A make-up artist turned entrepreneur has launched a lip plumping product from her living room that she claims offers the same results as expensive surgical fillers.
Joy Howieson, 27, from Manchester, spent three years developing her matte unisex lip plumper after a life-altering spell in hospital following a pulmonary embolism.
Joy recovered after collapsing on her return from a trip to Australia and being rushed to hospital, but the terrifying brush with death saw her resolve to finally create the product she’d dreamed up while manning the MAC beauty counter in Selfridges.
Less than four years later Joy’s Project Lip – a £12.95 product that can be worn underneath lipstick and reapplied on top as needed – is now stocked by online retail giant Pretty Little Thing, as well as the fledgling beauty entrepreneur’s own website.
The lip plumper is applied on the lips (top before) and after a minute the tingling begins, then the plump pout happens (bottom after). Lipstick can also be applied over the top
Joy Howieson, 27, has a passion for make-up and wanted to create a product that would appeal to both genders
‘Three and a half years ago I felt really ill. It was one of those life-changing moments,’ Joy told FEMAIL of the experience that set her on the path to entrepreneurial success.
‘It was pretty traumatic,’ she said of the pulmonary embolism. But far from plunging her into self-pity, surviving the ordeal made Joy more determined than ever to follow her dreams.
‘I’m such a positive person, I thought that was it – this is what I want to do,’ she said.
‘I just Googled a cosmetic scientist and drove down to London, that was back in February 2014. I told them what I wanted to do and asked if they could help me make the product,’ she explained.
HOW DOES PROJECT LIP WORK?
Project Lip is a matte lip plumping primer that has a unique tingle
Project Lip’s matte plumping primer contains a special ingredient.
When applied and lips are pressed together they begin to tingle as it naturally increases the fullness of the lips.
Natural components prime and re-hydrate the lips whilst the active ingredients work with the lips own collagen to enhance and give a plumper more defined shape.
A gap in the market
After identifying a gap in the market for a matte lip plumper that could be worn underneath lipstick, Joy ploughed all her savings and her wages from teaching and freelance make-up jobs into the project.
In turn her front room and kitchen became her office, and Joy recently decided to give up both her part-time job teaching make-up studies at Bury College and her beloved MAC counter role, to concentrate on her burgeoning Haych Cosmetics empire.
After three years developing and testing Project Lip in a Burnley factory, the result was a product with a lip balm-like consistency, applied and activated by pressing the lips together.
A unique tingle occurs after around a minute, and the product, which retails at £12.95, had quite a lot of reaction from beauty fans, Joy recalls.
‘My and my friends got a group of our male friends to try it out, and after about a minute it began to heat up – we were just sat there laughing at them.’
Joy said she had always wanted to launch her own business, and her own signature look of a bold red lip helped inspire her along with the emerging trend for lip kits.
The make-up artist from Manchester fell suddenly ill at 23, and after a close brush with death realised that she wanted to pursue her dream of owning her own business
Joy (pictured above behind the scenes on a photo shoot) has already achieved success with the product, securing a deal with online retailer Pretty Little Thing
But she realised that many lip plumping products already on the market had a glossy effect that meant they could only be worn alone – with Project Lip, its matte formula allows any lipstick to be applied on top, and if a top-up is needed the plumper can be reapplied over lip colour also.
Joy has already achieved success with the product, securing a deal with online retailer Pretty Little Thing which now stocks Project Lip, as well as selling it on her own Haych Cosmetics site.
Importance of unisex branding
The entrepreneur says the unisex design and branding for Project Lip played an extremely important part in the endeavor, which she wants to be inclusive for all customers.
‘When I used to work on the MAC counter, guys used to come in to buy the make-up but they felt really embarrassed,’ she said.
Pretty Little Thing face and make up mogul Kylie Jenner is well known for her own plump pout, which she launched her lip kits on the back of her looks
‘I wanted this to be more accessible so anyone can get it and not have to feel self-conscious about picking it up.’
Project Lip contains a special ingredient that tingles as it naturally increases the fullness of the lips, Joy says.
Its 100 per cent natural components promise to prime and re-hydrate the lips, while the active ingredients work with the lip’s own collagen to enhance and give a plumper, more defined shape.
Inspired by Kylie Jenner
Joy said she has been inspired by Kylie Jenner, and revealed it would be a dream if the lip kit mogul tried her own product.
‘For me she is such an inspiration to people,’ said Joy.
‘She is out there living her dreams, she’s someone who I can look up to. Everything she has done is amazing.’