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If you’re looking to achieve smooth, soft lips, know that lip balm alone won’t cut it. Adding in the extra step of using a lip scrub will make all the difference when it comes to healing and keeping lips free of dry, cracked skin. Just like the skin on our face and body, our lips need to be exfoliated to buff away dead skin cells and let the balm (or other hydrating lip product) penetrate into our lips. It may seem like an extra unnecessary step, but the results will end up speaking for themselves.
Thankfully, applying a lip scrub is super easy—just apply it in a circular motion onto your lips and rinse off (unless you use one that’s left on). Another great thing about lip scrubs? They’re often packed with a combination of hydrating and exfoliating ingredients, so they work double duty to keep your lips in tip-top shape. This comes in handy during the colder winter months but will also show results the rest of the year, too.
Ready to try one out for yourself? Ahead, the best lip scrubs to help achieve your most kissable lips yet.
Best Overall: KNC Supa Scrub
Can be used morning or night
Included scrubber can be hard to clean
Obviously, any lip scrub is going to exfoliate and hydrate, but if your lips need some extra TLC, reach for this formula. It contains sunflower oil and shea butter to add fabulous hydration, along with moringa oil that protects lips from further damage and acts as an antioxidant. Just one usage is all you need to see results, and it’ll only tack on an extra few minutes to your night or morning routine.
Key Ingredients: Sunflower oil, shea butter, and moringa oil | Benefits: Exfoliates, primes, and hydrates | Size: 0.50 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Drugstore: Burt's Bees Conditioning Lip Scrub
Uses honey crystals instead of sugar
Pairs well with lip balm
Dries quickly and must be removed immediately
Fragrance may not be for everyone
While you may already love Burt’s Bees' infamous lip balm, you’re missing out if you haven’t tried their scrub. The 100% natural formula relies on honey crystals to exfoliate, unlike other formulas that use sugar. This addition claims to make the formula more hydrating than others, which only sweetens the snag. Apply it before your lip balm and watch the two work together to help you achieve superior results.
Key Ingredients: Honey | Benefits: Nourishes and smoothes dry lips | Size: 0.25 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
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 Budget: Chapstick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub
Comes in various flavors
Formula may be a bit sticky
Large sugar grains
Chances are you’ve likely tried at least one product from Chapstick, but you’ve been missing out if you’ve never grabbed their lip scrub. Although known for their great and affordable lip balms, their lip scrub uses a sugar-based formula to effectively exfoliate and moisturize. It’s great to apply right before lipstick and comes in two flavors, peppermint, and plum.
Key Ingredients: Shea butter, coconut oil, marajaluca oil | Benefits: Exfoliates and moisturizes | Size: 0.27 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Pre-Lipstick: Beauty Bakerie Sugar Lip Scrub
Comes in various scents
Removing is a bit messy
Applying lipstick or gloss onto chapped, dry lips is quite the challenge. It gives off an unsmooth appearance, may irritate lips even further, and can cake or smudge easily. Thankfully, this Beauty Bakerie Lip Scrub is here to help you avoid that. Arriving in four sweet-smelling flavors, it’s ideal for application before you apply lipsticks, stains, and glosses. Apply it in a circular motion to buff away dead skin cells or leave it on overnight to wake up with soft, smooth lips.
Key Ingredients: Castor seed oil | Benefits: Exfoliating, hydrating, and moisturizing | Size: 0.18 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Flavor: Kaja Strawberry Rose Balmy Bento Lip Balm + Scrub
Includes a balm and scrub
This bento-box style rosé lip balm and strawberry lip scrub not only work incredibly well but also smell super delicious. Its combination of grapeseed oil, strawberry fruit extract, and vitamin E keeps your lips hydrated all day long, so reapplication is optional. Use the lip scrub to gently buff away dry flakes and follow it with the balm to add back much-needed hydration.
