My ex-boyfriend once said to me, “You know, there’s something beautiful about you, but I can’t put my finger on what it is. Hm…maybe it’s your lips?”
After such a comment, I lost that boyfriend, but I kept my pride in my lips. And after trying nearly every appealing-looking lipstick, gloss, balm, exfoliator, and treatment on the market, I’ve narrowed it down to the following as my current faves:
Best Lip Plumping: Kinerase Ultimate Volume Lip Conditioner SPF 20 ($26.50, Amazon.com).
OK, I’ll be completely honest: I despise most lip plumpers. The reason? Most contain ingredients like camphor, menthol, or citrus oils like limonene. These temporarily fill the lips because they irritate them first, leading to increased blood flow to the area. Unfortunately, this can also leave the lips feeling dry after repeated use.
Kinerase Ultimate Volume Lip Conditioner SPF 20 does contain citrus oil, so those with particularly dry lips may want to avoid it altogether. However, for those with normal to naturally soft lips, the citrus oil temporarily plumps, while the VolulipTM peptide gently stimulates collagen production within the lips long-term. It’s a win-win, very similar to how dermatologists use BotoxTM to temporarily freeze wrinkles at the same time as collagen-stimulating fillers like RestylaneTM.
My only qualm about Kinerase Ultimate Volume Lip Conditioner SPF 20 is that it doesn’t taste great – a bit vanilla and tingly, but overall, it isn’t bad. And when you throw in the benefits of kinetin, from creating repair enzymes to increasing the rate of cell cycle, it’s the best lip plumper I’ve tried, if not for temporary effects than for long-term benefits.
Best Lip Conditioning: Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Therapy SPF 20 ($20.00)
Got chapped, chafed, dry lips? Don’t fret: reach for Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Therapy Treatment ($20.00, Amazon.com). I can’t say enough great things about it: First, it contains jojoba oil, a potent hydrator that forms a lipid layer on the skin. What’s great about this, though, is the skin can partially absorb these lipids, granting both protective effects (on top of the skin) and softening effects (as it is absorbed) (Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine).
Next, Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Therapy Treatment contains a slew of effective antioxidants, including olive oil, grape seed oil, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Although I usually recommend using only lip products that contain a documented form of sunscreen, it has been proposed in the journal Toxicology that regular use of products containing olive oil, vitamin C, and vitamin E may protect against UV-induced skin damage when used together with sunscreen. So I love using Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Therapy Treatment under lipstick or gloss with SPF, indoors, or at night. Fantastic!
Best Drugstore: DermaE Lip Repair Creme ($10.16)
Our editor, Natalie, can’t get over this lip balm since she reviewed it for a recent post. I kid you not – she carries it around constantly, and whenever anyone mentions lips, she’s like, “Have you tried the DermaE?”
And why not – this lip creme is an actual intensive creme. It contains green tea extract, which is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant with a number of soothing properties (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology). Then, it also contains vitamin E and vitamin A, a potent combination ((kin Pharmacology and Physiology).
Wearing it at night, you will wake up with softer lips. We promise. We also again don’t recommend this for daytime use without using another product over top with SPF – given that the lips have the thinnest skin on the face, it’s not advisable to go out without sunscreen on your lips. Really.
Best Lip Gloss: Clinique Long Last Glosswear ($24.00)
Before I came across Clinique Long Last Glosswear, I was one of those women who fooled around with a lot of different glosses. But after I found this one, I’m hopelessly devoted to it. The big key here is that it contains SPF but is in a smooth polyisobutene-petrolatum-based formula. It keeps your lips protected and wears beautifully over lipstick or alone on your lips. I’m thrilled.
Best Lipstick: Estée Lauder Pure Color Lipstick ($24.00)
I feel sometimes as though Estée Lauder has fallen off the bandwagon with some of the claims of some of its recent products (“turning back clock genes,” for example). Yet you cannot say there is any tomfoolery surrounding its Pure Color Lipstick. Estée Lauder Pure Color Lipstick is a clever meld of emollient triglycerides, diisostearyl malate, and oleyl oleate, which keep it softening to your lips. The trick is two kinds of wax and ozokerite, which keep it gliding across your lips smoothly. Add in a pleasant fragrance, and you’ve got yourself one perfect lip experience.
As for stats: It is medium-pigmented, smooth, with a shiny or metallic finish depending on shade. A must-buy.
For soft, smooth, sexy lips, we swear by the above products! What are your favorites?