Hydration is arguably the most important part of the routine. You wouldn’t skip moisturizer after exfoliating your face, would you? That’s a recipe for a weakened skin barrier.
You’re likely familiar with swiping on a lip balm (you may even have a go-to tube in every tote you own), but make sure you have a product that actually sends moisture to the lips. Read: Occlusive-only wax or jelly balms will merely coat the surface, and shiny, plumping numbers are great for aesthetic purposes but might not be the most moisturizing.
Other lip balms might contain hydrating ingredients, but they don’t have any occlusives to trap that hydration inside—which will only dry out the lips even further. "Lip balms that contain only humectant ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, can actually make lips more dry because they attract moisture, and if the air is very low in humidity, then they can pull moisture out of the skin, and then the moisture evaporates away," board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D., told mbg about healing lip cracks.
Rather, opt for formulas that include a blend of humectants, emollients, and occlusives. mindbodygreen’s lip balm, for example, features shea butter to soften the surface, hyaluronic acid to draw in hydration, antioxidant-rich oils (like moringa and sunflower seed) to protect the delicate skin, and vitamin E and vegan waxes to lock in moisture.