Gimme Some Lip: 5 tips for lip care

5 tips to care for your lips

Keeping my lips hydrated and moisturized sometimes feels like a constant battle. For one thing, I’m often bad about remembering to put on lip balm anyway. I’m at my desk, working away for hours, and before I know it I’ve both forgotten to drink water or re-apply a balm (both sure-fire ways to end up with chapped lips). And for another thing — newsflash! — this winter has sucked. It’s been nothing but a one-way ticket to cracked lip town (gross).

Recently, the kind folks at Marie Veronique reached out and were generous enough to send me a few samples from Marie’s line of natural, non-toxic skincare (which is also based in Marin County!). I was especially intrigued by a pot of Marie’s Pacific Lip Treatment they sent, which comes in this little jar which after a few weeks I can already tell will last for months and months. I’ve kept it right next to my monitor as a reminder to reapply, and my lips have never been softer. Not only does the chic packaging catch my eye more often, but the ingredients are wonderful. Even more importantly, Marie sent along some really great tips for lip care, many of which are very handy to keep in mind the older we get. These nuggets of info were so good, I asked if I could share them here with you today!

Some quick background on Marie that I thought was really cool: Marie started Marie Veronique Organics over 10 years ago, and works with her daughter (who is a physicist and biomedical engineer) to choose ingredients in the products. Marie herself has degrees in math and chemistry, as well as an esthetics license from Paris Beauty College. Clearly, science and math result in beautiful, beautiful things. Here are Marie’s tips:

TIP#1: Lip skin needs a different treatment than other types of skin

It’s obvious when you stop and think about it, but lip skin is not the same as the skin on the rest of your face. “It’s thinner, and contains fewer melanocytes, which produce pigment,” says Marie, and more importantly, the lips have “no sebaceous glands to provide lubrication.” That means while the skin on the rest of your face churns out sebum as a natural lubricant, lips don’t have that same natural protection. “They become dry and chapped, especially in cold weather. Treatments that help retain moisture will keep your lips soft and supple.”

TIP #2: You can’t hide a thin upper lip

This one is a little complicated, so I’ll just let Marie explain:

“The skin of the lips contains 3 layers of skin — the stratum corneum, the epidermis, and the dermis, which contains collagen for plumpness. The stratum corneum is thinner on the lips than it is elsewhere. Unfortunately, as you age, the upper lip gets even thinner, flattens, and appears to fold over the teeth. Decreased collagen production is one of the main culprits behind the upper lip’s vanishing act.” To combat? “Look for lip treatments that boost collagen production and increase epidermal water content.” In other words, caring for your lips properly now can help you keep that stiff (and plump!) upper lip later in life.

TIP #3: You are what you eat 

We’ve all heard how the average woman eats X-tubes of lipstick over the course of a year. Whatever the number is, what isn’t debatable is that if you’re putting something near your mouth, it should be safe enough to be ingested. Beyond the obvious artificial fragrances and colors, Marie recommends avoiding lip products with alcohol (“because it dries out the skin”), Vaseline (“because at its core it’s made from petroleum”), and surprisingly, aloe butter (“because it can irritate lips”). We’ve talked about this in other natural beauty posts, but you should also avoid ingredients like parabens and phenoxyethanol, because these can accumulate in your body and end up stored in fatty tissue — like your breasts. Similarly, avoid synthetic sunscreen (often included under the name “oxybenzone”), as this can mimic hormones in your body and cause endocrine disruption.

TIP #4: Look for the good stuff

Okay, now that we know what to avoid, what should a high quality lip product include? According to Marie, look for ingredients like beeswax or candellila wax, which seal in moisture without irritating the skin. Also, bonus points for butters like shea and cocoa — these will soften the skin and moisturize.

One ingredient that’s often mistaken for an unnatural one is hyaluronic acid. In reality, this little gem works as a humectant, or in other words, it attracts moisture. “That increases water content, helps prevent cracked skin and reduces skin irritation,” says Marie.

Other lipids like essential fatty acids or jojoba oils can help protect against sun damage while also moisturizing — plus, they won’t irritate your lips. Finally, says Marie, look for a lip treatment with antioxidants, to protect against DNA damage.  Vitamin E is a great example. Easy enough, right?

TIP #5: Lipstick ≠  Lip Treatment

I think we all know this, but lipsticks are not the same as a lip treatment. “Lipsticks are makeup, not skincare,” says Marie. “While they’re great for color, they don’t provide the protective and nutritive benefits your lips really need.” So don’t substitute lipstick for a true lip treatment — you need both, friends!

Thank you so much to Marie Veronique for agreeing to let me share these tips! I hope you learned a thing or two. Even though it’s obvious, I’d never really thought about the fact that lips don’t produce oils like the rest of our skin does. Kind of interesting, no?

A quick note: while Marie Veronique Organics generously sent me a few samples to try from their line, this is not a sponsored post. I really just thought her tips were so good, they had to be shared! Image created by Victoria McGinley for vmac+cheese.

Leave a Comment


  1. 3.18.14
    Lauren said:

    I love this regimen! I am a big fan of both “feathering” your lips and using soft moisturizers like Aquaphor for lips to keep them full and plump!

  2. 3.18.14

    Love this post! We often neglect our lips but they need the most care!

  3. 3.18.14

    This post is so timely – I’m having such problems with my lips! One thing I discovered is that toothpaste with whitening products make my lips really dry. I only realized this after my mom told me that she stopped using it for that very reason. So I’m going in for professional tooth whitening, dealing with a week or so of peeling lips, and looking forward to fewer lip troubles for the rest of the year.

  4. 3.18.14
    alexa said:

    I use a lot of coconut products on my lips. Seems to really help with the plump effect. Also my lips can get really dry!

  5. 3.18.14

    Thank you for such an interesting post!
    The tip “You can’t hide a thin upper lip” is so much helpful for me, so, i understood now what i did wrong and how to combat it!

  6. 3.18.14
    Nina said:

    I just started using Marie Veronique on my skin and it’s completely changing it (for the better). I am in love, love love!!!

  7. 3.18.14
    Caroline said:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I love reading the tips and skincare advice on the Marie Veronique website, and it was so fun to see a dose of it here, as well as informative! I’d love to hear how the other product samples they sent worked for you. Xo

  8. 3.19.14

    It’s funny to think about how much chapstick/lip balm I’ve ingested over the years. I am truly a chapstick addict (

    I absolutely love MV Organics but have not tried their lip treatment yet. Their face oils have really made a difference in my complexion though. And I hear the Pacific Exfoliating Moisture Mask works wonders. It’s on my shopping list.

  9. 3.20.14
    Lily said:

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!!

    xo Lily

  10. 3.20.14
    erin said:

    i’m a fan of MV organics, too, v! they sent me their line, and i’m using the lip treatment now – really, really good. i always apply lip balm before bed, and MV’s new lip treatment defo takes that anti aging benefits up a notch. great post! x