Whenever a change of seasons rolls around, it seems like my lips take a major beating. Do you feel the same way?
One of my BFFs, Liz, texted me the other day and said, “HAALLPP what do I do to fix dry lips?! I’ve tried every lip balm out there and nothing has helped!”
(So, thanks for the great blog post idea, Liz!)
Dry and chapped lips are no joke. Sometimes in the winter I find myself avoiding lipstick (or going in public?) all together because it gets so bad. (And you guys KNOW how much I love my lipstick, right?)
So–back to the original question. How do you combat dry lips? Here are some tips that have really helped me avoid chapping and dryness over the years!
How to keep lips healthy and fix dry, chapped lips for good:
Stop using lip balm!
Yes, I am aware of how ridiculously counterintuitive this sounds. BUT. Stick with me for a second.
Many mainstream lip balms contain ingredients that actually can make your lips more chapped.
For example–think back to the last time your lips were super dry and chapped to the point where it was just painful. Did you find yourself continuously applying, then re-applying chapstick or lip balm what seemed like every five minutes?
It’s a vicious cycle! At first, many lip balms provide a misleading moisturizing and healing feeling, but after a few minutes, your lips actually feel drier, so you have to put on more–right?
That’s because there are actually a lot of hidden drying ingredients in many lip balms.
Which brings me to my next point…
Avoid drying ingredients:
Well, duh. Right? Sounds simple, but, it’s actually like…kind of difficult? How are you supposed to memorize everything that might dry your lips out? It’s a long and lengthy list, and the truth is, everyone reacts differently to different products. What works for you might not work well for the next person, so keep testing out different variations until you find something that leaves your lips feeling smooth and moisturizing.
Overall though, it’s helpful to avoid lip balms that contain the following, as they can be the most common offenders of irritation:
Ingredients in lip balm that dry out lips:
Mineral Oil and Paraffin
These ingredients coat your lips and skin and suffocate them, not allowing it to breathe. There is also a lot of discussion on their varying levels of toxicity, so it’s it’s best to avoid them altogether when possible.
This is what causes that cooling sensation upon contact) but it’s also a common allergen and can lead to dryness.
This is another ingredient that is made from isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and myristic acid, and has very drying effects. Bleh!
Petroleum Jelly or Petrolatum
Petrolatum is pretty controversial ingredient, some swear by it, others say it causes dryness and could potentially be toxic. Personally, I feel like a petroleum jelly based formula is fine for everyday, but when my lips are really dry and chapped, I prefer to stay away from it as I feel like it doesn’t do a good job of moisturizing–but what it DOES do a good job of is keeping air out–so if you do feel strongly about using this, I would put on something moisturizing first and then follow with this–because it’s essentially locking the moisture in. But if you put it on dry lips–it’s just locking dryness in. Make sense?
So–what’s a girl to do instead?
Look for a formula that is infused with natural oils
A formula that is comprised of natural oils ensures that it won’t strip your lips like chapstick and regular lip balm does!
So, let’s jump into oils for a bit, shall we?
Best oil for chapped lips:
Formulas with avocado oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil are all a good bet! There are many brands that have come out with “lip oils” specifically for this purpose–they’re far more moisturizing than traditional lip balm!
My favorite I’ve been using lately is Beautycounter’s Lip Conditioner. It comes in two variations–Peppermint and Calendula. I apply it every morning and night before bed and it makes my lips super soft. (I don’t have to keep reaching for it during the day either like most lip balms!)
You could also try slathering straight up coconut or Jojoba oil on your lips, which has worked great for me in the past! Also–a bit random, but have you tried Egyptian Magic Cream? It’s also oil based (and totally natural!) and has about 1000 uses, but one of my favorite ways to use it is as a lip moisturizer!
Exfoliate chapped lips regularly:
Along with using a more natural oil-based formula, it’s important to exfoliate dry chapped lips regularly to prevent them from flaking. (Gross.)
I always thought I was achieving this with just a wash-cloth, but I was wrong!
When I started using MAC’s lip scrub it helped tremendously! (Although I know MAC isn’t a safe beauty brand, I’ve been using their products for years. If anyone has a favorite safe lip scrub alternative, let me know!) GlamGlow is a better-for-you beauty brand and their lip scrub has rave reviews as well! Honestly, you only apply it for a minute or so and scrub around, so I’m not too terribly concerned about the toxicity of my lip scrub! I’ve found it really goes a long way to moisturize and heal your lips.
Use a lip primer to prevent drying:
I’ve found that in the winter especially, a lip primer is an absolute must for preventing lips from over-drying. This is especially common if you prefer matte lipsticks as opposed to more moisturizing formulas. I’ve been using MAC’s “Prep & Prime” lip primer for years, and not only does it moisturize and prevent lipstick flaking, but it also helps to avoid bleeding of your lipstick and makes it last longer, too! (Again, if anyone has any natural versions that work just as well, I’d love to hear about them!)
Something else to keep in mind, if your lips are really prone to dryness, consider switching your lipstick to a more moisturizing version. I love my matte lipstick, but sometimes, it’s just not in the cards for me, because not only does it dry out your lips more, but it really emphasizes any imperfections in your lips. Instead, look for a more moisturizing formula. I love Beautycounter’s “lip sheers” lipsticks and have both Coral and Scarlet shades. They’re so pretty and are one of the only lipsticks I’ve used that actually keep your lips from drying out.
Apply before the gym:
I’ve found that my lips tend to dry out most whenever I’m more prone to breathing through my mouth–the most common instances being during workouts. Makes sense, right? When you’re exhaling often through your mouth, it dries your lips out much more quickly than when you’re breathing through your nose! You compensate for this by licking your lips, which actually makes it worse. Again, back to that vicious cycle thing, you know? Pre-workout, slather on any of the above favorites and you’ll go a long way in preventing dry and chapped lips!