Luscious Lips

Now that the weather is warming up and we’re all starting to wear a little less clothing, I know most are paying closer attention to their skin. Folks are tanning, moisturizing, exfoliating, the whole nine. But are you paying attention to your lips? They are exposed to the same sunlight as your face, yet are made of more delicate skin.

The latest issue of Herb Quarterly has a wonderful article on how to take care of your lips and includes some recipes for do-it-yourself lip balms. One caveat: “natural” balms don’t include anything that is a sunscreen. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, use a commercial balm that includes sunscreen. Your lips can develop cancer from overexposure to UV rays. (I have two tubes of balm – one I purchased containing a sunscreen for when I’m working in the garden and one for the rest of the time that I made.)

To keep your lips luscious, exfoliate them.  As with all delicate or sensitive skin you don’t want to scrub but rub them lightly with your washcloth when you’re washing your face or, coat your lips with a thin layer of oil and then use a very soft toothbrush. Apply balm immediately afterward.

Licking your lips only dries them out so try to avoid that, especially when you’re outside. The moisture from your saliva will evaporate and leave them drier than ever. When you feel the need to lick, grab your balm instead.

If you are prone to cold sores (caused by the herpes simplex virus), use balms that contain Peppermint or Eucalyptus, which are antimicrobial. Better yet, find or make some that contains Lemon Balm (Melissa), which is specific to fighting the herpes simplex virus.

Commercial balms are fairly inexpensive but one of the problems I have is that they usually contain wax made from petroleum. This is why I make my own – I use beeswax as a thickening agent. Truthfully, better for your lips and smells better, too. A very simple recipe to make your own (courtesy of that article in Herb Quarterly) is:

1 tsp cocoanut oil

1 tsp almond oil

1/2 tsp beeswax

Heat all ingredients together just until the beeswax completely melts (either stovetop or 1-2 minutes in your microwave), pour into a container and allow to cool completely. If you want to add essential oils, do so as soon as you remove it from heat.  One or two drops only should do it. I absolutely love the smell and feel of cocoa butter so I’d substitute one teaspoon of that for the cocoanut oil.

If you like a little color, add a very small amount (no more than 1/2 teaspoon) of berry juice or beet root juice or powder (beet root powder can be found in most health food stores). If you use a juice, you may have to add just a wee bit more beeswax to get the balm solidified.

Do as I do and recycle your lipstick and lip balm tubes. Be sure to wash them in very hot water to get rid of all the prior product and allow to thoroughly dry before using them. I like tubes as they’re quick and easy and I don’t have to find something to wipe my finger on after applying (although my pant leg seems to work just fine!).

Make your kisser kissable!