If you thought layering on basic lip balm would be enough to soothe dry, cracked, generally winter-wrecked lips this season, think again. For 2019, it's important to level up their replenishing strategies, and there's one lip product for winter that'll save you from a chapped pout, that you may have overlooked. You've already coated your face in clay masks, sheet masks, and the like, but have you ever noticed that all these applications typically skip the lips? Yep, that's right. Lip masks are the missing piece to your skincare routine, and the answer to healing your lips for good.
"The skin around our lips is very thin and is prone to damage quickly," says Dr. Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. In addition to cold weather conditions, Dr. Jaliman notes that general dehydration can cause chapped lips, as well as simply licking your lips too frequently. She also notes that, sometimes, people who utilize vitamin A derivatives in their skincare routines can accidentally apply the harsh ingredient too close to the lips, which can dry them out quite quickly. Yikes.
"Sometimes your lips need something much more than just a regular lip balm. You need something offering deeper hydration, such as a lip mask," says Dr. Jaliman. As far as ingredients, she recommends anything hydrating or soothing. "Look for wheat germ oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, shea butter, sunflower oil, and cottonseed oil in lip balms," she suggests. "These really moisturize the lips." If you're wondering which mask is perfect for your pout in particular, I've rounded up the best of the best and broken them down by type below.
Now, let's defeat cracked lips once and for all, so moisturized pouts and smiles can shine:
Consider the LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask ($20, sephora.com) the staple lip mask of Instagram, with its little pink tub featured in flat-lays galore. Sephora carries the original berry version, which utilizes vitamin C and a Berry Mix Complex, as well as a hyaluronic acid and mineral-rich Moisture Wrap technology to coat the lips in a layer of hydration. On the Laneige site, you can find the product available in alternate flavors as well, like "Vanilla," "Apple Lime," and "Grapefruit," if berry isn't your thing. They even come with their own little mask applicator, which makes the whole masking process feel fancy AF.
The only clay mask I personally love for my lips is the Sara Happ Sweet Clay Lip Mask ($32, bluemercury.com), which works double duty as it soothes parched lips while treating fine lines on and around them. This formula contains go-to detoxifier bentonite clay, along with Swertiamarin, known to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Finally, the brand's Self-Regenerative Stem Cell Technology is at work to smooth and hydrate. This thick pink paste isn't necessarily a mask you'd want to wear out, but you only need to leave it on for two to 20 minutes, depending on the level of relief your lips seek.
On the go and feel the wind chapping your lips by the second? Or perhaps you're packing an overnight makeup bag and don't want to lug a tub of product with you? Cue lip masks in convenient tubes, like the cult favorite Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask ($26, sephora.com), which uses agave nectar and jojoba oil for its replenishing, soothing, and hydrating properties. This pick comes in five sheer shades and flavors. I first tried "Natural," the clear version, but quickly began a love affair with "Maple," a sheer bronzy shade that tastes like syrup and coats my lips in a thick layer of relief.
Understand that this one isn't fast-absorbing — it's the kind of product you feel sitting on your lips. That doesn't bother me, though, as I can really "feel" it working as it coats and treats my lips. It's touted as a night mask, but I use it during the day, too, and often bring it on ski trips, where my pout tends to reach its most peel-y state. Not to mention, it's got more than 5,000 reviews on Sephora and a 4.5-star rating overall, so I'm not the only one loving it.
Another great buy is the Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask ($18, sephora.com), which another tube-packaged mask that can be used overnight or whenever dry, rough lips strike. Moisturizing Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, shea butter, peptides, ceramides, and lipid molecules (to replenish the skin's outer layer) combine in this formula to really condition dry or chapped lips.
Think of these babies as sheet masks specifically for your pout. Unlike most of the masks in tubs or tubes, these are a little more... detectable on the skin, to say the least. While I personally would have no problem slapping one on mid-flight, many might prefer to rock these in the privacy of their own homes, and I get that, too. The Sephora Collection Hydrating Lip Mask ($3, sephora.com) is a steal at under $5, and it contains natural shea extract to moisturize dry lips. It's a bio-cellulose mask, which means it retains moisture more efficiently than a traditional serum-soaked sheet mask, and the mask material itself sticks on the lips without peeling off right away, allowing the ingredients to really sink in and work their magic.
Another personal favorite is the BeautyBio Lush Lips Collagen Infused Hydrating Lip Mask ($25 for a set of eight, beautybio.com). While you have to splurge a little for the set, these end up costing just a little over three bucks per mask, so it's totally worth it. These patches contain collagen to plump, red algae to soothe and soften, and a unique Cooling MicroClimate Technology to hydrate and help lips appear fuller. I tend to reach for these when I know I'm applying a drying lip product afterward, so my lips are perfectly prepped and won't flake halfway through the night.
Don't Rule Out Scrubs
In addition to masking, Dr. Jaliman recommends weekly exfoliation using a scrub if you're noticing a flaky buildup of dead skin on the lips as opposed to skin cracking. "Ingredients to look for in a lip scrub are brown sugar crystals, which will help exfoliate the lips," she says. While you could DIY one at home with your kitchen ingredients, the Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator ($24, sephora.com) will also do the trick. Follow your scrub with any of the lip masks above to sooth the newly exfoliated skin.