5 Steps to Save Your Lips this Winter

Winter. Ugh. I hate it. In fact–I hate it so much–I really dislike the fall because I see it only as the season that’s knocking on winter’s door.

And one of the worst things about winter–aside from fearing my bones might actually shatter while I’m walking to work–is the damage it does to my lips.

I’m a lipstick girl. I love a bold lip (perhaps because I’m not a huge fan of my eyes, so I’m happy pulling focus somewhere else…) But if I don’t pay special attention to my lips in the winter, wearing any lipstick becomes problematic.

2012-05-05 18.51.06

See? Random lazy Sunday with my niece– hoodie, no make-up–but still rocking a bold lip.

Winter is harsh and flaky lips are a bold lip bummer. It’s hard to spread an even amount of product over flakes and bumps. Plus I’m a nervous lip picker. Gross, I know. And one small flake can turn into a bloody mess rather quickly in my world. So it’s best if I just keep my pucker soft and covered with pigment to save me from myself.

To help my lips fight back against winter, I’ve come up with a lip care regimen that I’m really quite proud of and I hope it works for you. (Editor’s note: writer may suffer from lip care OCD. so there’s that.)

1) Only use moisturizing lipsticks and glosses. If your favorite color dries out your lips, see item number #4. Try it with a primer and see if that fixes it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Even if it’s the only red you’ve ever looked good in (which is not true–and we’ll work on that later) or you spent a million dollars on it (I’m looking at you M.A.C Ruby Woo) pitch it, return it, give it to a friend who lives in the tropics. Whatever you need to do. Do not let it live in your bag–it will become the only lipstick you can ever find. Trust me.

2) Exfoliate. This is one of those steps that people always tell you to do, but it feels like one more thing. I’m telling you–it’s worth it. You can use a dry washcloth or a soft toothbrush (so I hear.)  But I need to have a product in my face as a reminder. So I keep a lip exfoliating scrub in my shower. I use this one by Sara Happ in Brown Sugar. They are now selling it at Velvet Waxing Studio in Madison. I’m sure you could also make this at home, but I would never actually do that, so I just buy it. I put this on in the shower a couple times a week after I put conditioner in my hair and then I leave it on until I rinse out the conditioner (TMI?). The sugar removes flakes and the oils make your lips super soft. And you can eat it–which is kinda fun. (Don’t really eat it.)

3) Moisturize every night before bed. Every. Single. Night.  I recommend using the Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment (pricey but awesome!) or ChapStick Hydration Lock (thank you, Birchbox!). If your lips are in serious condition, Eucerin’s Aquaphor Healing Ointment is kind of a miracle. I had a doctor recommend it to me when I came back from an 8-hour flight where I was crazy sick (pneumonia, oops!) and only had toilet paper to blow my nose. My face was a disaster and this totally fixed it. It’s made with petroleum though, so I’m nervous about using it daily. Maybe that’s just me.

4. Apply a lip primer. A lip primer kinda seems like a marketing gimmick for product suckers like me. But it’s the real deal. Similar to an eye shadow primer or face primer (you don’t use these? seriously–you should use these.) it creates a base layer your lipstick can hang on to and it protects your lips at the same time from any of the drying properties a lipstick might have. And in the end–the extra expense for the primer will save you money–you can use those lipsticks you avoid in the winter because they are too harsh. (I can truly rationalize any makeup expense at any time. Try me.) I really like this one from Bite.

5. Hydrate. Like, drink water. Lots of it. All the time.

I hope these tips get your lips in tip-top shape so you, too, can rock a bold lip on a lazy Sunday–even in the winter. (Because one of the only good things about winter is the excuse to be lazy.)

Am I missing anything? Any great tips you have for soft lips in the winter? Share them below!


Red Lips–No Excuses!

It was winter, 2010. I was feeling the unshakable sadness that months of winter can inflict on even the most joyous of spirits (including mine.) I needed a major mood alteration–and then it came to me–what I needed was some red lipstick.

Nothing says confidence and strength like a bold lip–and with my total buy-in of the “fake it ’til you make it” philosophy–I decided to wear a red lip every day until I felt better (or it was spring–whichever came first.)

Funny thing–once I started applying red lipstick on the daily–I did feel better! It’s hard to be mopey while rockin’ the red. So I just kept it up. And in the process I’ve tried a lot of red lipsticks. Meaning: a LOT of red lipsticks.

2014-01-10 16.15.35

These are just the reds at my work and in my purse. At the moment.

And I’ve become a bit of an expert.

So I share my wisdom with you in the hopes that you too, can experience the feeling of instant confidence in a tube. But I know, I know–you have doubts. You’ll say:

1) You don’t look good in red lipstick.

