So you probably know by now that sheet masks are a thing, (thank you, Instagram stories). But while the full-face ones have been around for a while, the mini lip versions are the latest version of this huge beauty trend. And they're actually brilliant.
When I mentioned I was writing about the current vogue for lip masks to the InStyle team, I was met with a LOT of questions - and with a litany of lip issues. One member was suffering from peeling after a reaction to essential oils in a lip balm, another had never scrubbed her lips and wondered if it might be useful given that she is fond of matte lipsticks and felt they sometimes settled in the cracks.
Some lip complaints affected us all; most of us felt they could do with a little extra TCL, and every single one of us without exception had dry lips thanks to air con and England’s delightfully inconsistent weather. We were also all united in our desire to sort the situation out so that we could whack on a lovely lipstick and head out for the evening without worrying about flaking and chapping.
The interest in this seemingly niche beauty genre didn’t surprise me - lips have been a focal point of beauty for centuries, with records showing Cleopatra painted hers with a blend of crushed insects and beeswax (YUM) all the way back in 2500BC. Since then, lips - or the adorning of them - have ducked in and out of fashion, with the original It girl Clara Bow popularising the notion that a lip shape and colour could become iconic.
During WW2, women were encouraged to wear red lipstick as a signal of defiance and in order to buoy spirits, with adverts boasting slogans like ‘Keep your beauty on duty!’ And ‘keep lips looking smart on duty as well as off!’. By the 1950s, lips were a firm favourite feature to paint, and while colours and finishes have varied over the years, they have continued to be fashionable since then.
So, kicking off with these new rather bizarre lip masks the edit of products are designed to pamper this key feature and take their care a little further - think beyond lip balm into the realm of lip treatment. That’s not to say you can buy these up and forgo balm altogether, though - as lips cannot produce their own moisture, they’re at the mercy of the elements if you leave them unguarded. Look for one containing nourishing ingredients like beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter and skip petroleum-laden formulas (they will only form a barrier, not add hydration), and use the below to cosset, pamper and add a little extra oomph.
111 Skin Meso Lip Mask Duo. This two-step lip mask is a clever number that makes for an easy day-to-day treatment. The first step is a cream that smooths fine lines, slightly increases volume, and strengthens. Once that’s absorbed, you bed the cream in with a nourishing balm that soothes and protects.
Rodial Dragon’s Blood Lip Mask. These sheet masks will combat dryness on and around the lip. The latter bit is crucial here - lines surrounding the lips once softened make lips look poutier and healthier. Twice weekly with this one should do the job.
Nugg Lip Mask. Looking for a super up lip balm? Get this - the blend of Shea butter and coconut oil restores moisture to parched lips, while the liquorice root complex in the 100% vegan balm plumps lips up slightly.
Fillerina Lip Volume Grade 1. This is the one for you if you’re after volume. Containing 6 kinds of hyaluronic acid, it draws water to it, meaning your lips will swell slightly.
Christian Breton Lip Priority Lip Scrub. Once your lips have dead skin on them, you’ll need to slough it off. If you can’t stretch to a lip scrub, grab a cotton bud, coat it in lip balm, and roll it over your lips. If you can buy one, get this; it contains tiny granules suspended in a moisturising cream that will leave your lips smooth and plump.
GlamGlow Poutmud Fizzy Lip Exfoliating Treatment. This also packs a punch on the lip exfoliation front, combining cane sugar, sea salt and a host of botanical oils to thoroughly rid you of dryness.