Our lips are exposed to a lot. They’re subject to fluctuating weather conditions, and the breakdown effects of food, beverages—even our own saliva. While any number of lip balms are readily available to remedy dryness, the importance of exfoliating our lips is often overlooked.
By removing dead and chapped skin from our lips, we can actually facilitate the restorative phase. What exactly does this mean for your lips? An exfoliated lip allows for better absorption of moisturizing products (like lip balm); plus, it leaves you with a much smoother canvas when applying lipstick—meaning your favorite tube will go on smoother and last longer!
Here’s your how-to guide for mixing up the best quick, easy, (and cheap!) all-natural DIY lip scrub treatments that’ll keep your pout smooth and healthy!
The Perfect Lip Scrub Recipe
A good DIY lip scrub can consist of as few as two ingredients. And, from prep to application, can be done in just five minutes, making it a super easy treatment to add to your beauty regimen.
Regardless of how many or how few ingredients you choose to incorporate, the most important thing to remember when whipping up a scrub is always to include a moisturizer (your base) and an exfoliant. Essential oils and other natural enhancers can be added to your lip scrub recipe for extra benefits.
Our lip skin is thin and extremely fragile. Using a natural moisturizer like coconut oil, shea butter, grapeseed oil, or other similar emollients as your base prevents damage during exfoliation. In addition, natural oils contain essential fatty acids, which offer restorative benefits that leave the skin looking more plump. They also contain natural antioxidants that prevent and reverse skin damage caused by free radicals, help protect the skin from environmental stressors, and provide anti-aging benefits.
A lot of chapsticks and lip balms use petrolatum as their main ingredient; however, this synthetic moisturizer doesn’t work nearly as well as natural oils - hence why you have to apply them over and over. Natural oils, on the other hand, get absorbed deep into the skin, providing a longer-lasting and more beneficial moisturizing treatment.
When choosing an exfoliant, you'll want to use an ingredient that's course, without being too harsh on your skin. Sugar, one of nature's most gentle natural exfoliants, is an excellent choice for lip scrubs. It buffs away dead and chapped skin, without being abrasive. Coffee grounds are another beneficial and safe choice. The caffeine content in the coffee rejuvenates the skin, leaving your lips flush with color and life.
Sea salt is also a popular natural exfoliant; however, this ingredient is best reserved for other, tougher areas of the body. (It works great in foot scrubs!). Another exfoliant to avoid using on your lips is baking soda. While a lot of DIY recipes out there suggest using this common house-hold item in body scrubs, it can actually harm your skin. Baking soda removes the skin's protective oil barrier, and can alter its pH and disrupt the natural, beneficial bacteria that live on the skin’s surface.
Essential Oils and Natural Enhancers:
Essential oils pack a powerful punch when it comes to treating the skin. Plus, their pleasant aromas can have calming or stimulating effects on the mind—adding an extra element of joy to your lip scrub routine. Add a drop or two of your preferred potion and de-stress with your at-home lip exfoliator.
After mixing up your perfect concoction, you’re ready to exfoliate! Using your finger or a soft toothbrush, rub the scrub on your lips in a circular motion for 1-2 minutes. Afterward, let the mixture sit on your lips for 2-3 minutes before wiping off with a damp washcloth.
Repeat the process about twice a week. (Over exfoliating may result in irritation and can actually cause more harm than good - so make sure you give your lips a break between exfoliants.) Observe how your lips respond to each treatment, as well as to different ingredients, and have fun trying out new recipes each time.
While it’s best to make small batches, you can keep most lip scrubs for about 1-2 weeks depending on the ingredients used. Put any unused scrub in an airtight glass container and store in a refrigerator. Before use, let the scrub cool to room temperature.
Customize Your Perfect At-Home Lip Exfoliator!
Choose one base, one exfoliant, and one essential oil. Mix and apply.
Use 1 tablespoon of any of the following as your emolliant:
- Coconut oil: contains antioxidants and fatty acids, and may have natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties
- Olive oil: rich in antioxidants and hydrating squalane; breaks down any water-resistant substances that might be left behind from lipstick products
- Grapeseed oil: a lightweight oil option with antioxidants and omega 6 fatty acids that provide an added shine
- Almond oil: rejuvenates dead skin cells
- Shea butter: excellent source of vitamin A (aids restorative skin cell production) and vitamin E (protects from the sun’s harmful UV rays)
- Avocado oil: loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and E; helps rejuvenate sunburned skinned
Tip: You can also use any of these oils on their own as a natural moisturizer. Just dab a little on your finger and apply directly on your lips.
Add 1 tablespoons of any of the following to your base:
- Brown sugar: gentle, natural exfoliant
- Coffee grounds: caffeine content rejuvenates skin, making your lips flush with color
Essential Oils & Natural Enhancers
Pick one of the following for added benefits:
- Peppermint oil (1-2 drops): helps stimulate circulation under the lips, giving them a flushed and fuller look; also soothes and refreshes the skin
- Lavender (1-2 drops): nourishes skin and prevents sunburn
- Orange peel or oil (1 tablespoon powder or 1-2 drops oil): balances color and pigmentation while soothing irritated and chapped lips; high vitamin C content promotes collagen production and offers anti-aging benefits to the skin (if using the peel, grind into a fine powder with a coffee grinder)
- Vitamin E (1 teaspoon): adds extra nourishment; instantly treats sunburned and/or irritated lips
- Lemon juice (1/4 teaspoon): rich in vitamin C—an essential component responsible for the skin’s production of collagen and a potent antioxidant that helps rejuvenate skin damaged by sun exposure; lemon also acts as a natural antibacterial
- Kiwi (1/4 fruit pureed): soothes sore, dry lips, rich in vitamin C and vitamin E
- Papaya (2 small cubes pureed): a great source of natural enzymes that help break down buildup on lips, leaving them soft and moisturized
NOTE: Use any citrus treatments only at night as these can be photo-sensitizing/make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
So there you have it - a quick and easy way to revitalize your lips, and keep your smile bright and glowing.
What’s your favorite DIY lip scrub? Share in the comments below!
By Stephanie Hernandez