Proper lip care is one of the easiest components of a beauty routine, but perhaps the most often overlooked. Far too often I see people with dry lips and not a single balm to their name, or liquid lipstick clinging to dry skin. Although properly caring for your lips is important for your overall skin health, not everyone knows the necessary tools or steps.
Throughout my childhood and early teenage years, my lips were constantly cracked and peeling. Not only was this annoying, but it was also incredibly painful—causing frequent tears in my skin and even bleeding. Over the years, my naturally large lips have all led me down the path to seek out the perfect lip care routine.
On my journey of discovery towards ultimate lip-enlightenment, I found that when combatting dry lips, moisture is the name of the game. Hydration within your body, external moisture in the air, and the products you use will all contribute to your moisture levels, which help with a graceful cell turnover that doesn’t include flakes or chapped lips. Caring for your lips doesn’t need to take all of your time, and with a bit of effort, you can kiss dry lips good-bye.
Before hydrating your lips, it’s important to first remove dry, dead skin. While exfoliating your lips may seem like an unnecessary step, it’s actually the most important. This process removes the top layer of dead skin cells, allowing applied moisture to properly absorb into your lips later on. So, make sure to prep your lips to get the most out of your products.
There are many different ways to exfoliate the delicate skin on your lips, but my personal favorite requires zero products and very little time, perfect for anyone with a low maintenance beauty routine. I’ve found it’s best to exfoliate in the shower after you’re finished washing up and right before exiting. By this time you’ll have been in the shower for at least 10 minutes and your lips are soft from the running water and steam. This is the perfect time to take a wet washcloth and gently rub your lips until the dead skin begins to loosen. Because the water has already softened your lips for an extended period of time, this process should be quick and easy. Just be careful not to rub too hard, as you don’t want to cause any tears in the skin. Simply apply light pressure when massaging your lips with the washcloth, and wipe away the excess dead skin when you’re done.
There are also plenty of fun DIY lip exfoliating recipes, like combining honey with brown sugar in a small jar and massaging the mixture into your lips. The grainy texture of the sugar acts as a natural exfoliant, while the honey is great for moisturizing. This concoction also tastes great and is easy to make if you have extra time on your hands. Regardless of the method you choose, just know that this lip prep step is well worth the effort.
Now that your lips are smooth, it’s time to hydrate. The best way to do this is with an overnight lip treatment that works while you sleep. Similar to face, feet, and even butt masks, an overnight lip mask will give you the boost of hydration needed to last through the day.
Leaving your mask on overnight is also ideal because that’s when your body repairs itself. Cell turnover and healing throughout your body is at its peak during this time, so a treatment only enhances this natural process. Feel free to mask at any time of day, just be aware that you may not see the same results because your body is not in that same restorative mode.
Again, there are so many options when looking for the right mask. But my holy grail of moisturizing lip treatments is Aquaphor. Although this household staple is gentle enough to use on babies, it’s also great for adults who suffer from dry skin. Not to mention, this fragrance-free, paraben-free product is only a few dollars, and the jar will last you at least a year. It really doesn’t get any better than that. Just apply a thick layer to your lips, preferably immediately after exfoliating, and leave the ointment on overnight.
Now that you’ve ditched the dead skin and woken up with luscious lips, you can simply wipe away the remaining mask in the morning and choose your next steps. If you are a low maintenance, no-fuss type of person, then you’re all set. But if you’re like me, then you’ll want a few lip products to take your makeup to the next level.
Choose your lipsticks and glosses with care—ensuring moisturizing ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil are near the top of the ingredients list. And, of course, avoid drying products that make your lips feel dehydrated after they are removed. Even if you find a lip product with a beautiful color, it’s not worth it to undo all of your hard work. If your goal is to always avoid dry lips, take the extra time to read the ingredient list and choose the product that’s right for you.
It’s also important to adjust your lip care as needed. While this routine may be more than enough during the summer, you may want to incorporate heavier balm in the winter months when the air is more drying. Or, if you haven’t been reaching your daily water intake goals, you could find your lips, and the rest of your skin, more dry than usual. In short, listen to what your body is telling you and this routine will be fool-proof.