Red Lips 101: Prep And Smooth

If you want your lip color to look :100 emoji:, you have to start with a great base. Here are some of my favorite ways to get soft, smooth lips.

Lip Scrubs

You exfoliate your face, hands, body — don’t forget your lips! A good scrub gets rid of dead, flaky and dry skin and leaves you with nice smooth lips. I use a lip scrub at least once a week, or whenever my lips are looking or feeling dry. I like to make my own, but there are plenty of great non-DIY options, too. (You can also just brush your lips with a toothbrush, if that’s more your speed.)

LUSH lip scrubs are a little spendy for something that’s just sugar and oil, but they come in delightful flavors (I’m partial to Bubblegum). LUSH advises you to lick off the excess after you scrub, and I’m here to suggest you ignore this advice. If you have chapped lips, guess what’s going to make them more chapped? That’s right… licking them. Keep your tongue in your mouth and wipe away excess scrub with a washcloth.

If you love supporting a small, woman-owned business, check out Dirty Girl Body Beauty lip scrub. These are similar to the LUSH scrubs but you get a little more product for a little less money. Don’t see a flavor you love? She accepts special orders!

Want something less messy and more portable? Try a scrub in a stick. Lipscuff by The Body Shop has been around forever — I bought my first tube back in high school — but there are more and more options on the market lately. (There’s one in a great Ulta lip kit that doesn’t appear to be available online — see photo below.)

Shop lip scrubs at UltaShop lip scrubs at Sephora

Lip Masks

Yes, sheet masks for your lips are a thing. We are living in magical times. Hydrogel lip masks sit on your skin and juice it up with essences to give you hydrated, smooth lips.

I like this $10 three-pack of South Mane Beauty hydrogel lip masks. There are a ton of gel lip masks on Amazon, but I’ve used South Mane and can vouch for them. I can also vouch for the hydrogel masks in that Ulta kit… but I’ll talk more about that in a moment.

There are also lip masks you apply like a balm and leave on overnight. My absolute favorite is the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. This product saved my flaking lips this winter. Now both of my small children are always asking for it as well. I put it on every night before bed and it helps keep my lips soft and smooth. I’ll wear it during the day as well if my lips are particularly dry.

Ulta Lip Treatment Kit | Below Freezing Beauty
Occasionally I buy something in a store that I then can’t find anywhere online to link for you, and that is the case with this lip care set from Ulta. Bought it in store, fell in love with it, cannot locate it online. If you see this in your neighborhood Ulta, buy it! It’s a great deal and the products are very nice and the balm is basically a dupe for the Winky Lux flower balm.

(I do not recommend you buy the similar-but-different Ulta One in a Melon lip kit. The balm in that one is fine, but the scrub is terrible. It’s basically a runny lip gloss with a few loose grains of sugar floating around in it.)

Rescue Chapped Lips

A few years ago, I started getting really awful dry, chapped, flaking lips. Click here to read about the rotation of products that saved me back then.

I’ve changed things up a bit since then (Laneige wasn’t widely available in the U.S. at the time, and that lip mask is a Holy Grail product for me now), but the basic outline is the same: Regular exfoliation (sugar + oil), daytime lip balm, intensive overnight lip care. If your lips are super chapped, consider starting your overnight care as soon as you get home.

Be wary of products described as “lip oils.” Read the ingredients before you assume they’ll be kind to chapped lips. As the “lip oil” concept has gotten more popular, some brands are just slapping it on any slick lip products even if they have no real moisturizing properties. I’ve been burned (literally) a few times by products I thought would be good for chapped lips. If you want a truly moisturizing oil product for your lips, try Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream Intensive Creamy Oil. It lasts forever and you can use it anywhere on your body. Same goes for Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Skin Cream Protectant, which I once bought in desperation from the duty-free cart on a flight from Moscow to Warsaw. It saved my skin and my trip.

Use A Lip Primer

One last step for smooth lips: primer! I’m not a big fan of face primers, but I always use a lip primer when I’m wearing lipstick. A good lip primer gives you the perfect canvas for long-wearing lip color.

I’m in a steady relationship with this $7 lip primer from NYX that I fell in love with a few years ago. Urban Decay also makes a pencil lip primer that I loved when it came out, but I believe it has been reformulated since the last time I bought it, so I can’t personally vouch for the current version.

Shop lip primers at UltaShop lip primers at Sephora

Get Smooth Lips | Below Freezing Beauty

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