Whether you're smiling, speaking or smooching, your lips take center stage! Luckily, making them look gorgeous is as quick as a slick of gloss, a swipe of balm, or a soothing mini massage move. From the April issue of "Self" magazine, Beauty Editor Elaine D'Farley has the inside scoop on getting perfectly pouty smackers for summer!
Shine OnGloss is the easiest way to make your lips appear their biggest and most pillowy. Glistening places catch the eye and give the illusion of fullness. For the moist, lush effect, get gleaming with a bold, bright color rather than a deep, dark one. (Sephora Super Shimmer Lip Gloss, $10)
Make Your Lips SofterGet Saved by the BalmYou may have heard that constant lip balm use stops lips from making their natural oils. It's a myth: Lip skin doesn't contain oil-producing glands, so no product can inhibit them. The constant desire to reapply merely means you're used to having protected lips, says Charles Zugerman, M.D., associate professor of clinical dermatology at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago. To keep your lips healthy, you want to add moisture while preventing water loss, says Theresa Ma, founder of SCO skin care in New York City. A nongreasy solution is beeswax. Find it in SCO Custom Lip Balm and in Burt's Beeswax Lip Balm, $3.
Keep lips unchapped and in the pink with regular drenching treatments. Gently rub a moisturizer such as T. LeClerc Creme 901 for Eyes and Lips $50, onto bare lips. Massage with a damp washcloth. No need to rinse - you're ready for color! (Mary Quant Lip Gloss, $22)
Forget FlakesTo get rid of peeling bits, try an exfoliant meant for tender lip skin. Look for smooth synthetic beads and a low percentage of alpha hydroxy acids (1 percent or less.) Find both in Benefit Dr. Feelgood Buffing Lip Beads Lipscription Set, $28. The rule with exfoliating (anywhere): Don't do it if it hurts or stings.
Fight Lip LinesAs you age, your skin loses collagen (and sun exposure or smoking doesn't help). This problem can be especially noticeable around your constantly on-the-move and wrinkle-prone mouth. Do we even need to tell you not to smoke? And don't skip your lips when you slather on antiaging potions (such as Avon Anew New-Retinol Line Plumper, $16). Protect them from UV rays with a broad-spectrum sunblock such as Parson 1789, found in Blistex Pro Care Lip Balm SPF 30, $2.
Make Your Lips FullerStop SlippageGloss has less stick-to-itiveness than lipsticks or stains. Keep it in place by dipping a finger in foundation or powder and drawing it around the edges of glossed lips, blending as you go. Or maintain control with DuWop Reverse Lipliner, $18, a sheer, hydrating stick.
Super-Size ItMildly skin-irritating ingredients like peppermint (found in Tigi Bed Head Shine Junkie Lip Gloss, $12), cinnamon, ginger or cayenne pepper cause lip tissue to swell just a teensy bit by increasing circulation to the area. (Quit using these lip inflators if they burn or itch, Dr. Zugerman says.)
Make Your Lips 100% More KissableBe Eco-FriendlyWomen ingest (via lip licking) 6 to 9 pounds of lipstick in a lifetime, says Jurgen Klein, Ph.D., founder of Jurlique Cosmetics in Adelaide Hills, Australia. Instead of petroleum-based lip goo, he recommends more natural hydrators such as shea butter or jojoba oil (found in Jurlique Lip Care Balm, $20).
Stay Smudge-FreeA post-lip-lock collar smear is a movie cliché and a dry cleaning drag. Do keep color on you with a long-lasting lip hue under gloss (such as Stila Twin Set in Demi Scarlet, $20).
Have Good TasteAs great as your lips look, give some thought to how they taste, too. Deliciously winter- greeny Bliss Breath Freshening Lip Balm in Mint, $14, is like a Tic Tac that makes you pretty.