How do your lips feel right now? If they are feeling the effects of winter and mask-wearing they may be feeling a little on the rough side and in need of some serious TLC. It would be nice to have soft lips all year round though, right? Something like the cold doesn’t have to get in your way every year, so if it’s long-term solutions you need, then it’s long-term solutions you will get. There are always some quick and easy options for getting your lips back into shape too though, so don’t worry, a few of these helpful tips will have them feeling softer in no time!
1. Cleanse and Exfoliate
The first tip for softer lips is about keeping them clean, clear of makeup and food or drink residue and getting rid of old, dry skin. Sounds gross, right? Well it happens, and it can be one of the biggest causes of dry lips. It’s amazing how much gunk can find its way to the lips and the corners of the mouth and stay there until it is cleaned off. Even more so with lipstick and lip colours, especially the longer lasting ones that stay put all day.
The layers of skin on the lips are very thin, very delicate and really sensitive, that’s why when you eat something minty, your lips may tingle for a long time afterward. What this means though, is that the lips need extra care when cleansing to ensure the skin isn’t damaged and you can retain softer lips all the time.
A standard makeup remover is usually designed for facial skin to grab things like powders, foundation and all the oils that come along with. This is great for your face, but they can be too harsh for the lips and also remove any moisture that they currently hold. It can sometimes be better just to go for a cloth and some warm soapy water, or a cleansing foam to get rid of makeup residue, and the warm water tends to open up the blood vessels making the lips feel more alive and already a little softer in one quick step. Just make sure the cloth you use is soft and preferably made of cotton for a smooth cleanse.
The step to softer lips is exfoliation. Again, the lips need a lot more careful treatment than the skin on your face or body, so this has to be done gently and regularly but not more than once a week. Some people prefer to buy a lip exfoliating scrub, but if you are unsure about the ingredients, you can always make one yourself. Most of these ingredients are things you can find at the back of your kitchen cupboard or if you want to buy some new things, always try to aim for fair trade products, minimal packaging and organic ingredients help do your part for your lips AND the world at the same time.
Honey, coconut oil and brown sugar is a great combination for a lip exfoliating scrub. It will taste so sweet though so just try not to eat it when you apply it to your lips. You don’t need a huge amount of this so only make it up in small doses as and when you need to and be sure to balance out your ingredients depending on what works for your lips – don’t go too heavy on the brown sugar as you don’t want to cause more damage to the skin. With a cloth, making gentle circles after they have been cleaned with warm water to loosen any dead skin cells, get that scrub going for a short time to help leave your lips silky and soft.
2. Keep them Hydrated
The problem with cold weather is it just doesn’t go with skin very well. Sure, some people swear by a freezing cold showers for a full feeling of alertness, and our hair does better in warm water than it does in hot, but as far as the skin goes in cold weather, if it isn’t moisturised and hydrated it tends to go dry and lose its plumpness. The same goes for your lips, and this isn’t to say they need to be in temperatures hotter than the sun! But they do need to be in a position where they can steal moisture and hydration easily.
Think about when you wear a face mask, it can get pretty warm and moist in there after just a few minutes, which you would think would help your lips, but this recycled air and constant pouring of vapour can dry them out completely as soon as your mask is off. It’s about balance and keeping tabs on how your lips feel day to day and using the right products to keep moisture in and the bad stuff out.
So, as far as hydration, this one is easy – plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your body, especially mineral enriched water, and for your lips it means that your body and skin can feel the effects of water being distributed around. In summer, we tend to drink more water than any other time of year to stay alert and hydrated over intensely hot days, but winter is just as important as your lips will try to draw moisture from the cold air and just not get any, leading to dry and chapped lips.
If you have had any lip enhancements such as filler injections, it is even more important to hydrate and keep the lips moist and hydrated as the filler itself can draw moisture away from them, leading to dry and unsightly edges that need constant care and attention. If you are paying a fair price for those beautiful lips, you do want to maintain their luscious quality and not have to deal with chapped or dry lips.
