Around this time each year, months of outdoor activities and general sun exposure start to show on the face. Cracks, lines, and discoloration can form—and the lips, an area oft-neglected during profuse SPF application, suffer too. Lips do not have the same advantages as the other parts of your face in terms of protection: there are only 3-4 outer layers of skin, versus the 15-16 layers other parts of your skin have. Also, lips are at a disadvantage in skin regeneration—they have far less melanin to protect again sun damage.
A luxurious lipstick sounds like a divine quick fix, but we’d also like to suggest you inform yourself about the most innovative and effective lip treatments, recommended by top skin experts who deal with lips as their vocation. We quizzed them below on the best products to keep lips hydrated, soft, and restored; but keeping the state of the world in mind, we also had these skin experts reveal their favorite at-home DIY treatments.
Of course, what you do internally has a huge impact on your overall skin health, and your lips are no exception. Keep hydrating with water and proper nutrition to make sure your skin has the resources to replenish properly.
Responsible for the most beautiful complexions in the world (Linda Evangelista, Cate Blanchett, and Emma Stone are just a few of her clients), uber-facialist Georgia Louise is adamant that a high-quality lip balm with high-grade ingredients is one of the most essential products to protect against moisture loss.
Go-To Product for Lips: “It’s super important to use a lip balm with a waxy finish, as the wax creates a physical barrier to prevent water loss. Water loss equals dehydration. Avoid petroleum jelly, mineral oil and BHA when looking for a moisturizing lip treatment. My go-to for rejuvenating and hydrating lips is the La Mer The Lip Balm.
DIY Treatment for Lips: Exfoliate your lips with a sonic toothbrush as a natural exfoliant a couple of times a week, and then you can actually use a favorite face mask with nourishing and hydrating benefits on your lips for a hydrating lip treatment. Top it off with a wax balm.”
Celebrity makeup artist Lisa Aharon is no stranger to maintaining glowing skin. Her skincare and makeup mastery have won the loyalty of notable clients such as Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Rachel Brosnahan.
Go-To Product for Lips: “I’m lip balm obsessed. I’ve literally got one in every pocket and purse, and one on every table in my house—and I do understand what ‘literal’ means. Trust, they are all there! When I discovered the Sisley Paris Nutritive Lip Balm, it quickly became a staple on my nightstand and in my kit. As much as I love the average balm, not all of them hydrate and trap moisture like this one. It really coats the lips, feels nourishing, and stays on for long periods—without becoming greasy or creating too much slip under your favorite lipstick.”
DIY Treatment for Lips: “My other lip obsession is a great lip scrub—no lip balm absorbs properly over dry, flaky skin. I keep one in my kit and usually have one on hand at home. But if I’m traveling or in a pinch it’s an easy one to quickly create in your kitchen. Combine a little sugar and honey to your desired consistency and giving your lips a buff with your fingertip. The thing I love most about this simple recipe is even if you’re staying in a hotel, you can source these ingredients easily. If I’m home, I’ll sometimes add a little coconut oil as well. The combination is so delicious, you’ll want to eat it.”
Helena Christensen’s favorite for skincare touts the benefits of ceramides for lip protection.
Go-To Product for Lips: “Ceramides are important for lip health. My go-to lip balm is always By Terry’s Baume de Rose Balm. It’s very hydrating and there’s this soft, real rose aromatherapy that makes it a treat to apply. It instantly feels luxe. This product contains ceramides, which helps restore the lipid barrier on my lips.”
DIY Treatment for Lips: “My favorite DIY go-to for soft lips is first to buy a separate toothbrush just for your lips (I have a pretty pink one). Every night, one should gently exfoliate on dry skin with up-and-down movements quickly, for less than a minute, then apply lip balm. It’s an effective lip exfoliating treatment right before the nourishing balm so that it is more effective. And voila—you have an overnight lip treatment without buying a messy lip scrub.”
Dr. Jessica Wu
The L.A.-based celebrity powerhouse dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu has a skin philosophy rooted in consistent skincare with innovative, natural products to treat lips.
Go-To Product for Lips: “My new favorite summer lip treatment is the MD Solarsciences Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm with SPF 30. It just came out this month, and I’ve been wearing it every day. It has avocado oil and shea butter, so it’s deeply hydrating without melting off my lips or smudging all over my mask. It comes in a sleek silver tube—as if Chapstick grew up and put on a LBD. It comes in nude as well as pink and red tints. I wear the pink so if I have to do a last-minute Zoom or Skype, I look polished.”
DIY Treatment for Lips: “My favorite physical exfoliant is rice powder, which you can buy at many grocery stores. Mix 1 tablespoon rice powder with 1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil in a small bowl. Massage onto your lips and wipe it off with a damp washcloth. Follow with a thin layer of almond oil. I like to do this at night, since it can feel a little greasy during the day.”
Skincare veteran Nurse Jamie has always been on the innovative skin path. For lips, she recommends exfoliation as key to restore skin texture and vitality.
Go-To Product for Lips: “Lip exfoliation is so important because your lips don’t have sebaceous glands to keep them moisturized. I developed the Nurse Jamie NuLipsRX™ system—it features an anti-microbial silicone lip brush and petroleum-free lip balm. The lip brush gently exfoliates, helping remove dry skin and dead skin cells for smooth, baby soft lips. The lip balm contains hyaluronic acid to help plump your lips along with some of nature’s most beneficial oils to hydrate, protect and moisturize.”
DIY Treatment for Lips: Mildly exfoliate and use a petroleum-free lip balm. Avoid smoking and alcohol, which dehydrate the lips, and make sure your diet is rich in lipids to give cells the nutrients they need. Water is essential. (Rule of thumb: if you weigh 100 pounds, you need 50 ounces of water a day.)