My lips are perennially chapped. It’s not just a winter thing, although they certainly do get worse in the winter. I’m slightly convinced that it has something to do with the three courses of Accutane I’ve gone through in my life. The last one, in 2012, left my lips Sahara-like, deeply cracked, desperately absorbing every Aquaphor, Vaseline, or other drugstore remedy I’d slather on them. Now, three years later, I still feel like my lips are never normal. And really, who knows why. The worst part about dry lips is once they’re chapped, they feel practically impossible to un-chap. As skin re-grows, it flakes and flakes, and is nervously bitten away, then re-grown again. It’s a never-ending cycle.
I decided to attempt to end the cycle by ditching the store-bought stuff and trying a bunch of DIY remedies that look so beautiful and natural on Pinterest. Here are my findings. Spoiler alert: There’s a lot of B.S. on Pinterest.
How to: This is simple enough. Dip a bag of green tea in warm water and hold it to your lips (making sure it’s not too hot!) for a few minutes.
The results: Horrible. I had a feeling this wouldn’t really work. True, the immediate results didn’t look too bad, but as the moisture left my lips, they felt tighter than ever. This method doesn’t make too much sense to me — it’s supposedly bad to lick your lips when they’re chapped. Why would you apply water to them? What am I missing.
How to: Slather some honey on your lips with some sort of utensil (I used the dull side of a knife), then cover lips with Saran Wrap or other plastic covering (I was out of Saran, so I cut out a piece of a Ziploc baggie). Let sit for 10 or so minutes.
The results: Better than the green tea, but the results were, again, fleeting. I’d say this method improved the look of my lips more than it actually made them feel better. It can also be quite messy. Maybe don’t do this while you’re doing anything on your computer. Like I did.
How to: Dr. Oz’s natural remedy for chapped lips is quite popular on Pinterest. You make a paste by combining baking soda, olive oil, and sugar, and then you massage it into your lips using a toothbrush.
The results: Ack. This did not succeed at un-chapping my lips. It actually kind of irritated the places with cracked skin. But, it sure did make my lips look plump, and it did remove some dead skin. A few hours later, however, my lips were back to square one. Not my favorite method, but I will say this: If I ever need a quick fix for a night out or an event, I might try this just to smooth things over.
How to: This is probably the most ubiquitous method out there. It’s simple enough — just combine coconut oil and sugar, mix into a paste, rub onto the lips, then gently remove.
The results: Actually, not so bad. This is the only DIY that actually left my lips moisturized. The scrub may not have really improved the look of my lips, but it felt the most soothing and healing out of everything else. I kept applying coconut oil throughout the day, and I find it lasts longer than your average Blistex. The idea might be the most obvious one, but it’s also the one that works the best!
(Images via Leonora Epstein / HelloGiggles)