Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
When the weather is cold and miserable, some people experience cracked hands or flaky skin as a result of the harsh, dry air. But it's my lips that feel the effects first.
Peeling skin and uncomfortable chapping means picking is inevitable, which just makes everything worse. As I recently discovered, there's only so much a lip balm can do. In fact, countless dermatologists argue that some of the ingredients inside popular lip products (think beeswax, menthol and essential oils) are exacerbating dry lips, rather than moisturizing them.
Plenty of others are in the same boat as me. In the past month, 'how to get rid of dry lips' and 'cracked lips' have topped Google searches as we're on the hunt for a product or a hack that can transform rough lips in an instant. And there are many. If you're an R29 regular, you'll know that I'm a lip slugging convert. The clever TikTok technique involves slathering on a lip mask (I like Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Mask), following with an ointment like Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm, and locking it all in with a layer of petroleum jelly or Vaseline. It works a treat to soften lips, but now, there's another trick taking over TikTok, and this one was dreamed up by a renowned dermatologist.
Enter: lip basting.
Okay, so the name isn't particularly sexy and if you have images of a turkey dinner in your head right now, I don't blame you. But there's method to the oddly named trick, according to dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss a.k.a. #pillowtalkderm on TikTok.
@shereeneidriss Lip Basting 101 🤌 #drylips #drylipshack #lipbasting #weledaskinfood #skinhacks #dermtok #skintok #dermatologist #pillowtalkderm #shereeneidriss @shereeneidriss ♬ Yummy - Justin Bieber
In a video with 53.3k views and counting, Dr. Idriss says she hates having dry, chapped lips. "I constantly lick my lips and it's a struggle," she tells the camera. Lip basting is helping. Step one, says Dr. Idriss, is to apply an exfoliating acid. She drops a little L'Oréal Paris Revitalift 10% Glycolic Acid onto her index finger and massages it into her lips. "A small amount will go a long way to buff your lips to perfection," she says. "Once your lips are buffed, you want to seal it in with a really rich ointment," continues Dr. Idriss, who opts for Weleda Skin Food. "I put a shit ton of this on," said Dr. Idriss. "My lips look white and they look white on purpose because I want it to melt into my lips, offering long-lasting hydration throughout the day." Dr. Idriss often allows the mixture to absorb while she does her makeup routine.
This method is better than using physical lip scrubs, which Dr. Idriss hints can be too abrasive. There's a caveat, though. While plenty of exfoliating acids are tolerable for most people, Dr. Idriss suggests that they could be too strong if you have a history of cold sores. If this is the case, you might want to avoid this hack and stick to gentle lip slugging. This goes for broken skin, too, particularly if your lips are very chapped and painful.
Thanks to lip slugging, my lips are no longer cracked but they can get quite flaky if I don't keep it up. Like Dr. Idriss, I also have a habit of licking my lips, which does them no favors. Lip basting is also a better option for those prone to breakouts like me. Rich moisturizers, balms, and petroleum jelly — typical for slugging — can potentially clog pores. (If you've ever experienced a lip line breakout, you'll know that they can be really sore and difficult to treat.)
@jacquelinekilikita Have you tried lip basting? IB: @shereeneidriss #beautyinatik #lipbasting #drylips #drylipshack #drylipshacks #softlips ♬ Dreamy Vibes - Ocean Bay Jazz
How is this different than routine lip-skin maintenance? It's the exfoliation step. You could argue that lip basting tackles the root of the issue (flaky, peeling skin) rather than masking it with cloying balms.
I had to try it, starting with a product that does pretty much everything: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. Proving that it isn't just for your face, TikTokers have enlisted the exfoliating toner for calluses and cracked feet, flaky scalp, and even peeling nails. It's a multitasker, and seeing as it's a product my skin tolerates very well, I had no worries swiping a little onto my lips with a cotton round.
Once the toner was absorbed, I followed up with a soothing ointment. If your lips are easily aggravated, Dr. Idriss recommends looking for a thick product without essential oils in it. For this reason, I swerved Weleda Skin Food for La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ Repairing Balm, which is fragrance-free. This is specifically formulated for chapped lips as well as a host of other dry skin concerns. Star ingredients include vitamin B5 (known to increase skin hydration, reduce inflammation, and soothe irritation) and prebiotics (to strengthen the skin barrier). Like Dr. Idriss, my lips appeared white at first, even though I'd massaged the balm in well — a sign that it's sitting heavy on the surface but slowly sinking in.
I've been practising lip basting for just over a couple of weeks (once a day every other day, sometimes every two days), and my lips are a lot less flaky than before, which has helped curb my skin picking problem (an issue that often resulted in cracked, bleeding sores). Now, lipstick and lip liner glide on without snagging over any dry patches and my makeup looks smoother and stays put for longer.
This isn't a quick fix for dry lips and it takes a little time for the exfoliating acid to work its magic, so throughout the day I treat my lips to L:A Bruket 017 Lip Balm. This brilliant balm is almost quadruple the size of your typical lip balm (it looks like a chubby glue stick) and boasts skin-softening almond and coconut oil.
Dr. Idriss practices her preaching. Since posting her lip basting video, I've spotted her rocking those same white lips in selfies and Instagram Lives, proving that consistency is key when it comes to lip care. I'll certainly fall back on this hack when my lips are feeling extra thirsty. It only takes a moment and I'm picture proof it works.
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This story was originally published on Refinery29UK.