How to Get Rid of Chapped Lips

Dry, flaky lips are the worst. Below, a few beauty editor-approved tricks that really work for chapped lips.

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Photo by Barbara Donninelli

You’re probably fighting the good fight by slathering layers of lip balm over your chapped lips. The problem: the dead, dry skin could actually be blocking the skin-healing ingredients in the balm from penetrating the skin on your lips. So before you pick up another tube or pot, gently exfoliate first. Here’s how: Dampen a washcloth (one with rougher fabric is best) with warm water, then massage your lips in circular motions.

If this manual trick isn’t getting the job done (and your lips still aren’t feeling smooth), you may need to upgrade your exfoliation method to a pro-powered tool. Meet Bliss Fabulips Pout-o-Matic Lip-Perfecting System ($48, blissworld.com), a battery-powered device that has a silicone head with massaging nubs that rotate to slough off dry skin. Fill the head with a dab of lip scrub, then glide it over your lips. I thought I could use my electric toothbrush instead, but derms say it could be too harsh. Editor truth: This slim brush has become a stable on my bathroom counter (it’s cute!) and my secret weapon to fighting chapped lips. I find the yummier your products are, the more you want to use them, so splurge on a sweet-smelling lip scrub, like Sara Happ The Lip Scrub ($24, nordstrom.com), which comes in delicious flavors, including Creme Brulee, Brown Sugar, Sparkling Peach, and Midnight Blueberry (is your mouth watering yet?). Or DIY using this recipe: Mix a tablespoon of brown sugar with a dab of honey or olive oil. Repeat this a few times a week. Now that your lips are soft, you can treat them.

During the day, look for a nourishing formula (derms recommend unscented formulas) with sunscreen, like Aquaphor Lip Repair & Protect SPF 30 ($5, walgreens.com). At night, crank up the hydration with a lip oil (yes, there is such a thing). Try Yes To Coconuts Cooling Lip Oil ($5, target.com), which has refreshing eucalyptus. And while you’re rehabbing your lips, skip matte, bold colored lipsticks, which will act like a spotlight on your flakes. Start with a lip tint that contains some nourishing ingredients, plus a little color if you like. Try Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm ($5, burtsbees.com), which are packed with shea butter and coconut oil. Finally, up your water intake, avoid licking (and picking!) your lips as much as possible, and if you want to go the extra mile, sleep with a humidifier to prevent your lips from drying out at night.