I have a secret superpower. I can stand in any supermarket in the world, in the hot sauce aisle, and be able to pick out the hottest sauce there is.
I admit, it’s not so much of a superpower as it is a habit of dipping my tongue deep into anything that looks red, menacing and fiery so much that I can make it a career.
What I also love as much as hot sauces: lip plumpers. I have scoured drugstores and beauty supply stores across the world in search of the best plumpers without resorting to sticking a needle in my lips. (I don’t really mind needles, but I’ll leave that as a desperate measure at a desperate time.)
While chowing down on another spicy meal earlier this week, I happened to see a reflection of myself scarfing down my lunch. Watching myself eat is not so pretty; my lips, however, were looking fuller than usual, thanks to the spiciness of my food.
Chili peppers and other spicy produce act as an irritant to mucous membranes and thin tissues. This is the principle behind many lip-plumping products, which often contain cinnamon oil.
And so it called for an xoVain experiment: let’s see if Faz can whip up her own lip plumpers at home!
WHAT YOU NEED
- Chili peppers, paprika or cayenne pepper powder. For the purpose of this article, I'm using paprika powder, red chili pepper and a local, tiny, insanely hot chili pepper we call
cili padi in Singapore.
- Food coloring or a liquid lip color like OCC Lip Tars
- Gloves of some kind
- A mortar and pestle, or something you can use to mush the peppers into a pulp. (Stone mortar and pestle things are great to let out pent-up angst.)
- Something to mix the concoction. I'm using chopsticks.
- A container to mix the stuff and possibly store it.
WHAT TO DO
I started with the mildest ingredient, the paprika powder. Take a small amount of the powder to start with and mix it in with a pea-sized amount of Vaseline.
Even after mixing it thoroughly, you'd still be able to see the tiny flecks of paprika powder in the mixture, which is obviously not a good look for your lips. To combat this, add a dark liquid lip color into the mix. I'm using OCC Lip Tar in Black Dahlia.
You can store it in a container, or put it aside to experiment as I've done.
Next, I moved on to the chili peppers, starting with the less fiery of the two. Start by deseeding a fifth of the chili pepper before pounding it into a mush.
Mix Vaseline into the mushed-up pepper, before adding some food coloring into it, if you like.
Finally, the spiciest chilli pepper in the land: the cili padi. Here's where the gloves become useful. Don't be stupid (like me) and touch your face before you've washed your hands after handling peppers, whether you're using ultra-spicy ones or otherwise.
Deseed and pound one into a mush like before, and mix it in with Vaseline. I'm leaving this baby in its au naturel color.
I've got my lip plumpers ready to test:
THE TEST BEGINS...
If you asked me, I'd say my lips are pretty nice. They're small and shapely, but sometimes, I'd like them to be plumper than they naturally are. I used a cotton swab to apply the plumpers to my lips.
My lips were tingly, which I though was weird because I usually can't taste the spiciness of paprika in my food. It's only then that I realized that the heat I would feel on my lips would be more intense than what I would normally taste in my food.
Red Chili Pepper Lips
The food coloring I added into the mix didn't show up at all on my lips, probably because I was mixing something that is water-based into petroleum jelly. Duh. But it was so crazy spicy that my lips started to swell and flush.
Cili Padi Lips
Motherf***er. I came close to burning my lips off my face with this one. I started crying, smudging my eyeliner; my lips were flushed and swelled up, and I had to wipe it off my lips as soon as a few photos were snapped.
Did it work as a lip plumper? Definitely.
Considering my level of tolerance when it comes to chilli peppers and spicy food, I'm amused at how the red chili already had me feeling like I lit a match to my lips. I might try the paprika powder concoction with more powder to see if it plumps my lips more, but let's just say I'm quite happy with a cube of ice on my lips right now.
How spicy can you go? And tell me your favorite hot sauces! I want them all!