White. It was enough to make me say “blimey” out loud (you can take the girl out of England, but….). I need to confess that this remarkable effect does not last long, but the instant gratification gave me a great big smile.
There is a buzzy, tingling sensation — not unpleasant and I imagine it will be something that everyone will experience differently — that comes with some subtle plumping. The serum-like liquid is thick enough not to run off of lips, but feels glossy, not gooey.
A month of once-daily use has given my lips a softer, less-lined look. I believe they’re a teensy bit fuller, but since I have the lips of a lizard, NIOD has its work cut out. The longer-term working actives include collagen-boosting peptides, such as palmitoyl hexapeptide-12, which early research suggests can stabilize cells and help with collagen production.
Of interest are two compounds from the Indian bdellium-tree — commipherol and commipherine — that work synergistically to stimulate triglyceride storage by up to 400 percent. Something called Chinese Zhi Mu Bio Complex from botanical extracts is meant to produce a visible tissue volume increase of 10.4 percent. And then there’s a patented, unpronounceable addition called Dihydrodehydrodiisoeugenol Complex that enhances volume while doubling up as an antioxidant.
More conventionally, there is a well known lip plumper that also has an intimidating name, hydroxymethoxyphenyl propylmethylmethoxybenzofuran, but promises to increase fat cells in four weeks. This I could do with.
Being NIOD, this is not the cleanest formula. However, although some of the ingredients have off-putting chemical-sounding names, they are mostly thickeners, synthetic oils, lipids and the like. The worst offender is BHT, a preservative with conflicting research about carcinogenic effects.