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DIY Lip Scrubs—What You Need to Know to Do Them Right

Chapped lips are not just the bane of winter. Increased sun exposure and activity—both of which increase in the spring—can lead to dry lips, too. Because of how delicate the skin on your lips is, exfoliating with the same stuff you use on your face is not always recommended. But you don’t really need to buy a separate lip scrub. You can make your own and give your lips the TLC they need if you take the right precautions with lip scrubs.

Gentle Exfoliation

Even for the most severe chapped lips, it does not take harsh chemicals or a lot of muscle to remove dead skin cells to reveal a plump, kissable pucker. To achieve the gentlest of gentle exfoliations, your lip scrub should:

  • Use small, even-sized “scrubbers”

Most DIY lip scrub recipes online use the same sediment to gently slough away dead skin—sugar. This is an ideal “scrubber” because sugar grains are small and evenly-sized and evenly sided. There are no jagged edges you are likely to find in scrubs that used crushed fruit pits to rough up skin.

  • Be free of volatile oils

Some DIY lip scrub recipes call for the use of citrus or mint essential oils. These oils may leave your lips feeling tingly, which you may enjoy, but the dryness that’s likely to result is less enjoyable.

Many essential oils are highly volatile, meaning they evaporate quickly at room temperature. When these oils evaporate, they often take surface-level moisture with them. So, the same stuff you used to remedy chapped lips will actually just perpetuate the problem.

(FYI: the same is true for lip balms with essential oils, too. Use sparingly.)

  • Be applied gently

When it comes to exfoliation—on your lips or anywhere—rub longer, not harder. For lip scrubs, you might be gently rubbing for up to 5 minutes (no less than 2). If you have a hard time easing up the pressure with your fingers, use your lips. The same motion you use to spread your lip balm can be used to help the lip scrub work its magic with less force.

  • Be rinsed with lukewarm water

As delicious as many DIY lip scrubs are, don’t lick them off your lips. Rinse the remaining scrub from your lips with lukewarm water. Hot water will increase evaporation and result in more chapping; cold water may not as effectively remove the oil component.

After-Scrub Care

Just-exfoliated lips need to be hydrated and protected, so the next step after rinsing off your lip scrub is to moisturize. Because many lip balms contain petroleum, which is a barrier, you need to use a product that actually restores hydration first. The same moisturizer you use for your face may suffice. You may also try a lip-specific product like our Stay-True Lips.

Before heading out the door, we also suggest a moisturizer or lip balm with SPF. That delicate skin on your lips is just as vulnerable to UV radiation.

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