Most people experience chapped lips every once in a while, but cold winter temperatures can bring them about more regularly. Luckily, dry lips don’t have to be a constant, and with the right lip care routine, you can learn how to make your lips soft and keep them hydrated.
Slathering your pout with a lip balm is important, but you should also pay attention to which ingredients are good for your lips. We love squalane for its moisturizing properties that are also safe for dry, sensitive skin, and coconut oil, which is an occlusive moisturizer that protects against moisture loss.
But in order for these ingredients to be helpful, you have to know how to use them the right way. Keep reading, because, we’re breaking down seven key lip care steps for how to get soft lips, including using formulas with both of these effective ingredients.
How to Make Your Lips Soft
1. Use Lip Balm Daily
The same way your face needs to be hydrated with a face moisturizer and your under-eye area calls for an eye cream, your lips need daily moisture, too. A lip balm can help smooth, soften, and moisturize lips. Using one throughout the day can help replenish moisture and help prevent lips from becoming dry in the first place. This means you shouldn’t wait for your lips to get parched before picking up a tube. Make using lip balm part of your everyday lip care routine. Keep your lip conditioner with the rest of your skincare products and apply it as your last step, and also throw a tube in your bag or pocket for on-the-go application.
For your everyday lip balm, we recommend Lip Balm #1. This Kiehl’s classic has been around since the 1960s, which should tell you something about its proven efficacy. The moisturizing formula with squalane, aloe vera, and vitamin E smooths and hydrates lips. It also helps shield them from the drying effects of wind and cold weather.
Facial Fuel No-Shine Moisturizing Lip Balm is another favorite lip balm. This option is part of the men’s Facial Fuel line and is uniquely formulated for the gents. What sets it apart is its finish — the balm has a no-shine formula that mattifies the lips while moisturizing them and leaving them soft and smooth.
2. Don’t Forget To Exfoliate
Finding the best lip balm is important, but your dry lips need more than just moisture to become their softest. Over time, dry, dead skin cells build up on your lips, and they should be removed and exfoliated away with a lip scrub. Using your fingertip, apply a small amount onto your lips, leave on for five minutes then rub it over your lips. Wash off the residue with a soft washcloth and lukewarm water, then follow with the lip moisturizer or balm.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: If you don’t have a lip scrub on hand, you can get creative with what you do have. Gently rub your lips with a toothbrush (one that’s completely clean of toothpaste residue), and they’ll be perfectly prepped for your lip balm. You can also add a bit of granulated sugar to your Lip Balm #1 and use that as an exfoliator to scrub your lips.
3. Indulge Your Pout With a Lip Mask
Adding a lip mask to your routine will help replenish and moisturize dry lips. Many lip masks can be used overnight as a hydrating treatment while you sleep, while some can also be applied to the lips as a moisturizing treatment before makeup.
You can help lips feel and appear hydrated and restored with a layer of the hydrating Buttermask For Lips. This overnight lip treatment is formulated with coconut oil and wild mango butter to help reveal smoother and softer lips. Apply a generous layer at bedtime and in the morning before your favorite lip gloss or lipstick. While it is considered a nighttime lip moisturizer, you can also reapply the mask throughout the day as desired to hydrate your pout as needed.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: Prep lips for a night out by applying Buttermask For Lips for 10 to 15 minutes to soften your lips while you’re getting ready. Wipe it off with a cloth and apply your lip color as per usual before heading out. We love this trick because it doesn’t add any extra time to your routine, but a dose of moisture can help your lipstick apply more smoothly.
4. Always Wear SPF
Lip sunscreen may not be part of your vernacular in the way that face and body sunscreen are, but it’s just as important. No matter the time of year, you should protect your lips from the sun. They can get burnt and be damaged just like the skin on any other spot that’s exposed to UV rays. Make sure to use a lip balm with an SPF value of 30 or greater every day and reapply it at least every two hours when outdoors.
5. Stop Bad Lip Habits
Some people pick at their cuticles, others absent-mindedly twirl their hair or mess with split ends while others lick or bite their lips — either way, they’re all bad habits. If you have dry lips, licking them may seem like it can help, but science shows that as your saliva evaporates, your lips will actually get drier. This creates a (nearly) never-ending cycle where you’re always licking your lips.
Biting (or picking) at your lips can also be irritating and impede healing, which may make chapped lips worse and take away from your lip care efforts. The tips we’ve mentioned above can help with biting or picking since you will have less dry skin to pick, and you can also try distracting yourself or keeping your hands busy to avoid touching your mouth.
6. Drink More Water
It might seem as if drinking more water is the answer to everything, but staying hydrated is also key if you want your lips to be hydrated, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Start carrying a water bottle and keep a glass on your desk and nightstand to make sure you drink enough water every day.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: You can also introduce more hydration to your skin (including the skin on your lips) with the help of a humidifier. Sleep with one by your bed to put extra moisture into the air while you sleep.