Add perfectly moisturized lips to your beauty routine.

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Sometimes achieving the perfect lip look comes at a cost—and that goes for both your skin and your bank account. After a long day of reapplying your favorite lipstick, dry lips seem inevitable. We all know how aggravating chapped, peeling lips can be—especially when your favorite shade might be the cause. But before you swear off of lipstick altogether, hydrating lipsticks are worth considering. Here, two board-certified dermatologists discuss everything you need to know about hydrating and moisturizing lipstick, including what to look for and ways to ensure your lips stay moisturized throughout the day so you can keep wearing your favorite shades.

woman applying lipstick while using her phone as a mirror
Credit: Getty / PeopleImages

How and Why Hydrating Lipsticks Work

Dr. Caroline Robinson, MD, FAAD, dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology, believes a hydrating lip product should be part of everyone's skincare routine. "The lips do not have oil [glands] like the rest of our skin and the skin is thinner," she says. "For this reason, the skin on our lips tends to be drier and more sensitive." But dry lips don't mean you need to give up on the makeup essential altogether. Hydrating lipsticks exist, and can actually work quite well, according to Dr. Ashley Magovern, owner and founder of Manhattan Dermatology and Dermstore's medical director. "If they contain [certain] ingredients…they absolutely can be [effective]," she says.

Ingredients to Consider

"I recommend choosing fragrance-free lip products with petrolatum, glycerin, dimethicone, ceramindes, or shea butter for this reason," says Dr. Robinson. She also iterates the importance of protecting lips from the sun by using a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher, and explains that it's okay to change up your products every now and then. "It is always a good idea to rotate your lip products because the skin on our lips changes with each season and with age," she says. Meanwhile, Dr. Magovern also suggests looking for shea butter, in addition to hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamin E, cocoa butter, and antioxidants. "These key ingredients will ensure that lipsticks are conditioning lips rather than drying them out," she says.

What to Avoid

"It is very important to avoid fragrance, flavors, and chemical exfoliants (like alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids) when choosing a lip product," says Dr. Robinson. "Symptoms like tingling or burning when you apply a lip balm are not normal—your lip products should not hurt," she says. If you experience any of these sensations after applying your lipstick, Dr. Robinson says it's a sign you need to switch.

Expert Recommendations

While matte lipsticks are often known to dry out the lips, hydrating semi-matte options are available, and using one delivers just as much impact without the dry feeling. "Shea butter is a key ingredient in 100% Pure Cocoa Butter Semi-Matte Lipstick ($30, dermstore.com), which is very moisturizing, especially when complemented with its other key ingredient, vitamin E," says Dr. Magovern. She also suggests treating lips with a product like PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Lip Booster ($45, dermstore.com) regularly, as this product will help hydrate and moisturize and boost volume and softness, creating a healthier, smoother base for some of your favorite lipsticks. Of course, if you have your heart set on adding some color to your pout without reaching for lipstick, there are a myriad of alternatives, like balms and tints. Dr. Magovern suggests Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner ($28, dermstore.com) for its fortifying vitamin E and sunflower seed oil.

If you want consistently hydrated, moisturized lips, Dr. Robinson says, "Applying a thick ointment-based lip product before bed can be helpful in sealing hydration overnight." She recommends Revision Skincare YouthFull Lip Replenisher ($28, amazon.com) for its hyaluronic acid and antioxidants, which "help fight the signs of aging and keep lips looking youthful," she says.

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