Most people have their daily facial routine – cleanse, tone and moisturise – but many of us forget about or blatantly ignore the care of our lips. Considering the soft, sensitive tissue that make up lips only has up to five cellular layers, its little wonder that they are prone to ageing faster and being damaged more quickly than other facial features. They don’t possess sebaceous glands that produce oil unlike the epidermis, so they need all the help they can get if you wish to keep the perfect pout.
Daily exposure to factors such as wind, rain, pollution and U.V. rays all contribute to the drying out, thinning and wrinkling of lip tissue, as do smoking and caffeine. The good news is that the effects of these can be minimised by adopting – and sticking to – a good lip care routine. Obviously, replacing as much caffeine intake as you can with water will help by helping natural hydration levels, as will using a good balm that includes sunscreen. Here are a few basic rules of lip care that are simple and can be easily fitted into even the most hectic schedule.
- Always remove make-up before you go to sleep. This is especially important if you use products designed to be long-wearing, such as eight-hour lipstick or lip sealant. These contain harsh chemicals, so get rid of them as soon as possible.
- Exfoliate. The build-up of dry skin can lead to biting, chewing and picking of lips, which will only lead to sore, cracked lips and then more chewing and picking. Bad, bad, bad! There are a number of good exfoliators out there that are especially designed for lips, but a cheap and easy way that makes use of whatever you have to hand is to utilise your toothbrush and some ingredients that you already have in your kitchen cupboard. A little bit of brown sugar mixed with honey is ideal – both will moisturise as they scour off dead skin, and working these in with an electric toothbrush works wonders.
- Rinse. You can use plain old water or adapt it by using something like rose water applied to a cotton wool pad. Special ingredients aren’t a necessity, but if you like it, then use it.
- Moisturise. You can adapt this part to morning or evening. For example, when starting the day, it’s a good idea to either use a simple lip balm with sunscreen to help protect lips during the day, or a really good lipstick that’s designed to protect (cheap ones often contain more chemicals, defeating the point). Before going to sleep, apply either a good lip moisturiser or an oil that acts as a skin food – vitamin E oil, or my personal favourite, Bio-oil, will be absorbed much more deeply during sleep and have much better results than using them in the morning.
Of course, everyone finds their own methods and routines that work for them and the routine above is by no means exhaustive. It is, however, a good start.