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If you’re constantly slathering on layer after layer of lip balm in an attempt to hydrate chapped lips, consider this: More often than not, a balm alone won’t cut it. Exfoliating your pucker with a dedicated lip scrub is an essential—though often overlooked—step when it comes to achieving that soft, smooth, pillowy pout we all want.
Just like with the skin on your face or body, you need to somehow get rid of built-up dead cells so that any type of moisturizing product (in this case lip balm) can actually penetrate and do its job. Sure, it may seem like an unnecessary added step and product in your routine, but trust us, it’s one that will pay off bigtime.
Score your most kissable lips ever with our picks of the best lip scrubs.
Best Overall: Sara Happ The Lip Scrub
This lip scrub with a cult-like following comes adorably wrapped in a little gift box, making it the perfect present for your lips. The gentle scrub gets rid of dry, flaky skin, leaving you with a pillowy pout that's hydrated, courtesy of hydrating grape seed oil and jojoba seed oil.
Simply massage the scrub onto your lips in a circular motion, then wipe it away with a tissue—it’s that easy. Choose from three delicious flavors: Red Velvet, Coconut, and Pink Grapefruit.
Best Budget: Chapstick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub
You knew that Chapstick made great (and affordable) lip balms, but did you know they also have a great (and affordable) scrub? The sugar-based formula is effective but moisturizing, and the perfect pre-step before lipstick. It comes in either a refreshing peppermint or fruity plum flavor, though at this price, go ahead and try both.
Best Drugstore: Burt's Bees Conditioning Lip Scrub
You likely already know and love this brand’s classic lip balm, but don’t sleep on their lip scrub. Rather than using sugar, like so many formulas do, the 100% natural formula relies on exfoliating honey crystals, which are even more hydrating. Use it before your beloved lip balm and prepare to be amazed by how well the two work in tandem.
What Our Testers Say
"Upon application, it feels similar to when you exfoliate your skin—but it’s gentler than a traditional exfoliant since lip skin is much thinner and more sensitive." — Leigh Weingus, Product Tester
Best Flavor: Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator
Jojoba oil is a natural oil produced from the seed of the Chinensis plant, a drought-resistant shrub native to southern Arizona, California, and Mexico. It mimics natural sebum and conditions and seals moisture in the skin without clogging pores or exacerbating acne.
Fresh Sugar lip balms get a ton of buzz, but the scrub variant is just as good, according to Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue. It uses, you guessed it, brown sugar crystals to exfoliate (and also give this its sweet flavor). They’re housed in a base of moisturizing shea butter and jojoba oil, which helps lips maintain moisture for up to six hours afterward, a welcome added benefit when you’re trying to combat a chapped pout.
Best Dual Exfoliant: Bite Beauty Agave+ Weekly Lip Scrub
Faith also likes this formula, which has the distinction of using both physical and chemical exfoliating ingredients. Fair trade, organic golden sugar scrubs off dead skin cells, while papaya enzymes break further help dissolve dry flakes. It’s a one-two exfoliating punch that makes this so effective, you only need to use it weekly (though use it more often if you want, by all means).
Best Multi-Tasking: L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Nourish & Soften Cocoa Scrub
Don’t want to buy a separate lip scrub? Byrdie Commerce Editorial Director Jessica Mahgerefteh suggests picking up this multi-tasker, which works equally well on both face and lips. Three different types of sugar, along with finely ground acai powder, do the sloughing duties while grapeseed and monoi oils moisturize. The result: More radiant skin and softer, smoother lips.
Best for Sensitive Lips: Lanolips Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm
Another solid scrub, this one earns our vote for those whose lips are super sensitive, or so dry and cracked they’re painful. Extra fine sugar crystals and crushed orange peel do the exfoliating but are so tiny that they won’t tear at fragile skin. Hydrating lanolin is combined with lots of other moisturizing ingredients to give lips the TLC they need. Plus, you don’t even need to wipe it off.
Best for Easy Application: Kopari Coconut Lip Scrubby
Volcanic ash is a combination of sulfur and bentonite clay. Its particles are tiny and highly porous, which means they're incredibly absorbent. This works very well for cleaning up liquids; in the beauty market, this means they're specifically great for clearing off oil and sebum, as well as pollution and impurities that sit on your face during the day,
Lip scrubs can be slightly messy by nature, particularly when they’re housed in a pot that requires pre-application scooping. That’s why we appreciate this pick, which comes in an easy-to-squeeze, easy-to-use tube that goes on as easily and mess-free as any balm. It’s a powerhouse exfoliant, too, combining volcanic ash and ground-up coconut shells along with sugar to make it extra scrubby.
Best Natural: Henné Organics Rose Diamonds Lip Exfoliator
Made with 96% organic ingredients, you can feel good about slathering this clean formula all over your pout. Exfoliating sugar and moisturizing coconut oil are the first two ingredients, the exact perfect pairing you want in a lip scrub. The gorgeous pink color and subtle rose scent (both of which are naturally-derived, of course) are just an added bonus.
Best Two-in-One: Dr. PAWPAW Scrub & Nourish Duo Pot
This smart, stackable product ensures you’ll never forget to use your lip scrub. The sugar-based slougher comes in the top pot; simply pop it off to reveal the creamy balm in the bottom pot. It’s the perfect addition to your nightstand, an easy, one-two process that will keep your lips ultra-soft and kissable.
Best for Dry Lips: Chaz Dean Bella Spirit Exfoliating Lip Scrub
Shea butter is a plant lipid that comes from African shea tree nuts and is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. It's used to help moisturize, nourish, and soothe the skin.
This formula swaps the usual sugar for rice granules, which are even finer and similarly gentler, a major win if you’re lips are in rough shape. They’re paired with a TON of hydrating ingredients—paraffin, shea butter, vitamin E, sodium hyaluronate, just to name a few. The final product is a scrub that’s truly the most hydrating one we’ve ever used, so much so that you don’t even need to use a balm after.
Best Splurge: Dior Lip Sugar Scrub
The price tag on this guy may be more in-line with what you’d want to spend on lipstick than a scrub, but it really is worth the money. It’s truly a scrub-meets-balm in one; while it does contain sugar granules to exfoliate, they gently melt away as your rub them in, transforming into a creamy balm that also imparts a gorgeously glossy finish. There’s also no need to wipe or rinse it off, so it’s easy to use anytime, anywhere.