Have You Been Using Lip Scrub Wrong This Entire Time?

Lip scrubs fall under the category of things we don't really need, but throw our money at anyway. There's just something so damn great about a product that turns a gross chore (removing dead, flaky skin) into a fun and delicious experience. Sugar: What can't it solve?

But as with all things, moderation is key. Lip scrubs, although useful, aren't a cure-all for scaly lips. In fact, using them incorrectly can make matters worse.

"There's a difference between chapped lips and flaky lips," says Sara Happ, founder of the lip-care brand Sara Happ. According to her, chapped lips indicate dehydrated skin, while flaky, cracked, or bleeding lips indicate damaged skin. "Chapped lips should be scrubbed daily, but flaky lips need to heal," she says. "Exfoliating isn't going to give [flaky lips] the love and rest they need."

Dennis Gross, MD, NYC-based dermatologist and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, agrees. "Because the skin is thin on the lips, it is a fine line one might walk when exfoliating," he says. "Over-exfoliating lips will throw them off balance and in turn, make them more dry. This can make them prone to cracking."

So what to do? If your lips are cracked and flaky, stick to soothing balms and treatments. If they're chapped, feel free to buff, but don't go overboard. Check out our favorite scrubs and treatments ahead.

Lip Scrub

This gritty scrub comes in a lipstick-style tube filled with raw sugar granules, vitamin E, shea butter, and avocado oil to hydrate and exfoliate. Buff it on straight from the bullet, then wipe off the excess sugar and oils with a tissue before following up with your favorite lip balm.

E.L.F. Lip Exfoliator, $3, available at E.L.F.
Dior's scrubbing bullet not only feels soft and indulgent on lips, but it also has special melting sugar crystals so you don't have to deal with any mess. The luxury matches the price, though.

Dior Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub, $34, available at Sephora.
Dior Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub, $36.00 Buy
While we wouldn't recommend you regularly ingest Happ's heavenly lip scrubs, we can't blame you for sneaking a lick every now and then. They're insanely delicious and come in flavors that'll satisfy your sweet tooth.

Sara Happ The Lip Scrub in Sparkling Pink Grapefruit, $22, available at Sara Happ.
This crayon-style tube is a balm and scrub in one. Once you're done buffing your lips with the sugar-infused tip, blot off the excess sugar and leave the hydrating balm on to soothe and hydrate.

Tarte Lip Facial Lip Scrub, $16, available at Sephora.
Scour the rabbit hole that is Lush product reviews on YouTube and you'll find this minty scrub pop up more than once. Bonus: The food grade product is actually good enough to eat.

Lush Mint Julips, $10.95, available at Lush.
This scrub smells like a sugar cookie, and keeps lips soft long after it's wiped off.

Bliss Fabulips Sugar Scrub, $12.99, available at Target.
Lip Treatment

This vanilla-scented leave-on mask has soothed our wind-whipped lips for three consecutive winters thanks to its antioxidant-, jojoba oil-, and agave-infused formula. Fair warning, though: It's thick and sticky, so save it for when you're binge-watching TV in bed at night.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, $26, available at Sephora.
This lip mask is made with bentonite clay, but it won't dry out the skin like a traditional clay mask might — in fact, it does the opposite. Smooth on a layer of the bubblegum pink paste to your mouth and let it sit for up to 20 minutes. Then wipe it off to reveal smoother, more hydrated lips.

Sara Happ Sweet Clay Lip Mask, $32, available at Sara Happ.
Like a balm with superpowers, this thick lip mask is packed with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, so you'll wake up with the softest, smoothest, plumpest mouth ever.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, $20, available at Sephora.
This lip mask is meant to be worn overnight. Lather it on your lips before getting into bed and you'll wake up to softer lips with fewer lines and no flakes.

Nooni Water Blending Lip Mask, $15, available at Ulta Beauty.
The holiday season may be long over, but this peppermint-flavored drugstore pick — with vitamin E and coconut oil — is a nostalgic (and refreshing) take on the limited-edition lattes we love.

ChapStick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub, $4.49, available at Target.
Show More Comments...