Buh-Bye, Chapped Lips! 11 Ways to Keep Your Lips Soft + Smooth This Winter

Once your lips become chapped, it’s pretty much impossible to ignore them. And they just get worse as it gets colder and the air gets drier—no wonder winter is such a bummer! Our lips lack oil glands to keep the thin, delicate skin moisturized, which can quickly lead to dryness, cracks and redness. If you’re suffering from dry, flaky or even painfully chapped lips, here are a few natural ways to heal them and keep them moisturized. 

11 Ways to Avoid Chapped Lips

11 Ways to Avoid Chapped Lips

1. Gently exfoliate

It is super simple – and tasty – to do a lip exfoliation. You can go crazy with fun flavors like peppermint or vanilla, but a simple combo of oil and sugar, plus a dash of honey, will do the trick. This honey sugar lip scrub is a classic.

Honey is a humectant, which means it locks moisture in to your skin. A little honey combined with sugar (to gently exfoliate) and almond oil rubbed gently onto the lips will moisturize and slough off dead skin. You can even eat the scrub! We also have a pumpkin spice version (complete with lip balm recipe) if you want to keep it seasonal.

Here’s a recipe if you need it, but basically you want equal parts liquid and sugar. Then use your fingertip to apply the mixture to your lips and gently scrub. Rinse with warm water when you’re done.

  • 2 teaspoons sugar (you can use pretty much any sugar: raw sugar, brown sugar, regular sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon almond oil

If slathering honey and sugar on your lips doesn’t sound appealing (hey, to each her own), try a very gentle scrub with the softest toothbrush you can find, one to two times per day, to exfoliate.

2. Repair overnight

Follow up the exfoliation with a simple overnight lip repair mask. You can try a collagen-infused mask or make your own. Honey helps your skin retain moisture and vitamin E treats the dry patches. Wear the mixture on your lips overnight and then wipe off any excess in the morning.

  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (about 3 vitamin E capsules)
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Even easier, just slather some coconut oil on your lips at night; by morning they’ll be soft, supple and crack-free.

3. Make your own lip balm

You can DIY lip balm. Seriously, it’s easy, go do it! That way you can skip ingredients like lanolin (aka sheep grease—gross!), parabens and fragrances. I highly recommend using honey in your lip balm; it makes an effective chapped lips treatment. You can also skip animal products altogether with a vegan lip balm recipe without beeswax. 

4. Use thick emollients

Waxes coat lips, forming a protective layer that tends to stay on longer than an oil. For a DIY approach, make this all-purpose body balm. It’s soft enough for really dry lips, but the beeswax creates a protective layer—so you won’t be reapplying on the hour. It also includes cocoa butter and coconut oil and has a ton of other uses. 

Coat your lips with a thin layer of oil, like sweet almond or coconut. This rich body oil can be used head to toe—including on dry, chapped lips. We love it in this DIY warming vanilla-chai oil, which is totally safe for your lips.

5. Soothe cracks with vitamin E

If your lips are starting to get cracked and painful, open up a vitamin E capsule and put a little of the gel right on the problem spots (this works well for the corners of your mouth, too). Layer over homemade lip balm or coconut oil to heal overnight.

6. Try a lip mask

My chapped lips love this soothing mixture that uses milk’s lactic acid to exfoliate, rather than a scrub. Rose oil is anti-inflammatory to ease irritated skin, and the subtle rose smell and flavor is a relaxing bonus.

Combine the milk and essential oil in a small dish. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and apply to the lips. Let the liquid sit on your lips for 5 minutes (you can hold the cotton ball to your lips if you want). Refrigerate any extras and use within 2 weeks.

7. Skip menthol and camphor

If you’re not ready to DIY, then at least toss the balms with menthol or camphor. Those ingredients draw moisture from your lips, which just makes chapping worse! Plus, you don’t want to be licking your lips and ingesting that all day. Look for look for balms that contain coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter or beeswax or try one of these natural lip balm options.

8. Make smart lipstick picks

And don’t forget about your lipstick! Some ‘long lasting’ lipsticks will turn your lips dryer than the Sahara Desert. They suck the moisture out of your lips, and when the color settles into the grooves of your lips it’s not a pretty sight.

Try a lip gloss with a hint of color from raspberry or cranberry. For lipstick diehards, Burt’s Bees is one that uses natural moisturizing ingredients like moringa oil and raspberry seed oil.

9. Protect lips from the sun

No matter the season, sun exposure will dry out your lips. And no joke, sunburns on the lips are super painful and can lead to lots of fun peeling. The sun can also be a trigger for cold sores so when you’re putting on your daily sunscreen, don’t forget to protect your lips.

10. Hydrate from the inside

I was the person who hated hearing everyone preach about drinking more water until I actually started doing it. And for me, the biggest benefit of drinking at least 32 ounces a day (with the goal of 64 ounces) was that I could finally break my lip balm addiction. Because I wasn’t constantly licking my dry lips!

Lesson learned: If you’re hydrated, your lips will be too. Drinking water can be even harder in winter so if you’re having trouble getting to 64 ounces each day, try these hydration hacks. I’m relying more on herbal tea – and when you’re ready to venture beyond peppermint, here’s a great breakdown of new types to try.

11. Invest in a humidifier

The other skin game changer for me was running a humidifier at night. Rather than suffer through dry skin and lips, invest in an inexpensive warm mist humidifier to stop the dryness before it starts.

P.S. Now that you have the perfect pout, try cinnamon to give you plumper lips the natural way!

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