Wintery conditions and hydrated, soft lips just don’t go hand in hand. That is a fact. The layers of skin that make up the lips are much thinner than on the face and don’t contain the oil and sweat glands that help defend the rest of our body against harsh elements. No wonder it feels like a never-ending battle trying to keep lips supple and smooth the second the temperature and humidity level drops below “perfect.”
In our own quest to conquer dry, cracked lips this season, we tested a whole slew of products on the market and narrowed it down to the ten essentials. So read on, pucker up, and get ready to kiss wintery lips goodbye.
Find out how to get the softest, most kissable lips yet with these essential products.
Exfoliate. Gently exfoliate lips on the regular to remove dead skin and instantly reveal a softer, smoother pout. Sugar is commonly used as a natural and effective exfoliant in lip scrubs and many also contain conditioners such as jojoba oil or shea butter that helps soothe the skin. We love that this one comes in a portable, no-mess tube that makes it easy to apply anywhere. (e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator, $3, eyeslipsface.com)
Load up on essential oils. Botanical oils have long been used to help heal extremely dry skin --plus they absorb easily and leave lips looking and feeling soft and supple, never greasy. (Rodin Olio Lusso Lip Balm, $30, barneys.com)
Opt for a highly pigmented balm instead of lipstick. Although much progress has been made in lipstick technology, many can still be drying, especially in harsh winter conditions. Instead, reach for a balm-first formulation that's packed with pigment for an all-in-one solution. (Clinique Chubby Stick Intense, $16, sephora.com)
Treat with a long lasting skin protectant. Slather on a rich, petrolatum-based treatment at night and wake up to softer, more hydrated lips. The jelly coats the skin and physically prevents moisture from evaporating -- essential for protecting against drying, artificial heat. (Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, $19.50, macys.com)
Boost Collagen. This essential protein helps to keep lips firm, supple, and moisturized. Look for treatments that help boost natural collagen production to increase fullness, elasticity and help cells retain more water. (Tata Harper Be Adored Lip Treatment, $28, bergdorfgoodman.com)
Avoid unnecessary ingredients. Many common lip balm ingredients such as fragrances, phenol, salicylic acid, and menthol can actually be drying to lips over time. Opt for natural emollients and check product ingredient lists to make sure they're absent of harsh additives that essentially make the balm counterproductive. (Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm, $6.99, ulta.com)
Don't forget the SPF. Odds are, you're probably not applying your facial SPF lotion over your lips, but this sensitive area is just as prone to sun damage, which can cause dryness and peeling (and much worse). Apply a broad spectrum UVA/UVB protectant before you go out to keep lips youthful and radiant. (Shiseido Sun Protection Lip Treatment SPF 36, $21, nordstrom.com)
Condition throughout the day. Avoid licking, picking, or otherwise fussing with chapped and dry lips. Instead, reach for your favorite lip conditioner often and apply at the first sign of irritation. This one contains moisturizing fatty acids, natural emollients, SPF protection, vitamins, and anti-oxidants while the build-able color makes it appropriate to wear from morning till evening. (Fresh Sugar Petal Lip Treatment SPF 15, $22.50, sephora.com)
Try a high quality, natural remedy. Your kitchen pantry already houses a slew of at-home products that effectively treat severely chapped lips, ranging from honey to cooking oil. However, we recommend a high grade, unprocessed, cold first pressed oil that's been packaged for cosmetic use, so you won't get weird looks for displaying it on your office desk. (VMV Hypoallergenic Know-It-Oil, $26, dermstore.com)
Invest in a humidifier. The number one cause of chapped lips is dry air -- and during winter, both cold weather outdoors and artificial heat indoors are guaranteed to deplete skin of much needed moisture. Address the problem at the root by investing in a humidifier to help alleviate dehydration. (Middle Colors humidifier, $119, gizmine.com)