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The Beauty Memo

How to get soft, smooth, beautiful lips

Alexis Mabille FW13

You’ve got a great skincare routine, but are you letting yourself down when it comes to your lips? Here’s how to protect your pout, come rain or shine. By NEWBY HANDS


Why do lips get dry?

With no oil glands to moisturize, a minimal protective skin barrier and continual exposure to the elements (sun and cold weather are key culprits), it’s no wonder that lips get cracked, dry and uncomfortable. Then there are potentially aggravating ingredients – for me, it’s the pigment in some red lipsticks; for others it can be toothpaste – plus sensitivity triggered by the overuse of medicated lip balms, which often contain abrasive camphor and menthol. The result is on-going irritation, peeling and the inevitable dry/lick cycle.

How can you treat chapped lips?

Most lips balms sooth and comfort in the short term, but for a lasting, fundamental change, you need to use something more occlusive, like a salve – this will create a protective layer that keeps moisture in and irritants out while your lips repair. Choose something that won’t instantly be licked off – I use a thick slick of Crème de la Mer overnight (La Mer Lip Balm is also excellent), or By Terry’s cult Baume de Rose, which is incredible on dry lips, as is the pure lanolin-based Lano Lips Hands All Over. For an even deeper treatment, layer an oil (almond or vitamin E) underneath – I love Algenist’s new Genius Liquid Collagen or Nº 28 Lip Treatment Oil. Do this every night and, if possible, during the day to see and feel a lasting difference.

Are there short-term solutions?

Makeup artists often use lip balm and a soft toothbrush to exfoliate rough, chapped lips. I prefer to gently rub a mixture of almond, vitamin E or coconut oil and granulated sugar over lips to soften, buff and nourish. Even better, Nurse Jamie NuLipsRX kit contains a balm and a silicone lip brush to help polish flaky, dry skin – the scrubbing motion will also give lips a definite short-term plumpness.


The models featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.