I can’t believe how much attention the lips are getting these days. And, I must say, not always in a good way. Can you say “duck lips”? Yes, there is an ongoing pursuit of the perfect pout, which can lead to perfect lips or freaky results. But do we have to go to such extremes to get beautiful, soft, and luscious-looking lips? I don’t think so. Let’s take a look of some top tips for beautiful lips that we can all follow to protect, plump and show off the perfect-looking lips.

I was amazed when I first realized just how much the lips age. Don’t believe me? Take a look in the mirror. You may just notice fine lines and wrinkles running in all different directions. And I’m not talking about those fine lines and wrinkles around the lips, I’m talking about the ones on the lips themselves. Now, find a picture of yourself when you were very little and check out your pout. They were probably full, smooth and quite youthful looking. So, what the heck happened?

Why Lips Are Different

The skin on our lips is different from the skin elsewhere on our bodies. They lack both sweat and oil glands, making them highly susceptible to dehydration. They also lack the protective outer layer of skin called the stratum corneum, which makes them susceptible to damage. So, what does this mean? It means we have to take care of our lips if we want them to look their very best. Here are a few top beauty tips for perfect lips.

Scrub away the flakes

Most of us exfoliate our faces and bodies on a regular basis, so why not exfoliate our lips? When your lips look and feel dry and you notice those flaky little pieces of skin, you want to exfoliate them. There are products specially designed to scrub the lips. I just use my facial exfoliator and, when I am scrubbing my skin I scrub my lips, too. If you are looking for a do-it-yourself remedy, try my favorite. I just mix a splash of sugar with some honey and gently massage it into my lips in small circular motions. It works perfectly every time And it tastes pretty good, too. Don’t forget to apply a moisturizing lip balm after you exfoliate.

Choose the right lip products and read the label

There are a ton of lip balms, salves, creams, gels, you name it, on the market. You definitely want to spend a minute reading the product labels, so you have a good understanding of what you are putting on your lips. Avoid products containing alcohols; they can be drying and irritating. If you’re prone to dry, chapped lips, be wary of menthol and camphor, as they can contribute to the dryness. Look for key ingredients that are known to attract moisture or that are natural conditions for the skin, such as Aloe vera, vitamin E, glycerin, Shea butter, coconut and jojoba oils. You’ll also find many products that contain beeswax. Beeswax will definitely soften up your lips but it won’t penetrate past the surface of your lips, so look for other ingredients besides just beeswax to obtain the best looking lips.

Break the Habit

Smoking is definitely a habit that is non-skin friendly, among other things. Smoking can accelerate aging of the skin by damaging skin cells and contributing to the loss of collagen. And, of course, this all leads to wrinkles.

Add to that the repetitive motion of pursing your lips around that little smoke stick, and it’s highly likely you’ll be left with permanent impressions on your lips. Smoking is also a lead contributor to the lines and wrinkles around our lips as well. So, if you want your lips to look pouty and perfect, you may just have to quit that bad habit once and for all.

Stay Hydrated

This is a no brainer, right? This applies to all of your skin—you want to stay hydrated inside and out. But the skin on our lips is so unique that staying hydrated is more important than ever. So, in addition to applying your moisturizing lip products, you also want to drink a lot of H2O for maximum hydration.

Also, avoid licking your lips at all costs. This damages the protective barrier on our lips. Our saliva contains enzymes for digestion that wreak havoc on our lip skin, and licking your lips also makes them dryer and dryer and dryer…well, you get the idea. When you get the urge to lick your lips, take a drink of water and apply a swipe of hydrating lip balm instead. And if dryness is really a problem, you may want to get a humidifier. Even the little bedside humidifiers are great at replacing moisture into otherwise dry indoor air. This is great for your lips and your skin.

Protect your lips

I know, you’ve heard this a million times, but SPF is essential in protecting the skin and our lips. If your lips are going to be exposed to the sun, then choose a product with UVA/UVB broad-spectrum protection. SPF 30 or above is perfect. Remember, our lips lack melanin which is known to help shield our skin from the sun, so SPF is super important for the overall health and appearance of our lips. Apply, apply and reapply throughout the day.

Plump up

Most women would love to add volume to their lips, and there are some ways to achieve that through cosmetic practices. There are injectables, such as hyaluronic acid and other fillers that can give you fuller lips, or duck lips depending on the success. These results will last a while and will definitely get the job done. Remember, always use the services of a qualified professional in seeking such treatments.

Other Lip Plumping Products

For those of us who may not be willing to take the chance and are looking for something a little less permanent, choose lip plumping glosses for a temporary effect. Lip plumpers are all about boosting the circulation in our lips. So, look for ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, even hot pepper (usually labeled as capsaicin) to do the trick. But beware! Some of these ingredients can be quite irritating to the lips and the skin around the lips if you aren’t careful.

You will get a temporary result. Apply sparingly the first time, maybe when you are at home with no place to go, to see if you get the pumped up lip that you desire. For an added boost, choose a plumper that has a high glossy shine. This helps create the illusion of a truly plumped up pout.

Try some makeup

If you’re using makeup to give you fuller lips, then be sure to line your lips in a shade just slightly darker than your lip color—and overdraw your lip line so it’s just outside of your lips. Apply a nice hydrating gloss to reflect the light and make your lips look fuller. My favorite tip of all is to apply just a touch of white eyeliner just below your lower lip and above your cupid’s bow. Be sure to blend it in so you don’t notice a harsh line. This is one of those tips that creates the illusion of light around your lips, allowing them to look full and fabulous.

One thing you need to remember: when it comes to achieving the perfect pout, pay attention and do some of these little things several times throughout the day. After you eat, drink or wipe your mouth, you need to reapply your products, whether it’s a simple lip balm or plumping gloss and liner. So, it’s OK to keep checking yourself out in the mirror in the name of beautiful lips.

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