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A photo of someone lightly touching their lips.


How To Smooth and Soften Dry Lips

We’ve all dealt with the occasional bout of chapped lips. Learn how to manage dry lips with Kiehl’s best lip balms and treatments ahead.

Chapped lips are one of the skin concerns that affect almost everyone at some point, regardless of skin type, gender, or age. Often, dry lips occur during the cooler months, when there’s not a ton of moisture in the air, but cold winter air isn’t the only thing that can cause lips to chap. Many factors can trigger the dryness, peeling, and redness associated with chapped lips.

That’s why taking care of your lips all year round is critical. In addition to helping keep your lips looking and feeling their best, proper lip care can help protect your pout from the stressors that would otherwise lead to chapped lips. Here, we’ll clue you in on some of the common causes of chapped lips and provide tips on how to keep your pout soft and smooth. We’ll also offer recommendations on the best Kiehl’s products to use when your lips do get chapped (because even with the best lip care routine, it’s bound to happen occasionally). Break out your balm, and read on for your Kiehl’s guide to dry lip care.

What Causes Dry Lips?

While chapped lips are often seen as a winter skin concern, in reality, it can happen anytime (and to anyone). Before we get into dry lip causes, however, we thought it’d be helpful to briefly review the anatomy of your lips.

Like the rest of your skin, your lips are protected by the stratum corneum, commonly known as the skin’s natural moisture barrier. This barrier is your body’s first line of defense against external stressors (like pollution), and it helps trap moisture to keep your skin hydrated and healthy-looking. On the lips, this barrier is fragile, at least in comparison to the rest of your face. The relative delicacy of the lip’s natural barrier makes your lips uniquely prone to water loss, which, if left unchecked, can evolve into full-fledged chapped lips.

As for what causes water loss itself, the list is extensive: Extreme weather (both hot and cold), dehydration, and sun exposure are a few of the things that can make your lips feel dry. Your natural response to this dryness may be to lick your lips to temporarily relieve that unpleasant dry sensation. But while licking your lips may feel soothing in the short term, it can actually exacerbate dryness and worsen the symptoms of chapped lips. Instead, you want to treat chapped lips with moisturizing products specifically formulated for the lips’ thin, delicate skin.

How Do You Hydrate Your Lips?

Now that you’re caught up on what causes dry, chapped lips, keep reading to learn how to hydrate them with the best Kiehl’s lip care products.


Lip Balm #1

Our paraben-free Lip Balm #1 is a classic for a reason. This nourishing lip balm, which first hit Kiehl’s shelves in the 1960s, is made with an ultra-hydrating blend of moisturizers, including olive-derived squalane, lanolin, and antioxidant vitamin E. The soothing formula absorbs easily and helps soften dry, chapped areas.

We recommend applying it liberally in the morning and evening as part of your regular skincare routine (if you wear lipstick or other lip makeup, wait for your balm to absorb fully before applying your lip color). Reapply throughout the day as needed for smooth, hydrated lips.


Buttermask For Lips

If you’re feeling drier than usual, we recommend adding Buttermask For Lips to your nighttime skincare routine. This ultra-rich overnight lip mask contains a blend of moisturizing ingredients, including wild mango butter, fairly-traded coconut oil, and creamy shea butter. The fragrance-free formula helps restore the lips’ natural moisture barrier and leaves dry lips feeling soft, smooth, and intensely moisturized.

Apply a generous layer of this hydrating treatment at bedtime for soft, visibly restored lips by morning. You can also use it as a 15-minute mask to prep your lips for makeup—just be sure to blot off any excess product before applying your favorite lip color.


Facial Fuel No-Shine Moisturizing Lip Balm

Though our lip treatments are generally unisex, we have lip products made just for men, too. We recommend all guys keep a lip care product, like Facial Fuel No-Shine Moisturizing Lip Balm, in their toiletry bag. This lightweight balm for guys stars olive-derived squalane and energizing peppermint oil. It softens and nourishes dry, chapped lips and leaves behind a matte finish for smooth, shine-free lips all day long. Apply it as the last step in your men’s skincare routine and reapply as needed to keep dryness at bay.

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