When somebody is speaking to me and his or her lips are cracked, I am a little embarrassed to admit that I cannot focus on anything else. The skin flecks tremble as they talk, hanging off like little stubborn rock climbers who refuse to accept that the mountain has beaten them. (Can you tell I think about this entirely too much?) Everybody experiences dry lips at some point, but whether they’re caused by medications, dehydration, or weather, exfoliating your lips can help considerably.
There are plenty of ways to go about shedding dead skin. Some involve tools, other take little more than a few kitchen ingredients, and a few are products you can purchase online or at the mall. No matter your preferred beauty style, these are the perfect means by which you can attain soft, smooth, and (if you’re up for it) kissable lips.
1. Olive Oil + Sugar
For those who appreciate simple and inexpensive home remedies, mixing together a little olive oil with some granulated sugar, then scrubbing your lips with it could be the perfect DIY lip exfoliation technique. Just rinse it off when you’re done and apply a bit of unscented lip balm.
2. The Toothbrush Trick
This is one of the easiest and perhaps best-known ways to smooth out lips: apply a thin layer of Vaseline to your lips, then use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub the dead skin off. Make sure you’re using a brand new toothbrush that is designated for this purpose, however; you don’t want to scrub a bunch of toothpaste into your lip’s delicate skin (nor use it to later brush your teeth, ew). Some people like to apply petroleum jelly to their lips as lip balm, but I personally prefer regular lip balm instead.
I bought the Mint Julips Lip Scrub a couple years ago after moving from California to the cooler temperatures Portland, where I found my lips were constantly chapped or rough. To this day, it’s one of my favorite lip products on the market. It includes Fair Trade sugar, organic jojoba oil, and more lovely ingredients, making it perfect for the conscious consumer.
4. Sugar + Honey
If olive oil isn’t your thing, you can do all the same steps as #1, but make it sweeter (and stickier) by swapping in some honey.
We’re big fans of the inexpensive yet high-quality products from e.l.f. Cosmetics, so when I saw that they made a lip exfoliator, I was super excited. It’s at a fantastic price point–just $3!–and it’s got 4.5 stars out of 5 from 553 reviews on their site. It’s a bit more complex than the DIY remedies listed, as it also is “infused with Vitamin E, Shea Butter, Avocado, Grape and Jojoba Oils,” but those are all things I love in my lip products, so I’m all sorts of down with this option.
Mix together a little baking soda plus some water until it’s formed a “gritty paste,” then apply to your lips with a soft toothbrush. Rinse, then apply lip balm.
Next up, a luxury lip scrub, a cult Etsy favorite, and the absolute simplest way to get that dead skin off!
We were lucky enough to meet Mercedes, the creator of Makeup By Mer, and try out these amazing lip scrubs. Within 15 seconds of scrubbing, my lips were soft and smooth–and delicious, since these flavors are unreasonably tasty! Bubblegum, Coconut, Brown Sugar, among others, but the best is Champagne. Putting champagne on my lips for the rest of life sounds like a solid plan to me.
8. Washcloth Scrub
The only method that’s simpler than #2’s toothbrush trick, using a washcloth to gently slough off dead skin is an easy method to getting your lips nice and smooth.
This lip scrub from Fresh feels amazing and is true to the high quality of all their other products, particularly on the lip front (my favorite lip balm will always be their Sugar Rose Lip Treatment). After using this polish, your lips will feel smooth and moisturized for hours–even without balm.
10. Brown Sugar + Oil
This is my personal favorite thing to do, as I love the taste and texture of brown sugar more than typical white sugar. Mixing together a bit of it plus some jojoba or Vitamin E oil makes my lips look 10 times better than if I simply apply lip balm layer after lip balm layer.
Rose water is often touted as one of the stars’ best beauty secrets, so why not try it on your lips? Mix a little glycerine and rose water together, apply the blend to your pout, then leave it on over night to allow it time for absorbtion.