Welcome to the winter gauntlet known as Us Vs. Radiator. It’s dry out there, folks. Which means when we’re not rinse-and-repeating delicious lip balms, we’re licking our lips because they’re chapped (and not in the good way). Rather than slow-molting dead, flaking skin, we turn to exfoliants to make way for a new, lipstick-ready canvas. So, in the spirit of making your lips as (if not much more) memorable than a well-moisturized handshake, we’ve combed the best lip scrubs on the market, from the creamiest to the grittiest:
Bliss Fabulips Sugar Lip Scrub: Fabulips has the highest butter-to-exfoliant ratio of all the scrubs, making it the most moisturizing and least abrasive polish we tried. Its mix of sugar, almond, and walnut shell shavings gently buffs, but it's not made for a heavy-duty lip rebirth (or for people with nut allergies). And the light strawberry-cherry fragrance is a dead ringer for the scented Cherry Merry Muffin dolls we used to huff as children (No? No one else?).
The Lip Scrub by Sara Happ in Sparkling Peach: Upping the exfoliant quotient, Sara Happ's version lets large granules of sugar do the scrubbing over a blend of peach-scented petroleum and jojoba and grape seed oils. It smells like peach pie, tastes delicious, and, upon further inspection, reads, “contact Poison Control Center right away if swallowed.” So... you know, try not to eat it. It'll feel oily at first, but will dry completely—Sparkling Peach is best served chased with a bit of lip balm.
Fresh Sugar Lip Polish: Recommended by Phoebe Tonkin, as well as ITG's Elizabeth and Emily (who uses this "brilliant" sugar scrub with Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream for optimal mistletoe-preparedness), Sugar Lip Polish is a stalwart because it strikes a balance between being really hydrating and really smoothing. It's made with brown sugar, to leave your mouth smelling like you're currently noshing on a warm oatmeal scotchie. Though you will be extremely tempted to, again, do not ingest; it doesn't taste as good as it smells, even if it's sulfate- phthalate- paraben- and GMO-free.
Philosophy Kiss Me: For something a little more sophisticated, Kiss Me is the only mouth exfoliant that calls itself a lip scrub and facial. Perhaps it's because in addition to its own signature blend of oils and butters, the sugar scrub is beeswax-based to really seal in moisture, but without ever feeling buttery. The sugar granules are smaller, making them just as effective, but less harsh than the larger-grained scrubs. And it's scented with peppermint to both cool and freshen your lips.
Lush Bubble Gum Lip Scrub: The most potent bubble gum scent you'll find in a beauty product this side of Justice (née Limited Too). Seriously, before you use this, be sure you really like bubble gum. And if you do, then Jackpot! because this is Bubble Gum-Flavored Sugar and you can totally lick it off your lips. The driest of all the formulas, the BGFS granules are loosely held together by the teensiest serving of cold-pressed organic Jojoba Oil. Your lips will be completely smooth, but not at all oily.
The Bonus DIY: Don't throw out that haggard old toothbrush—this is an ideal lip loofah. Especially if it's as brightly colored as the Toucan from GoodMouth—a toothbrush and floss delivery subscription service (because you're a busy woman and why not take one more thing off of your to-do list?). Aside from its obvious aesthetic appeal, we dig the Toucan for its soft bristles and modest head size—both qualities that provide a painless, detailed cleaning both inside and outside your mouth. Rub it against your lips with some Aquaphor like Harry Brant, or simply buff your lips gently with the dry brush.
Whether you're a little dry, or are currently contemplating smushing a piece of 20-grit sandpaper against the bottom half of your face (testimonials?), each of these scrubs will leave your lips hydrated, ridiculously smooth and ready to flaunt the fact that you actually scored a tube of Riri Woo.
Photos by Mathea Millman.