How to Get Perfectly Pouty Lips
One of the more frequent questions I get asked is, “How do you keep your lips looking nice?” I’ll share my own routine, any secrets I have that I use on my own lips, and additional beauty tips to keep your lips in tip top shape.
The Perfect Pout Toolkit
It is important that you have the right tools in your beauty stash to help your lips stay pretty, so you should make sure to have these on hand at all times…
- Product Suggestions: Jojoba Oil + Sugar, Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($23), Sara Happ The Lip Scrub ($24)
Daily Lip Balm
- Product Suggestions: Yes to Carrots Lip Butter ($3), Rosebud Lip Balm ($7), Smashbox Lip Treatment ($15)
Nightly Lip Balm
- Product Suggestions: Carmex ($3), Vaseline ($5), Philosophy Kiss Me Intense Lip Therapy ($20.00)
The Perfect Pout Routine
In the morning, check to see if your lips are dry, cracked, or flaking. If it seems minor, putting a little toner on a cotton pad and wiping lips always helps me. (For this, I love NARS Hydrating Freshening Lotion ($36), because it’s very lightweight and never pulls moisture from my lips; it also has grape seed oil and aloe in it.) You can also take a soft-bristled toothbrush and a little warm water or an oil like jojoba oil and softly brush against lips for an easy, at-home scrub. If it’s not a big deal, go easy and just be gentle; you want to get dead cells off, but you don’t want to over-do it. I usually don’t find myself needing to do this step daily, but I might do it before I do several lip swatches or as needed.
- To-do list: gentle, morning exfoliation when lips seem to need it
During the day, apply a good daily lip balm every few hours. You shouldn’t have to reapply hourly, and your lips shouldn’t feel like the moisture has been sucked out of them after a few hours, either. You want a lip balm that helps to protect your lips and retain moisture. The more emollient a lip balm (often oil-based or with a waxy base), the more likely it is to create a better, thicker barrier against the elements. If you’re going outdoors or into cold weather, opt for a thicker lip balm and slick it on more often than you think you need to. Make sure you’re drinking several glasses of water/liquid throughout the day; it’s good for, well, pretty much everything beauty-wise, but it also helps keep lips from drying out.
- To-do list: apply a moisturizing lip balm three to four times a day, protect lips from harsh conditions and cold weather
At night, I like to do a more intensive exfoliation or scrub down two or three times a week. I personally use The Lip Scrub by Sara Happ ($24), which is a sugar-based scrub that you gently work onto lips and then wipe away with a tissue. I also use a warm washcloth that’s been wrung out to remove the scrub, though. Gently remove it, though – you don’t want to violently wipe away any bits! You can always make your own scrub using any thick lip balm or oil (again, jojoba oil is my favorite to use) and add in some sugar.
- To-do list: exfoliate/scrub lips once to three times weekly
Before bed, apply a thick lip balm. The thicker the better! I often use Vaseline ($5) or Philosophy’s Kiss Me Intense Lip Therapy ($20), and don’t be shy about how much you use.
- To-do list: apply a thick, emollient lip balm or treatment before bed
When You Wear Makeup
Before you apply lipstick or gloss, make sure your lips are moisturized. I like to apply a jellyish lip balm on my lips about a half hour before I apply lipstick, then I kiss the back of my hand to remove any excess, then apply lipstick or gloss as usual. If you’re applying a gloss, I’ve found that you don’t need to remove as much excess beforehand; with lipstick, the oil from lip balm often breaks down the product faster, which is why removing excess is important. It is also important to use lipsticks and glosses that don’t dry out your lips! I know I’ve personally found that many lipglosses dry out my lips and cause them to peel, which is both painful and ugly to go through, so I often go for lipstick (even something sheer) underneath my gloss so that doesn’t happen.
Tips & Tricks
- Sunscreen is always helpful in a daily lip balm, so consider picking up one that contains SPF — there are a lot more on the market nowadays compared to a year or two years ago.
- If you don’t feel the lip balm, it might not be enough for you. Lip balm is often more of a protectant than anything else, so if it’s so sheer and invisible, it might not be doing the job you want it to. During the day, I like something thick enough to feel, but not so thick that it’s like a coat of jelly on my lips (e.g. Vaseline is too much during the day, but perfect at night).
- Lip lines can be aggravating, particularly if color regularly sinks into them. Consider a lip plumper or line filler for use on the lips (I like MAC’s Prep + Prime Lip or Line Filler). A lip plumping gloss or lipstick can also help make lines look less noticeable and lips appear fuller, but be prepared for a sting if you do (it will vary from person to person, depending on their tolerance and sensitivity).
- Soothe cracked lips by gently exfoliating away dry parts and by using very emollient, rich, and thick products — you may even find a rich cream works better than your average lip balm. Avoid licking, biting, or peeling lips, because these are all behaviors that exacerbate the problem rather than curing it. If you have a tendency to lick your lips, avoid flavored lip balms and glosses. I personally find MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner to taste like sunscreen, and maybe that’s a way to cure your desire to taste!
Share your favorite lip care tips in the comments!