Healthy Lips

Healthy Lips

1 . Expert Tips

When navigating the cosmetics aisle, its hard enough finding the perfect shade of pink for your pretty pout. It gets harder still when you want to find a safe, nontoxic version that wont expose you to any potential health risks. While we encourage nontoxic versions of all cosmetics, its especially important to look for safe lipstick because the lips are a very sensitive part of the body, said Stacy Malkan, co founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and author of Not Just a Pretty Face The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry. The skin is highly absorptive, and we can ingest any chemicals that we put on our lips.

2 . Coastal Classic Creations Canyon Lipstick

This warm, reddish brown lip hue contains USDA certified organic ingredients and has the lowest hazard rating possible in the Skin Deep Database. $22 and only

3 . W3LL People Nudist Lipshine Stick

From a pretty pale pink to a pop of fuchsia, W3LL Peoples lipshine sticks offer a dose of color sans harmful chemicals. The products have extremely low toxicity. $23 at .

4 . Leadfree Lipstick

It isnt a pretty story. An ingredient so toxic it isnt allowed in paint or gasoline may be lurking in your lipstick. Lead. You know that stuff that had everyone freaked last Christmas because it was in those toys from China That stuff. So, heres The Daily Green to the rescue. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics widely hailed study, they found 11 popular lipsticks with no detectable levels of lead. And heres the list! So why take the chance These lipsticks are currently on the market, and theres one at every price point. Keep your kisser and those you kiss safer with low toxin lipsticks.

5 . Know thy balms

Look for hydrating ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, vitamin E and almond, jojoba or coconut oils. Good old petroleum jelly (think Vaseline) works well too. If you have sensitive skin, use camphor based medicated lip balms sparingly. (They can be irritating.) Instead, opt for the camphor free A?sop Rosehip Seed Lip Treatment with shea butter ($15; 888 223 2750). But if you have hearty skin, try ChapStick Medicated lip balm ($1.69; at drugstores) with camphor and menthol.

6 . Exfoliate when necessary

Lip exfoliators (products that contain fruit acid based alpha or beta hydroxy acids) slough off dead skin much like the ones youd use on your face, says New York dermatologist Dennis Gross, M.D. But if you have sensitive skin or your lips are severely chapped or cracked, use these products cautiously [no more than once weekly] as they do contain acids that can irritate skin, says Gross. (Signs of irritation intense stinging and/or persistent redness.) Try Blistex Lip Revitalizer with AHA and vitamin E and Lanc

7 . Protect

Lips are susceptible to sunburn since they lack melanin, the pigment that helps shield skin from the sun. Apply a layer of a sun protective product daily like Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer SPF 15 ($3; at drugstores) or look for a lipstick with SPF like Est?e Lauder Futurist SPF 15 ($17.50 steelauder.com), which comes in 22 shades.

8 . Dont make matte forever

Matte lipsticks can be extremely drying (which helps these lipsticks stay put for so long). Thats why you should use them sparingly when your lips are extremely chapped. Instead, alternate use of them with hydrating lipsticks (as indicated by ingredients like vitamin E and/or glycerin) or add a layer of moisturizing lip balm underneath. Opt for the nonmatte, hydrating Ultima II Ultimate Edition Lipstick with primrose oil and vitamin E ($15; at drugstores) or layer Prescriptives Lip Specialist ($15; gloss.com) underneath a matte.

9 . Lick the smacking habit

Licking your lips damages the protective barrier, which can dry out the lips, says Robert Brodell, M.D., a dermatologist in Warren, Ohio. (Saliva contains digestive enzymes that can break down this barrier.) Instead, regularly apply lip balm like La Mer The Lip Balm ($40; at Saks Fifth Avenue Stores).

10 . Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is a great way to keep your lips moist, drink at least eight cups of water. Water helps to keep your skin clear, to say nothing of the benefit it will have on the rest of your skin. Avoid thick or dark colored lipsticks. A thinly applied, semi transparent lip stain will show off the texture of your lips, making them appear smoother.