So you have a crush you’re dying to kiss, you have your kissing technique down, and you’ve even brushed up on different types of kisses and kissing positions to up your makeout game. The only thing that’s missing to make this the *perfect* kiss? Smooth lips that are ready to be kissed. You might think soft lips aren’t that important, but you’d be surprised what a difference they make when you’re in the middle of a makeout. Sure, you can probably get away with simply applying a moisturizing lip balm, or a gloss to give your lips that extra shine. But if you’re looking to take your makeout to the next level, we’re here to help. We asked Dr. Anna Guanche, author and board-certified celebrity dermatologist for her best tips on making your lips look kissable AF.
From what kind of lip balm to use to how often you should exfoliate, we’re sharing our best-kept secrets (with help from Dr. Guanche) for achieving velvety smooth lips.
1. Opt for a petroleum, jelly-based lip balm
There’s a reason Vaseline and Aquaphor lip balms never go out of style. Dr. Guanche suggests using simple formulas with petroleum jelly. They add a protective barrier, seal in skin moisture, AND prevent or sooth chapped, cracked lips.
2. Or look for balms with beeswax, vitamin E, and tree nut oils
If you’re not really into petroleum jelly, Dr. Guanche also recommends lip balms with beeswax to soothe your lips, vitamin E for its antioxidant and healing properties, or tree nut oils such as shea butter to provide moisture.
3. Look out for SPF
Whatever lip protectant you choose, make sure you look for one with sunscreen. Your lips can get sunburnt, just like your skin does!
4. Gently exfoliate your lips once a week with a DIY scrub
Dr. Guanche suggests making your own sugar scrub in your kitchen. All you need is brown sugar and coconut oil — just mix the two together to create your own edible exfoliant. “Don’t be aggressive,” she says. “Exfoliate gently and with circular strokes. Let the granules do the work!”
5. Or get your hands on a scrub that does the trick
If you’re not a fan of DIY, there are also some amazing lip exfoliators and scrubs on the market to help with those chapped lips. Just remember to be as gentle as possible!
6. Moisturize your lips overnight
Especially post-exfoliation, slather on a thick lip balm or petroleum jelly to absorb into your lips overnight. Add this simple extra step into your nighttime skincare routine to ensure your lips are super smooth in the morning.
7. Don’t pick at those flakes
I know, I know. It’s so hard to not pick at the flakes on your chapped lips. But you wouldn’t (at least you shouldn’t!) pick at a pimple or scar on your face, so you should treat your lips the same way.
8. If your lips are super dry, consider using a balm with hydrocortisone
If a simple moisturizing lip balm isn’t enough to revive your chapped, dry lips, try using an over-the-counter cream with hydrocortisone. Dr. Guanche suggests FixMySkin Healing Body Balm, which contains 1% hydrocortisone, to decrease inflammation and promote healing.
9. Avoid licking your lips repeatedly
Though giving your lips a quick lick pre-makeout might make your lips look shiny for a hot second, doing so will actually dry out your lips even more. “Enzymes in your saliva will continue to irritate and de-moisturize broken skin,” says Dr. Guanche. So as tempting as it might be, try to stop yourself from licking your lips — use a lip balm instead.
10. Use the right lipstick or gloss
Now that you know how to fully prep your lips, it’s time to choose the right lip product to top off the look. Opt for a hydrating lipstick or easy lip gloss to make your lips look silky smooth. And if you choose a gloss, be sure to find one with a non-sticky texture. The last thing you want is for your lip color to bring out any cracks or dry flakes on your lips!
11. Apply a stain for long-lasting color
You want a pop of color, but you’re worried that matte lipstick might dry out your lips or that kissing someone will mess up a perfect pout. The solution? On top of your moisturizing lipstick or gloss, layer on a lip stain to keep your color intact.
12. Try a lip plumper
If you want to add that oomph to your pout, use a lip plumper to make your lips look bigger naturally.