Well–that’s wrong. Everyone has a red lip that works for them. You might need to determine if you are a blue red or orange red (cool vs warm like the fantastic Color Me Beautiful from the 80s) Not sure? Go to Sephora and try the Lancome Rouge in Love in Sequence of Love (cool) and Saint Honore (warm) and see which one looks best. That should help! (I tend to wear blue reds, so I’ll be recommending that color family more often–but most of the ones below have a warm option available, too.)

2) It’s too made up.

Yeah. That’s kinda the point. But while there are definitely times a red lip can look super fancy–there’s tons of laid back options that work for drinking hot chocolate at a coffee shop on a Sunday. And I will give you those options, too. In general, I find that when I line my lips (I use MAC Cherry, but there are other options) it tends to look more grown-up. So I don’t do it that often. I’m more of a “throw it on and go!” kinda girl. A little messy works for me.

3) I’ve tried red lipstick and it looks weird on me.

First of all–I doubt it. It’s just a new look to you, so it seems weird. But try it and see how many compliments you get! And if you’ve never made it out of Sephora with a red lipstick–watch this video–come back and we will find the perfect red lip for you!

Here are my favorite red lipsticks broken down into two categories: day and night. I’ve also included a variety of formulations (sticks, glosses, pencils, etc.) and price points.

Let’s do this!

Daytime red lip

Pur Minerals Lipstick in Red Ruby: Lush red color and moisturizing. I got mine at Ulta, but it doesn’t look like they carry it anymore… $16

Clinque Chubby Stick in Mightiest Maraschino : I got this one as a 100 point Sephora gift, and I love it! This is sheer, but with more coverage than you’d expect. $17

Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick in Kiss of Life: Non-drying, perfect color–and cheap! $5.49

Tarte LipSurgence™ Lip Tint in Fiery: This is my favorite daytime option. It’s a stain–but it’s moisturizing! Amazing. $24

Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain with Balm in Gothic: The stain is really easy to apply, has great color, and lasts forever. The balm is a nice touch to keep your lips moisturized.

Evening red lip

Lancôme ‘Rouge in Love’: I really love this one. It’s pricey, but it’s worth it. It can be worn day or night, although if you aren’t used to a red lip, you may feel more comfortable saving this one for evenings. $26

Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon: This one is also very pricey, but you can also just get the sample size which is $10 and save it for special occasions! Otherwise, it’s $28.

Loreal Infallible Le Rouge in Ravishing Red: If it’s good enough for Gwen Stefani, it’s good enough for you. $9.99

Urban Decay, Revolution Lipstick in F-Bomb: This one can also be a day or a night. I think if you don’t blot it, it’s definitely for night. But if you blot it, it has a nice stain effect that works for days. $22

Kat Von D, Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw: This is one serious gloss. It lasts a crazy long time, and it’s not for the faint of heart. But it’s fab! $19

So now there are no excuses! Make 2014 the year you find your perfect red.

I’d love to hear what reds you land on and photos of you in your red would be amazing! Post them below.




Coming Clean – Product Review

I don’t often go out of my way to sing the praises of any product. If you ask me what I use or what I like and don’t like, I’ll tell you, but that’s about it. But I felt inspired to write about The Soap Opera’s Organic Spa Facial Wash with Shea Butter and Apple because it is the perfect product for someone as lazy as me. They say to never go to bed with your make up, but whoever made up that rule doesn’t know how difficult it can be to remove all the mortar and paint we put on our faces.

Naturally, if I’m going out I’m going to wear more make up to look more glamorous. Those are the very nights you get home late and have no interest in going through some 5-step beauty regimen no matter how many beauty magazines and cosmetics counter clerks tell you to. My go-to for many years has been Pond’s Cold Cream, which I still love by the way. What I love about cold cream is that you use one product for your face and eye make-up. One product with two steps: put it on and take it back off. Brilliant. But cold cream can also leave my face feeling pretty greasy. And if I need to use another product to clean off the cold cream….well that’s just too many steps for a lazy, exhausted or drunk at 3 a.m. person such as myself.

But then I recently stumbled across this gem at The Soap Opera.

2013-01-10 23.11.07

Best lazy person cleanser ever

Continue reading

Office Face: My Makeup Essentials

I used to have wicked trrrrible skin. I’m talking from my teens all the way up through my early 30’s, with just enough glimmers of the hope of good skin to make me completely insane. My makeup routine used to consist of “cover the face!! and then put on a bold lip to distract everyone from your face!! also bangs!! aahh!” My skin has finally (*knocks wood*) calmed down, and has made me realize there are some really wonderful things out there. Also, thanks to a gift of MAC eyeshadow from Pamela  being my gateway years ago, I have learned that sometimes you need to be an adult and spend money on makeup that is good/good for you. Here’s what I use on the daily: Continue reading