By Fiona McKim
Dry, cracked skin feels pretty unpleasant no matter where it happens to be, but there is something about the feeling of papery, pickable chapped lips that really rankles. Cold weather, wind and moisture sapping heating all play their part in making chapped lips a universal winter issue. And, while a slick of balm provides a short-term solution, to really tackle the problem we all need to be doing a little bit more. Follow our ultimate chapped and cracked lip rescue plan for lips that are smooth, soft, comfortable - and more kissable too, should that be an option.
Get rid of those nasty peeling bits (NOT by using your teeth, mind) You've probably heard the beauty hack about using an old toothbrush to gently scrub, which is great as long as you have one hanging around that's not been used for domestic cleaning purposes. Far more indulgent, and reliably sanitary, are the little pots of sugar scrub for lips that seem to have cropped up everywhere over the last year. Fresh Sugar Lip Polish, £19 is one of the originals and still the best.
Now you've scoured them of flotsam, fill your pout with a friendly, soothing treatment. We love oils for everything here at W&H - they feel and smell lovely, sink in fast thanks to small molecules and stick around for hours so you get instant comfort and also a layer of defence. Hourglass No28 Lip Treatment Oil, £34 is effective and ridiculously beautiful, but at that price it should be. Barry M makes a surprisingly lovely budget option, as long as you enjoy the smell of coconuts (we do!)
Ever noticed how lip balm gives you a little sweet relief, swiftly followed by a dehydrating effect that leads you smother your lips in balm all over again and so the cycle continues? You're not alone. Bafflingly, many popular lip balms are stuffed with irritating ingredients like artificial fragrance, drying alcohol or petroleum, which creates an artificial barrier that stops your lips producing their own moisture, creating a vicious cycle. Be picky about what your lip balm contains, look for natural emolients like cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter and bee's wax. We love Ruby Red Lip Therapy with Vanilla and Honey, £10 or go luxe with Omorovicza's dreamy hyaluronic acid packed Perfecting Lip Balm, £32. It's not cheap, but this is serious skincare and the chunky tub will last all year.
As woman&home's Senior Beauty Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant beauty find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair dye experiments and cute shih-tzus)
Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know about the industry (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism).
In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a magazine features writer, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz gossip pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine if it’s all the rage in Japan, loves fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.
When not slathering herself in self tan or squinting at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park.
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