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By: Hannah Hartz

Hannah Hartz is a Chicago-based esthetician with 7 years experience. She currently works at CaTara Med Spa. Here, Hartz shares her ultimate lip care guide.

The winter is a perilous time for our poor lips. The dry, cracked skin on our lips reemerges after a summer-long hibernation and goes right back to plaguing us with unsightly flakes, discomfort, and uneven lipstick application. What could be worse? Luckily, luxurious lips are well within our grasp with some easy guidelines to follow through the winter, and all year round.

Why Do Our Lips Get Chapped?

The key to solving chapped lips is understanding why we even run into this issue in the first place. Sure, everyone’s skin gets drier in the winter if left unattended, but why is the skin on our lips so prone to dehydration? The answer is pretty straightforward. Our lips do not have oil glands. It’s that simple! The oil glands on our skin help to protect us from harsh elements and help to keep the skin’s protective barrier intact, trapping in all that good moisture. Without that natural defense system built into our lips, they are sadly left to deal with the freezing cold, the bitter wind and the harsh rays from the sun all on their own. Poor guys! How can you help them out? 

RELATED: Why You Should Still Exfoliate Your Winter Skin

Lip Care: How to Get Started

The easiest way to lend your lips a helping hand is by throwing a little protection on them. Lip gloss, lipstick, lip balm – all of these can serve as sufficient protection for your lips. But not all lip products are created equal, so it’s important to be mindful. The ultimate protection will be something that contains emollients, an oil-containing ingredient to create a barrier and lock in moisture (e.g. petrolatum and dimethicone) and humectants, ingredients that draw in and bind moisture to the skin (e.g. glycerin). This combination attracts water and then seals it in for the best-ever lip protectant that ensures long-lasting hydration. Bonus points if your lip product contains SPF!

A Special Lip Care Routine

Are your lips so far gone that a mere shield isn’t doing the trick? Try following a lip care routine. One to two times a week, give your lips a very gentle exfoliation. This can be something very simple, like mixing some granulated sugar or used coffee grounds with coconut oil and slowly and gently massaging the solution into your lips and rinsing off. Now that your lips are prepped, reach for a lip treatment. This will most likely be a thinner solution to be applied two to three times daily, containing nutrients, vitamins, and maybe some hyaluronic acid and peptides for extra plumping and hydrating action. Seal in all that goodness with your aforementioned lip protection of choice. And then at night give your lips an extra hydrating boost with a lip sleeping mask!

RELATED: The Best Skin Care Tips You Need

Quit Licking Your Lips

Other fun things to look out for include running a humidifier and quitting licking your lips (easier said than done for most people). The humidifier puts moisture back in the air, moisture that your lips (and probably the rest of your skin, too) could really use. The humectants in your products can take that moisture in the air and bind it to the skin. Lip licking is a whole different beast, usually more difficult because it is typically a subconscious reaction. Your lips are dry. Your tongue is wet. Seems like an easy fix! Unfortunately, nothing in life is that simple. Your saliva actually contains a digestive enzyme that is used to begin the breakdown of food as you eat it. So, guess what’s happening to your lips every time you lick them? If you want to get your lips on a path to recovery, then it’s time to quit that habit.

lip care guide

The Lip Products You Need

To give my lips a nice, light exfoliation, I keep Lush’s Honey Lip Scrub on hand for when I feel like they’re getting a little rough. It has honey – a natural humectant! – sugar for scrubbing, and jojoba oil to lock in moisture and condition the skin. At night, I love Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask with hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and time-release “Moisture Wrap Technology” to keep the lips hydrated all night long. Lastly, if you still need a little extra loving for your lips, track down Epionce’s Anti-Aging Lip Renewal treatment. Use this morning and night to fully protect and treat your lips with avocado oil, shea butter, ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Complement your lip care routine with Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Glow or our new Glow Collagen Shot, which both contain skin-saving hyaluronic acid.

Keep a solid arsenal like this on hand for your lip care and you can look forward to smoother, healthier lips in your future. And say goodbye to dry, flaky chapped lips!