Soften Dry, Cracked Lips for a More Youthful Smile

Hydrate and smooth parched lips for an instantly younger looking smile.

soften dry lips

Photo by: Jesus Ayala/Studio D

When lips are rough and flaky, you need to focus first on plumping and softening with a good balm, says celebrity makeup artist Melanie Mills. From there, it’s all about choosing the right conditioning lipstick—one that’s brightening but weightless, so that it glides easily over a rougher surface.


Step One: Moisturize Start with a rich balm that has at least SPF 15, or higher. Lips lack melanin and are especially susceptible to sunburn, which will dry and chap them further. Look for ingredients like vitamin E and shea butter, and apply it first, before you even moisturize your face. That way, you can let it settle in while you do the rest of your makeup. “When lips are properly moisturized and smooth, the color will apply seamlessly,” says celebrity makeup artist Sonia Kashuk.


Step Two: Add Color Your go-to lipstick might be adding to the dryness problem: Anything matte will zap moisture, as will “long-lasting” products that contain alcohols. “They really, really dry out the lips,” says Mills. “It’s time to give them up—at least for regular, everyday wear.”


Fortunately, there is a wide selection of moisturizing lipsticks, stains and glosses on the market that are specially formulated to soften and smooth. Most will tell you so, but if not, just look for ingredients like shea butter, palm oil, vitamin E or glycerin. As for choosing a color, “very pale or very bold lip colors will make a dry mouth look even more scaly, so stick with soft, natural shades like rose or, for darker skin, a subtle, reddish berry,” says Rebecca Restrepo, global makeup artist for Elizabeth Arden.


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