The creator behind 'Project Lip' says her first beauty product contains extracts from one of the world's hottest chillis

“Just so you know, it does tingle. You’ll really feel it as it has a bit of kick,” giggles Joy Howieson, a 27-year-old Manchester makeup artist and beauty entrepreneur. She’s just launched Project Lip, a lip primer designed to plump up your lips upon application. The fiery tingling sensations mean it’s working, though I feel as if I’ve French kissed a Scotch Bonnet. Someone please pass me a cup of lassi...

It came as little surprise that Project Lip’s secret main ingredient is the extract from one of the world’s hottest chilli peppers (the tingles are growing as I type). Perhaps beauty isn’t just pain, it's also really bloody spicy.

'Feel the tingle, handle the heat, enjoy the plump,' say Project Lip. In other words, suck it up if you want fuller lips without fillers. 

“The ingredients activate when you press your lips together and works with the collagen in your skin to plump your lips. It’s a really unique formulation and all ingredients are cruelty free and natural,” explains Joy.

“The patented formula’s been through rigorous testing and it was interesting to see the different results on different people. It really worked on older women with fine lines and helped smooth indents around the top lip.”

Project Lip By Haych Cosmetics Www Haychcosmetics Com Lips
"You could become addicted to the tingles..." Haych cosmetics

After a generous application, it takes about one minute for the chilli to activate. Costing £12.95, you can wear the plumping primer on its own, under lipstick or with a gloss on top, and it has a moisturising yet matte finish. The idea is that it should improve both the look of your lips and your lippy.

“Think about the nineties, when women would line their lips with brown liner and apply a lighter shade in the middle to make their lips fuller. The trend for full lips has come right back around,” says Joy.

She came up with the idea for a matte lip plumper while working at MAC cosmetics, after witnessing a growing trend for matte lipsticks and lip fillers.

The trend for full lips has come right back around

“Of course, Kylie Jenner is responsible for today’s fuller lip trend and the rise in matte liquid lipsticks. She once tweeted that she was using MAC’s ‘velvet teddy’ shade and it immediately sold out,” she laughs.

Like many beauty trends, a Kardashian is usually found at the source of the hysteria. In the past few years full lips have become synonymous with reality TV star Kylie Jenner who received lip fillers as a teen. Her widely mimicked makeup look - poreless skin, HD brows, moody face and big pouty matte lips - became an Instagram sensation that has earnt her a multi-million empire with Kylie Cosmetics. The pursuit for big lips – whether surgically-enhanced or not – is something people are no longer shy to talk about. 

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with lip fillers – but I wanted to create something for those who wouldn’t want to go down the route of injections,” says Joy. 

Project Lip Matte Lip Plumper By Haych Cosmetics Available At Www Haychcosmetics Com Row Of 3
Project Lip Matte Lip Plumper - £12.95 Haych Cosmetics

It’s taken three long years for Joy to create and launch her first beauty brand, which started with a random Google search. “I found a cosmetic scientist in London, hopped in the car and drove to meet him. We had a meeting and that was that,” says Joy.

Operating out of her Northern Quarter flat, she then launched Project Lip under her own brand, Haych Cosmetics. The company has no investors and was funded entirely by her pay check as a beauty teacher at various Manchester colleges. What’s more, Project Lip is entirely manufactured in Manchester and the UK.

“It’s been my dream to run my own company. It’s hard. People think I’m crazy but it’s a risk I have to take and it’s been three years in the making. I’m really happy and proud to be launching it here in Manchester.”

In a city with an unwavering love for bees, a Manchester-made company specialising in bee-stung lips seems appropriate (that was a reach, I know). While Manchester is known for its lucrative online fashion businesses, home-grown cosmetic lines are few and far between. Joy could be on to something, the social media glitterati have certainly been showing off their pink pouts on Instagram.

Admittedly, my own lips are already very big, so whether they’re bigger due to Project Lip is difficult to tell (I had feared a Leslie Ash lip crisis). They do feel gigantic, perhaps even swollen. I want to hose down my face. Will my lips ever stop tingling?

“A lot of people really enjoy the tingling feeling,” laughs Joy, “even if your lips don’t need plumping you may just become addicted to the tingles.”

Purchase 'Project Lip' matte lip plumper at

Project Lip By Haych Cosmetics Www Haychcosmetics Com Model
Project Lip by Haych Cosmetics