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5 Best Lip Scrubs: Which Is Right for Your Lips?

best lip scrubs

Italian actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta poses on the red carpet. (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

If you’re using lip balm constantly, but your lips still look dry and scaly, you’ve been skipping a step in your lip care routine: exfoliating with a lip scrub.

Lip exfoliation is important for all genders but especially for those of us who wear drying lipsticks. Matte liquid lipsticks are notorious for both drying out our lips and showing off every line and flake of dry lips. The best lip scrubs leave your lips softer, and provides a pristine surface so your lipstick looks flawless.

What Are the Best Lip Scrubs?

Pink sara happ lip exfoliator and box Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Moisturizing
  • Great flavors
  • Good texture
Price: $24.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Silver tube of lip exfoliator with swatch Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Hydrating
  • Convenient stick
  • Uses volcanic rock
Price: $47.19 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Peachy pink jar of lip sugar exfoliator Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Softer texture
  • Natural Hawaiian ingredients
  • Made in America
Price: $15.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pink and silver tube of dior scrub balm Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Perfect for on the go
  • Trusted brand
  • Adds light lip color
Price: $38.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Black jar with three multi colored open jars of lip sugar Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Organic
  • Flavor choices
  • Moisturizing
Price: $24.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Best Flavors: The Scrub by Sara Happ

    • Leaves lips feeling amazing
    • Fun flavors that don't taste artificial
    • Perfect consistancy
    • Contains petroleum
    • Needs to be washed off
    • Messier than stick scrubs

    These scrubs use real sugar to exfoliate and are packed with hydrating oils. With flavors like pink grapefruit, coconut, vanilla bean, brown sugar, sparkling peach, and sprinkles red velvet you’d expect me to be talking about a novelty lip balm and not a high-end scrub, but Sara Happ doesn’t make you sacrifice fun choices for quality.

    Jojoba and grapeseed oil leave your lips moisturized after you’ve removed your scrub, enough that you could even skip the lip balm if you had to. Extracts of rice bran, rosemary, and sunflower seed nourish your lips and get them primed and ready for your lipstick routine (or for kissing).

    I was luckily enough to score some media samples of the brown sugar and coconut scrubs and I’ve permanently switched from my old scrub to these. They’re right in that sweet spot (get it?) of good grit without being painful.

    Instructions say to massage the scrub onto your lips and then wipe off with a tissue, but I’ve found it’s much easier to wash it off. It’s a potted scrub so you’re going to want to use this over the sink anyway as some sugar fallout is inevitable. The mill on the sugar is about equivalent to table sugar so it’s not too coarse to work with.

    Ideal lip exfoliator thickness walks a tightrope of not too liquid or too solid and Sara Happ nailed it. It’s solid enough that you can tap it without denting and it stays put on your finger but soft enough that it’s easy to scoop out. I think the best consistency comparison would be a really well-made sandcastle. I know that doesn’t sound tasty, but when you’re going for exfoliation, it’s not a bad match.

    And these are pretty tasty. I’m obsessed with coconut so I can be pretty picky and this is a coconut milk flavor and not like rubbing sunblock on your mouth. The brown sugar has a stronger taste but it straight up contains caramel so that makes sense.

    While they taste pleasant, these don’t feel edible. The scrubs have a fair amount of petroleum in them which is a bonus for hydration but not a nice snack. I don’t particularly want to eat my scrub since licking your lips dries them out so I’m actually okay with it.

    VideoVideo related to best flavors: the scrub by sara happ2018-09-19T09:33:02-04:00
  2. 2. Best Stick Exfoliator: Balmy Nights by Ilia

    • Lots of organic ingredients
    • Moisturizing shea butter, caster seed oil, and beeswax
    • Cruelty, gluten, and paraben free
    • Unique, fine grit with pumice and jojoba seed powder
    • Less mess
    • Not vegan (beeswax)
    • Not enough grit for some
    • Some folks put off by rocks on their mouth

    Applying your lip exfoliator like you would your lip balm just makes sense. It’s a motion we’re comfortable with and it’s less messy.

    This tube of moisturizing balm is packed with powdered pumice stone and jojoba seed powder. We already use pumice stone to clear away rough skin on other parts of our bodies so it’s a clever inclusion that we know works. Jojoba seed powder provides proteins and a second layer of grit.

    Because the exfoliants are smaller, this isn’t going to feel as rough as many of us expect from a scrub. It’s doing it’s job–just in a more gentle way. For best results apply over your lips with medium pressure then rub your lips together and massage the scrub in with your finger in a circular motion.

    Then either rinse or wipe it off with a damp cloth gently so you don’t lose all the organic moisturizers in there. The majority of Balmy Nights is made up of sunflower seed oil, sesame seed oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, castor seed oil, shea butter, candelilla wax, beeswax, and vitamin E. Your lips are in no danger of drying out after using this.

