Lips are one of the areas that is often neglected while we spend hours buffing and priming skin elsewhere, which is especially criminal when you consider what we put them through in a day.
Whether you are engaged in a lifelong fight against chapping or simply want a smoother base for your lipstick to adhere to, a lip scrub is your answer.
The classic is a manual exfoliator, such as sugar, suspended in a nourishing product with more slip, such as shea butter or a blend of natural oils, stored in a pot.
But there are setups to suit all, from stick applicators to lipstick-style bullets to scrubs and balms in one.
We’ve tested all the scrubs we could get our hands on to find our favourites for super-smooth, flake-free, conditioned and protected lips. Apply in small circles and either wash or wipe off excess as you like.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
L’Occitane raspberry crush delicious lip scrub: £15, L’Occitane
Our only problem with L’Occitane’s raspberry crush is that it smells so irresistibly like raspberry jam that it’s hard to resist the urge to eat it. Not too dry but with plenty of grit, it leaves lips soft and flake-free but not overly oily – a perfect base for lipstick.
Fresh sugar lip scrub: £19.50, Fresh
This, from the natural beauty brand, is perfectly balanced between exfoliating and moisturising. It’s a simple combination of brown sugar crystals, shea butter and jojoba oil and gives smoothing but gentle relief to chapped lips.
Clinique sweet pots sugar scrub and lip balm: £16, John Lewis & Partners
Clinique’s clever sweet pots are a handbag favourite for their dual purpose and sweetie-like appeal: they have a gentle exfoliator on one side (simply dab off the excess with a tissue), and a lightly tinted, non-sticky balm on the other. Available in five shades.
The Body Shop lip scuff: £8, The Body Shop
The bullet formula of lip scrub suits those who find pots unhygienic and messy. It doesn’t have a particularly gritty texture but is still very effective; apply liberally straight from the tube and rub our lips together before wiping off the excess.
By Terry baume de rose le gommage levres lip scrub: £26, Cult Beauty
This is the most luxury offering in our roundup by some way, but By Terry’s lip scrub is the perfect companion to our favourite baume de rose balm – both with the brand’s signature rose scent. Squeeze a little from the tube and massage in small circles into lips, with the slanted applicator or with your finger as you prefer, for perfectly smooth smackers.
Lipstick Queen lip restore scrub: £18, Look Fantastic
Lipstick Queen’s scrub is quite a different formula to others we tried: exfoliating grains are suspended in a serum-like liquid with plenty of slip. The applicator has little silicone scrubbers that you work the product in with and it has a nice minty tingle on the lips.
GlamGlow poutmud fizzy lip exfoliating treatment: £18, Feel Unique
We regularly turn to masking pros GlamGlow for skincare, so we had high hopes for its scrub. Coming in a satisfyingly space-age-y silver orb, it combines sugar and salt with almond oil and fruit extracts, and a little mint for the titular fizz.
Kiko lip scrub: £4.99, Kiko Cosmetics
The perfect budget companion for chapped lips, this best-selling scrub from the Italian brand is applied straight from the bullet, so no messy fingers. It is formulated with the classic sugar and shea butter combo for soft, flake-free lips.
Burt’s Bees conditioning lip scrub: £5.90, Feel Unique
This balm uses the signature Burt’s Bees ingredients of honey – in the forms of exfoliating crystals – and beeswax, which has brilliant conditioning and protecting qualities. It’s 100 per cent natural and super-smoothing.
The verdict: Lip scrubs
L’Occitane’s scrub smells delicious, is a bright, appealing colour and exfoliates effectively without dropping granules everywhere or scrubbing lips until they’re dry.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.