Nothing says kiss me like smooth, soft, touchable lips. But if yours are flaky and chapped, here’s how to find the perfect balm to get them in tip-top shape.
Check the Label
Just as you’d check the nutritional value of the foods you eat, it’s important to look for the right ingredients in your lip balm. Pick a product that’s made of a natural base, such as beeswax, which adds moisture and acts as a barrier between your lips and the harsh weather. Nut butters, especially shea butter, to nourish the lips and encourage elasticity. Plant oils have additional healing benefits and some, such as pomegranate oil, offer antioxidant protection against harmful free radicals. Don’t forget to choose a balm that comes in a tube, not a pot”because you stick your fingers in the pot, it can encourage bacteria growth.
Watch Out for Gimmicks
Some balms have a cooling or tingling effect when applied, but this sensation can sometimes do more harm than good. The additive producing this effect is menthol, an alcohol that tends to dry out the skin”exactly the opposite of what you want your lip balm to be doing. Another undesirable additive is artificial fragrance”it may make your lip balm smell nice, but it’s also likely to dry out your lips.
Be Sun Safe
Whether you’re hitting the slopes or just walking outdoors in the winter weather, your mouth still needs major protection from the sun. Because our lips have very little melanin (a natural skin pigment that shields us from UV rays), they’re especially sensitive to sun damage. Be sure to choose a balm that includes an SPF (10 or higher is best) and slick it on every day before heading outdoors.
Prep Your Lips
If your lips are chapped, exfoliate before you apply lip balm. Dampen a face cloth with warm water and gently rub it across your lips to remove all the dead, flaky skin. (You can also buy lip scrubs at select beauty boutiques or department stores.) Once you’ve created a smooth, soft base, apply that lip balm. If you’re more of a lipstick and gloss girl, just apply the balm underneath them for all-day conditioning and a smoother application.