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Lip Service
Date: 14 July 2016

Maintain constant lip lock with your balm and never buy another lip scrub. Here’s all the lip (advice) you’ll ever need - By Parizaad Khan Sethi

If eyes are the windows to the soul, lips have got to be the door. These scant few inches of skin have inspired poets and writers, musicians and artists, and more currently, makeup artists. Today, lips are also, unfortunately, responsible for the rise and rise of the Kardashian empire (or at least, the enduring popularity of Kylie). In short, lips are powerful real estate, so maintain accordingly.

Feed them

The skin on the lips is unique. It’s thinner than normal with no oil or sweat glands and almost no melanin, hence lips are prone to dryness and have no built-in SPF shield. They need constant pumping up with ingredients like shea butter, beeswax, Vitamin E, jojoba and coconut oils. Kiehl's Lip Balm #1 has a petrolatum (Vaseline) base that protects damaged lips, while squalane, lanolin and Vitamin E moisturize and repair. For darkening lips, look no further than Avene High Pro SPF 30 Lip Balm. Layer two for max nourishment and protection.


Working a grainy, gritty gob of product into your lips is probably the most horrific sensorial experience in beautydom. The only civilized way to get rid of chapped lips is to layer on a thick coating of lip balm for a few minutes, then rub off with a damp towel. I put some on before a shower—the steam helps soften dry skin, which can then be gently rubbed of while toweling. That’s how you painlessly shed flakiness, leaving lips so pillowy that Angelina Jolie will come asking for tips. Step away from the scrubs—they don’t belong on skin and definitely not on lips.

Work hard before lipstick

Lip balm before lipstick is a golden rule. If you’re puckering up with a glossy, nourishing lipstick, apply it over a thin coat of balm. If your ‘stick is matte, (especially a liquid matte), you’ll need more prep. Do a home-style exfoliation (like above). Leave some extra lip balm on while you make-up your face. When it’s time to lip up, dab a tissue between your lips to absorb extra balm. This way lips won’t be too dry, and since there’s no extra stickiness, the lipstick will adhere to the lips.

Be cool

Lips’ sensitive skin doesn’t react well to ‘cool’ ingredients like camphor and menthol—they might be tingly and pleasant, but are damaging in the long run. (Notice how skincare rules can also be applied to men? Beauty’s much deeper than we think, kittens.)

lip service
Parizaad Khan Sethi

is a beauty and wellness editor based in New York. She was the former beauty editor at Vogue India and now serves as a contributing editor for the magazine. At age 5, Parizaad fell in love with an old cream blush she found in the back of her mother’s drawer, and has been in awe of the transformative power of beauty ever since. When she’s not writing about beauty, she researches advances in skincare as a hobby, and is constantly guinea-pigging herself in the name of beauty.