The 5 Best Lip Exfoliators

By Marissa DeSantis

If you're on the quest for smoother, softer lips, it's important to keep one of the best lip exfoliators in your beauty arsenal. Though they may not seem like the obvious choice, lip exfoliators are made with a combination of gritty and hydrating ingredients that scrub away flakes and restore moisture way better than a lip balm or mask alone could.

Lip exfoliators typically come in the form of a scrub, though sometimes you can find them in tubes that resemble balms. While lip scrubs are pretty straightforward, there are a few simple rules that you'll want to follow to avoid overdoing things. Since the skin on your lips is sensitive, you always want to gently apply the scrub in circular motions. It's also important to note that lip scrubs aren't for daily use. Though they can be used to keep lips smooth through every season, lip exfoliators don't need to be used more than twice weekly (in fact, using them every day could make dry lips worse).

Always be sure to follow up with a conditioning lip balm or mask treatment. While many lip exfoliators contain moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba seed oil, applying a balm with humectant ingredients that draw moisture back to the skin (hyaluronic acid and glycerin are two common examples) will help keep your lips smoother, longer.

Ahead, check out five of the best lip exfoliators for smooth lips, including a certified-organic choice and a tinted option.

1. The Cult-Favorite Lip Scrub

It was Sara Happ's The Lip Scrub that helped lip exfoliators gain momentum in the first place, and the brand is still a top choice among beauty editors. The pink scrub hits your senses with a refreshing grapefruit scent, and finely ground sugar gently buffs away dead skin cells as you rub the product onto your lips. To restore moisture, the formula also contains jojoba, grape, and sunflower seed oils. Sara Happ also offers her scrub in flavors like peach, vanilla bean, brown sugar, coconut, and red velvet.

One longtime fan of the lip scrub even shared a few recommendations, writing, "Gently mixing the scrub inside the pot will distribute the oils evenly [before you apply the scrub]. Also, rub the product on your lips and let it sit for a minute or two," they note, adding, "Finally, I have found that warm water works better to get off any remaining scrub than the suggested tissue."

2. A Scrub Made With Healing Ingredients

Inspired by the Hawaiian islands, the Hanalei Sugar Lip Scrub counts pure kukui nut oil as one of its star ingredients. The kukui nut grows on trees in Hawaii, and was actually used by ancient Polynesians to soothe and heal sunburn thanks to the vitamins A, C, and E that it contains. Those same fatty acids also help to heal and repair dry lips — especially when combined with the gentle exfoliating abilities of Maui sugar crystals, and the hydrating benefits of shea butter, jojoba seed oil, and grape seed oil that are also included in the formula.

3. A Two-In-One Lip Exfoliator & Balm

You're going to want to follow up your lip scrub with a conditioning balm anyway, so why not make things as easy as possible with a two-in-one product? The Clinique Sweet Pots Sugar Scrub & Lip Balm may be inspired by macarons (and look exactly like the yummy treat), but it's actually meant to stay on the outside of your mouth. One side of the dual-purpose pot contains a smoothing sugar scrub, while the opposite end holds a nourishing lip balm that imparts a sheer wash of color to match each pot's shade. It's offered in six gorgeous colors, too.

4. A Mess-Free Way To Exfoliate Lips

This drugstore find lets you keep your lips flake-free without getting your fingers messy. Like traditional lip exfoliator pots, Revlon's Kiss Exfoliating Balm is formulated with sugar crystals throughout the stick formula to polish lips. It also promises to moisturize lips for 24 hours with ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, grape seed oil, and mango seed butter. Peppermint oil leaves lips with a slight cooling sensation, and because this exfoliator doubles as a balm, you don't even have to worry about wiping it off.

5. A Certified-Organic Choice Made With The Finest Natural Ingredients

This lip scrub is as natural as they come (short of whipping one up yourself at home). The Henné Organics Lip Exfoliator Scrub uses USDA certified-organic ingredients, which is super rare (and especially great for a product that's going to close to your mouth). Instead of questionable ingredients, the brand sticks to organic sugar, coconut oil, beeswax, and jojoba seed oil to leave lips smooth without ever irritating them. It comes in three "flavors," all inspired by Swedish Nature: Rose Diamonds, Nordic Berries, and Lavender Mint.

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