5 Secrets to get your lips on lock: your guide to pout perfection, just in time for Valentine's Day.
Let's be real: Whether you've got a crush to kiss or not, chapped lips are the worst. Here's how to end the flake parade.
(1) Quit licking.
Running your tongue over your pout gives you about two seconds of relief from that tight, chapped feeling. But then, it's trouble. "The acids in your saliva can dry and 'burn' the delicate skin of your lips," says Grace Gutierrez, esthetician and founder of True Grace Skin Care. So keep that tongue behind your teeth and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
(2) Sleep your way to softness.
If your lips are flaking, Grace suggests a quick exfoliation: Apply a nourishing balm, like Sebamed Lip Defense ($5, drugstores), then remove it with a soft, damp washcloth. Right before you go to bed, apply a light layer of cold-pressed extra-virgin coconut oil to soften your lips while you sleep. You'll wake up to a repaired pout.
(3) Prep your pucker.
Parched lips may seem to be screaming for color ("hide me!"), but it's vital to add plenty of moisture before you put on the paint. Balms that are glossy can cause the color to slip off, though-and who wants to constantly reapply? Instead, Grace suggests Weleda Everon Lip Balm ($7, drugstores), which has a matte finish that'll ensure your pretty lippie stays in place.
(4) Do a DIY mask.
To give your pout a major dose of hydration, hit it with an ultra nourishing mask. Mash a small amount of a ripe banana (one with spots), then apply it to your lips and let it sink in for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water. "Bananas are a great natural moisturizer and they're packed with vitamins and minerals," Grace reveals.
(5) Talk to a doc.
If you've tried this routine for a couple of weeks but still have cracked and bleeding lips, it's time to have a chat with your derm. Persistent problems with your pout could be the sign of an infection, but a pro can help.