the strategist

The Best Lip Moisturizer I’ve Ever Tried Leaves the Nicest Tint

A barely there lip tint that’s crazy hydrating. Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

It’s not quite winter yet, but already, my naturally dry skin doesn’t love the seasonal shift. My lips especially hate it. October and November always mark the flakiest, driest, most chapped time of year for my lips — it’s almost like my lips are throwing a fit because they know what’s about to hit them.

I’ve tried a lot of lip balms — some of them are great, and some of them don’t work at all. But what I find especially difficult to find in a balm is one that actually lasts all day long, so that you don’t have to keep reapplying it every hour. I had read tons of rave reviews on the Sephora website for Bite’s Agave Lip Mask (4.5 stars with 4,000 reviews, for those who are asking, though we should not take those as gospel): “An overnight miracle. You need this, I swear.” “Best lip product I have ever used.” “The only thing that’s ever worked on my crazy chapped lips. So worth the price!” I was intrigued, but who really convinced me to take the plunge was makeup artist Shayna Goldberg, who told me it was an essential on photo shoots for keeping models’ lips nourished all day. I stumbled into Bite’s Soho store, picked out the red tinted shade “Smashed”, and sighed as I handed over $26.

Agave’s lip mask in the “Smashed” shade. Photo: Sephora

Let me just say: This product has single-handedly changed the game. What’s most unusual is its texture — the consistency is syrupy rather than creamy. It takes getting used to, but something about the honeylike formula really allows the product to sink into the lips rather than just sit on the surface. Put this on in the morning and you’ll notice a huge change in the texture of your lips throughout the day — that tightness will disappear, and they’ll feel smooth and hydrated all day long. Use it before bed and when you wake up your lips will feel moisturized and nourished, with none of that morning crusty-lip feeling.

But beyond the moisturizing effects, the Bite also leaves a tint that I’m especially obsessed with. Smashed is a cherry red that’s quite sheer (it’s not a lip stain). Instead, on top of giving you the most nourishing boost of hydration to your lips, it also gives your lips the most beautiful, slightly bitten, flush. And even after your lips absorb the product, that faint tint lasts all day long. It’s perfect for “no-makeup makeup” looks, when you just want a little touch of color that looks completely natural.

No product has helped bring my very dry, chapped lips back to life quite like Bite’s Agave Lip Mask. I’ve been wearing it every single day and intend on repurchasing it again and again. It’s also half off right now at Sephora, so do yourself a favor and act fast.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask
$13 at Sephora
Bite Beauty Agave Treat Trio Mini Agave Lip Mask Set
$18 at Sephora

The single version is sold out on Sephora, but you can buy it as a trio of minis right now.

More Rio-approved lip products

Golden Monkey Glamour Lip 3-Step Kit
$5 at Amazon

Rio says: A “treatment that I always have in my cabinet is this Golden Monkey Glamour Lip 3-Step. It comes with an exfoliant, mask, and oil. The first step is a gentle exfoliating wipe that gets rid of any dead skin, creating a perfectly smooth canvas. The second step is a mask that uses hyaluronic acid to help with plumping and moisture. And the third step (an essence) gives your lips that extra boost of hydration and vitality for the rest of the day.”

Dr. Dan’sCortiBalm
$7 at Dermstore

This product isn’t pretty, but Rio says it’s “sure as hell effective. For winter days when it feels like my lips are about to fall off of my face, this is my go-to. In my post about eczema, I mentioned that I’m prescribed a hydrocortisone cream that I use in case of emergencies. This balm also contains hydrocortisone in it and that’s why it’s so damn effective at healing itchy and intensely chapped lips.”

Missha Essential Care Lip Treatment
$13 at Amazon

In another post about her favorite travel products, Rio likes this treatment, especially when it’s sunny out, for its sun-protection properties: “In any weather — but especially when it’s sweltering out — deep hydration and SPF are essential for keeping your lips moisturized. This balm from Missha has been a summer staple of mine.”

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Best Lip Moisturizer I’ve Ever Tried Leaves the Nicest Tint