Taking care of our lips is a task that we often take for granted. Your lips are locked for battle every day, round the clock, against irritants: the food and drink that you take, pollution, cigarettes, and even the weather. Lips do not have sweat or oil glands to protect them from these harsh elements. Looking after your lips to keep them soft, moisturized, and kissable is entirely up to you.
Read more to learn how to care for your lips.
1. Ditch bad habits
An ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure. To get soft and moisturized lips, do away with bad habits that make them more prone to drying, flaking, and discoloring:
- Licking your lips: Do you think wetting your lips helps keep them moisturized and soft? No, it does not. Instead, saliva evaporates quickly, leaving your lips drier and more vulnerable to flaking. Saliva also contains chemicals for digestion that are too harsh for your lips.
- Breathing through your nose: When you breathe through your mouth, a lot of air gets sucked in through your lips, drying and chapping them fast.
- Biting your lips: Some people chew on their lips when nervous, stressed, or frightened. The habit leaves your lips raw and prone to cracking and chapping.
- Letting lipstick stay overnight: Lipsticks can contain chemicals that cause discoloration and drying after prolonged contact. Make sure you remember to wipe it off before going to bed.
- Smoking: Among other harmful effects of cigarettes, nicotine and tobacco darken lips.
2. Eat a healthy diet
You are what you eat. Taking care of your lips is synonymous to taking care of your skin. Eat a diet that is rich in Vitamin E and Vitamin B, such as fruits and vegetables, to nourish your lips. Remember to drink at least eight glasses of water every day to keep your entire body moisturized. Avoid taking too much hot coffee, tea, soup, and spicy and salty food. Lips are sensitive to hot temperatures and can crack and chap from excessive exposure to heat.
3. Exfoliate once a week
Give your lips a good scrub occasionally to remove dead skin cells and to show new, smooth, and healthy skin on your lips. Try to exfoliate naturally by using an old, soft toothbrush or sugar.
To exfoliate your lips with a toothbrush:
- Squirt a drop of petroleum jelly on an old, soft toothbrush.
- Moisten your lips with water.
- Rub your lips with the toothbrush in circular motions.
- Rinse your lips with water.
To exfoliate your lips with sugar:
- Mix sugar and a little olive oil in a bowl.
- Using your finger, rub the mixture on your lips gently in circular motions.
- Rinse the mixture off your lips with water.
4. Moisturize religiously
Our lips produce neither sweat nor oil, leaving them with no natural protection against drying, chapping, and cracking. To shield your lips from blistering cold during winter or heat from a humid summer, keep your lips moisturized regularly. The market is saturated with tons of lip balms in all shapes and forms. To get smooth lips, choose the best lip balm for you by knowing its key ingredients:
- Paraben-free: Parabens are preservatives used in many cosmetic products. Research implies parabens can cause breast cancer.
- Moisturizing ingredients: Beeswax, shea butter, lanolin, and cocoa butter often moisturize and protect lips, while ceramides contain fats that retain water.
- Contains five percent of humectants: Humectants increase water content, helping to stop chapped lips.
- Dimethicone: This ingredient stops your lips from drying quickly.
- Sunscreen: A good lip balm must contain ingredients that protect you from UV rays.
5. Exercise that pout
Some women resort to implants and injections just to get the full, heart-shaped mouth that spurred Angelina Jolie to stardom. If you are not the type that is open to plastic surgery, spare a few minutes of your time every day to do a few lip therapy and facial exercises that improve blood circulation and skin texture:
- Fill your cheeks with air and hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat this five times.
- Pucker your lips and hold them for 10 seconds. Repeat this five times.
- Smile and hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat this five times.
6. Pamper your lips once in a while
- Give your lips a good massage: Massages promote better blood circulation to your lips. They also keep the muscles of your lips relaxed and supple. To get attractive lips, take an ice cube and rub it to your lips slowly in circular motions. This will make your lips look full and red.
- Give your lips a special treat: Give your lips the VIP treatment every now and then, the same way you give your face and neck hydrating masks. Here are some ways to look after your lips:
- Go for a quick fix: Apply coconut oil or honey on your lips liberally in gentle, circular motions. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes. Then wipe it off thoroughly with a clean and warm washcloth. Do not rinse off.
- Hydrate overnight: Apply cocoa or shea butter, or extra virgin olive oil on your lips liberally and let your lips absorb all the oil naturally over time. This might take half an hour. When the oil has seeped into your lips, reapply some more, and then leave it on when going to bed. When you wake up the day after, your dry and cracked lips will be soft, smooth, and supple.