On my admittedly long list of beauty woes, there's little that frustrates me more than chapped lips. I've tried it all: cult-favorite balms, reparative creams, ultra-hydrating masks — but time and time again (and especially after being cooped up in an air-conditioned office all week), my lips return to their dry, angry state. So, when I started to see a handful of lip scrubs pop up on the market — all claiming to destroy chapped skin on cue — I practically flung myself at the opportunity to maybe, finally rid my lips of dry skin, once and for all.
But, like any good skeptic, I first went to an expert to find out how effective lip scrubs are. "Lip scrubs are physical exfoliants that remove the surface layer of your skin," says Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. Used weekly — and, the key, gently — Dr. Nazarian says these powerful little scrubs will slough away the dry, dead skin that sits on your lips.
The only caveat? Lip scrubs actually aren't recommended for sensitive skin, so those with severely cracked, inflamed lips should pause. “When the skin barrier is already broken, lip scrubs will only add to the inflammation. Think of cracked lips like you would a sunburn that's peeling — you would never scrub skin that's irritated," she cautions. "But, if you're looking to smooth out dry, chapped or dehydrated skin, lip scrubs are a safe option." Scrubs are also a must-have for anyone who wears lipstick, since a quick buff before makeup application keeps things smooth and neat, rather than patchy and bumpy (gross).
As a general rule of thumb, make sure you follow any lip scrub with a moisturizing balm, like Dr. Nazarian's (and Fashionista editor!) favorite Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, which is "loaded with vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and fruit-derived antioxidants that work to hydrate your lips as you sleep," she says.
Ahead, we've rounded up 11 lip scrubs that soften, smooth and hydrate even the driest of lips. Click through to see them all.
Please note: Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. This in no way affects our editorial decision-making.