Lip Care Formulation Strategies

Published: 12-Jun-2024

Consumers are increasingly focusing on lip care, driven by a desire for plumped and glossy lips that reflect broader skin care trends for sheer skin glow. Lips, with their delicate structure and lower barrier defence, are particularly susceptible to drying and cracking. Thus, the primary benefits sought in lip products continue to be moisturising, hydrating, and softening properties

In this article, Daniela Del Ciotto and Martin Mackenzie-Smith, owners of The Cosmetic Experts, look into innovative solutions that align with the latest trends in lip care.

Daytime Lip Care: The Rise of Lip Oils

Lip oils have surged in popularity in the beauty market, with products like Dior’s Lip Glow Oil leading the way. These products are designed to provide gloss, nourishment, and an instant plumping effect. Our proposed daytime formula type for a Lip Oil harnesses the power of naturally derived, vegan-friendly ingredients to deliver these benefits.


Lip Care Formulation Strategies

The aim is to obtain a non-sticky, lightweight formula providing a glossy finish, nourishment, and a plump-looking appearance. It has to be easy to apply, smooth, and can offer a cushiony feel with a careful selection and balance of oils. Perfect for daytime use, it imparts a dewy look while hydrating and providing an instant plumping effect.

Nighttime Lip Care: The Emergence of Lip Masks

Overnight lip masks have also gained traction, offering long-term care for the delicate skin of the lips. These products deliver intense hydration and enhance lip fullness over time. Our proposed nighttime formula type for a Lip Mask is designed to support the lips’ delicate skin with sustained benefits.


Lip Care Formulation Strategies

The formula aims to provide a soft texture with greater substantivity, essential for an overnight treatment. The hydrating properties are boosted by the inclusion of ceramides, while a long-term plumping effect is achieved with a long-term restructuring active. A subtle lilac tint and fresh lavender scent can add a soothing touch to the overall product experience.

Understanding Lip Plumping Products

Lip plumping products typically contain ingredients designed to:

Enhance the lips' appearance with sheen or colour (tints, etc.), that do not increase volume but can create an impressive look;

Increase volume by improving hydration (moisturisers), as enhancing moisture levels can gradually increase lip volume, with best results from daily application;

Cause mild irritation (tingling) to dilate surface blood vessels, with ingredients like capsicum, cinnamon, menthol, ginger, and Sichuan pepper. These cause blood circulation increase, producing temporary volume changes. However, they can cause stinging or allergic reactions in some individuals.

Formulating for Optimal Lip Plumping:

A combination of all these methods provides immediate volume, increased visual effect, and longer-term plumping benefits. However, brands are shifting away from irritants due to potential adverse reactions and regulatory concerns. Both EU and UK regulations mandate that products causing significant physiological changes might be classified as medicines, not cosmetics. Similarly, the USA does not allow cosmetics to make physiological changes.

A recommended formulation strategy to remove irritants is to use rapid moisturizing ingredients (microencapsulated hyaluronic acid and ceramides are excellent choices). And/or to incorporate long-term moisturizers and wrinkle reduction actives. Collagen-stimulating peptides can be effective but must be used with caution in the USA due to regulatory definitions.


The development of effective lip care products hinges on balancing immediate and long-term benefits while adhering to regulatory standards. Our formulation strategies demonstrate how naturally derived, vegan-friendly ingredients can be utilized to create products that meet consumer demands for hydration, nourishment, and plumping without the need for harsh irritants.

If you're interested in developing a lip care product line, don't hesitate to reach out

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