The crisper, colder days of autumn are fast closing in - with winter just a whisper away. If you find that your skin is feeling tighter, drier, more thirsty and generally just in need of a wee bit more TLC, you're not alone. Most of us swap in a more heavy-duty moisturiser or serum during the colder months to give our skin extra defence against the cold, wind and harsher winter conditions. But what about our lips?
Did you know that the delicate skin on our lips doesn't actually produce any natural oils? It's also much thinner and more sensitive than the skin on the rest of our bodies (apart from the skin around our eyes - it's also thin). So, what does this mean? It means that our lips are more vulnerable to the elements and need some extra barrier protection, hydration and nourishing all year round, but especially in colder climes.
I've listed some lovely lip balms here that I think you'll like - and certainly your lips will thank you for using them. I've included natural lip products, as in a recent beauty poll 85pc of participants said that clean ingredients were extremely important to them - this is especially important in lip balms as we do end up eating a teeny portion of the product, so best to opt for a natural-source balm.
Scrub up well
If your pout is looking a bit cracked and peeling, why not try a lip scrub? This is a 100pc natural, 100pc paraben-free, certified organic lip scrub from Irish beauty line Aliso. It's full of natural ingredients like organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, almond oil, organic rosehip extract and vitamin E and is a cinch to use. Just massage a small amount on to chapped lips - the sugar crystals along with the oils will act as a gentle exfoliator - then rinse off with a warm, damp facecloth and apply your usual lip balm immediately. A lovely treat for our lips. Aliso Sweet Mint Lip Scrub, €12.95 from pharmacies nationwide and alisobeauty.com.
Kiss me quick
Eve Lom is an award-winning, trendsetting skincare guru long-loved by beauty buffs - her original solid-oil cleansing balm alone launched a thousand imitations. Her products were 'clean' (ie free of synthetic chemical nasties), streamlined and minimally packaged decades before it was fashionable. Her line used to be difficult to source, but happily Brown Thomas and Arnotts have recently started stocking it. This lip balm is a best-seller. It nourishes and protects at the same time thanks to its mix of ingredients - zinc oxide as a protector with the beeswax base locking in moisture. Can be used alone or over other lip products. Eve Lom Kiss Mix, €19.67 from Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Space NK and cultbeauty.co.uk.
Mask the problem
Alex Steinherr (alessandrasteinherr.com) is a much-loved and trusted beauty editor with decades of experience in the industry. She has collaborated with Penneys to edit a skincare line that was a knockout bestseller when it launched last year. It comes in high-tech formulations using brilliant skincare ingredients, at an unbelievable price point. Her Sleep line is particularly good and this overnight lip mask is one to keep an eye out for, as it's deeply nourishing and soothing. Alexa Steinherr x Primark Sleep Spa Lip Mask, €5 from Penneys stores nationwide.
The Irish skincare company Dublin Herbalists has some of the loveliest natural products on the market. Everything is natural, handmade and created in small batches locally. This lip balm uses beeswax and shea butter along with sweet orange essential oil to create a delicious-tasting lip moisturiser. As there are no preservatives or fillers used in this balm, this has a long-term hydrating effect on our lips. Dublin Herbalist Sweet Orange Lip Balm, €3.95 from health stores nationwide, Kilkenny stores and dublinherbalists.ie.
Sleep on it
Beo Wellness is the brainchild of wellness advocate, actress and mother Aoibhin Garrihy. She has launched a small product line of natural beauty products that promote serenity. Made with shea butter, coconut butter, Irish beeswax and calming lavender extract, her gorgeous overnight lip mask is a staple of mine. Great to see that all of Beo's range are Irish-made and environmentally packaged, too. Beo Wellness Lip Mask Overnight Treatment, €16 from Kilkenny Stores nationwide and beowellness.ie.
Promote fair trade
As October marks World Fair Trade Month, I thought I'd pop in this beaut from Dr Bronner's - one of the most authentic, environmentally conscious skincare brands available. They offer fair trade, certified organic, no-nonsense, long-lasting, family-friendly skincare products at a brilliant price. They don't pay just lip service to helping the environment - they put their money where their mouth is by donating a whopping 50pc of their profits back into charities. I think you'll love their organic lip balm using organic beeswax and plant oils with essential oils for flavour. This gives (delicious-tasting) long-lasting moisturising and protection. It can be used to soothe lips, but also be on dry hands or cuticles and helps provide relief for chaffed skin where needed. Dr Bronner's Lemon and Lime Organic Lip Balm, €3.99 from pharmacies, health stores nationwide and healthybuzz.ie.
Finding a fully vegan lip balm can prove tricky, as so many of them use beeswax. If you're on the lookout for a fully vegan version, this Irish-made product could do just the trick. It has vitamin E and jojoba oil as its hydrating base - leaving lips moisturised, soft and smooth, all 100pc naturally. This is suitable for those of us with sensitive lips. Human + Kind Lip Balm, €5 from health stores and pharmacies nationwide and Kilkenny stores nationwide.