Plump, kissable lips are what we all strive for, and we’re well aware that we need to drench them in moisture, especially through cold winters and dry summers. What’s not so obvious, though, is that we should also be exfoliating our lips, just as we do the rest of our body.
The skin on your lips has a thinner stratum corneum, which is the top layer of skin. This means that the blood vessels in the epidermis are more visible - hence the pretty pink colour - but it also means that lips are more prone to damage than other areas of the skin. They also don’t produce sebum, unlike the rest of your skin, so are wholly dependent on external sources of moisture. Exfoliating them gently removes the dead skin cells on top, and allows your lip balm of choice to penetrate the skin more effectively - plus, it leads to silky soft lips!
Don’t rush out to buy a lip scrub just yet though - they’re surprisingly easy to make at home. Because anything you put on your lips might easily find its way into your mouth, it’s best to use edible ingredients, which are easy enough to source! This also means you can tailor the scrub to suit your preferences and needs. Basically, you need something that will manually exfoliate your lips and something to bind it together and moisturise simultaneously. Read on to find out some of our favourite ingredient picks!
First up: soft brown sugar. It boasts smaller, softer granules than both salt and granulated sugar (and tastes markedly nicer than salt!), so offers a gentler exfoliation that’s great for the delicate skin on your lips. Brown sugar also contains wonder-ingredient glycolic acid, which is a chemical exfoliant that helps to break down bonded skin cells and support cell turnover. Hello bright, glowing skin! The sugar is also a humectant, so it traps and retains moisture - ideal for lips in need of a bit of a hydration boost. What’s more, you probably already have some in your cupboard - or at the very least there will be some at the nearest corner store!
If you’re less into sweet treats and more about a caffeine fix, how about using your favourite coffee in a lip scrub? The flavour of this one might be a bit too strong for licking off lips, but it works wonders for scrubbing away dead skin to reveal soft, pampered lips. Caffeine works to boost blood flow, so if you’re after rosier lips, this one’s for you, as lips will appear flushed as well as smooth. You can even re-use old coffee granules, to save money and waste, so you don’t need to choose between your morning treat and scrubbed lips just yet - win win!
Maybe you’re happy with the colour of your lips, but wish they were a bit plumper? While we reckon all lips are beautiful, there is a natural way to plump lips temporarily: cinnamon. It’s actually one of the ingredients commonly used in plumping lip treatments, so raid your baking cupboard and get slathering! No injections needed - just make sure you don’t inhale the powder!
Now onto the moisturising base:Olive oil is an easy choice because most of us already have it in our kitchens, and it boasts a whole host of skin benefits. Its antioxidant content prevents wrinkles from forming, so if you’re concerned about fine lines around your mouth, try adding a little of this oil to your scrub and focusing on the area outside your lips, too. Another great wrinkle-prevention ingredient is sweet almond oil: it contains antioxidants which help to prevent the deterioration of your skin’s collagen, which keeps skin plump and youthful. The fatty acids also help your skin to hold on to moisture, and repair damaged skin - great for midwinter, when our lips feel the harsh wind!
Sweet almond oil is therefore a great choice for both plumper, moisturised lips and a reduction in wrinkles around the mouth area. This is all thanks to its vitamin E content, however - and a different (and potentially more accessible) way to reap these benefits is by opening up vitamin E capsules. Vitamin E is found in your skin’s sebum, so the lack of natural sebum in your lips means that this nourishing ingredient will be most welcome. You’ll be able to find these in any health food store, so they might be easier to come by than sweet almond oil, and you’ll still feel the moisturising, skin healing benefits. As a bonus, you could take the capsules too, which help to fight inflammation, prevent UVB damage, and battle against signs of ageing.
These are only a few of the options for making your own lip scrub, and the combinations you can come up with are almost endless! One of our favourites is cinnamon, honey, and olive oil, which moisturises your pout whilst plumping. Swipe on some of our Lip Treat afterwards, which is packed with nourishing oils and butters, and you’ll have voluptuous, smooth lips in no time at all. Perfect for party season!