Remember the Chappelle Show character Tyrone Biggums, the squeaky-voiced crack addict with the white, blistered lips? Unless you’re going as him for Halloween, there’s no viable excuse for your lips to look like his. Too often, men take their lips for granted, but lip care is an extremely important grooming must for two main reasons. First, dry, chapped lips have to be one of the most hostile surfaces ever. When kissing someone, your lips should be able to glide and move freely, not feel like they are completing an obstacle course on American Ninja Warrior. Secondly, chapped lips are an eyesore. Your smile is one of the first features a person notices when they see you. Your pearly whites should not be framed by two pieces of sandpaper.
Jokes aside, here are five tips for caring for your lips so you don’t have to cover your mouth up like you’ve got SARS.
- Stay hydrated. The main cause of chapping is dehydration. You’re not getting enough H2O. You probably notice your lips are less chapped in the summer. That’s because you’re hot and you’re drinking water. In the winter months, the weather can be harsher on your skin, yes, but you’re also probably not getting in enough water. Pack a water bottle and start chugging.
- Remove dead skin. Using your teeth to remove dead skin from your lips is not an effective technique. You’ll do more damage, plus everyone is watching you chomp on your lips in meetings like some deranged zombie. There are plenty of products on the market you can try; but honestly, I like to take two items I already have at home – Vaseline and sugar – and make my own exfoliator. Put a layer of Vaseline on your lips and then take a pinch of sugar and gently rub it across your lips. Do this at nighttime up to twice a week.
- Pick the right stick. Not all chapsticks are created equal. How do you pick among a sea of endless options? Choose one with wax, oil and cocoa butter and not much else. The butter softens. The oil treats. The wax locks in both.
- Moisturize at night. Your lips dry out at night because you’re not awake drinking water, and maybe you spent the night smooching with someone. After your usual nightly routine (I assume you indeed have a skin care ritual, right?), don’t forget to give your lips some love. You can use your daytime lip moisturizer or just a swipe of Vaseline is fine. No need to glob it on like you’re Jamie Foxx playing Wanda on In Living Color.
- You’re not LL Cool J, so stop licking your lips so much. Licking your lips may seem like an easy way to moisten things up, but your saliva contains the same enzymes that help you break down your food. Therefore, it can wreck havoc on your tinder lips. It’s best to hydrate them from the inside by drinking water and on the outside by adding some Burt’s Bees.
Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie living in Manhattan. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.