Lip masks are taking the world by storm.
Part of this is due to an overall increased interest in beauty and skincare, and another part is due to masks being super photogenic and great for social media posts.
Along with masks, another body part that’s been “having a moment” is our lips.
Ever since Kylie Jenner’s “did she or didn’t she” lip injections, we’ve all been more focused on using the right lip products, overlining our pout, and finding the best shade of matte lipstick for our skin tone.
But the problem with matte lipstick? It’s super drying.
We might look amazing in a nude-ish, pink-ish matte lip one day, but be struggling with dry and cracked lips the next.
Unfortunately, it’s not just matte products that can dry your lips out.
In fact, nearly all tinted lip products contribute to more dry, cracked, or irritated lips.
So, what to do when you want the perfect lip color to top off your full face of makeup, but don’t want to deal with the after-effects?
Or worse, when you want to put on your favorite lipstick, but the application is difficult because your lips are peeling and dry?
That’s where lip masks come in.
Chances are, just like matte-lippies and sheet masks, you’ve seen your favorite celebrities and beauty bloggers rocking lip masks too.
But, do you know how lip masks became popular? Do you know what they’re really supposed to do for you?
Better yet, do you know if they actually work?
I’m going to answer these questions and more in this blog post all about lip masks!
What Are Lip Masks?
While lip masks may seem relatively new to the US market, they’ve actually been popular in Asia for much longer.
Just like Korean skincare and sheet masks, lip masks also got put in the spotlight as US-based beauty bloggers became fascinated with Asian skincare.
Essentially, lip masks work in the same way that sheet masks do — they’re made to hydrate your skin.
Except instead of the skin on your face, lip masks work to hydrate the skin on your lips.
And, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the skin on your lips needs a lot more TLC than the skin on your face does (at least in terms of moisture) — we’ll get into why later.
Lip masks are shaped like your lips, just larger. Just like with thick sheet masks, lip masks are better done when you can lay down during the process.
And you should probably try to talk as little as possible to ensure the mask stays on!
Certain lip mask products are just a lot thicker than your average lip balm and don’t contain a sheet or hydrogel that you throw away after using.
Think of a wash-off face mask, but for the lips.
Some are formulated to be applied before you go to sleep so you wake up with softer, smoother, plumper lips, for example.
Why Your Lips Get “Chapped” and Have Other Issues Your Face Doesn’t
Not all skin is created equal, and chances are you’ve likely noticed that the skin on your lips can be super sensitive — whether that means dryness after one swipe of lipstick, or slight bleeding after you absentmindedly bite your lip during a meeting.
In fact, no other skin on your body has the same structure that our lips do, which is why your lips are so special.
You might be familiar with the “regular” skin’s structure, which consists of three layers: the stratum corneum (outer protective layer), the epidermis (barrier between the internal body and the environment), and the dermis (internal skin layer).
This skin also contains sweat glands (which provide moisture), sebaceous glands, and hair follicles.
The lip skin, on the other hand, is a bit different.
While the skin on your lips still consists of three layers, the stratum corneum (that outer protective layer) is much, much thinner — this is why your lips appear reddish, because the blood vessels shine through the thin outer layer.
The epidermis is also slightly thinner, which means that your lips are less able to produce melanin and therefore more prone to sun damage (yes, this means you should always use a lip balm with SPF!).
Both of these thinner layers make your lips much more susceptible to damage and fine lines.
In addition, you may have realized by now that your lips don’t sweat — that’s because they don’t contain sweat glands.
While you probably wouldn’t want to sweat from your lips, the lack of sweat glands also contributes to a lack of moisture — which is why your lips get drier more easily than the rest of your skin.
Unfortunately, the lack of these sweat glands and sebaceous glands are what lead our lips to become so easily chapped, dry, and even to peel.
The only real moisture our body can provide to our lips is saliva — and I think we all know what happens when we try to cure chapped lips with saliva.
As I’ve told my son when I’ve seen him come home with a red ring around his mouth — licking your lips is not the solution to dry lips!
Do Lip Masks Actually Work?
Most lip masks promise to moisturize your lips — which in turn will smooth out the skin on your lips and make them appear plumper.
Many lip masks also incorporate collagen, which they claim will act as a mini lip-plumper of sorts.
Other Lip Care Tips
While lip masks can certainly help with chapped, dry, or roughly textured lips, it might be beneficial to attack your lip woes from the root cause instead.
Here are some other tips to help you achieve the hydrated, luscious, and plump lips that we all hope for!
- Apply SPF to your lips daily, just like you do to your face.
As I mentioned, your lips are even more susceptible to sun damage, so this is crucial! Many lip balms incorporate SPF already. Below are a couple of my faves!