Key Ingredients: Strawberry fruit extract, vitamin E, grape seed oil | Benefits: Softens, moisturizes, hydrates, exfoliates | Size: 0.28 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Dry Lips: Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator
Container is only half full
Although you’ve probably heard of (and love) Fresh’s Sugar Lip Balms, their scrub variant is just as good—if not better. Since its formula contains a mixture of shea butter and jojoba butter, it’s great for adding moisture and nourishment to dry lips. Not to mention that its brown sugar crystal base gently exfoliates—without adding any extra irritation—and adds a delicious smelling flavor.
Key Ingredients: Brown sugar crystals, shea butter, and jojoba oil | Benefits: Nourishing, moisturizing, and exfoliating | Size: 10 grams | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No, contains BHT
Best Natural: Anne's Apothecary Hydrate8+ Lip Scrub
Deposits a subtle hint of color
May need to reapply to see results
Made with all-natural ingredients, you can rest assured knowing that you're slathering only good ingredients onto your lips. With each swipe, it’ll exfoliate away dry skin and leave a subtle hint of color and hydration in its place. Plus, its hero ingredient—Israelian jojoba wax—claims to penetrate deeply into your skin to leave it soft and supple.
Key Ingredients: Apricot kernel oil and jojoba seed oil | Benefits: Moisturizes and exfoliates | Size: 0.50 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Duo: Dr. PAWPAW Scrub & Nourish Duo Pot
Includes a balm and scrub
Keeps everything you need in one place
Fragrance may not be for everyone
Can be harsh for sensitive skin types
This stackable product ensures you keep your lip scrub and balm in one easy-to-access place. It’s ideal for throwing in your bag on the go or to keep handy in your nightstand when your lips need a little extra love. Plus, it’s a favorite of Dr. Geeta Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist. “The double-sided jar holds a nourishing and powerful scrub on one side and a rich balm on the other, giving you everything you need for a soft, plush pout. It's also quite affordable.”
Key Ingredients: Olive oil, aloe vera, and sugar | Benefits: Nourishing, moisturizing, and exfoliating | Size: 0.55 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for On The Go Application: Fenty Beauty Pro Kiss’r Lip-Loving Scrubstick
One major problem with lip scrubs is the way they’re packaged. Most require using your finger to scoop some out of the tube or need to be rubbed in circular motions. Thankfully, this one from Fenty Beauty (a.k.a Rhianna’s brand) arrives in a twist-up stick. It affords us an easy on-the-go application and leaves zero mess like other lip scrubs. Infused with apricot seed scrubbers, it claims to gently exfoliate and leave lips smooth, soft, and kissable.
Key Ingredients: Apricot seed scrubbers | Benefits: Exfoliates and nourishes | Size: 0.10 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Splurge: Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Magic Lip Scrub
Reduces the appearance of fine lines
This Charlotte Tilbury is a backstage secret for a reason: It leaves lips super smooth and free of dryness with just one use. Dr. Dendy, MD, FACMS, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic, highly recommends this lip scrub. “Made with natural sugar crystals, jojoba oil, shea butter, and vitamin E, Charlotte Tilbury’s exfoliates lips and keeps them hydrated and plump.” She further adds that it also contains squalene that not only adds hydration but also works to reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Key Ingredients: Natural sugar crystals, jojoba oil, shea butter, beeswax, cocoa seed butter, olive oil, squalene, and vitamin E | Benefits: Exfoliates, hydrates, plumps, and reduces fine lines | Size: Not available | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Exfoliation: Lanolips Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm
Fragrance may not be for everyone
Looking to exfoliate away stubborn dry skin? Use this lip scrub from LANO. “The Lemonaid Scrubba Balm is made with natural ingredients and is great for not only exfoliating lips but hydrating them, too,” explains Dendy. Some physical exfoliants can be too abrasive, but I love that this one from LANO is extremely gentle, she says. “Lemon oil and sugar crystals buff away dead skin, while lanolin balms leave lips silky smooth and hydrated.”