  3. 3. Best Raw Scrub: Sugar Scrub by Hanalei

    • Deeply hydrating with jojoba oil, kuikui nut oil, and shea butter
    • Natural citrus flavor
    • Gentle scrubbing action
    • Cruelty and paraben free
    • Portion of profits goes to charity
    • Contains petroleum
    • Too liquid for some
    • Not for people with nut allergies

    This scrub uses raw Hawaiian cane sugar and Hawiian kuikui nut oil to pay tribute to its Hawaiian roots.

    The sugar to oil ratio is tipped slightly toward oil giving this scrub a more liquid consistency. This, plus the fine mill of the sugar cane, means it’s easier to move around and has a less harsh feel on your lips. If you want a scrub but don’t want it to feel too rough, this is a good option.

    You use this the same as other scrubs by massaging it in and then wiping or rinsing it off. It contains some ingredients your lips will love so there’s no need to work too hard to get it all off.

    Jojoba, grapeseed, and kuikui nut oil along with shea butter and vitamins A and E provide deep moisture to your fresh skin while rosemary, rice bran, and sunflower extracts nourish lips. This is another one that does contain petroleum so keep that in mind when licking your lips.

    Lemon peel oil gives this a very light, citrusy scent and flavor but the predominant taste is going to be sugar. I like that a little goes a long way with this one since it’s so easy to spread so it will last you a while.

    VideoVideo related to best raw scrub: sugar scrub by hanalei2018-09-19T11:56:49-04:00
  4. 4. Best No-Wipe Scrub: Lip Sugar Scrub by Christian Dior

    • One step exfoliator
    • Moisturizing mango seed butter and luffa oil
    • Leaves light tint to lips
    • Convenient stick
    • Long ingredient list
    • Not as aggressive
    • Some folks may not want lip color

    We’re all strapped for time these days so having to make space in your routine for applying and removing a scrub might be enough of a trial that you put it off or skip it all together. And your lips suffer.

    Dior’s Lip Sugar Scrub is an exfoliating lip balm with sugar crystals milled fine enough that they dissolve as you rub your lips together. There’s nothing to wipe or rinse off. You can exfoliate your lips anywhere without needing a sink or tissue. That alone makes this worth it.

    With sugar granules that small, this isn’t going to feel super rough or be as aggressive as other scrubs and that’s okay. It’s more of a daily use balm than a one or twice a week treatment. The balm portion uses mango seed butter, luffa oil, and synthetic beeswax for moisture and is tinted to leave a subtle pink color on your lips.

    The ingredient list is a mile long though with lots of unpronounceables so if you prefer to keep your beauty products more natural, this might not be the best lip scrub for you.

    VideoVideo related to best no-wipe scrub: lip sugar scrub by christian dior2018-09-19T12:41:44-04:00
  5. 5. Best Organic Scrub: Lip Exfoliator Scrub by Henné Organics

    • Organic and non GMO
    • Three unique flavors
    • Moisturizing coconut oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, and beeswax
    • Cruelty free
    • Made in America
    • Much rougher than others
    • Not vegan (beeswax)
    • Scent too strong for some

    If you’re dealing with seriously scaly lips in need of some intense TLC, the Henné Organics Lip Exfoliator Scrubs are where you want to be. These are the thickest and roughest scrubs on the list meant for those who really want to clear away dead skin and get down to those silky lips hidden underneath.

    The organic sugar crystals in these scrubs aren’t messing around. They’re slightly larger and there are more of them so it feels less like a balm and more like a no-nonsense scrub.

    It may be a little too rough for sensitve folks but if you wear liquid matte lipstick, this level of grit may be what you need to prevent the ragged lip color talked about in Adore Beauty’s lip care guide

    Larger sugar granules and less oil can make a scrub messy and hard to spread, but this one is meant to be applied to damp lips which makes all the difference. Dab a little water on your lips before applying and that tiny bit helps the crystals glide over your lips to get that good scrubbing action.

    These are packed with hydrating oils but because of how rough they can be, I would definitely recommend following up with a nice balm.

    The all-natural flavors sound to die for: Rose Diamonds, Lavender Mint, and Nordic Berries.

We exfoliate the rest of our bodies because that's how you clear away dry skin and reveal the softer, smoother skin underneath. Our lips are no different. When they dry out, lips can crack, peel, and flake. Moisturizing balms will hydrate but they can't remove dead skin.

I know there are a million recipes for making your own DIY scrubs, but let's be real here: you'd have to find a tiny container, mix it up, and then hope it doesn't go rancid or moldy on you because they're only good for a few months if you refrigerate them. A lot of DIY beauty products can turn into health hazards fast and BioElements does a great job of breaking down why. I prefer to leave it to the pros.

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