Any mistletoe coming your way this holiday? If you’re one of the lucky ones (or not, depending on who’s brandishing the branches), you will want your lips to be ready for puckering, which mean nice ‘n soft, not chapped ‘n chunky.
Exfoliating the skin on our faces and bodies has become embedded in skin care culture, but most of us don’t exfoliate the skin of our mouths on a regular basis. In winter time it’s not a bad idea to add a lip scrub to your routine once or twice a week, because not only are chapped lips uncomfortable and unsightly, you just never know when that mistletoe will appear. The same principle that applies to skin exfoliation applies here – get rid of the dead and dying older cells to reveal the newer ones underneath. Out with the dull, in with the shiny and new (that’s a clip from a Madonna song by the way).
There are a few benefits to using a lip scrub (apart from the snoggability factor): your lipliner/lipstick/ lipgloss/lipbalm will adhere longer and look better. It makes any lip product you might use more effective and long lasting. Lip exfoliation makes your lips more moist and helps to retain moisture longer which helps to prevent cracked lips. If you scrub your lips regularly, you won’t have to worry about wind and cold and sun exposure (take one on holiday to sunny places too!). Lip scrubs also bring out the natural colour of your lips, so you could do that and just a balm to protect, for a natural look. By the way, lips lack oil glands, so increasing moisture by exfoliating is a good idea. Whenever I give them to clients to use before I do a full makeup, they are very pleasantly surprised and wonder why they’ve not used them before. I am doing a product comparison because my old go-to (Smashbox) has been discontinued and there are lots of new ones to discover.
I tried three products, and the testing took quite a long time, as I had to wait at least a week in between products to let my lips winterize again. With any lip exfoliant, apply a liberal amount to the lips (without lipstick on is a good idea or you’ll end up a bit Scary Clown Face) and rub in gently in a circular motion, including over the lip line. Leave it on for up to ten minutes, then wipe away with a soft tissue or damp, warm cloth. Have lip balm standing by to continue the moisture surge and really repair.
The Lip Scrub by Sara Happ
This is an industry favourite, and for good reason. It comes in many flavours, some of them sounding very yummy. I choose to test the peppermint, for reasons I will divulge. …The scrub is exceedingly candy-cane pepperminty and super gritty, so it felt as if I was really getting a good exfoliation. It produced a nice strong tingle (due to the peppermint oil) which is blood rushing to the site, so it acts like a lip plumper as well. Two-in-one, I like that! Because it was so gritty, it took longer to clean off but my lips felt silky and soft afterwards and were definitely plumped up. I loaded on the lip balm, and wore a favourite lipstick that night which went on very smoothly and lasted longer than usual. P.S It also really made me crave a peppermint latte, so that may not be a good thing.
Sugar Lip Polish by Fresh
This is what Fresh says: “This unique formula is enriched with real brown sugar crystals to gently buff away dry flakes as it exfoliates and conditions for a smooth finish. It nourishes the lips with quick-absorbing meadowfoam seed, jojoba seed, and grapeseed oils while shea butter provides long-lasting moisture. Lips are left smooth, protected, and hydrated”.
This is what I say: really pleasant, fine-milled polish in an appetizing brown-sugar colour and texture. But therein lies the disappointment. From the luscious look of it, I was expecting a tasty, burnt-sugar, caramel kind of treat so was rather surprised to discover it was quite tasteless and odourless. In fact it smells more of lemon than burnt sugar. (You may be getting the impression that I was on a sugar binge with these lip scrubs….you may not be wrong about that! Tis the season and all). The texture of this one was less scratchy, which I appreciated actually. It was gentle but with enough particles to feel like it was doing it’s job, and with an easy clean up. My lips did feel quite dry afterwards; they were really squeaky clean after this one. I loaded on lip balm for two days post-scrub, which is no bad thing as it reminded me to do it at least. My lipstick test had great results; smoother and longer-lasting, but that is the effect of lip scrubs in general.
Fruit Scrub with Resveratrol by bite Beauty
“Resveratrol is a natural compound found in red grape skin, Japanese knotweed (polygonum cuspidatum), peanuts, blueberries and some other berries. It is a powerful antioxidant produced by some plants to protect them against environmental stresses”. I’m finding it popping up in more and more cosmetic and skin care products, which then claim to have extra anti-aging properties. Time will tell. Ask me when I’m 83.
This is what Sephora says: “a 100-percent natural cherry-flavored mousse infused with exfoliating beads to smooth and condition lips. Made from antioxidant Resveratrol, fruit acids rich in vitamin C and rice bran, the Fruit Scrub exfoliates and helps to brighten lips over time while fighting free radicals and conditioning around the lip line”. Sounds good, but is it?
This fruit scrub comes in Whipped Cherry flavour which was really yummy in a non-intrusive way, and was the only lip scrub not to make me thing immediately of consuming sugary foods! It is much less gritty, and much creamier than the others I tested, and after ten minutes it melted away and I hardly had to wipe anything away. There was no tingle (so no plumping either) but my lips did feel softer and the scrub got rid of all the dry wintery bits. The lipstick test was a success, as with all of the scrubs I tried. Bite Beauty is a Canadian brand, hand-made in small batches in Toronto.
And The Winner Is….Fruit Scrub in Whipped Cherry by Bite Beauty
All the lip scrubs I tested were really lovely and had a great effect but this one wins for me. It is a scrub that I feel I can use all year round and regularly, it was the most moisturising and I really liked the texture of it compared to the grittiness of the other scrubs. I loved the peppermint component of the Sara Happ scrub, and will definitely use it again to plump up, but I think the gentleness of the Bite Beauty scrub means it will be a staple on my bathroom shelf. It’s half-way between a scrub and a super-moisturiser. Waiting to see how the anti-oxidant component works out. Will keep you posted.
With all of the scrubs, the amount you get is very generous. You could hold a lip scrub party with the Sara Happ and still have leftovers. One pot of any of these will last for ages. Your lips will thank you! So go ahead, exfoliate! exfoliate! exfoliate! And don’t forget to pucker up for Christmas. Snog on xo
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