not a professional. just crazy.

The 5 Products I Use to Salvage My Chapped and Flaky Lips

Even a bomb cyclone is no match for my winter lip arsenal. Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

New York City is in the midst of something called a “bomb cyclone,” which basically means it is freezing and I am wrapped up on my sofa pondering two important questions: (1) Do I have what it takes to trek to CVS to get dish soap? And (2) how bad are my lips going to pay for this drastic drop in temperature?

As you guys (might) already know, I am constantly battling dry skin, no matter the season, but things get especially tragic during the winter months: My skin feels extra tight, looks extra flaky, and becomes just generally uncomfortable. The main victim of the cold weather is my lips, which quickly get cracked and painful. Here’s why your lips feel so awful during the winter: Unlike other parts of your body, your lips don’t have any “sebaceous glands” (which is what keeps your skin hydrated), so it’s extra tough for them to retain moisture — the freezing-cold weather and extra-warm heaters only make matters worse. What this means, basically, is that it’s on you to save your lips during the winter. Besides chugging water (which truly does help a lot), exfoliants, lip balms, and lip masks are your best friends. As per usual, I’m insane and have tried an embarrassing amount of treatments in a desperate attempt to revitalize my lips during these colder months. So, here: a compilation of all-time favorite treatments that have successfully gotten me and my lips through several winters.

When I was in high school, I used to mix together olive oil and brown sugar in a bowl to create an at-home lip exfoliant. And while I still do love the idea for pre-lipstick evenings out, it’s made my life just a bit easier to have this similar, ready-to-use concoction from Skinfood. It does an excellent job of making my lips soft and smooth, but gentle enough that it doesn’t crack or irritate my lips. Here’s what you do: Dampen your lips with water, then rub the treatment over them for about ten seconds. Rinse off with water, and pat them dry. Apply a lip balm immediately after!

Another 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.

I’ve tried a lot of lip balms in my day, and this is one of my all-time favorites. It works so well that I actually notice a serious change (for the worse) in the texture of my lips when I forget to use it. Unlike my other Chap Sticks, which usually end up scattered at the bottom of my various purses and totes, this one has earned its place on my bathroom sink, so I can use it every single morning and evening after my face routine.

This lip balm … well, I wouldn’t say she’s gorgeous-looking, but she’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.

My best friend told me I absolutely had to try this sleeping mask. I’ve since become addicted to it. Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, this lip treatment helps get rid of dry and rough skin by the morning when you apply it before bed. With the included spatula, slap a relatively liberal amount on your lips and wipe it off in the morning. Also, it smells amazing.

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The 5 Products I Use to Salvage My Chapped and Flaky Lips