Lips are, universally, one of our sexiest features. Rising to each occasion, you can sport a soft pout for Sunday brunch or prepare for a wild night with a bold, fiery shade that evokes our quintessential feminine flare and screams ***flawless. They kiss, they pose for that prototypical Instapic with our plump #ducklips, and they can melt the heart of any onlooker with a simple ominous smile. Lips are power.
With great girl power, comes great responsibility. Our lips endure substantial wear and tear, whether it be from our typical indecisiveness—and by indecisiveness I mean aggressively rubbing off four shades of lipstick before heading out the door with the perfect hue (guilty)—or damage from external factors (talking to you, UV rays).
Days of damaged lips, be gone! It’s time to pucker up, ladies. Check out our favorite products and tips for healthy lips.
Over time, your lips accumulate an army of dead skin cells which cause nasty flakes and irritation. A quick fix for an instantly smoother pout is to exfoliate. Our lips only have 3-5 cellular layers (compared to 16 on the rest of your face) so they dry out quickly. Exfoliating sheds the unwanted buildup while simultaneously stimulating collagen, slowing down the aging of your lips.
For an at-home treatment for soft and supple lips, try mixing sugar with olive oil and rubbing on the mixture in circular motions. You can also try using a dry toothbrush to shed the dead skin, but be careful not to overdo it unless you like to bleed.
To soothe and exfoliate lips that are already chapped, choose a balm that includes an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) to improve the overall feel of your skin. AHA also has anti-aging benefits. Multi-tasking at its finest.
Your lips are like a sponge and crave moisture. While lip balms are a quick fix for dry lips, be sure to drink enough water throughout the day (as if you didn’t already have a reason!) to keep lips plump and moist. When you’re dehydrated, lips are the first part of your face to dry out since the surrounding skin in is so thin.
Avoid any lip balms with phenol. Phenol breaks down the skin and creates a nasty cycle of flakiness and irritation. Look for natural wax balms instead. I’m personally obsessed with ILIA tinted lip conditioners which contain organic ingredients to both soothe and condition our gals. And the shades are to die for.
Sad news for those of us who still like to spice up our lives: Spicy and acidic foods are terrible for your lips. What else is bad for them? Licking and smacking. Enzymes in your saliva that are used to break down food are too harsh on your lips and end up breaking down its protective barrier. Be sure to consistently reapply lip products throughout the day to ward off unwanted smack attacks.
Part of the oily skin club? Your lips might be drying out from your face wash if benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid is listed in the ingredients. Be sure to use a lip balm immediately after washing your face to replenish lost moisture.
Even if you remembered to slather up before hitting the pool, I’m willing to bet you forgot to add some of that protection to your lips. Ever burn them before? The pain is real.
Blistered and darkened lips may be due to an excess of melanin as a result of unprotected sun exposure. Actinic cheilitis (the scientific name for those perpetual rough and red lips) can be an early stage of skin cancer and should be treated by a dermatologist if symptoms last longer than a couple of weeks.
UV rays also damage your skin’s keratin-producing cells and are responsible for protecting and preserving your outer layer of skin as well as the new cells developing underneath. They’re kind of a big deal. Be sure to slather on some SPF 15 or higher on those babies to protect up against 93 percent of UVB rays.
Shiseido lip treatment
COOLA Suncare sun care
Fresh black lipstick
Lipsticks: love them or hate them, they’re still an obsession. Matte shades might be popular right now, but they’re actually sucking all the moisture out of your lips. Unfortunately, dry lips have a harder time holding onto color, rendering your product useless. Try rotating a creamier lipstick (or gloss) with a matte shade to prevent dryness.
If your lips are already chapped, coat them with a balm prior to applying lipstick.
Remember: just as dark nail polish can stain your nails over time, dark lipsticks can cause a lasting unwanted pigmentation. Thankfully with spring weather now in tow, pastels are in full swing.
When removing lip products at the end of the day (because you take off ALL your makeup before bed, right?), use coconut or almond oil to break through the grime and simultaneously condition.
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