Late last month, YouTube beauty vlogger Farah Dhukai posted a video of herself using wasabi—yes, you read that right—as a natural lip plumper. We're definitely used to dabbing the spicy green paste on our sashimi, but on our pouts? As a Kylie-esque kisser trick? Farah certainly had us all surprised.
“Pillow soft lips!” she wrote in the caption. “The plumpiness lasts a whole day for me...The wasabi does sting but it’s less than your traditional lip plumper and the effects last longer.” Taking a tiny dot of wasabi, Farah spreads it all over her lips, then wipes it off after one minute. Follow up with a balm, and voila: you've got an instantly fuller pucker.
The Instagram clip may have racked up a whopping 11.4 million (and counting) views, but reactions haven't been free of doubters—exactly how safe is this neat little hack?
Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy, dermatologist and founder of Miami Skin Institute, warns the curious to proceed with caution. “The horseradish element can be extremely irritating, especially when applied to the lips for any period of time,” she explains. “While this irritation is what causes temporary lip swelling, this can go on to cause profound swelling, and more dangerously, anaphylaxis, an acute allergic reaction. Lips do not have as much protective barrier compared to other skin, making this area more susceptible to allergies and irritations.”
Cosmetic chemist Ginger King tells Allure, "Wasabi doesn't work the same way as the regular spicy foods we're used to...The spice in wasabi comes from thioglycosides, which react with the enzyme myrosinase when the cell walls of the plant are ruptured—that's why the root needs to be grated, and isn't served sliced or diced. Once that reaction happens, a volatile chemical compound called allyl isothiocyanate forms."
The experts have weighed in, Preview girls, so it may be better to stick to your usual lip contouring tricks. We'll save the wasabi for our sushi!