3. Products and Foods to Avoid
So, we’ve touched on how food and residue can cause dryness to lips, but there are many other factors that can be avoided to make sure your lips have as much chance at being silky soft as possible. Spicy foods can cause dry lips as they compromise the skin and can leave what seems like an ever-lasting tingle as it passes through the mouth. When you are already suffering from dry and chapped lips, the burning sensation can only make things worse, so it’s best to put down the chilli powder and eat more plant based and water-based foods and vegetables while you are waiting for them to heal. That being said, piping hot food and drink is not good for dry lips either. Not only does it cause more damage, but it can make them feel so sore and while you are trying to get them back into great condition, it’s best to avoid really hot (temperature) foods while you do so.
Products with fragrance and flavours are also best avoided in your quest for super soft lips, as not only is fragrance an irritant to the skin but it can also lead to loss of moisture from breaking down the skin barrier. If your lips are already feeling a bit sensitive, it is probably best to steer clear of anything fragranced or flavoured completely.
Flavoured balms sound great, but actually they can do more harm than good to your lips and even though that cotton candy balm or caramel apple serum smells like being at the funfair, your lips will be far from experiencing fun if you keep using them. The problem with flavoured balms is two-fold. First, they can use so many different fragranced additives that cause irritation and second, they can be just a gimmick to get your lips tasting and smelling amazing and not actually work as a balm should. If you end up licking your lips as a result, as tempting as this can get, it will really be bad for your lips, as the saliva is very salty and will dry them out quicker. If you want softer lips, as boring as it sounds, you may need to just settle for unscented and unflavoured stuff that actually works!
4. SPF and Sun Creams
Ah yes, the thought of summer being around the corner is enough to make us all celebrate, I’m sure. But as much as winter can be bad for your lips, the summer can be even worse. The good thing is that there are easy steps you can take to make sure your lips stay super soft and undamaged whatever the weather!
It is encouraged that whenever you are planning on going outside that you protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun, even in winter when you least expect damage to be done, that pesky sun can dry out, burn and irritate your poor lips without you even knowing. In winter with a combination of cold winds and bright clear skies, your lips are in for a nasty treat if you don’t protect them, so it is important to start incorporating a high SPF sunscreen into your beauty and skin care routines.
Lips, as we’ve already said need to be treated a bit differently to the skin on your face, so it is advisable to grab a balm or cream designed to protect your lips from the sun and not go slapping tonnes of Ambre Solaire suntan oil on them! A simple layer with regular re-applications throughout the day will keep them protected and soft at the same time. It is also important to wash this off at the end of the day so that natural oils and moisture can get to the lips and penetrate the skin, otherwise you could end up with unwanted build up that can cause irritation.
On your mission to retain softer lips all year round, this step is one of the most important ones, especially if you love the outdoors and want to keep them looking great and protected at the same time.
5. Repairing Lip Balms
The things we put our lips through and expect them to repay us by being soft and silky all year round, its now time to make sure we pay them a bit of lip service and make life easier. It may sound silly or completely over the top to some, but for those who experience problematic lips, and constant chapping, they know that sore lips can be so uncomfortable and stop you from doing normal things that we would all take for granted, such as sipping coffee, eating vibrantly flavoured foods, talking and just taking a walk out in the sun.
This is why it’s important to take lip health seriously and look out for signs that damage isn’t just skin deep. For chronic sufferers of chapped lips, simple check up with the doctor can put you on the right path and although it may require some work, you can have softer lips in no time with the right treatment.
If you are prone to dry or chapped lips due to various lifestyle routines, then adding a new lip care routine can be really beneficial and you shouldn’t put them in a position where the pain can get worse. For super soft lips, an intensive care lip balm can help to repair your lips in a few applications and make them silky soft by penetrating the layers underneath. Xlips EGF Intensive Care Lip Balm is a great example of how this would work. Unlike a standard day to day lip balm, this one is designed to work while you rest, so preferably before you sleep, apply an amount of this to your lips and let it sink deep into the layers of skin to help repair and restore the natural goodness.
Of course, normal lip balms and petroleum jellies work for some people, but a lot of the time, they need to be applied so regularly that you may find you can’t live without them. If long-term repair and maintenance is on your mind then a repairing lip balm that doesn’t need to be used quite so often could be the way to go. Treat your lips to a little TLC and find your way back to softer lips in no time!