Now that Cupid is here, it’s time to gear up for the day of love. Though we’re used to celebrating Valentine’s Day with candlelit dinners or “Galentine’s Day” sleepovers, this year will look different because of our continued attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19.

However, that doesn’t mean this February 14 can’t be the best one yet. Now that we’re spending more time at home, we have ample opportunity to make sure we look and feel our best (whether that’s for yourself or your partner). The first step? Ensuring your lips are ready for any kisses sent your way, Hershey’s or human.

And we’re here to help y’all out with this task, if it’s your prerogative. We sat down with Dr. Kristy Hamilton of Westlake Dermatology to chat about what practices and local products will leave our lips in tip-top shape, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Dropping the Balm

To state it simply, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” says Hamilton. That’s why ensuring your lip balm is serving you is key to kissable lips.

Because our lips are made of delicate skin, Hamilton urges us to find lip balms that create a waterproof barrier between our lips and the outside world. “You want something on your lips that keeps the moisture inside,” she says.

Ingredients to Look For

When looking at basic lip balms you can find at local convenience stores, Hamilton recommends keeping an eye out for petroleum jelly, Aquaphor, or Vaseline. Though they are simple ingredients, they’re inexpensive, easy to find, and the best thing for lips in distress.

To take things up a notch, Hamilton says silicon-based balms or products with shea butter, beeswax, squalene, or lanolin are all ones you should reach for at places like Sephora or Ulta.

Recommendations

Hamilton’s personal favorite is Fresh's Sugar Icon Lip Balm. These balms are packed with healthy plant oils, come in various tinted shades, and have SPF 15, preventing your lips from premature aging and sunburns. You can find Fresh Sugar at your local Sephora, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus.

Here at Houstonia, we love Switch2Pure’s Honey Belle Lip Balm. This Houston-based company is known for its vegan, cruelty-free products, and this product is no different. Complete with cocoa butter and beeswax, this honey-flavored balm is perfect for everyday protection.

The Scoop on Scrubs

In the mood for a Galentine’s spa day or date-night prep? Scrubs are perfect for pampering yourself and getting silky smooth lips in the process.

Although they’re fun, Hamilton warns that scrubs should be used with caution if you’re struggling with chapped lips. “If your lips are already distressed and you’re rubbing off what little extra protection there is,” she says, “it’s going to turn into a vicious cycle and your lips are going to be chapped for much longer.”

If your lips are healthy and ready for some exfoliating, there are two kinds of scrubs you can indulge in. The first, explains Hamilton, are mechanical ones. These are scrubs like your sugar polishes that use rough ingredients to remove extra skin. If you’re wanting something more advanced, Hamilton recommends chemical or enzymatic exfoliation. “These are almost like a super chemical peel for your lips that are going to help sluff off that top layer of skin,” she says.

Mechanical Recommendations

Sticking to her guns, Dr. Hamilton suggests going to Fresh for your scrub, as well. Its Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator is made with just brown sugar, shea butter, and jojoba oil, but its ability to exfoliate the lips while retaining moisture is pretty unbeatable.

Chemical Recommendations

Hamilton recommends Bite Beauty’s Agave+ Weekly Lip Scrub, if you want to spice things up. Its plant-derived squalane (a natural organic compound) and papaya enzymes give you a deep enzymatic exfoliation that’ll leave your lips baby soft. You can find yours at your local Sephora or JCPenney. 

The Facts on Lip Filler

If you want to take things a step further than a scrub, lip filler may be perfect for you. As a lip-filler expert seeing multiple patients a week, Hamilton assures us that this simple procedure can be the key to a much-needed confidence boost. “When people think of lip filler it can be a scary thought because you think of ‘duck lips’ or things that don’t look natural,” says Hamilton. “But lip fillers done well should look very natural and absolutely beautiful.”

Recommendations

To dip your toe into the world of lip filler, Dr. Hamilton recommends starting with Juvéderm Volbella. Because you can get this filler in a half syringe instead of a full, you can get younger, radiant-looking lips, whose texture or structure won’t be drastically impacted. 

For those who want to plump their lips but don’t want an über dramatic change, Dr. Hamilton suggests going with Restylane Kysse. A new filler that recently hit the market, this product gives your lips a subtle makeover that isn’t overly shocking. “This is for the patient who comes in and says, ‘I want my lips to be soft and pillowy, but I want the structure of my lips to be fuller,’” says Hamilton.

Lastly, for those looking to go all-in for luscious lips, Hamilton says Juvéderm Ultra is the way to go. Used to increase lip fullness and treat facial wrinkles, this filler will do a job the Kardashians and Jenners clan would be proud of.

No matter your plans this Valentine’s Day, looking after your lips is the perfect way to kick off the holiday. Whether you’re prepping to kiss that special someone, hanging with your gals, or showering yourself with love, these self-care practices will leave you and your lips feeling on top of the world.

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