The Best Products For Prepping Your Lips

DILO Sep 07 - Lipstick
Auntie P / / CC BY-NC-SA

I see a lot of talk about the very best ways to prep your eyes or prep your face for makeup, but not a whole lot about prep for lips. So LET’S TALK ABOUT IT MKAY! 


I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard about exfoliating our lips, right? I use LUSH Bubblegum Lip Scrub, which is essentially sugar, jojoba oil, and flavor/color. Yes, you can make this yourself. But I like this one, and it costs less than if I went out and bought jojoba oil and flavoring. Just in case you don’t know how to exfoliate your lips (c’mon really?), basically you scrub your lips with the scrub and then either rinse, wipe, or if you use LUSH, lick it off. This will get rid of all the nasty flakey bits.

Product Recommendations: LUSH Lip Scrub
Avoid: Korres Lip Exfoliator – kind of sucks (sorry Korres!)


How many of you slather on lip balm before you put a lipstick on because you don’t want it to make your lips feel all dry and ooky (yes, technical term)?? Well you may have noticed that doing so can sometimes radically alter the texture and even the color of your lipstick. Bummer! What I do instead is slather on a ton of really emollient lip balm (usually LUSH Honey Trap or even just pure shea buter from L’Occitane) and rub it in just like you would rub a thick lotion into your elbows. As you do this, you may also notice some dead skin balls up and comes off your lips too – this method exfoliates too. Then I take a paper towel or napkin (something with more texture than a tissue) and wipe off any excess vigorously.

Product Recommendations: LUSH Honey Trap, L’Occitane shea butter, Bonne Bell Lipsmackers, Nivea Kiss of Moisture
Avoid: anything that isn’t emollient enough, or leaves a sticky feeling after being wiped off

For some of you, that might be all you need. But if you want to wear a lip balm underneath your lipstick/gloss/stain etc. there are some that work better than others for this purpose! Typically you’ll want something waxy, but not too slick or shiny.

Product Recommendations: EOS Smooth Lip Spheres, Burt’s Bees original, C.O. Bigelow Mentha lip balm, the non-shiny Softlips, nearly any lip balm marketed to men.
Avoid: All the super emollient ones I mentioned before.

Pigmentation Be Gone!

Those of you who have very naturally pigmented lips might notice that many lipcolors look weird or at least not true-to-tube on you because of it. Never fear! There is hope. <3

Product Recommendations: MAC lipstick in Creme de Nude, or any other nude lipstick that looks like concealer on your lips
Avoid: Actual concealer on your lips.

Why do I recommend a super-duper nude lipstick vs. the plethora of products designed to blot out pigmentation? Because at least in my experience, they do a good job of toning down your lips and a kinda lousy job of feeling nice on your lips. I really like how MAC Cremesheens feel on my lips vs the sticky feeling of “actual primers”. And concealer really isn’t designed to be worn on your lips – it can be really dry and migrate. In a pinch it might work, but girl you can do better. ;)

Don’t Settle

Who has lip cleavage? I do, I do! If you have lip lines at all, be they from having deliciously pouty lips or from being “of a certain age”, it’s annoying as hell when lip products settle into them. So what to do?

Product Recommendations: Urban Decay 24/7 Lip Pencil in Ozone Avon Beyond Color Plumping Lip Conditioner (this plumps up lip lines a bit without any tingle/stinging and somewhat mutes lip pigmentation).
Avoid: Skipping this step if lip lines are an issue for you!

Also, in a pinch, you can wake up tired dry lips and plump them up a bit using MAC Fast Response eye cream. No shit. Just tap a tiny bit onto the lips and let the caffeine and other goodies work their magic.

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