As I write this, the weather isn't much better than it was at the time of writing last week's Weekend Edit which was all about the make up, skincare and hair products I took away with me on a recent business trip. This week, I thought I'd focus on something many of us suffer with during the winter months and that's dry, chapped lips and cold sores.... or as many people incorrectly say just to drive me around the bend, coldslaws.
Cold sores aren't something that I'm accustomed to, for some reason I just don't seem to get them but I know that many, many people do- 70% of the population infact, including Mr WLL. He suffers really badly with them, particularly during the winter and we've managed to work out a formula that really helps him to combat them. I thought I'd share it with you all as I'm sure some of you will be in the same boat as my Mr. I'll also cover treating dry, chapped lips too.
There's four easy to follow steps; treat, scrub, soften and moisturise. Behold my at home, winter lip therapy masterclass.
Step One: Treating Cold Sores
I find the best way to treat a cold sore is to attack it just as it is starting to rear it's ugly head. The Blistex Cold Sore Cream is perfect for this as its pharmacy strength formula starts to work from the first tingle and it is anti-viral too so it helps to block the spread of the virus to healthy cells from it's first application. It contains docosanol which is a unique active ingredient usually found in the best selling cold sore treatment in America and it is now available over the counter in pharmacies in the UK for the first time in this little tube of Blistex. Mr WLL has tried it out and he's really surprised at how effective it is. When we first got it, he already had a cold sore and applied the cream straight away. He found that it healed much more quickly than it usually would and his lip didn't split either which it usually does when he gets one of the little blighters- very painful! From then on, he has applied the cream whenever he felt like he was going to get a cold sore and he hasn't had a break out of them since. It keeps his lips moisturised and protected which is exactly what he has been looking for in a cold sore treatment for so long!
The Blistex Cold Sore Cream is available for £6.99 from independent pharmacies, Boots, Superdrug, Sainsburys and Tesco.
So now you've treated the cold sore, it is important to keep your lips flake free to stop them from becoming dry and chapped which can lead to them splitting.
Step Two: Lip Scrubbing
There's three different ways that I scrub my lips. The first is with a product called Prep and Prime from MAC. I reviewed it AGES ago here, but essentially its a balm with abrasive particles that scrub your lips and it has a balm on the other side to moisturise but I'll come onto moisturising later. The second way that I scrub my lips is by using one of the lip scrubs from Lush. My favourite is the bubble gum, I simply splash a little warm water on my lips, rub it in and wipe it off. This lip scrub is edible so it could just be licked off but in all honesty, the idea of eating chapped lip skin doesn't really appeal to me somehow...! The final and most cost effective way to scrub your lips is simply with a face cloth. This is perhaps my favourite method. I first apply a coating of a thick lip balm like the one from the Body Shop that I talk about below. Then I run a towelling face cloth underneath the hot tap until it is as warm as I can comfortably stand it, without it burning obviously. I then press and hold the face cloth over my lips for a minute or so, allowing the heat from the cloth to soften the skin on my lips. Once the face cloth has started to cool, I then rub a dry towelling face cloth over my lips which removes the dead, flaky skin. Another way is to use a clean tooth brush to scrub the lips. Lip scrubbing is also fantastic prep for when you're planning on wearing a quite drying, matte lipstick... yes I'm looking at you Barry M Marshmallow.
Step Three: Softly Soften
Now your lips are flake free, I find that it is best to apply a thin balm that will stick close to your lips and soften them, usually the solid lip balms are best for this. My pick is the Nivea Pure and Natural lip care balm from Boots, most specifically, the Milk and Honey lip balm. This one is 90% full of natural ingredients like Jojoba Oil, organic shea butter, honey and milk, oh and it is 100% free from preservatives too. I apply this directly after scrubbing my lips and I use it in the morning as part of my skincare routine. This lip balm is a great choice to pop in your bag to keep your lips soft all day and to apply before matte lipstick to aid a smoother application. If you do have a cold sore then I would skip this step as using a product from a bullet, and that includes lipstick and gloss too, can cause the cold sores to spread. Fear not though as the Blistex Cold Sore Cream will give you all of the softening you need during this time.
Step Four: Deeply Moisturise
Now we've all got our favourite lip balms and there are hundreds available out there from the delightful high end By Terry Baume De Rose from Space NK to Vaseline from Boots, the latter of which I would avoid like the plague if you're looking for moisturising your lips as I find that it just doesn't do the job sufficiently. Regardless of which one you choose, we all need one to keep our lips hydrated and moisturised, ensuring that the skin on our lips is so soft, it can't chap and dry out. I opt for one of the Born Lippy lip balms, like this one in Pink Guava, from The Body Shop to deeply moisturise your pout. I pop this on as the last stage in my evening skincare routine and it's thick consistency gets to work on my lips over night, meaning I wake up with deeply moisturised, soft lips. The little pot can get pretty fiddle when my nails are long so I keep a cotton bud on hand to scoop out a sufficient amount and get to work on applying it to my lips. Again, if you've got a cold sore, I'd recommend sticking with just the Blistex until it has gone and then I'd hit your lips hard with a thick, rich lip balm. Deeply moisturising your lips is so important, particularly in the winter time when you're subject to the harsh, cold elements and the drying central heating.
Following these steps will really help to keep your lips in good condition so that they don't become dry, chapped and home to a cold sore over the winter period.
Now that you've had your winter lip therapy, all that's left to decide is what lipstick to put on... decisions, decisions.
What are your tips for perfect winter lips? What are your favourite lip products?
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