The past few weeks, I've been obsessed with my lip game. Sleeping with a fan and AC blowing directly on my lips, however, quickly evaporates all their moisture, causing me to wake up each morning with a dry, cracked pout. But I realized a DIY lip scrub, serum, and lipstick may be the answer to my lip woes.
After all, smearing on lip balm all day, every day isn't necessarily a ticket to hydrated lips. In fact, medicated lip balm — a longtime standby for many of us during drier weather — contains phenols that actually dry out your pout in the long run.
But instead of turning to high-end lip products or the affordable tubes found in the grocery store aisle, consider trying a natural lip treatment that can continuously impart moisture into your lips instead of sucking it out. Below, a few recipes below that'll exfoliate and rejuvenate your lips.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
1. DIY Sugar Lip Exfoliate
Just like skin care, lip care isn't just about moisture — it's also about exfoliation. Having a standby exfoliate twice a week will remove dead skin cells and promote healthy, moisturized lips.
Bustle reached out to Josie Holmes, esthetician at New York City's Skinney Medspa, and dermatologist Dr. Hadley King about their favorite DIY lip scrub recipes. They both mentioned the same ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Then, take a dime-size amount and gently rub the mixture on your lips for up to a minute. Then, using a damp cotton pad, wipe away the excess. Both Dr. King and Holmes say you can use the scrub two to three times weekly.
Both cite brown sugar as the ideal physical exfoliate because it's not as harsh as other coarse, natural ingredients, like salt. While Holmes explains that you can also use white, granulated sugar, she finds that brown sugar-based recipes store better for longer periods of time.
Honey, meanwhile, aids in removing dead skin thanks to its lactic acid content, an alpha hydroxy acid. Dr. King adds that honey also acts as a humectant, which draws moisture into the skin. Finally, Holmes and Dr. King cite coconut oil for its moisturizing properties, which help restore hydration to the lips during the exfoliation process.
2. DIY Lip Serum
Although their recipes are different, Holmes and Dr. King both recommend incorporating aloe into DIY lip serums.
For Dr. King's recipe:
- 1 tablespoon organic aloe juice
- 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
For Holmes' recipe:
- 1 tablespoon organic aloe juice
- 1 tablespoon hyaluronic acid
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix the ingredients and apply with your finger. The serums are hydrating and nourishing and you can use them daily, reapplying as often as you need to.
According to Dr. King, aloe juice offers anti-inflammatory benefits and works to lock moisture into the skin. Holmes says the ingredient is a must not only due to the reasons Dr. King cites but also because it's packed with vitamins and minerals that have anti-aging effects.
Although Holmes and Dr. King cite different oils, they recommend them for similar reasons. Jojoba and olive oils both seal hydration into the skin. They also have fatty acids that work to promote skin barrier function, as well as antioxidants which assist in fighting free radicals.
Holmes also recommends hyaluronic acid, the common skin care ingredient, which can hold 1,000 times its weight in water and is a proven method of retaining the skin's hydration.
3. DIY Lipstick
A common mistake in lip beauty is applying lipstick directly on bare skin. Many brands, like MAC, make lip primers that give the lips a bit of moisture before lipstick application. But my fave way to do that is by eliminating the priming step and combining the moisturizing base with color in order to make a DIY lipstick.
Holmes gives a great example of combining a moisturizing element with natural color. For her, she likes to keep things natural. While she says you can use existing makeup products to create lipsticks (like the commonly touted DIY of mixing powder blush with lip balm), she prefers to head to the kitchen and looks to fruit and vegetables:
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- A handful of muddled and strained berries
To make the lipstick, melt down the coconut oil and add the strained berry mixture. Once combined, place into a small jar or pot and let cool until it solidifies, then apply with your finger.
Holmes says you can choose whatever berries you'd like to get the color that's right for you. She also says beets are a great option but to beware of clothing stains. Basically? It's all about experimentation. "When it comes to a DIY lipstick, I keep to the kitchen," she says. "It's so fun to experiment in the kitchen to find your perfect recipe, so have fun with it!"
While this coconut oil based color gives a more balmy texture, she does add that you can use beeswax for a more traditional lipstick feel. "Substituting the coconut oil with beeswax will help to create a more traditional feeling lipstick," she says "Using beeswax can also make storing your DIY lipstick easier, since coconut oil can melt down in warm temperatures."
Tang, S., Yang, J. (2018). Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin. Molecules. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6017965/#:~:text=Lactic%20acid%20(as%20sodium%20lactate,in%20the%20gut%20and%20skin.
Mandal, M., Mandal, S. (2011). Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609166/
Varma, S., Sivaprakasam, T., Arumugam, I., Dilip, N. Raghuraman, M., Pavan, K.B., Rafiq, M. Paramesh, R. (2019). In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6335493/
Surjushe, A., Vasani, R., Saple, D. (2008). Aloe Vera: A Short Review. Indian Journal of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/
Lin, T., Zhong, L., Santiago, J. (2018). Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/
Papakonstantinou, E., Roth, M., Karakiulakis, G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermatoendocrinology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583886/
This article was originally published on