Clean, Soft, Kissable Lips for Valentine’s Day (Or Any Day!)

Usually, my hair is the focus of my look…but, my love for lip pampering runs pretty deep, too.  From lip balms and glosses to multiple tubes of lipstick, my makeup bag has long been a reflection of my intense lip product obsession.  With Valentine’s Day around the corner and the winter air doing a number on our puckers, I thought I’d share my easy routine for clean, soft, kissable lips.

Step 1: Exfoliate

Soft lips start well before you apply lip balm or lipstick.  Just like the rest of our skin, exfoliation is key. When it comes to lips, I’ve been exfoliating since I was a middle schooler (anyone else save their allowance to buy The Body Shop’s Lip Scuff?!). Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot since then.  Lately, I’ve been alternating between a DIY coffee lip scrub I modified from Don’t Waste The Crumbs’ recipe and Nyakio’s Kenyan Coffee Lip Polish which the brand kindly sent me to sample.  

Why coffee to exfoliate? Not only is coffee rich in antioxidants (which are known for their anti-aging properties), but its coarse nature makes it a great natural scrub.  Interestingly, the Nyakio Lip Polish’s exfoliant is Apricot seed powder.  The coffee in the product is in the form of coffee seed oil.  As a result, it does not feel as harsh as the ground coffee in my DIY scrub, but still leaves my lips soft, smooth and plump.  I do miss the natural coffee, coconut, and peppermint scent of the DIY scrub, but the ingredient junkie in me appreciates that the Lip Polish is unscented because this is consistent with the ingredient label’s lack of a “Fragrance” or “Parfum” (below).  To use it, I massage the Lip Polish onto my lips using my fingers to gently buff away any dead skin. I then wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Nyakio Kenyan Coffee Lip Polish
Nyakio Kenyan Coffee Lip Polish

Step 2: Moisturize

After I’ve removed any dead skin, I top off my lips with a lip balm or coconut oil.  In addition to the Kenyan Coffee Lip Polish, Nyakio also sent me their Boabab Lip Balm to test out.   And, oh my stars. This is one of the richest, thickest lip balms I have tried in awhile!   Luxurious is the only word I can think of to describe how it feels. It is formulated with Baobab Oil, which contains Vitamin A and E and the crucial fatty acids Omegas 3, 6, and 9.  Per its ingredient label, it also contains a number of other natural oils and butters (see ingredients, below), so I know its working hard to moisturize my lips.  Like the Lip Polish, this is also unscented.

Nyakio Baobab Lip Balm
Nyakio Baobab Lip Balm

Nyakio products are cruelty-free and made with organic, ethically sourced and largely non-toxic ingredients.  If you are interested in learning more about the brand, check out my previous review of some additional Nyakio’s skincare products that the brand sent me.  From my reading of the labels on the Nyakio lip products referenced in this article, my understanding is that these products, in particular, are quite clean.  I am enjoying using them so far, as exfoliating and moisturizing my lips is crucial for me in winter.

Step 3: Apply Your Favorite Lippie

Though I do Steps 1 and 2 a few times each week, I pay particular attention to this ritual prior to applying lipstick for a special event.  Like…your Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day plans:)   Lipsticks accentuate even the most minor flakes and cracks in your lips, so removing that dead skin is crucial.  Once my lip balm has absorbed, I then apply my lipstick.

I won’t lie – it’s hard to verify those claims on the internet about how toxic lipstick is and how many pounds of it we eat each year.  Whatever the case may be, as a lipstick junkie, I’m just trying to be more cognizant of ingredients that are good for me and the world.  So, after doing some research a few weeks back, I purchased some Clove + Hallow lipstick samples and fell in love.  Not just any love. I’m talkin’ that 90s R&B kind of love.  Clove + Hallow is a vegan, cruelty-free, clean, indie beauty brand.  Their “Clean15” promise, as well as their commitment to transparency, really spoke to me. 

Moreover, while this brand ditches the bad stuff, from what I’ve seen, they certainly do not skimp on performance.  After trying their Lip Cremes in Desert Rose, Ballerina Slippers and Damsel and their Lip Velvets in Napa and Road Trip (below), I knew I’d found high-performing, long-lasting lip colors. The samples come with enough product for multiple wears, so of course, I’ve been having a ball playing dress-up. 

The Lip Cremes dry to a satin, almost matte finish and the Lip Velvets dry to a matte finish.  For anyone wondering about a conventional makeup comparator, wear-wise and feel-wise, I’m getting strong Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick and Always On Liquid Lipstick vibes, respectively.   Made primarily of oils, butters, and natural waxes, both formulas are moisturizing and wearable for being matte.   Both have really impressive wear time, too, particularly the Lip Velvets.  Honestly, I’ve had to restrain myself from buying full-sizes of all five!

Clove + Hallow Damsel, Road Trip, Napa, Ballerina Slippers, Desert Rose Swatches
Clove + Hallow Lip Swatches

Here I am, post-exfoliation and moisturizing with Nyakio and wearing Clove + Hallow’s Lip Creme in Ballerina Slippers. Definitely loving my clean, soft, kissable lips!  

Post-exfoliation and moisturizing wearing Clove+Hallow Ballerina Slippers

What’s your favorite way to prep for clean, soft, kissable lips?  Let me know in the comments!

FTC:  This is not a sponsored post, but I was gifted the PR sample Nyakio products used and reviewed in this post. I personally and independently purchased the referenced Clove + Hallow products.  All opinions herein are my honest take on all referenced products after multiple uses. There are no affiliate links in this post;  all links are purely informational.

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