Beauty experts reveal what to look for in a balm, gloss, and lipstick
By Emily HebertHalle Berry
Photo: Getty Images
Dry, flaky lips are never flattering-but during the fall and winter months, battling a chapped pucker can prove difficult. Thankfully, makeup artist Jim Crawford (Halle Berry is a client) and Soap & Glory founder Marcia Kilgore have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Which ingredients should you look for in a lip product?
Kilgore: Look for lip balms or glosses with ingredients like Shea butter and beeswax, both of which coat your lips with a layer that helps reduce trans-epidermal water loss and chap.
Crawford: Natural waxes add shine and slip-my favorites are beeswax, as well as cadelilla, and carnauba, which are plant-derived. Every gloss and balm contains some form of them and they're good protectors. Besides waxes, I also check for oils. Some people have a reaction to petroleum oil-it's not necessarily the best thing-but it's one of those products that has been used for centuries and a lot of lip glosses contain it. Olive oil, vegetable oil, cocoa butter, lanolin-all of those sorts of oils are also good in small quantities. Vitamin E and different nutrients are beneficial too, but waxes and oils are the primary things to keep in mind. A great product that I use all the time is The Body Shop Tantalizing Lip Butter.
Which ingredients should you steer clear of?
Crawford: Alcohol, because of the drying effect. Some matte lipsticks contain it-when you put them on it's not as though your lips will be immediately dry and puckered-up but over time the alcohol is going to dry out your skin. You also want to stay away from products that have any kind of menthol in them. Menthol is a type of alcohol and gives your lips a nice tingling sensation, but it's just not good.
Kilgore: Many medicated lip balms contain menthol or camphor. A lot of women think that using medicated lip balm is the only way to treat their lips during the winter months, but while menthol and camphor might feel good at first, they create an addiction for your lips by drying them out even more, at which point you feel you have to apply even more product to reduce the dryness. It's like a dry lip self-fulfilling prophecy.
Any quick fixes for pesky flakes on your pucker?
Crawford: When you're washing your face, add a little sugar to your cleanser and rub gently over the lip area. Sugar is a natural ingredient that won't dry out your skin like salt will and it's a great exfoliator. For easy access, fill a salt shaker a quarter of the way with rice and fill the rest with sugar. Twist on the top, shake it up, and keep it in your bathroom-the rice will absorb any moisture so that the sugar won't stick to the bottom; when you pour only the sugar will come out.
I've been doing this for years and it's one of my favorite tricks. It works better than a toothbrush-brushing your lips with toothpaste, a mint-containing product, can irritate and burn. I think it's also more efficient than rubbing your lips with a washcloth. Washcloths have loopy fibers which are typically too soft and pliable to exfoliate the lip.