CandyLipz is essentially a $70 rubber apple with a mouth-shaped hole that suctions onto your lips. There are two options: a red apple, for “regular” plumping, and a green apple, which supposedly gives your bottom lip a weird, butt-like split. I went with the apple for basics.The plumper came with extensive instructions that might as well built an IKEA couch. No beauty tool should come with that much literature. This was the first red flag I totally ignored in my journey to luscious lips.The George R.R. Martin-long instructions suggested an optional “1/2 moon-shaped blocker” used “to enhance the lower lip separately.” I was focused on the top half of my bird lips, so I opted out.
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The plumping process is fairly simple, or so I thought. Place your mouth in the hole and squeeze so that the apple sucks onto your face. Let me be the first to say that I looked extremely cool doing so. The first attempt failed — it fell off my face when I couldn”t stop laughing at the farting noises that emit from a rubber suction apple. Zero results. If I could go back in time, this is where the story probably would have ended.By the second attempt, several of my coworkers had come over to see what was so funny. This time, I secured the apple onto my lips more firmly. The instructions suggested looking like a luau pig for two minutes. We used an iPhone timer to be scientific about it.The suction began to pull hard on my lips. I wondered if I was doing this correctly. But I was too busy channeling a stone-faced Angelina Jolie and avoiding eye contact with my colleagues to think rationally and remove it.”Does it hurt?” a coworker asked. I nodded. “Pain is beauty,” another coworker joked. Looking back on that, I remember how awful it is being a teenager.After a painfully long two minutes, I pulled the apple off my face and tried to regain feeling in my skin. My lips didn”t feel any plumper when I put a hand to my face, but I was still laughing at the farting noises because I am more a nine-year-old boy than I”ve ever been a 17-year-old girl.
The before and after shot show the slight difference in my lip size — the most substantial change to my face at first was the red mark over my lips. As one coworker gently put it, I had a “kind of Homer Simpson thing going on there.”I became slightly self-conscious about leaving the office, so I put some concealer over the red marks before heading home. It seemed to do the trick, or so I thought…About 40 minutes later, I opened the door and was greeted by my boyfriend shouting what every girl wants to hear: “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR FACE?!”
The marks I tried to conceal had turned purple while I rode the subway home. It looked like I had tried to wash off a mustache drawn on with a marker, which, to be fair, is just about the least strangest thing one encounters on a New York City subway.It wasn”t painful, but there was definitely an annoying tingling sensation in my top lip and the area above it, kind of like how your skin feels after you”ve just been waxed. Except that doesn”t (or shouldn”t, anyway) turn deep purple.I went to the CandyLipz site, where the first article on its blog was “How to Get Rid Of Cupping Marks (Bruises/Hickeys) in 24 Hours,” followed by a “scientific review” that basically argues it”s just “cupping marks” on my face, and that, by textbook definition, cannot be bruises because “the initial discoloration of bruising is often a reddish, bluish, and purplish mark that fades to brown, green and yellow on the skin as it heals and disappears.” Somewhere, a scientist is weeping.The company also says that massaging the area will help it fade faster. This technique seems to have worked wonders in the past 19 hours since trying CandyLipz.
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CandyLipz states the temporary bruising was “deemed safe” by a member (known as a “diplomat”) of the American Board of Dermatology (ABD). The company conducted an independent clinical trial with said board-certified dermatologist, though the ABD itself was quick to dismiss that as an endorsement.A spokesperson for the ABD told me the certifying board “does not ever give approval for ANY products.”A separate board-certified dermatologist claims the longterm risks outweigh temporary enhancement. “I would never do that to my lips. It’s a delicate area and there’s just too much of a risk of damage,” said Dr. Lauren Ploch, a board-certified member of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).Bruising and cupping are essentially the same thing, Dr. Ploch explained. Her biggest concern is “what happens when all of the bruising goes away.”Shit.Any inflammation to the skin results in damaged capillaries and skin cells, some of which create and store melanin, which is responsible for pigmentation. That damage can cause melanin to deposit in areas it doesn’t belong, making the skin look darker (known as “postinflammatory hyperpigmentation”).”When we damage the skin around the mouth there are a lot of delicate cells that we really don’t want to damage,” said Dr. Ploch. “Fibroblasts are the cells that produce collagen. There is potential damage to that area and that’s the last thing you want — it’s what gives your lips a natural plump in the first place.”For those like me who were crazy enough to try the trend, there”s still hope. Dr. Ploch recommends stepping away from the plumpers (already a given for me) and allowing your skin to breathe, using gentle products and avoiding massaging the area, which could cause further damage. The best medicine is time, but she says there are topical ointments and laser surgeries that can help the bruising fade faster.TL;DR: Make like Kylie and head to a professional if you wanted to alter your face.As for me, I”ll keep the science experiments off of my face from here on out.