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This Trick To Save Your Chapped Lips Involves A One-Two Skin Care Punch

woman applying a lip balm with a finger
Image by LILIYA RODNIKOVA / Stocksy
December 3, 2020
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Raise your hand if you have dry, chapped lips right now! Dry lips, for some, is a perennial issue, but there is something about winter that simply brings out the worst of it. Yes, between the indoor heat blasting (perhaps even a space heater involved) and the cold, dry weather outside, our skin tends to feel a bit rougher this time year.

As some sort of way to stave away the flakes and chaps, you likely have your go-to balm (or two or three or...) perpetually on hand. I can just imagine my own stash right now: sticks, tubes, and pots nestled away in bags, pockets, in junk drawers, or as WFH desk accoutrement.

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Does this sound like you? Do you horde lippies and crayons in the hopes that if you just use them diligently, you'll be able to manage your dry lips? Well, hate to break it to you, but unless you are using your lip products correctly—and said lip products are formulated with the right blend of emollients and occlusives—no amount of reapplying is going to help.

Welcome to the art of lip layering.

Yes, you should layer your lip products.

Much like you layer skin care, or even body care, you can layer your lip care, too. And it follows the same order: water-based hydrator first, topped with an occlusive balm, wax, or oil.

See, you can only truly moisturize your skin with water—so you need a product that contains good ole agua to actually hydrate skin. If your go-to lip product is only wax or oil, you're not delivering any moisture. Instead you're just coating over skin with an occlusive film—and occlusives are necessary in skin care, but they need to be layered over something to trap. "Occlusives form a protective seal over the skin to lock in hydration and the products applied under them," board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., previously told us about layering products.

When the weather is humid out—like in the summer—this is less of an issue. As there's water in the air, your skin may already be fairly well hydrated. But once that goes away (revisit the heater and cold, winter winds mentioned previously), those little balms have nothing to lock in.

Here's your fix: a lip serum or cream first, topped with a balm or oil. I'm partial to Tatcha's The Kissu Mask since it has squalane (a humectant) and Japanese peach extract for my serum cream. After a thin layer, which I let dry down just a touch, I top it off with Caudalie's Lip Conditioner. The stick is made with a combo of antioxidants, ceramides, plant waxes, and fair-trade organic shea butter. It hugs lips so softly with a balmy finish, making your natural lip shade look its best.

If this all seems too precious for your daily routine, rest assured, you need to do this only when you're in real need of hydration. If your lips are consistently staying moisturized, feel free to skip our extra step. And if your lips regularly feel like the Sahara Desert? This tip is for you, dear friend.

The takeaway.

Listen, when the weather changes, our skin and hair changes too. But if you make slight tweaks to your routine, like in this case adding a lip serum, you can help keep your skin healthy no matter the elements.

Try these products:

Tatcha The Kissu Lip Mask

Tatcha Lip Mask

Caudalie Lip Conditioner

Caudalie lip conditioner
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Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.