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Move Over, Lip Balms — These Lip Serums Treat Dryness & Flaking Much More Effectively

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If you can’t stop reaching for your EOS egg or your tin of Rosebud salve, it's not necessarily that your lip balm is making your lips drier — it's more likely that your balm just isn't doing its job of thoroughly quenching extra-chapped skin. The fix? Start using one of the best lip serums, which can treat dryness more effectively than a standard lip balm, since serums are made up of smaller molecules that can more easily penetrate your skin (as opposed to sitting on top of your skin like most lip balms do).

Just like your favorite hydrating serums for dry skin, a good lip serum should be packed with conditioning emollients, like fatty oils and antioxidants, to help repair and soften flakey skin. Certain humectants, like hyaluronic acid, are key for sealing in all that moisture. And if you’re after plumping effects in addition to hydration, look for a serum that enhances your skin’s collagen production. Protein-building peptides do the trick, but hyaluronic acid works wonders for boosting your skin’s elasticity, too.

These lip serums suit a range of skin care concerns, budgets, and formula preferences, but they’re all intensely effective at healing extra-dry lips. You can apply your favorite lip balm over the top of any of these serums, but I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t need to.

1

A Lip Serum That Harnesses Science-Backed & Botanical Ingredients

This powerful lip treatment hails from IMAGE’s Ormedic line, which fuses the brand’s signature physician-backed, clinically-tested ethos with botanical ingredients. Here, avocado oil works to nourish dry, chapped skin, while antioxidant-rich vitamin E and coenzyme Q-10 repair damaged skin cells and promote healthy cell turnover. That all translates into cell-deep softness and suppleness, which’ll last way longer than those few, fleeting moments of relief you get from your basic lip balm. Plus, the formula’s collagen-enhancing polypeptides can naturally boost your lips’ fullness.

2

A Plumping Lip Serum Made With The Skin-Care World’s Favorite Hydrator

Because it was formulated by and for professionals, this lip serum features powerful actives like palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and palmitoyl tripeptide-38, which stimulate collagen production for plumper, softer lips. The titular hyaluronic acid (one of the most beloved hydrators in the skin-care space) does a good amount of plumping work here, too: A single molecule of this naturally occurring substance can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, making it a powerful source of moisture retention at a cellular level — and, in turn, the appearance of fuller lips.

3

An Effective, Under-$10 Lip Serum From A Classic Drugstore Brand

Reviewers are obsessed with this Blistex Conditioning Lip Serum, a deeply moisturizing remedy from a classic drugstore brand. The highly concentrated formula is packed with hydrating standbys like beeswax, avocado oil, olive oil, and vitamin E , which work wonders to heal dry, cracked lips. One rave reviewer dubbed this treatment “magic” for counteracting the one-two punch of winter wind and indoor heating. Plus, you can’t beat that under-$10 price tag.

4

Editor’s Pick: A Cream That Feels As Feather-Light As A Serum

This Elizabeth Arden Advanced Lip Fix Cream is a perennial insider-favorite for achieving super-smooth lips — and that includes one of our own insiders, Adeline Duff, Bustle’s Beauty Commerce Editor. She says: “Unlike most lip serums that feel similar to oils or balms, this is a lip cream, which means it sinks into your lips instead of sitting on top of them. That way, it won’t mess with the integrity of whatever lipstick (if any) you choose to put on top. I love how soft and smooth this makes my lips feel, and it also prevents feathering, so while it’s a great product to use before bed (or any time of day, really), it’s especially handy for layering beneath lipstick.”

5

A Cult-Favorite Lip Serum Made With Hawaiian Botanicals

This Hanalei Lip Treatment is formulated with just a handful of ingredients, most of which you can find at Whole Foods. Naturally powerful occlusives like beeswax, shea butter, olive oil, safflower seed oil, and grapeseed oil are all used to seal in moisture, but kukui nut oil is the star ingredient here. Historically, native Hawaiians used kukui oil to treat rashes, sunburns, and eczema, since this antioxidant- and fatty-acid-rich oil is packed with healing, soothing, and moisturizing properties. The powerhouse oil is paired with agave nectar, another native Hawaiian plant extract that’s both hydrating and soothing for extremely dry lips.

6

An Organic Lip Serum That Doubles As A Sheer Gloss

Technically, this INIKA lip serum is a replenishing lip treatment, but you can treat it as makeup, too. On the treatment end, this serum features 91% organic ingredients to hydrate, repair, and detoxify parched lips: think restorative shea butter, antioxidant-rich orange essential oil, calming jojoba oil, and healing sea buckthorn oil. But its tube and spongy doe-foot applicator are reminiscent of a lip gloss, and it delivers a similarly silky, non-sticky sheen just as your favorite lip gloss will. Use it alone, or swipe it over top of otherwise-drying lipsticks.

7

Another Organic Lip Serum Made With Luxurious, Rare Natural Oils

From the beautifully smooth, 24-karat rollerball to the chic glass packaging, everything about this Henné Organics Lip Serum is pure luxury. Another standout feature? The formula is made of 86% USDA organic and 100% non-GMO ingredients, virtually all of which are botanical oils rich in antioxidants and fatty acids — like rosehip, argan, pomegranate, and rare arctic cloudberry and lingonberry. Perhaps this is more “lip oil” than “lip serum” proper, but that impressive formula (which reaps serum-like benefits) makes this well worth your consideration.

8

A Serum Blended Into A Gorgeous Lip Tint

On the surface, this IT Cosmetics lip product seems simply to be a pretty lip tint, but infused into the formula are collagen, hyaluronic acid, and a tri-oil blend for serum-like benefits. So while the supercharged formula smooths and softens your lips at a deeper level, the radiant wash of color enhances your natural lip shape and color on an aesthetic level. The oval-shaped applicator fits perfectly into the curves and corners of your lips, too. This looks gorgeous on its own, of course, but you can also layer it under or over other lip colors for a more dynamic effect.

  • Available shades: 7