Illustration by Daria Krikunova.
Lips are a crucial and beautiful part of your face. Healthy looking lips can transform your look entirely, dry lips can sometimes make you look tired. Taking care of your lips on a daily basis is not as hard as you think. Get your lips looking smooth and hydrated with these simple steps!
The number one thing you can do to soothe and moisturise dry lips is to find products with great ingredients. Here are four ingredients that make for great home-made lip care solutions:
1. Beeswax: Beeswax naturally forms a barrier on the surface of your skin. This keeps moisture in and the elements out. It won’t cause irritation or clog your pores, but it will help relieve itching and discomfort. Oh, and it has a naturally sweet smell and taste, which is something you want when you’re thinking about lip products.
2. Natural Oils: Natural oils like coconut and jojoba deliver nutrients and healthy fats to your lips. This helps them stay naturally smooth and nourished. These oils also help treat dry skin, making it easier and faster to heal chapped lips.
3. Natural Extracts: Natural extracts are a great alternative to artificial flavours. They’ll help your lip products taste great, and many contain additional benefits your lips will love. Calendula extract is a particularly nice one to have in your arsenal. It has antibacterial properties that support healing in chapped or cracked lips.
4. Sugar: Sugar is a gentle and natural way to slough dead skin cells from your lips. This type of exfoliation will help keep your lips soft and supple. What I like most about sugar (besides the taste) is that you don’t have to worry about its environmental impact. Just rinse and go!
These four ingredients can be mixed and matched to create many different lip care routines, depending on what you need. Dry, flaky, or chapped lips will not need the same remedies as thin or discoloured ones. However, all lip care routines tend to follow the same basic structure.
The first step, you should wash your face and remove your make-up thoroughly. This includes clearing away any lipstick, gloss, or liner. This is something you should always do before you go to bed anyway, and it’s essential for getting the most out of your lip care routine.
The second step will be exfoliation. Most home-made exfoliating blends will combine a rough scrubbing agent, diluted in some sort of oil or wash. The actual ingredients will vary depending on your type of skin or your desired results.
The third step, lip balm will help you lock in the results and protect the delicate skin of your lips. Watch out for the ingredient list: most commercial brands of lip balm are made from petrolatum, a derivative from the oil industry. If you’d prefer a natural alternative, look for balms made from cocoa butter or jojoba oil.
The custom lip care routines below all tweak this formula.
Healing dry and chapped lips
If your lips are dry or get chapped easily, you should try gentle ingredients and extra protection from the elements
Wash your face with rose water or diluted cucumber juice (just add one tablespoon on a cup of drinking water). Either one of these ingredients is gentle and can diminish inflammation.
When exfoliating, use soft ingredients to avoid scraping your lips any further. A mix of steel-cut oats with coconut oil or milk can do the trick. Remember not to rub too harshly!
Choose a lip balm made from coconut oil or almond oil, as both tend to be gentle on the skin.
If you want to give chapped lips a chance to heal, you will need to care for them throughout the day. Try not to lick or smack them. Cocoa butter is particularly good to lock in the moisture inside your lips, which keeps you from licking them.
Plump lips can be elusive, depending on your natural features. However, good hydration and health will help your lips look fuller and healthier.
After removing your makeup, exfoliate your lips with a sugar scrub. Mix sugar or coffee grounds with coconut oil. Use your clean fingers to massage this mix on your top and bottom lips.
For lip balm try using a mix of olive oil with a hint of cinnamon. This dab of spice will speed up blood circulation on your lips and add some heat (1), helping them look bigger.
In the morning, you can also try a quick lip massage using the tongue scrubber at the back of your toothbrush. You can also try brushing it with the toothbrush side of it if you are gentle enough!
Brighter, rosy lips
No matter your natural skin colour, the thinner skin on your lips should naturally look a bit reddish and lighter than the rest of your face. Chronic sun damage or skin problems can take this healthy glow away from you.
For your exfoliation scrub, blend 2 teaspoons of sugar with one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of water. The slight acidity of the lemon juice will add some vitamin C, which contributes to delay signs of ageing on your skin (2). Some people report lemon juice can also act as a very mild lightener – so remember to wash it off before you go out in the sun.
Place a green tea bag in warm or lukewarm (not hot) water to make a natural skin mask. Apply it directly to your lips for up to 10 seconds: the heat and the antioxidants will help skin regeneration and bring about a dab of redness to your lips.
A major part of recovering from general skin damage is sunlight protection. Make sure you are extra-diligent about your sunscreen before leaving the house! This brings a lot of other benefits to the table, from delaying signs of ageing to protecting from many types of skin cancer.
Getting rid of lip acne
Even the softest, healthiest lips can get the occasional pimple around the edges. If you need to make sure it goes away as soon as possible (or want them to stop reappearing so often), follow these steps.
Try to be extra careful with your face washing. Make sure you remove any lipstick or lip liner that you have worn during the day with a gentle face wash.
If you have any active zits or pimples, use a warm compress for up to 2 minutes at a time. The heat will help them mature and heal faster.
Mix 2 drops of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) with a tablespoon of aloe juice or witch hazel. Use this for a gentle rub on and around your lips instead of commercial lip balm. Tea tree oil can help reduce oiliness, preventing pimples from returning (3).
All of the ingredients mentioned here are regarded as safe, and most are kitchen staples. However, if you notice any inflammation, swelling or hives after using them, it could be an allergy. Wash them off immediately and contact a doctor if the hives persist for over 12 hours.
1. Rao, P. V., & Gan, S. H. (2014). Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2014, 642942. Available online: https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/642942
2. Pullar, J. M., Carr, A. C., & Vissers, M. (2017). The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients, 9(8), 866. Available online: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080866
3. Carson, C. F., Hammer, K. A., & Riley, T. V. (2006). Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clinical microbiology reviews, 19(1), 50–62. Available online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16418522