8 Ways to Keep Your Lips Moisturized and Pillowy Soft Year-Round

8 Ways to Keep Your Lips Moisturized and Pillowy Soft Year-Round

Year-round, few things are as distracting and uncomfortable as parched, chapped lips. The solution? A lip-care routine, of course. But it boils down to more than just regularly applying lip ointment,

Meet Our Expert

We chatted with two dermatologists for their top tips for keeping lips moisturized, soft, and comfortable all winter long and beyond. Peruse their eight pout-perfecting tips, below.

How to Keep Your Lips Moisturized

1. Take a Slugging Approach

You’ve heard of the benefits of slugging for your skin, but as it turns out, the slugging technique works wonders for lips, too. According to board-certified dermatologist Gloria Lin, MD, FAAD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC, simply applying Vaseline ($5) before bed can make you wake up without lip woes. “Since you will not be awake at night to reapply or drink water, you want to make sure that there is thick emollient to keep the lips hydrated,” she says.

If you don’t love the texture of Vaseline, though, there are a bunch of stellar overnight lip treatments that keep lips hydrated for hours on end. Two of our favorites are the Lawless Beauty Forget the Filler Overnight Lip-Plumping Mask ($22)—we suggest the Juicy Watermelon and Cherry Vanilla flavors—and the cult-favorite Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask Intense Hydration with Vitamin C ($25), which just came out in a nostalgic cotton candy swirl option.

2. Carry an Occlusive, Emollient Lip Balm Everywhere You Go


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If you have particularly chapped lips, Lin suggests carrying an occlusive, emollient-rich lip balm with you everywhere you go. “A thicker emollient like Vaseline or Aquaphor tends to be more hydrating than a regular lip balm or chapstick,” she says. “Bring a travel size one with you in your pocket or bag, so you can reapply frequently throughout the day, and be sure to reapply after eating since a lot of the product may have been wiped off.”

(Psst: The Vaseline Lip Therapy Advanced Healing, $5, comes in packs of two so you’ll be less likely to find yourself in a chapped lip bind. Aquaphor Immediate Relief Lip Repair, $9, does too.)

3. Choose Moisturizing Ingredients

If you prefer less medical, more fun lip products, Dubai-based board-certified dermatologist Hamdan Abdullah Hamed, MBChB, says to make sure to prioritize ultra-hydrating ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, candelilla, and/or carnauba wax. “[These ingredients] will help improve the lip’s ability to retain moisture,” he says.

A few of our favorite lip balms formulated with these ingredients include the eos 24H Moisture Super Balm ($10 for two tubes), Laneige Lip Glowy Balm ($18), Rhode Peptide Lip Treatment ($16), and The Body Shop Olive Lip Care Stick ($8).


If you have sensitive skin, Lin says to avoid fragrances and flavors in your lipcare, as they may contain irritating ingredients.

4. Be Mindful of Your Lipstick Formula

Lin reminds us that matte lipstick can not only dry out lips but make cracks and flakes more noticeable. Luckily for us, matte lipstick mania has started to fade. Now, cream and gloss formulas seem to reign supreme. So, if you’re set on a statement lip, try lipsticks like the Wander Beauty Lipsetter Dual Lipstick and Liner ($32), Too Faced Lady Bold Cream Lipstick ($29), or Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Shine Lipstick Balm ($43)

Another option? Go with a tinted lip butter, balm, or oil. The Nudestix Hydra-Peptide Lip Butter ($30 for three tubes), Summer Fridays Dream Lip Oil ($26) and Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump ($24) are some of our must-haves. 

(FYI: If you have super sensitive skin, Lin says that plumping lip products may be irritating. Swatch the formula on your wrist before your lips if you’re at all concerned.)

5. Exfoliate Your Pout

One of the top recommendations for tending to dry skin is to exfoliate. The same goes for your lips. “You can start by applying a lip scrub to wet lips to soften and smooth them before applying any balms,” Hamed says, noting that you can use a soft, clean toothbrush if you don’t have a lip scrub. “Make sure to be gentle when exfoliating though—you can use lip scrubs only one to two times per week.” Otherwise, you risk overexfoliating, which can lead to further pout discomfort. 

Looking to buy a new lip scrub? We recommend the Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator ($21).

6. Don’t Touch (Lick or Bite) Your Lips

As tempting as it may be, Lin emphasizes the importance of not licking, biting, or peeling your lips, no matter how chapped they feel. “This can cause further irritation and dryness,” she warns. 

Hamed tacks onto this, noting that “when you coat the lips with saliva, it can evaporate quickly, which will result in drier and chapped lips only making the problem worse.”

7. Stay Hydrated


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In addition to keeping your lips moisturized, Lin says it’s important to stay hydrated. “Drink enough water,” she says. “This is important for your lips and overall skin health.” With this in mind, she says to be mindful of how many caffeinated beverages you consume and how much water you drink. “Caffeinated drinks can actually cause dehydration and worsen dry lips,” she reveals.

To inspire yourself to drink more water, do yourself a favor and get a cute water bottle, such as the Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler ($45), Owala FreeSip Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle ($33), or Hydroflask 40 Oz. All Around Travel Tumbler ($45+), which is actually fully customizable.

“To keep lips hydrated and soft, you must drink sufficient water every day,” Hamed adds. “It’s recommended that adults drink between two to three liters (68 to 102 ounces) of water a day depending on exercise habits and the weather, among other factors.”

8. Use a Humidifier

In addition to pumping up your pout and full-body hydration, Lin says to assess your space. “Use a humidifier at home to prevent dryness from the cold wintertime air,” she recommends. The Canopy Humidifier for Skin Hydration ($150) is a popular pick.

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