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Style & Living Beauty

Lip Scrubs: Why You Need Them & Which You Should Buy

Because your lips deserve a little love, too.

By Amanda Hawkins

If you’re a beauty fan, your makeup drawer is probably filled to the brim with eye masks, palettes, and more makeup brushes than you’ll ever need. But if there’s one place on your face that doesn’t get enough attention, it’s probably your lips. Just a swipe of balm isn’t enough, especially after the cold winter months of dry air, harsh winds, and cozy bar makeout sessions.

Just like eyebrows can get dandruff—yes, dandruff!—your lips need a little scrub to slough off that dead skin. Simply damp your lips with warm water and add your scrub. Use a soft toothbrush—a baby toothbrush works great—and scrub in a circular motion for a few seconds. Rinse, pat dry, and apply your favorite balm. Beware though! The skin on your lips is much more delicate than the rest of your body and face, so only exfoliate once a week until your rough skin is gone.

Now that you’re a lip pro, pick from one of these top-rated exfoliators and pucker up!

1. E.L.F. Lip Exfoliator

At just $3 a tube, this is the least-expensive exfoliator on the list, but that doesn’t mean it lacks in quality. Simply rub the stick along your top and bottom lips in a small, circular motion, and use a damp towel to remove any remaining crystals. (No toothbrush needed, here!) The exfoliator itself works double duty as an exfoliator and a hydrating balm as it’s full of moisturizing grape seed and avocado oils, vitamin E and shea butter.

BUY FROM: E.L.F. Cosmetics, $3

2. Tarte Maracuja Lip Exfoliant

Here's how it works: Raw sugar crystals slough off dead skin and smooth bumps while maracuja oil hydrates and fills in imperfections. Apply directly to your pout and rub in small circular motions, removing excess skin with a damp cloth. You can feel good about using Tarte, too: This top-rated brand is eco-friendly, using only natural ingredients.

BUY FROM: Sephora, $16

3. MAC Lip Scrubtious

Millennial pink lovers, unite! MAC’s sugar-based lip scrubs come in brightly-colored shades of pink, peach and even a dark plum. The lip treatments smell great, clean up your rough lips and leave a soft tint to your lips based on the color that you go for. Don’t worry if you don’t want a lip stain-exfoliator in one: Go for the fragrant sweet vanilla flavor that won’t dye your lips.

BUY FROM: Nordstrom, $16

4. Bite Beauty Everyday Agave Lip Collection

If you’re looking for a new balm as well as a scrub for smoother lips, we like the three-step Bite collection. With high-quality ingredients like vanilla and agave, this is one of the best solutions for dry, chapped lips. Start with the nourishing lip balm and use it throughout the day as you would your favorite chapstick. At night, polish and exfoliate with the agave sugar lip scrub, and follow with the agave lip mask. Leave it on overnight for super-hydrated, smooth lips. Now you’re ready for your fave lipstick—no bumps or imperfections to get in the way!

BUY FROM: Sephora, $18

5. Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub

Lush might be having a moment for their uber-popular bath bombs, but we’re originally fans for their natural body and lip scrubs. (This story is all about your pout, but if you have rough skin on your arms, legs, or face, you have to try the Ocean Salt Face & Body Scrub. Trust us.) The Bubblegum Lip Scrub is a shower standby. You’ll love it for the hydrating organic Jojoba oil and scrubbing power of the fair trade sugar, but you’ll keep going back for the addicting bubblegum smell and taste.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $19.50

6. Sara Happ The Lip Scrub

Like the MAC scrub before it, the Sara Happ Lip Scrub does double duty by leaving a soft pink tint to your lips, enhancing their natural color. This top-rated scrub is beloved for leaving your lips super soft, filling in cracks and even replacing Chapstick altogether. Don’t be fooled by the small, 1-ounce jar: a little goes a long way and leaves your lips feeling plumper and smoother.

BUY FROM: Amazon, $20

7. Fresh Sugar Lip Polish

Confession: I’m Fresh obsessed. If you haven’t tried their Sugar Lip Treatment, stop reading right now and buy a tube. It’s one of the smoothest balms around and it’ll keep your lips hydrated for up to six hours with just one swipe. But, before you try the lip treatment, invest in the lip polish. It’s full of brown sugar crystals and moisturizing shea butter that’ll slough off dry skin while hydrating your lips. Simply scrub into lips and remove with a wet cloth.

(And if you’re in need of extra help, we suggest splurging on the $56-set with the lip scrub, facial scrub, and lip treatment with SPF 15.)

BUY FROM: Sephora, $24

8. Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub

If you’re in a rush and need smoother lips in a flash, grab Dior’s Lip Sugar Scrub. Simply swipe the stick along your lips and go. The balm is full of natural sugars that remove dead skin in seconds and then melt into your lips—no need to rinse! Even better, it hydrates and leaves your lips naturally pink so you don’t even need a lip stick. Consider it your new 3-in-1 lip BFF. Talk about lip service!

BUY FROM: Sephora, $33

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