How to Make a DIY Lip Scrub Using Ingredients in Your Kitchen

Kiss sandpaper lips goodbye.

If you're finding that your favorite lip balm isn't doing its job keeping your pout flake-free, it might be time to bring in an exfoliator. Unlike most lip balms, which work to hydrate and soften lips, a lip scrub can slough away dead skin, clear out any uneven texture left behind, and give your lips a great base to add moisture back in. It's one of the many effective treatments for chapped lips.

Yes, lip scrubs can work wonders in laying the foundation, so to speak, but dermatologists warn against misusing—or overusing—these abrasive formulations. "The lips are extra sensitive because the skin there is among the thinnest of the body," explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Scrubbing the lips is dangerous territory because overdoing can easily disrupt the outer skin leading to dryness and irritation."

Some lip scrubs may cause more harm than good, but those created with sugar might be less irritating. "Sugars can offer ultra-gentle exfoliation without the risk of irritation that other harsh scrubs may cause," explains Dr. Zeichner. If you have dry skin on your lips, Dr. Zeichner recommends applying a moisturizer (he loves Vaseline) rather than exfoliating, because you should be giving your skin what it actually wants and needs, which is hydration. "If your lips are still flaky after moisturizing, then you can use a scrub," he explains.

If your lips are too sensitive for physical exfoliators, like DIY lip scrubs, Dan Belkin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at New York Dermatology Group, recommends using moisturizing lip masks, "which might contain more gentle chemical exfoliators, and balms that allow the lips to heal on their own," he says. "Barrier-type moisturizers, like Vaseline, waxes, or oils do great on the lips, where they can be used liberally without fearing clogged pores (since the lips don't have them)."

Feeling scrub-curious? DIY lip scrubs made at home might be more gentle than a store-bought product. "DIY lip scrubs are very easy and economical to make at home with ingredients in your kitchen—these ingredients are safe for your health and fine if you end up eating some by mistake, plus they taste good," says Jana Blankenship, founder of Captain Blankenship Natural Products and author of Wild Beauty. "Store-bought scrubs can include synthetic fragrance and flavors that are not good to ingest and are unnecessarily expensive."

How to Make a Lip Scrub

Below, you'll find a DIY lip scrub Blankenship created for a gentle exfoliation without major irritation.

What you'll need:

  • 1 tbsp organic cane sugar
  • ½ tbsp organic coconut oil
  • ½ tsp organic cacao powder (optional)
  • A small bowl
  • A spoon

How to make a DIY lip scrub:

  1. Add organic cane sugar, organic coconut oil, and organic cacao powder (if you like the taste of chocolate) to a bowl and mix into a paste with a spoon.
  2. Massage into lips and rinse off.
  3. Behold soft and hydrated lips—and if you end up eating some, we won't tell!
  4. With your leftovers, you can scrub your hands, feet, and body, or save for next time.
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