Bliss Fabulips Kit Review: Which Item to Keep, Which 3 to Toss

Bliss Fabulips ($40.50, Amazon.com) declares it is “the simplest way to get full, healthy, beautiful lips every day.”  Although the four-piece kit may not be simple, it certainly is a good value, with a cleanser, balm, scrub, and plumper valued at $74 sold together for just $45 retail ($40.50 on Amazon).  Yet I’m not thrilled about it.   Here’s why:

The Lip Plumper:  Superior, One of the Best on the Market

Some lip plumpers use camphor (the ingredient in Vicks Vapo Rub) or limonene as the active ingredients, which can leave the lips feeling dry after repeated use.

On the other hand, Bliss Fabulips is different, as it contains ethyl menthane carboxamide, a derivative menthol that is actually twice as strong as menthol.  There are two main reasons this works:  One,, given the fact that menthol is known to increase vasodilation (i.e., opening of blood vessels) when applied topically, as noted in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, ethyl methane carboxamide must have the same effect as well, causing greater blood flow in the lips.  Two, ethyl methane carboxamide also irritates the lips and causes them to swell, similar to limonene and camphor, though typically with less of a drying effect.

The Bliss Fabulips Lip Cleanser:  Too Much Sulfate for My Liking

Sodium lauryl sulfate is actually one of the most common irritating agents out there for the skin.  In dermatological studies, sodium lauryl sulfate is used in ‘challenge patch tests’ to evaluate the barrier function of skin because it strips natural lipids from the skin, making it more susceptible to the irritants being tested.

Some dermatologists, like DERMADoctor Dr. Audrey Kunin, note sodium lauryl sulfate causes “chapped lips and perioral dermatitis, a rash around the mouth” and will not even use toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate!  (As a side note, a great sulfate-free toothpaste is Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste ($8.00, Amazon.com).   With that said, I can’t imagine using a cleanser with sodium lauryl sulfate on my lips directly, so I would definitely toss the Bliss Fabulips Cleanser.

The Lip Scrub:  Decent, not the Best

The Bliss Fabulips Lip Scrub is probably my second favorite product in the kit:  It’s not as great as the Bliss Fabulips Lip Plumper, but it’s effective, and doesn’t potentially dry the lips like the cleanser (due to sulfate) or the lip balm (due to limonene).

Still, I find better results from using one of my favorite products, Clinique 7 Day Scrub Wipe Off Cream ($17.99, Amazon.com), on my lips.  The scrub is finely-ground, so it exfoliates small patches of dry skin on the lips extremely well.  Even better perk:  it can be used on the entire face!

Softening Lip Balm:  Not My Favorite

The Bliss Fabulips Lip Balm is great overall:  It contains a lot of moisture-sealing occlusive ingredients, like castor oil and microcrystalline wax, as well as a slew of antioxidants like  grape seed, vitamin E, and vitamin C.

On the other hand, Bliss Fabulips Lip Balm also contains a small concentration of limonene, which I suspect is to be slightly lip-plumping.  However, limonene is a known skin irritant (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2002), and so I would not recommend this product to anyone who tends to get very dry or chapped lips.

For the record, my favorite lip balm of all time is Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Balm ($25.00).  Although it also contains grape seed, vitamin E, and vitamin C, what really sets it apart is that it contains a really high dose of jojoba oil, which forms a lipid layer on the skin that is partially absorbed by the skin, granting both protective and softening effects (Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine).

Bottom Line

While the Bliss Fabulips Kit looks like a great buy, I would personally only use the Lip Plumper, which has superior ingredients and works as well as any non-injectable lip plumper on the market.  I definitely would not use the cleanser – no way would I put sodium lauryl sulfate anywhere near my lips! – and the scrub and balm are O.K., nothing to write home about.  With that said, here are the best products I’ve found for lips, all available for around $60 total so you can make your own kit:  :-)

Fabulips:
Foaming Lip Cleanser: Water/Aqua, Methyl Perfluoroisobutyl Ether, Sorbitol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Methyl Perfluorobutyl Ether, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Carrageenan, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Parfum/Fragrance, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Yeast Polysaccharides, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Isononyl Isononanoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Saccharin, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Sodium Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, o-Cymen-5-ol, Ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol Manganese Chloride, Mica, Citral, Limonene, Linalool, Red 40 (CI 16035), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

Sugar Lip Scrub: Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Sucrose, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cera Alba/Beeswax, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Silica, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Squalane, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Meal, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phospholipids, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Phenoxyethanol, Aroma/Flavor.

Instant Lip Plumper: Polybutene, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Octyldodecanol, Triisostearyl Citrate, Dipropylene Glycol, Silica Silylate, Squalane, Polyethylene, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Parfum/fragrance, Tribehenin, Ceramide 2, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Water/Aqua, Butylene Glycol, Tripeptide-3, Hexapeptide-3, Quercus Suber Bark Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Faex/Yeast Extract, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Methyl Diisopropyl Propionamide, Ethyl Menthane Carboxamide, Methyl Lactate, Lauryl Laurate, Zea May (Corn) Starch, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Starch Octenylsuccinate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Saccharin, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)

Softening Lip Balm: Octyldodecanol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Microcrystalline Wax/Cera Microcristallina, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cetyl Palmitate, Cera Alba/Beeswax, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/ Cera Carnauba, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Myristate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Aroma/Flavor, Limonene, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate.

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