In the last few years, building the perfect skincare routine has become somewhat of an obsession for many of us. But while we’re busy layering up all of our serums and creams, it’s important to take a moment to think about our lips, because they go through a lot. Everything from sun exposure to not drinking enough water can impact their overall health and appearance. So, we spoke with Ohio-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hope Mitchell to get her advice on keeping your lips in tip-top condition. Read on to learn how to keep your lips healthy and well-cared for, as well as her top 5 cruelty-free lip product picks.
Why Is Lip Care Important?
A good lip care routine can do more than just perfect your pout (although that’s a great outcome too). It can also protect you from soreness, premature aging, and potentially even cancer. Mitchell says: “Lip skin is one of the thinnest skin areas on the body. In fact, lips start to thin when we are teenagers. With lack of appropriate care, lips may dry, crack, peel, develop precancers, skin cancer, and of course, develop fine lines and wrinkles (especially on the area right around the lips).”
The best way that we can protect our lips is to be proactive about their care. According to Mitchell, sun protection is key. This is particularly important when the weather is at its hottest. “Lips [are] more prone to damage during the summer months, especially for people that spend a lot of time exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation,” explains Mitchell. (Sunbathers, take note!)
Although summer is an important time to protect our lips from the sun, using SPF on our lips is beneficial all year round. They may not feel as hot, but the sun’s rays can cause damage to your skin even in the winter. Mitchell recommends finding a good lip product with SPF 30 (or higher) and wearing it every single day, regardless of the weather.
There are also other good habits you can get into to protect your lip health, like drinking plenty of water for hydration and finding a great emollient to seal in moisture. Mitchell also recommends regular exfoliation, which helps to reduce any build-up of dry, flaky skin. (But, don’t overdo it! Scrubbing too much and too hard can have the opposite effect and damage your lips. Gentleness, and waiting a couple of days between exfoliation is best.)
To get your lip care routine started, here are Mitchell’s top 5 cruelty-free and vegan products.
Coola Mineral Liplux SPF 30
Sun protection is this lip balm’s best feature. And the second-best thing is that it comes in 5 gorgeous shades, so it’ll blend right into your makeup bag. Plus it’s water-resistant and contains two natural emollients that will help to soothe and soften your lips: cupuaçu butter and mongongo oil. The former is great for hydration, as it can retain more than 400 percent of its weight in water, while the latter is high in vitamin E, an antioxidant known for its skin-healing benefits (like reducing cellular UV damage!). “These lightly-tinted formulations are great for daily use,” says Mitchell. “[They’re] a favorite.”
Kopari Beauty Coconut Lip Glossy
According to Mitchell, this sheer gloss “provides great nourishment for the lips” because it contains antioxidants (free radical-fighting molecules that help to maintain cell health), as well as moisturizing shea butter and conditioning coconut oil. Available in two shades, Clear and the pale pink Birthday Suit, the formula is also enriched with ultra-hydrating plant-derived squalane.
EOS Crystal Lip Balm Sphere
Mitchell recommends the EOS Crystal Lip Balm Sphere for “endless hydration.” That’s because it’s packed with nourishing, natural oils, including coconut, shea, and avocado. If you’re used to enjoying the latter on toast, you should know it’s also an excellent skincare ingredient, thanks to its high nutrient content (it’s packed with vitamin E and C, as well fatty acids, aka key components of healthy cell membranes).
Palmer’s Coconut Oil Lip Balm
Coconut oil is well-known for its ability to hydrate, condition, and moisturize the skin, so it makes sense that Palmer’s has created an entire lip care range around it. This creamy lip balm will likely become your regular go-to, leaving your lips feeling smooth and soft, and, Mitchell notes, helping to protect them from dryness and cracking.
Pacifica Pout Polish Gentle Lip Scrub
Enriched with moisturizing shea butter and a blend of hydrating oils, including jojoba and sweet almond, this sugar-based scrub will gently exfoliate away any dry, flakiness and leave you with smooth, soft lips. Mitchell is a fan of Pacifica’s whole lip care range, which offers a variety of lip balms (as well as an SPF 15 option), oils, and even an overnight lip treatment.
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