It’s time to upgrade your Chapstick! Plumping. Wrinkle-busting. Collagen-boosting. Now even lip balms can turn back the clock
- A new wave of lip products promise to make lips look younger and less chapped
- However, those with burning or cooling agents can be disadvantages long term
- Ingeborg Van Lotringen gives verdict on a selection of products on sale in UK
Lipstick sales may be suffering in our masked-up world, but the opposite is true for lip balms and treatments. The moisture-sapping powers of surgical masks have sent their sales soaring.
A new wave of super-salves and creams promises not just an end to chapped, flaky ‘mask lips’, but to make them significantly younger-looking too.
Mother nature certainly gave lips a raw deal. With barely any oil-producing glands and skin three times thinner than that on your face, they have limited natural ability to hold on to moisture and really do need our help to stay in prime condition.
Like skin everywhere else, lip skin is a layer cake of volumising collagen cells, moisture-binding molecules and nourishing lipids, the body’s production of which tapers off with time. Replenishing them is key to keeping lips in the state of plumpness you took for granted in your 20s.
Ingeborg Van Lotringen gives her verdict on a selection of lip products that promise to make lips look younger and less chapped (file image)
There are three essential restorative agents: moisture-binding humectants such as glycerin and urea; nourishing emollient plant oils and lipids (including castor oil) to soften and reinforce lips’ own protective barrier; and ‘occlusive’ agents such as silicones or plant butters to seal in moisture.
Potions that score on all these fronts deliver a pleasingly instant increase in volume as cells get pumped with moisture that’s prevented from evaporating. Throw in a few collagen boosters, too, and you stand a chance of recouping some of the volume you may have lost over the years.
But don’t go hardcore. Cosmetic dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting has identified ‘retinol lip’, where retinoids in lip creams, or even face creams, cause inflamed weals and dryness. The same goes for smoothing exfoliating acids.
You also need to think twice about ‘stimulating’ lips with burning or cooling agents such as peppermint, camphor, cinnamon or capsaicin (chili pepper) oils. Yes, they bring blood rushing to the lips and irritate them to the point of them temporarily swelling up, but any inflammation attacks healthy collagen, leading to shrunken lips long term. Many ‘plumping’ lip glosses and balms feature these irritants, so keep an eagle eye out. And try to avoid any kind of fragrance, which can also aggravate lips.
So are these new lip treats just glorified Chapsticks? Or serious performers that could give lip fillers a run for their money? Here are four of the best . . .
Charlotte Tilbury Hyaluronic Happikiss, £25, charlotte tilbury.com
Ingeborg said Charlotte Tilbury Hyaluronic Happikiss (pictured) is sexy and hard-working
It looks like a lipstick, goes on like a gloss and functions like a balm. With water-binding hyaluronic acid, nutrient-rich seed oils, plant butters and a firming peptide, it makes lips look instantly plumper and has great staying power. There are ten neutral shades including a clear one, ideal if you struggle with so-called ‘smoker’s’ vertical lip lines (which the balm, thanks to the anti-ageing peptides, is said to reduce) that stray beyond the lip edge.
VERDICT: Sexy and hard-working. 4/5
IS Clinical Youth Lip Elixir, £52, skincity.com
Ingeborg said IS Clinical Youth Lip Elixir (pictured) is great as a lip primer or overnight repair hero
A waxy but light cream that sinks in quickly and has a velvety finish. Packed with cell-protecting botanicals and water-attracting humectants alongside emollients and barrier boosters, there’s also a potent but non-irritating vitamin C molecule. Great as a lip primer or overnight repair hero.
VERDICT: Fabulous. 4/5
THE MAGIC MASK
Dr Pawpaw Overnight Lip Mask, £8.95, drpawpaw.com
Ingeborg said Dr Pawpaw Overnight Lip Mask (pictured) is a quality product that keeps lips juicy when applied overnight
A thick, soft balm that leaves lips glossy and is nicely slow to wear off.
It has a bunch of plant-sourced humectants, oils and waxes rich in vitamins and skin-calming agents for nourishment and protection, plus plumping, collagen-boosting pal-GHK peptide.
Applying a fat layer overnight is a great way to keep lips juicy: night-time is when moisture loss peaks, so skincare insiders religiously apply a lip cream or balm before bed. But this works equally well as a hard-working everyday balm.
VERDICT: Quality product. 5/5
FILLER IN A TUBE
It Cosmetics Pillow Lips Solid Serum, £25, itcosmetics.co.uk
Ingeborg said It Cosmetics Pillow Lips Solid Serum (pictured) is luscious and comes in 16 bright shades
Identical in appearance and finish to Charlotte Tilbury’s Happikiss (above) these ultra-glossy, super-hardy, lip-inflating stick balms boast a similar litany of temporarily plumping humectants and nourishing waxes, alongside soluble collagen. The latter won’t improve the state of your own collagen, but is an effective, smoothing hydrator and moisture sealant.
Bonus points for the great range of 16 bright shades; one docked point for the minty fragrance, though.
VERDICT: Luscious. 4/5
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