As every meme on the planet has been telling us, brace yourselves–winter is coming. How do I know? Not by the dropping temperatures. Not by the change from air conditioning to heat in the dorms. No, I know because my lips have become dry. Very, very dry. My lips were in fact so dry, that they hurt. So I did what any beauty guru would do. I pulled out every beauty trick I knew in order to get my lips back to being soft and supple.
First, I used a lip scrub. In order to get rid of dry, cracked lips, the first step is always to scrub away the dead skin on the lips so that the fresh skin is ready to be treated. For many people, this alone will get rid of dry lips. For lip scrubs I like to use this Fresh Cosmetics lip scrub ($22), or my homemade lip scrub made by mixing lemon, sugar and honey. I also have heard that Lush makes great lip scrubs ($10), but I have yet to try them. Any of these can be applied with the fingers, or can be applied to a spare toothbrush and scrubbed onto the lips directly.
Next, I used Aquaphor Healing Ointment ($9) on my lips before bed. I applied it generously so that it would last all night. Aquaphor is very thick and is very good for dry patches on the lips, and anywhere else. If you find that winter is giving you dry hands, add some to your hand lotion. If you have a cold and your nose is raw, apply Aquaphor. It’s a miracle ointment. The other thing I would recommend for severely dry lips is Lanolin ($10), a breast feeding cream that helps to keep the lips soft and supple.
Pro-tip: If you buy the Aquaphor lip treatment versus the Aquaphor in the tub, be aware that there are two versions on the market. One is the same formula as the tub and the other is a formula that includes SPF 15. While I think it’s very important to take care of your skin by applying sunscreen, SPF can irritate the lips when they are dry or cracked, or if you have sensitive skin.
Super-Pro-tip: I said Aquaphor, not Petroleum Jelly. While Aquaphor is more expensive than Petroleum Jelly, Aquaphor is a much cleaner substance than Petroleum Jelly, which as you may have guess by its name, is a byproduct of Petroleum. I’d rather not risk my health by using Petroleum.
Super-Super-Pro-tip: If, like me, you are an herbal genius, then try adding dried herbs into your Aquaphor tub. If it’s something you use regularly at night, try adding lavender oil or lavender herb in order to have a relaxing sleep and a great smell. If you like to use this mixture during the day, you can also add a bit of food coloring and flavor to the Aquaphor tub as well (which can easily be transferred into a small tin.) My favorite combination for all day use is rose oil and a very small amount of red food coloring.
If you like to wear colored lips during the day, have no fear, you can still combat dry lips. First, make sure not to get foundation on your lips. Even if it is a moisturizing foundation, it can still dry out the sensitive skin on the lips. Before you apply your makeup, put on your lip moisturizer to allow it time to settle before applying lipstick, lip-gloss or lip stain.
Pro-Tip: If you like the idea of a colored lip but your lips are still too dry (even with the directions above), you might benefit from a tinted lip balm. Although many don’t have great staying power, most of them look great on the lips and can be used to keep the lips soft. You can use the DIY above or you can buy a tinted balm. I’m weary of tinted balms, as I don’t like many other types of lip balms besides Aquaphor for the sole reason that they tend to have Salicylic Acid, which peels my lips terribly. For this reason I would stay away from Burt’s Bees ($7) and Maybelline Baby Lips ($5) (unless you have something underneath it). While I don’t necessarily dislike either of these products, I don’t find that they own up to the hydrating part of their promise. Both give excellent color payoff, and have great staying power, but they don’t necessarily keep the lips soft. If you like the idea of a tubed lip balm, try Fresh Cosmetics Lip Balms ($22), or Lancôme’s new line Lip Lovers ($22), which have great color and excellent hydration. If you are willing to try chubby sticks, consider trying Pixi Tinted Balm ($14) or Clinique Chubby Stick ($17). Both of these products moisturize and have excellent color payoff.
During the day, when I find that I would prefer not to wear a lip color, I use Rosebud Salve ($6), a common dupe for the Dior Crème de Rose ($27). This product has a very, very sheer tint that isn’t noticeable. It gives excellent hydration and it stays on the lips for a while. Besides Aquaphor, this is my favorite lip product. This is a good alternative to an everyday lip balm if you aren’t a big fan of wearing makeup or lip colors. Nivea also has a product similar to the Rosebud Salve ($3). However, I have not tried it. If you have, leave a comment below telling me what you think!
Ask yourself this: are your dry lips truly because of winter or is it an irritant in a product your use? Many people have sensitivity (like me) to Salicylic Acid on their lips. Instead of hydration and relief, they experience painful peeling and burning, and their lips are still dry. If this is a common problem for you, I would examine your lip products to see what is in them that is causing the irritation.