Among the many inconveniences of winter, chapped lips may be one of the worst. “The cold air dries out our top layer of skin,” says New York City dermatologist Francesca Fusco, “and causes our lips to peel and crack.” Factor in a few other unlikely moisture-sappers—Fusco says whitening toothpastes and long-last lipsticks also contribute to dryness—and old-school salves simply might not cut it.
The first step to soft lips, however, has nothing to do with moisture. “No product will properly penetrate without a good exfoliation,” says Fusco, who suggests first buffing lips with a gentle scrub and a soft baby toothbrush. Once skin is sloughed, look for moisturizers packed with ceramides and natural oils—Fusco’s go-to is Aubío’s lipid-infused formula. A host of other innovative products are taking lip care far beyond basic balm: Verso’s retinol-filled serum increases collagen and boosts hydration with the help of powerful peptides, while other hardworking formulas include Lanolips’s balm, whose lemon extracts naturally exfoliate, and KNC’s 15-minute collagen lip mask for those looking for a seriously cheeky solution (funny girl Emma Stone is a fan).
Here, nine ways to exfoliate, heal, and regenerate lips all winter long.