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Dublin: 2 °C Monday 11 December, 2017
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Skin Deep: Does using vaseline on your lips really make them more chapped?

…and other lip care questions.

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Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.

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Despite the unseasonably warm weather this 2017 (call me, Met Eireann), winter is officially here, and with that comes colder, drier weather. As I’ve mentioned previously, this has an impact on our skin, and leaves us prone to dehydration. Nobody wants dry skin, and I certainly spend the season avoiding the scaley effect, but my greatest enemy is dehydrated lips. Chapped, red, peely, sore dehydrated lips. As a result, I have five or six lip balms at my disposal at any given time. One thing I don’t ever have for this purpose though, is Vaseline, which I took agin’ (thank you Marian Keys for this glorious expression) about seventeen years ago.

It all happened in the year 2000. I had just arrived back in Ireland after almost ten years as an emigrant, and boy was I desperate to fit in. My new school was filled with people who’d known each other for most of their lives, and infiltrating the social scene was a real challenge. I knew what I had to do though. Act like everyone else.* This meant rolling up my school skirt, getting soup and a cheese roll at small break, and carrying a little tin of Vaseline in my pocket at all times.

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It was the beauty product of choice of all the girls in my year, and despite the fact that there was nothing dry or chapped about my lips, I began applying it frequently and liberally throughout the school day. Before long, I began to feel a dependence on it, and without a layer of it my lips felt thirsty and dry, so my usage became even more frequent. The thing was, I didn’t actually like it, or the feel of it, and eventually I snapped, throwing it in the bin and declaring that I hated the stuff. (Does this sound dramatic? I was a teenage girl.)

After that, I frequently declared that Vaseline actually makes your lips more dry. The thing is, however, science says it doesn’t. In fact many dermatologists believe it’s a great moisturiser, based on the fact that it sits on top of your skin and doesn’t allow any natural moisture to escape (which is why some people apply a layer of it on their skin as a nighttime mask from time to time). I’m not one to argue with science, but I still believe that you can do better than petroleum jelly when it comes to lip care.

My perennial favourite is Carmex, which is less greasy than Vaseline, very effective, and lasts longer on the lips. It comes in lots of varieties these days, from flavours to tints, and won’t break the bank at a few euro a pop. It tingles a little on the lips, which I like, but if that’s not your bag, EOS is another solid option.

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EOS lip balms became a hot property when they popped up in the hands of celebrities and on tv shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians. They were almost a fashion item for a while, and places like Urban Outfitters were charging a fortune for them. These days you can get them for reasonable prices online and in Boots and the like, which is good, because they’re excellent. They last ages, come in a variety of flavours and scents, and look pretty in your makeup bag. They also sit very well under lipstick (handy if you’re wearing something very matte which you know is going to become uncomfortable at some stage).

If you have sensitive skin, Bioderma’s Atoderm Lip Moisturising Stick is particularly good as it’s hypoallergenic and paraben-free. It doesn’t come in pretty colours though, so if you can’t bear the idea of something looking functional rather than decorative it won’t be for you.

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If you’d like to splash out a little more, Clinique’s Superbalm lip treatment is great. You can use it throughout the day if you’re feeling chapped, or just at bedtime as a little lip mask. However, the ultimate lip treat, in my opinion, is Créme de la Mer’s Lip Balm. It comes in a gorgeous silver lidded glass pot, and includes the brand’s patented Miracle Broth, as well as a protein only found in the Arctic which apparently leaves you with softer, younger looking lips. Whatever about all that, it’s a comfortable wear and keeps chapping at bay, and it feels like a treat every single time you use it. It would want to, at €60 a pop, says you! And yes, it would. It does last ages though, and I think it makes a gorgeous gift for a friend who’s not well or going through a rough time.

It may not be the most exciting beauty item, but lip balm is an absolute essential, and you owe it to yourself to have one on hand in the winter months. Never let it be said that I let you walk around with chapped lips!

*This is not actually a good strategy, being yourself is always best. Unless yourself is a serial killer, in which case you should absolutely act like everyone else and not kill anyone.

New Product

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Pestle and Mortar are my absolute favourite skincare brand. The brand is Irish, female-led, cruelty-free, vegan and the packaging is gorgeous. Aside from all that, the products actually work! As you can imagine, I was delighted to hear that they were adding something new to the small but perfectly formed range. Recover Eye Cream contains a special peptide which stimulates collagen production, which in turn, slows the signs of age. Its other ingredients promise to hydrate, brighten and nourish, and hopefully it’ll give me the eye skin of a fourteen-year-old. It’s available now.

Psst. We’re giving an Essence goodie bags to five lucky Skin Deep readers. Get over to our Instagram to find out more.

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