I know I cannot be alone in detesting dipping my finger into yet another tub of thick, waxy lip balm. First of all, surely our days of finger-product-mouth are well and truly over, and second, so few of these products actually treat the delicate skin on the lips. Having a product that acts as a barrier may be useful for protection when it’s properly cold, but if that texture doesn’t work for you or you’re trying to really fix the underlying problem, here are some fantastic solutions.

There’s a temptation to leave treating the lips until bed time, often to make way for a more glamorous product to be worn during the day. If you’ve ever had properly uncomfy lips, though, you’ll know it’s foolhardy to only treat them during the evening hours. A lovely option for daytime, then, is this lip oil, housed in a convenient mess-free plastic tube with a rollerball applicator, a mechanism which means you don’t even have to squeeze it to get more product out. It has a non-cloying orange blossom and vanilla scent (and know that I say that as someone vehemently anti gourmand fragrances) and leaves lips shiny and soothed. I didn’t find it had quite enough oomph to last the whole night, but think it’s a great option for repeated top ups during the day.

Applied from a slim silver pen with a rubberised tip, this treatment feels like a thick serum or even a cream – a welcome change in texture from many lip products out there. It contains hyaluronic acid for an immediate plumping effect of the all-too-thin lip skin, as well as vitamins and butters that give it a moreish feel. If you’re after an elegant, elevated option, this is for you.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed using this. I’ve just mentioned my aversion to gourmand scents, and this Brazilian brand is infamous for its summer-sticky fragrances. Here we have a sweet, vanilla-caramel-coconut-sunscreen olfactory blend, which won’t be for everyone, but it diminishes very quickly and I came to think of it like a tiny touch of holidays every time I applied it. The holiday feel is furthered by the practical packaging (a wide, wind-up yellow plastic tube) which reminded me of Zinc sunscreen sticks we used as kids. ‘Butter’ is an apt description of its texture, as it just slides on straight off the stick, with no tugging as happens with waxy products, and it leaves subtle shine without a trace of goop. Any time my lips are especially dry this is the product I found myself reaching for, as it has that ideal thin-yet-rich texture which is instantly soothing and it makes a lasting difference to their look and feel.

This is a bit of a different kettle of fish to the other lip treatments included here, in that it is technically an exfoliator and will add a tiny bit of colour. In the tube, it looks like a translucent pink lipstick with flecks of its namesake watermelon seeds inside. It is also watermelon flavoured, though if that’s not your thing, don’t worry, it fades immediately. It really does smooth and hydrate with zero stinging, even on very dry, chapped lips, so don’t let the inclusion of AHAs concern you as they’re presumably only there at a very low level – just enough to get the job done. While it claims to be a scrub, any grainy texture that implies isn’t noticeable at all if you apply to the lips: only when I put some on my hand and pushed it around with my finger did I notice a slight physical exfoliation. If you do want some colour, I found three coats gives a fairly bright lolly pink, but preferred one coat for a very slight tint.

This is a total pleasure to use, starting with its gorgeous pale pink and gold packaging. Applying the unscented product using a soft white wand applicator, it’s pleasingly oily but not runny, so it doesn’t end up sliding off your lips and into your mouth like many lip oils do, yet it’s also not claggy, thick, or sticky. This mid-weight texture is unusual, and a real revelation. I am happily using this night or day, and it’s a great choice for prepping the lips an hour or so before applying a serious matte lipstick (though make sure to gently remove with a tissue so that its oils don’t interfere with the lipstick’s longevity).

I have never used a lip product that is so thin in texture yet packs such a punch. Housed in a tiny glass dropper bottle and featuring Fresh’s signature sugar scent, one or two drops of this serum will transform lips that were previously anywhere from lightly to significantly dry. The change this effects is truly impressive. Also, even though this is firmly in ‘treatment’ category, and therefore I’d apply it more sparingly than I would some of the more balm-like options, it still feels texturally pleasant on the lips while it’s working its magic.

Story by Zoe Briggs. Main image via Instagram @esteelauder.

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