6 Easy Ways Makeup Pros Treat Dry, Chapped Lips
As we put away our heavy sweaters in favor of our spring dresses, rompers and jumpsuits, we also say goodbye to many of our annoying cold-weather beauty woes (see ya, hair static!). But one that lingers way longer than we’d like is dry, chapped lips. So with spring fast approaching, we knew we had to uncover a few simple solutions beyond homemade lip scrubs that would cure our cracked pout quickly. To help, we asked some top beauty influencers to share the no-hassle, busy-girl ways they cure dry lips. Read on for the easiest, pro-approved (and tested!) treatments + remedies guaranteed to soften and smooth your pucker, just in time for picnic weather. Operation: Save Our Lips starts now!
Sara Happ, lip guru and founder of The Lip Scrub ($24) — which she created in her kitchen “out of necessity” 10 years ago — says the first step to curing chapped lips is to remove stubborn, dead skin. “Whether your lips are flaky or not, they need exfoliation so that baby-smooth skin can come to the surface,” she explains. You can purchase a pre-made scrub (like Happ’s), or make your own like celebrity esthetician and skincare maven Kate Somerville does. Somerville’s two-ingredient lip scrub is easy to make and works wonders for a dry pout. “The at-home cocktail I like using is raw sugar and a little olive oil or coconut oil,” she explains. “You can also use salt, but I prefer the sweet taste of sugar. The fine granules… remove dead skin from the surface of the lips, and the oils give lips hydration.”
Former Shahs of Sunset star and Ghalichi Glam founder Lilly Ghalichi agrees that sugar is a miracle worker for sloughing off dead skin. “When my lips are very chapped, I put sugar on my lips and rub back and forth with wet fingers, gently exfoliating all the dead skin off,” she explains. “After all the dead skin is gone, I rinse off the remaining sugar, dry my lips and use a makeup wipe to wipe off any residue. After, my lips are soft, smooth and super sweet! They also have a beautiful, natural rose color to them from the scrubbing.” Ghalichi adds that this is a great “busy girl” way to exfoliate while traveling, because almost every restaurant or hotel has little packets of sugar available. “Grab a few for your purse so you’ll always be ready if chapped lips occur!”
As a professional makeup artist, Riku Campo has to deal with chapped lips on his celebrity clients on the daily, so it’s no surprise that he has a simple trick up his sleeve guaranteed to soften lips. “First, run a small towel under warm to hot water (make sure it’s not scalding hot — you don’t want to burn your lips!), and wring out the excess water,” the star beauty expert says. “Then, gently press the towel onto your lips, and keep it on until the towel cools. Repeat this three times to soften the skin on your lips. Trust me: This always works.”
Once your lips are pre-softened, take them one step further with a DIY remedy that Terese Linke, the global education and spa training director for Amala Beauty, swears by. “To rehydrate and smooth your pout, simply slice a cucumber and hold the slice on your lips for 10 to 15 minutes.” After you’ve softened and smoothed, be sure to follow up with a soothing lip balm — like the Amala Beauty Soothing Lip Salve ($18) — and apply it two to three times a day. “Lip balms not only moisturize, but they also protect your lips against the elements,” she explains. “Apply in the morning and again just before bedtime. You may need to reapply after eating and before going out into windy spring conditions.”
Don’t just choose any lip product and expect it to cure your cracked lips. According to celebrity dermatologist and Skin Rules author Dr. Debra Jaliman, it takes a little research to find the best balm. “When purchasing lip products, I always read the label and recommend my patients do as well,” she says. “Look for ingredients like wheat germ oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, shea butter and sunflower oil — as these really moisturize the lips,” she suggests. “The ingredients camphor, phenol and menthol should be avoided, as they just dry out the lips. And steer clear of products with beeswax, because it just sits on the surface of the lip and doesn’t penetrate it.” One of Jaliman’s go-to lip balms is Eco Lips Bee Free Lip Balm ($3), which contains a ton of natural moisturizers like cocoa seed butter, lemon peel oil and vitamin E.
If your lips are in really bad shape and nothing else is working, not all hope is lost. Jaliman says you can always use an over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone ointment to restore moisture and decrease lip inflammation. Just be sure to use it sparingly (think: extreme situations).
Your nighttime beauty routine may be one of the culprits behind your cracked lips, since the majority of toothpastes, mouthwashes, cleansers and teeth-whitening devices can all disrupt the pH balance in your mouth and strip the lips of their natural oil, leading to irritation and chapping. Applying a lip oil before cleansing your face or brushing your teeth will help keep the lips moist by repelling the drying effects of these products.
Annie Lawless, founder of lifestyle blog BLAWNDE and co-founder of Suja Juice, takes her nighttime lip regimen seriously. She keeps her pout kissably smooth by using a nourishing lip treatment every night before bed. “A lot of balms and stick products are extremely heavy and waxy, which makes them difficult for your lips to absorb,” she exclaims. “I often find that these treatments just sit on top of my lips and never fully sink in to stop the dryness. My favorite product to use is Skinfix Lip Repair Balm ($5), because it’s 40 percent coconut oil and contains the perfect blend of natural ingredients. It quickly hydrates my lips and takes away any flakiness or cracking. The texture stays on more easily than oil alone, which can slide around and be messy, and the formula is lightweight and wearable.”
If you’re battling a chapped pout, it might be time to rethink your lipstick routine. “Repeated applications of matte and traditional long-wear lipsticks can be very drying to the lips,” says celebrity makeup artist Suzy Gerstein. “The same ingredients that help them last through eating, drinking and marathon makeout sessions are also what leads to flaky, dehydrated lips when used regularly. That doesn’t mean you have to stick to glosses or that you can’t wear more pigmented products — but it’s important that you pick the right products. When shopping for a long-wear lipstick, look for nourishing ingredients on the label, like vitamin E and castor oil.” Gerstein recommends trying one of her favorites, the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($26). “I love it because it is super rich in pigment but also infused with vitamin E and emollients for a creamy texture. It sets the gold standard for long-wearing lipsticks.” If your lips still feel dry while wearing a moisturizing lipstick, add a dab of balm over the top. Gerstein is obsessed with R.L. Linden & Co. La Balmba Rosa ($22), because it hydrates without being heavy or disrupting the rich, velvety texture that makes long-wear products so alluring.
Living in upstate New York, Jana Blankenship, owner and founder of the natural beauty line Captain Blankenship, knows that dry, cracked lips are an annual reality. Throughout the years, she’s found that hydration plays a huge part in keeping her lips flake-free, because if the body isn’t hydrated, the skin won’t be either. “I often get dehydration headaches, which is my sure sign that I am not drinking enough liquids,” shares Blankenship. The natural beauty pro keeps her body, lips and skin replenished by drinking tons of water — including electrolyte-rich coconut water — before bed, first thing in the morning and regularly throughout the day.
Drinking the recommended eight glasses of H2O a day and limiting caffeine intake are two of the best natural ways to cure chapped lips. If you’re not a fan of water, infuse it with fruit (like strawberries, cucumbers or blueberries) to liven up the taste. This Uncommon Goods Flavor Infuser Water Bottle ($15) is one of our favorites, and it’s perfect for on-the-go sipping.
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