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The Products I Use to Salvage My Chapped and Flaky Lips

Photo-Illustration: Rio Viera-Newton

Cold weather is not the only trigger for chapped lips. During the summer, there’s skin dehydration and air conditioning. In the fall, the change in temperature can dry them out. And in the springtime, allergies come into play.

Without intervention, my lips would be chapped year round. Which is why you’ll seldom find me without a good lip product on my person: I have at least one balm in every one of my purses, one next to my sink, several at my desk, and one by my bed.

Whether you have chronic chapped lips like myself, or if you’re just having an isolated bout of lip dryness, I’m here to help. Below, my favorite lip balms and treatments that keep my lips hydrated and soft.

Using a lip exfoliator is a great way to rid yourself of that top layer of flakiness, and to ensure your healing balm properly penetrates into your lips. This one from KNC is my all time favorite. The sugar-based formula is also equal parts exfoliating and nourishing (it uses shea butter and moringa oil) so you never feel like you’re stripping all that’s left of your lips away.

This lip mask from Tatcha is one of my all time favorites for delivering deeply nourishing and ultra hydrating ingredients to my lips as I sleep. It contains a blend of omega-rich camellia oil, Japanese peach for calming and nourishing, and rose extract for hydration. It’s a little heavy for daytime use (it leaves a thick, glossy film) but I absolutely love it as an overnight treatment whenever my lips are feeling particularly chapped and dry. Whenever I use this, I wake up with softer, smoother, and more moisturizer lips. The best thing about this lip mask is that it’s non sticky (definitely less sticky than Laneige or Bite’s, for example,) so you get that wonderful deep hydration without waking up with hair stuck to your lips.

These days I’m trying to touch my face as infrequently as possible. So using a product that requires me to touch my lips with my fingers isn’t ideal. Which is part of the reason I love this vegan lip balm from Bite — it comes in the classic chapstick applicator. The formula is also ultra rich (it uses nourishing agave nectar, vitamin e and omega rich mongongo butter, and cocoa butter, which is a moisture-trapping emollient), and coats your lips in one quick swipe. I’ve tried a lot of lip balms in my day, and this one is just uniquely thick and rich, and manages to impart a surge of moisture that has saved me on my worst dry lip days. 

I happen to love a good-tasting lip balm. This one from Summer Fridays has a delicious (I’m serious!) vanilla flavor, but also works wonders when it comes to moisturizing, nourishing, and repairing cracked lips. It’s not quite as thick and rich as the Bite Beauty lip balm, but that’s not to say it’s not as effective — the Shea and murumuru seed butter-rich formula is plumping and seriously hydrating.

My favorite cheap-er option is this multi-purpose balm from Dr. Pawpaw, which you can use on any kind of cracked skin, from your lips, to your elbows, to your cuticles. I picked this up at Heathrow airport a few years ago and totally fell in love — it quickly soothes and nourishes any chapped or dry skin, and I buy it over and over again. This fragrance free balm is filled with aloe vera for hydrating, antioxidant rich pawpaw fruit, and moisturizing olive oil. This is the most balmy and do-it-all option of the bunch.

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The Products I Use to Salvage My Chapped and Flaky Lips