Nov 8, 2019

The Scrubs & Treatments You Need To Survive Chapped-Lips Season

Lip scrubs are a divisive product category. We all know that exfoliating your lips is necessary — especially in colder months, if you want your lipstick to look smooth and supple — but is it really worth it to buy an entire lip scrub product? Don't those DIY treatments suffice?

The real deciding factor is if you're willing to hand over that cash. But there's also this to consider: Not all dry lips need a scrub. In fact, using lip scrubs incorrectly can make matters worse.

"There's a difference between chapped lips and flaky lips," says Sara Happ, founder of her eponymous lip-care brand. According to Happ, chapped lips indicate dehydrated skin, while flaky, cracked, or bleeding lips indicate damaged skin. "Chapped lips should be scrubbed daily, but flaky lips need to heal," she says. "Exfoliating isn't going to give [flaky lips] the love and rest they need."

Dennis Gross, MD, a NYC-based dermatologist and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, agrees. "Because the skin is thin on the lips, it is a fine line one might walk when exfoliating," he says. "Over-exfoliating lips will throw them off balance and, in turn, make them more dry. This can make them prone to cracking."

So what's the final verdict? If your lips are cracked and flaky, stick to soothing balms and treatments; if they're chapped, feel free to buff, but don't go overboard. Check out our favorite scrubs and treatments ahead.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Beauty Bakerie Sugar Lip Scrub


Treat your lips to a little bit of dessert any time a day by swirling this sweet-tasting scrub in circular motions before applying your favorite lip balm this winter. Though it may look sweet, it's packed with highly effective ingredients like castor oil to ensure the most supple lips imaginable.

Beauty Bakerie Sugar Lip Scrub, $, available at Ulta Beauty

Bybi Lip Buffe


Packaged in a biodegradable tube made of sugarcane, this 100% natural and vegan lip scrub uses a cocktail of sugar and strawberry extract to slough away dead and dry skin, and sweet almond oil to help restore moisture.

Bybi Lip Buffer, $, available at Chillhouse

e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Exfoliator


This gritty scrub comes in a lipstick-style tube filled with raw sugar granules, vitamin E, shea butter, and avocado oil to hydrate and exfoliate. Buff it on straight from the bullet, then wipe off the excess sugar and oils with a tissue before following up with your favorite lip balm.

e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Exfoliator, $, available at Ulta Beauty

Milani Keep It Sweet Sugar Lip Scrub


This is another lip scrub with a price tag that won't make you squirm. Easily found at the drugstore and packed with enough product to last you a year, this one balances just the right amount of grit to scrape off dead skin and plenty of nourishing ingredients like coconut and jojoba oils.

Milani Milani KEEP IT SWEET Sugar Lip Scrub, $, available at Milani

Burt's Bees Lip Treatment Lip Scrub


With exfoliating honey crystals, Burt's Bees' 100% natural lip scrub formula buffs away rough skin and gets rid of long-lasting liquid lipsticks. The brand recommends using two to three times a week, when needed.

Burt's Bees Natural Conditioning Lip Scrub, $, available at Ulta Beauty

Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub


Dior's scrubbing bullet not only feels soft and indulgent on lips, but it also has special melting sugar crystals so you don't have to deal with any mess. The luxury matches the price, though.

Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub, $, available at Sephora

Sara Happ The Lip Scrub


While we wouldn't recommend you regularly ingest Happ's heavenly lip scrubs, we can't blame you for sneaking a lick every now and then. They're insanely delicious and come in flavors that'll satisfy your sweet tooth.

Sara Happ The Lip Scrub in Pink Grapefruit, $, available at Amazon

Tarte Lip Facial Lip Scrub


This crayon-style tube is a balm and scrub in one. Once you're done buffing your lips with the sugar-infused tip, blot off the excess sugar and leave the hydrating balm on to soothe and hydrate.

Tarte Lip Facial Lip Scrub, $, available at Sephora

Lush Mint Julips


Scour the rabbit hole that is Lush product reviews on YouTube and you'll find this minty scrub pop up more than once. Bonus: The food-grade product is actually good enough to eat.

Lush Mint Julips, $, available at Lush

Frank Body Cherry Bomb Lip Scrub


Inside this tub you'll find a cherry-scented blend of coffee, raw sugar, and beeswax to keep lips healthy and plump.

Frank Body Cherry Bomb Lip Scrub, $, available at Frank Body

Bliss Fabulips Sugar Lip Scrub


This scrub smells like a sugar cookie, and keeps lips soft long after it's wiped off.

Bliss Fabulips Sugar Lip Scrub , $, available at Target

ChapStick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub


The holiday season may not be upon us just yet, but this peppermint-flavored drugstore pick — with vitamin E and coconut oil — is a refreshing take on the limited-edition lattes we love.

ChapStick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub, $, available at Ulta Beauty

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask


Now, onto lip treatments. This vanilla-scented leave-on mask has soothed our wind-whipped lips for three consecutive winters thanks to its antioxidant-, jojoba oil-, and agave-infused formula. Fair warning, though: It's thick and sticky, so save it for when you're binge-watching TV in bed at night.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, $, available at Sephora

Sara Happ The Sweet Clay Lip Mask


This lip mask is made with bentonite clay, but it won't dry out the skin like a traditional clay mask might — in fact, it does the opposite. Smooth on a layer of the bubblegum pink paste to your mouth and let it sit for up to 20 minutes. Then wipe it off to reveal smoother, more hydrated lips.

Sara Happ The Sweet Clay Lip Mask, $, available at Amazon

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask


Like a balm with superpowers, this thick mask is packed with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, so you'll wake up with the softest, smoothest, plumpest lips ever.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, $, available at Sephora

Kiehl's Buttermask Intense Repair Lip Treatment


With coconut and mango oil, this buttery lip treatment works to repair the moisture barrier overnight.

Kiehl's Buttermask Intense Repair Lip Treatment, $, available at Sephora

Nooni Applebutter Lip Mask


This lip mask is meant to be worn overnight. Smooth it on before getting into bed and you'll wake up to softer lips with fewer lines and no flakes.

Nooni Applebutter Lip Mask, $, available at Memebox

Biossance Squalane + Rose Vegan Lip Balm


Consider this balm the ultimate skin-care treatment for your lips, with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and Wakame algae to nourish and hydrate dry, lackluster skin. Pro tip: Feel free to swipe onto your lids or cheeks for a hit of non-sticky shine.


Biossance Squalane+ Rose Vegan Lip Balm, $, available at Sephora

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