Key Ingredients: Lanolin, castor seed oil, orange peel powder | Benefits: Exfoliates and hydrates | Size: 0.116 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Leave-On: Dior Lip Sugar Scrub
Melts into a balm
Gorgeous glossy finish
Not meant to rigorously exfoliate
Yes, this lip scrub is pricey, but it’s truly worth every penny. While some other lip scrubs require rinsing, this Dior one is completely fine to leave on the entire day. Within its formulas are sugar granules to exfoliate, but unlike other formulas they melt away as you rub them in, leaving you with a luscious, creamy balm. And, it leaves a gorgeously glossy finish, so there’s no need to wipe or rinse it off. Regardless of whether you wear it out or as a leave-on treatment at night, you’ll end up with smooth, hydrated lips.
Key Ingredients: Not applicable | Benefits: Hydrates, smoothes, and lightly exfoliates | Size: 0.12 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Easy Application: Sara Happ Lemonade Lip Scrub
Formula may be a bit sticky
With a formula that claims to get rid of dry, flaky skin, it’s no wonder Sara Happ’s Lemonade Tube has a large following. With every use, you’ll be left with lips that are pillowy and smooth, courtesy of its hero ingredients, jojoba, and grapeseed oil. “The flavor and scent are so delicious and fresh,” explains Yadav. “The angled tip of the tube also makes it easy to apply, especially on the go.”
Key Ingredients: Jojoba and grapeseed oil| Benefits: Hydrates, exfoliates, and smoothes | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
At the top of our list of the best lip scrubs is KNC Supa Scrub (view at KNC). Its formula works to give lips a little extra TLC, thanks to sunflower oil, shea butter, and moringa oil, which claim to act as an antioxidant while adding some much-needed hydration. Another one of our favorites? Burt's Bees Conditioning Lip Scrub. While we’re already a fan of their infamous lip balm, the 100% natural formula in the scrub packs a punch to exfoliate and add hydration to dry, chapped lips. For a scrub that you can apply anytime or anywhere, opt for Fenty Beauty Pro Kiss’r Lip-Loving Scrubstick (see at Sephora). Its clever-twist up stick tube affords us the ability to easily apply on the go—without the fear of making a mess like other lip scrubs.
What to Look for in a Lip Scrub
Opt for Sugar or Natural Exfoliants
To achieve the best results, Dr. Dendy recommends picking a lip scrub that’s made with gentle ingredients. “You want to use lip scrubs that are made with ingredients like sugar, or natural exfoliates like citrus, which will be more gentle on the skin.”
Avoid Harsh Ingredients
Since we’re looking to buff away dead skin cells, it’s imperative to avoid harsh ingredients that can exacerbate chapped lips. “If your lip scrub is made with harsh ingredients or contains preservatives, it may irritate your lips or be overly abrasive and create small tears in the skin.”
What are the benefits of lip scrubs?
“A good quality lip scrub improves the overall texture and health of your lips by both exfoliating and hydrating,” explains Dendy. It works to add moisture while removing dead skin cells to stimulate cell turnover, improve texture, and help reveal soft skin.”If you’re going to apply lipstick, lip scrubs can also be a great first step to ensure that you’re working with a smooth canvas that won’t crease, crack, or flake off over time.”
How do you apply lip scrubs?
Yadav advises grabbing a pea-sized amount with clean fingers. “Massage it onto your lips with medium to firm pressure for up to a minute for a thorough exfoliation.” If you’re in a rush, you can also just rub your lips together, but doing it with your fingers will likely be more effective.
How often should you use a lip scrub?
Dendy recommends not using a lip scrub more than two times a week. “If you overuse a lip scrub, it may result in irritation and/or cracks on the lips.”
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Rachel Dube has written for some of the biggest magazines out there, diving into topics ranging from new, innovative treatments to the best drugstore buys. Every year during the colder winter months, she struggles with dry, chapped lips. Thankfully, through trial and error, she has finally discovered a few viable options to help keep her lips looking smooth and hydrated.