Why you should exfoliate before applying lipstick

Ever look at a nice red lip and wonder why you can’t achieve that same glamorous pout? Sure, when you first glide on the color, it looks fab, but within hours, your lips are a feathery, clumpy mess. Maybe you even find little pieces of that “Berries & Cream” lipstick on your tongue — only to discover it tastes like neither berries nor cream! Putting on lipstick should seem to be a pretty easy thing to do, certainly less complicated than parallel parking, getting a toddler to eat vegetables, or countless other life skills you’ve mastered — so what are you doing wrong?

Well, you’re probably not exfoliating your lips if you’re getting feathers and clumps. This is an easy thing to remedy, though, according to Sara Happ, who sells her own line of scrubs specifically designed to exfoliate the lips. “Using a lip scrub gives you smooth lips that make a great base for lipstick to adhere to,” she told Makeup.com. “It helps your color wear longer and looks more beautiful than if you had flaking skin under that gorgeous red!”

You don't need a special product to exfoliate your lips

Before you rush out to buy a lip scrub or any other exfoliant, you can try some simple, inexpensive DIY techniques, using items you probably already have on hand. Grab a washcloth or a piece of muslin and dip it into oil, and use this to wipe your lips, advises the beauty blog Keiko Lynn. Another easy hack is to take one of those toothbrushes you get at the dentist’s office–not the fancy, battery-operated ones–and dip it in lip balm. Then gently brush away the dead skin. No toothbrush to spare? Wrap a piece of Scotch tape around your finger and softly press on your lips to remove skin flakes (kind of the way you’d remove lint), then apply some lip balm to soothe and moisturize your lips, suggests The Beauty Department.

It’s also super-easy (and kind of fun) to make your own lip scrub, using a course, granular material such as sugar, an oil, and any additional flavors or scents you’d like on your lips, from honey or cocoa, to a brisk mint (per Style Craze).

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