The best ways to keep lips hydrated and healthy
Especially in the winter, you want to protect your pucker from the elements. Cold air and wind can quickly lead to dry, rough, chapped lips. Certain medications, and even toothpastes and mouthwashes, contribute to the problem. But before you reach for just any old lip balm, think twice. “Phenol-containing mineral oil or petrolatum-based lip balms cause skin irritation, dryness, and lip balm addiction,” says Kat James, author of the bestselling natural beauty classic The Truth About Beauty.
Instead, anything you put on your lips should quite literally be good enough to eat. Seek out products that use skin-compatible oils and lip balms containing emollients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, beeswax, calendula, aloe, allantoin (comfrey root), and vitamins C and E, says James. These ingredients “truly hydrate, heal, and protect the lips—they don’t just seal them.”
Here are some natural balms we think are the bomb!
Kiss My Face Sport Treatmint 30 protects lips from sunburn while enveloping them with natural beeswax, coconut oil, vitamin E, shea butter, and lime and spearmint essential oils.
Dr. Bronner Peppermint Organic Lip Balm contains zero synthetic ingredients—just organic beeswax; jojoba, avocado, and hemp oils; and peppermint essential oil.
Alaffia Cocoa & Shea Butter Lip Balm Natural Mocha gets its yummy mocha flavor and scent from fair-trade, ultra-hydrating shea and cocoa butters.
Out of Africa Pure Shea Butter Lip Balm Pomegranate + Açai keeps lips soft and supple with healing fatty acids from unrefined shea butter, and anti-aging antioxidants.
Shea Terra Organics Lip Savior rescues parched lips with golden beeswax from Uganda, a variety of beeswax with natural healing properties, along with rose hips and vitamin E-rich shea butter.
Did you know...
Lips are like fingerprints. No two lip prints are exactly alike. In forensics, the study of the pattern of wrinkles on the lips is called Cheiloscopy.
Take Your Vitamins
- Omega-3s. They’re good for your skin overall, including your lips.
- Zinc. Cracked lips are a sign you’re deficient in this mineral.
- B vitamins. Deficiencies of certain B vitamins can lead to dry, cracked lips, mouth sores, and even swelling of the tongue.
Make Your Own Lip Balm
From Herbs for Natural Beauty by Rosemary Gladstar, this deliciously simple salve recipe makes 1 cup—enough for several ¼-ounce containers. If you don’t want to give out lip balm as gifts, you can halve this recipe.
- ⅛ oz. alkanet root or other emollient herb such as comfrey or calendula
- 1 cup carrier oil such as apricot kernel, almond, or grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup grated or chopped beeswax
- 1 Tbs. honey
- A few drops of essential oil for flavor (any citrus, mint, vanilla, or rose are good choices)
- If you’re using alkanet or another emollient herb, combine it with the oil in a double boiler over low heat. Bring to a slow simmer for about 15–20 minutes, or until the oil has turned a deep red/black color; the deeper the color now, the redder the lip balm will be. If you’re using another herb, simmer for 20–30 minutes. Strain the herbs from the oil using a large strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth or muslin.
- Add the beeswax, honey, and essential oil to the strained oil. A taste test here is appropriate; adjust the flavors as needed.
- Test for consistency by placing a tablespoon of the oil in the refrigerator and letting it sit for 5–10 minutes. You want the lip balm to be solid but spreadable. If the test batch is too hard, add a bit more oil to the mixture to soften it; if it is too soft, add more beeswax to harden it. Don’t let the mixture cool too much while you’re doing this, or you won’t be able to pour it into containers. If it begins solidifying and clings to the edges of the pot, quickly reheat it.
- Pour lip balm mixture into ¼- or ½-oz. containers. Let cool completely before putting on lids.
What is Alkanet? Alkanet, a lovely garden flower, adds a rich red color as well as protective emollient properties. A smaller amount of alkanet will soften the color to pink or a light watermelon red. You can use other emollient
healing herbs in place of or in addition to the alkanet. Good candidates include chamomile, rose, comfrey, calendula, and St. John’s wort.