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Keep your lips happy and hydrated this winter

Our lips are sealed

Lip balms -- we love them and need them. While they are a year-round item, it’s this time of year, the chapped lips time of year, when we see the need most of all. Read on for tips and treats to keep your lips in top condition.

Woman applying lip gloss

Don't lick your lips all the time, Dr. Javier Zelaya, board-certified dermatologist and owner of Skinworks Dermatology & Medspa, tells us. Lip licking only provides temporary moisturizing relief to dry lips. When this becomes a habit, chemicals in the saliva disrupt the skin barrier leading to irritation, redness and scaling. He prefers unscented balms with SPF for daytime.

Exfoliate. Use a specially made for lips scrub like Sarah Happ's deliciously flavored The Lip Scrub ($24), or for a DIY version, use an old (but clean) toothbrush. This helps get the dried flakes off and just like on your body, reveals a smoother, softer surface.

Use an overnight treatment. Dr. Zelaya recommends an evening application of Vaseline Lip Therapy or Aquaphor Lip Repair. We also love Philosophy's Kiss Me Tonight ($20), an ultra-hydrating balm using shea and mango butters that makes a huge difference when you use it. Using these while catching your zzz's gives them ample time to work.

The best lip balms are the most viscous or thick. Even if they are tinted, the thicker they are, the more protection they give your lips from wind and cold. Look for ingredients like shea butter and essential oils to get the best moisture boost. Some great choices are the mini shea butter tin from L'Occitane. Pure shea butter not only will whip your lips into shape but can be used on cuticles and more, and Caudalie Lip Conditioner ($12), another great pick, is a 99.5 percent natural product with shea butter, patented grape-seed polyphenols and sunflower seed oil.

If you want to go with a tinted balm, try Clarins Color Quench Balm for major pigment in shades ranging from nude to red in a thick, glossy balm that uses shea butter for maximum moisture and Clinique's Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss ($14) which has sheerer tints and is antioxidant rich.

More on lip care

Save vs. splurge: Lip balms
Top cold weather lip and skin care tips
5 Surprising uses for lip balm

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