It’s easy to overlook your lips…
But in order to complete your skin care routine, you have to know how to exfoliate lips properly and effectively. Lip exfoliation is important because the lip area has delicate, thin skin that requires special care — including exfoliation.
Keep reading to learn why you must make the time and effort to exfoliate your lips, and how to choose (and DIY) your own lip exfoliant.
Specialized Skin Care: Why Do You Need To Exfoliate Your Lips?
Similar to your delicate under-eye area, your lips are covered by more delicate skin compared to the rest of your face. Since the skin is much thinner on your lips, the skin barrier isn’t as strong, and it isn’t as capable of retaining moisture. That’s why a lot of environmental and lifestyle factors — too much wind and sun, smoking, even cold weather or air conditioning — contribute to dry lips and flaky patches.1
Your lip skin is also susceptible to showing signs of aging — like wrinkles around your lips or “smoker’s lines” — making lip exfoliation an important step in mature skin care. As moisture retention and skin elasticity decreases with age, flaky lips, dry skin on the lips, and even discoloration or dullness may become more noticeable.2
Simply applying more lip balm isn’t enough to deal with dry and dull lips — read on to learn more about the specific benefits a dedicated lip exfoliating regimen can help provide.
More Than A Smoother And Softer Pout: Here Are The Benefits Of Lip Exfoliation
Similar to a body scrub, a good lip scrub provides gentle exfoliation. By exfoliating consistently with the right product or ingredients, you may experience the following benefits — both instantly, and over time…
Helps Achieve Optimal Cell Turnover Through Dead Skin Removal
By gently sloughing off dead skin cells, smooth and fresh skin is revealed. Immediately, you may notice that your lipstick or other lip products glide on much easier and show improved wear. But a smoother lipstick application is only an immediate perk. Over time, consistently exfoliating dead skin or dead cells can also help lessen the appearance of discoloration or dark spots on the lips, since you’re constantly making room for new, even-toned skin to be revealed.3
Smooths Out And Plumps Up The Appearance Of Lips
Aside from removing chapped skin, the practice of exfoliation also helps stimulate blood flow to the lip area. This helps give the appearance of plumper, healthier-looking lips. You may even find you can get away with just a trace of lipstick, since you’re already sporting a smoother, more kissable pout.4
Helps Keep Lips Hydrated
Unlike the rest of your face, your lip skin has no oil glands, so your lips may need a little extra help staying hydrated or moisturized. This is where your lip moisturizer comes in, but if you’re stuck with a dry layer of skin, it’ll be harder for it to do its job. Lip scrubs aid in moisture retention by allowing hydrating products to penetrate the skin, helping keep lips soft, healthy, and moisturized.5
DIY Lip Scrub Recipe Ideas You Can Try
While there are plenty of products you can buy, there’s a lot of merit to making your own simple lip scrub using household ingredients you may already have in your cupboards.
You can make your own natural exfoliant by combining two basic components: an abrasive ingredient to serve as the physical exfoliant or scrub, and an oil or moisturizer to help the scrub do its work more smoothly. Common homemade lip scrubs often call on these ingredients to use as a lip exfoliant: white sugar, brown sugar, and even cinnamon.6
For the second component, you’ll want an ingredient emollient enough to serve as a moisturizing agent. You can use coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, or petroleum jelly. You only need a small amount of each component, so try to source the best quality you can find.7
Other beneficial ingredients you can consider mixing and matching to make your DIY lip scrubs include honey (bonus points for having antibacterial properties), avocado oil, and almond oil; you can even try coffee grounds or ground oats — these have a similar texture to sugar granules.8
Sugar And Honey Lip Scrub
Need a simple lip scrub recipe? Try this: mix one tablespoon of coconut oil, two teaspoons of granulated sugar, and half a teaspoon of honey together. This is a good base recipe you can add extra ingredients to if you wish.9
Mint Lip Scrub
Peppermint adds a little zing to your usual lip scrub, helping to support circulation and give your lips that slightly “bee-stung” look. Add 8-10 drops of peppermint oil to two tablespoons of either coconut or olive oil mixed with two tablespoons sugar. Then, add in half a teaspoon of grapeseed oil.10
Chocolate Lip Scrub Mask
This recipe may seem like dessert, but please don’t eat it. Combine one tablespoon of cocoa powder, two tablespoons brown sugar, one teaspoon vanilla extract, a tiny bit of honey, and two teaspoons of olive oil. Vanilla extract is a great add-on because it contains anti-aging antioxidants that are great for your lips.11
You’ve Made Your Scrub: How Do You Exfoliate Lips Properly?
With your chosen scrub at the ready, here’s a simple step-by-step process you can follow.
Be Gentle And Prep Your Lips Well
Don’t just go to town with your abrasive scrub — it pays to start gently and with a well-prepped pucker. Dab a towel moistened with warm water over your mouth for a bit before gently buffing your chosen scrub over your lips. You can use your finger, a soft toothbrush, or a soft washcloth to gently massage the scrub over the skin of your lips. Leave on for a few minutes, then rinse with warm water.12
Never Skip Moisturizing After Exfoliating
After exfoliating, your lips are primed and ready to be moisturized. Make sure you slather on a generous amount of your favorite lip treatment post-scrub (THIS one is our top recommendation). Similarly, use gentle pressure when applying your lip moisturizers, as you may experience sensitive skin after exfoliating.13
If All Else Fails: Lip Balm And Toothbrush To The Rescue
These lip scrub recipes are all simple and inexpensive, and they don’t require much work — after all, you should only exfoliate your lips once weekly. But for the most fuss-free method that doesn’t require mixing any oils or sugar, you can simply apply some lip balm, dip a clean, soft toothbrush in warm water, then gently rub it across your lips.14
Exfoliate For Even More Beautiful Lips
Whether you want your matte lipstick to pop even more, or you want to show off healthy, pretty lips sans makeup, exfoliating your lips regularly is in your skin’s best interest. Try any of these (literally) sweet scrub ideas today.