If you have dry lips, you need a natural lip care routine. Chapstick alone isn't going to cut it. But don't fret! I've been perfecting my own lip care routine over the years and I've come up with one that I don't think I could live without. Here's everything you need to know to keep your lips soft, supple, and healthy all winter long.
Why Are My Lips Dry?
The first step to any natural lip care routine is figuring out why your lips are dry in the first place. The more I researched this question, the more I realized that life is full of things that will dry out your lips. Are you dealing with any of these?
- Dehydration: Do you drink enough water? I'm not trying to put anyone on the spot, but if you don't, you probably know it. Dry, chapped lips are a common sign of dehydration. Solve the problem by drinking more water, eating more fruits, and limiting caffeinated beverages.
- Exposure: Even the healthiest lips are covered by thin, delicate skin. This means that even a small amount of elemental exposure can cause big issues. Protect your lips by covering up with a scarf or face mask when going outside, and by using a humidifier if you work or live in a dry building.
- Licking Your Lips: It's hard not to when your lips are dry, isn't it? But every time you lick, you're introducing saliva to your skin. There are chemicals in your saliva that help break down food for digestion. Unfortunately, they'll also break down the skin around your lips. It's time to go cold turkey on lip licking. Take a sip of water every time you feel the urge to lick!
- Toothpaste: Some toothpastes contain chemicals that can irritate your ips. If you consistently suffer from dryness, consider testing out a natural toothpaste that's easier on your skin.
- Your Diet: Some foods, such as citrus and salty foods, can irritate your lips. Avoid them if your lips are already dry or cracked. Your lips can also dry out if you don't have enough healthy fats in your diet. Add a moderate amount of coconut oil, walnuts, or other nutrient-dense fats to your meals.
- Nutrient Deficiencies: You may find yourself with dry lips or cracks on the sides of your mouth if you're low in iron, zinc, or B vitamins. Increase your servings of fruits and vegetables every day to ensure your body has what it needs. If you're not already, consider adding a multivitamin as well.
Why Conventional Products Make Dry Lips Worse
What's the first thing you reach for when your lips dry out? Lip balm, of course! I know I used to reach for cheap conventional chapstick when my lips were dry. But then a funny thing happened: the dryness would just get worse. Turns out conventional lip products are often filled with ingredients that can make your lips worse, not better. If you want to establish a natural lip care routine, keep away from the following:
- Petrolatum: Does "petrolatum" sound familiar to you? That's because it's derived from the same stuff you put in your car. The manufacturing process used to refine this ingredient can cause potentially toxic results. Just look up "Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons" and you'll see what I mean. To add insult to injury, it helps lock in other ingredient close to your lips. If a product uses other harmful ingredients, you'll have an even longer period of exposure. Not good.
- Parabens: I've written about these preservatives before. They can really mess with your endocrine system and are well worth staying away from. They're also surprisingly common in conventional lip balms, so be wary.
- Artificial flavors: What's flavoring your lip balm? Who knows! Manufacturers don't have to reveal individual chemicals when listing flavor ingredients, so there's no way to know what you're spreading on your lips.
- Chemical sunscreens: Chemical sunscreens show up a lot in lip balms with SPF. They are notorious for causing allergic reactions, which will just dry your lips out further. Avoid balms with oxybenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate.
Establishing a Natural Lip Care Routine for Dry Lips
Okay, enough negativity. If you're dealing with dry lips, here's what you can do to bring them back to their best!
Choosing Great Ingredients
The number one thing you can do to soothe and moisturize dry lips is find products with great ingredients. Here are the four components I like to see in my lip care products:
- Beeswax: Beeswax naturally forms a barrier on the surface of your skin. This keeps moisture in and the elements out. It won't cause irritation or clog your pores, but it will help relieve itching and discomfort. Oh, and it has a naturally sweet smell and taste, which is definitely something you want when you're thinking about lip products.
- Natural Oils: Natural oils like coconut and jojoba deliver nutrients and healthy fats to your lips. This helps them stay naturally smooth and nourished. These oils also help treat dry skin, making it easier and faster to heal chapped lips.
- Natural Extracts: Natural extracts are a great alternative to artificial flavors. They'll help your lip products taste great, and many contain additional benefits your lips will love. Calendula extract is a particularly nice one to have in your arsenal. It has antibacterial properties that support healing in chapped or cracked lips.
- Sugar: Sugar is a gentle and natural way to slough dead skin cells from your lips. This type of exfoliation will help keep your lips soft and supple. What I like most about sugar (besides the taste) is that you don't have to worry about its environmental impact. Just rinse and go!
Creating a Natural Lip Care Routine
Follow this natural lip care routine to heal dry, chapped lips. Keep it up to prevent new issues from forming.
- Remove Your Makeup: Clear away any lip stick, gloss, or liner. This is a good thing to do before you go to bed anyway, and essential for getting the most out of your lip care routine.
- Exfoliate Your Lips with a Sugar Scrub: Apply a small amount of natural lip scrub to your lips. Using a clean finger, gently massage your top and bottom lips. When you're finished, rinse off any excess or lick it away. Do this once or twice a week.
- Apply Lip Balm: Apply a natural lip balm at least twice a day to moisturize and protect your lips. I like to apply mine before putting on makeup and before I go to bed. Of course, there's no reason not to use it throughout the day as well!
- Change Your Behavior: Honestly, this is the most important part of any lip care routine. It's much better to avoid chapped lips in the first place than to heal them after the fact. Drink more water, adjust your diet, and protect yourself from the elements. Trust me: your lips are going to thank you!
What's Your Natural Lip Care Routine?
What do you do to protect your lips when they're dry and chapped? Have you found any lifestyle tips to help keep your lips healthy? Let me know about them in the comments below!