Have you seen these ridiculous sheet masks for lips that seem to be all the rage? Patches of gel, or sheets of serum-infused fabric that are pressed over the lip area and left on for an “intensive treatment”. I mean, each to their own and everything, but who wants to sit there with a floppy sheet of slimy jelly slapped over their mouth? It’s just absurd. Not only is it completely unnatural to have to keep your mouth clamped shut for minutes on end (for me, it’s almost an impossibility), the bloody things don’t even work. I’ve tried quite a few of them now, and even the best of the bunch did absolutely nothing in terms of lip appearance. It merely gave an intense tingling sensation as I lay there like a prize idiot, my mouth area covered with a giant lip-shaped (nice touch) piece of plasma.
I do like the sheets and patches for under the eyes; the slimy, cooling sensation is actually nice – but on the mouth? Just weird.
So stick-on lip masks are in my bad books, along with those coffee body scrubs that come in paper packets. Have you tried those? Don’t. Your shower cubicle will look as though there’s been some sort of dirty protest. And you’ll find coffee granules in your “secret areas” for days afterwards. Who wants coffee granules in their creases? Not I.
But less of the moaning: onwards to the beautiful (and infinitely more usable) lip treats I’ve come across over the past couple of months. The first, Espa’s Nourishing Lip Treatment, is a non-greasy oil that can be used as a top-coat over lipstick or as a nourishing base. In consistency it’s rather similar to the Clarins Lip Comfort Oil, but (controversially, as the Clarins version is so well-loved!) I think I prefer the ESPA. It feels more “skincare” than “makeup”, the texture is just slightly more nourishing in feel and it’s a nice one to bung on alongside an overnight mask so that you wake up with plump, smooth lips. It also smells beautifully lemony. You can find the ESPA Nourishing Lip Treatment here* – it’s £19.
And then the Fresh Sugar Treatment Perfecting Wand, which I thought I’d hate from the name alone – wand! – but actually liked very much. The lip treatment formula is very softening and leaves a lovely sheen to the lips, but it’s the rubbery, nobbly applicator that makes this special:
It does a fine job of giving the lips a low-key exfoliation session without any abrasion or risk of irritation and I love the feeling of the blood rushing to the surface and plumping everything out. It really does give a bit of a temporary boost, though I don’t even know whether that’s one of the wand’s selling points! It’s a treatment session in one step – exfoliation, massage, plumping and then a nourishing little top coat to send you on your way. Just excellent.
Finally, the Liz Earle Superskin Superlip Balm; this has a similar feel to the rest of the Superskin range, which is Liz Earle’s “power” range, for want of a better description. Smoothing, plumping, skin-boosting, the balm is formulated with argan oil and shea butter to nourish and moisturise and then a variety of oils and extracts to boost hydration and help to protect the lips. If you love the sound of the ESPA oil above but you’re wary of the “oil” element, then go for this balm – I find the effects, texture and smell to be very similar, but the finish is ever so slightly less tacky and the squeezy tube packaging a little more familiar.
For those looking for a dedicated lip mask that’s not a leave-on sheet of silly goo, I’m currently testing out the BITE Agave Lip Mask, as recommended to me by so many of you! It’s lovely. There’s no real difference in formulation or texture when compared to a good lip balm, like one of those above, it’s just marketed in a different way. “Mask” makes it sound more of a treat, doesn’t it? It’s £20/$26 at Sephora here*. This one is lanolin-based (like Lanolips) but has a whole load of extra ingredients for hydration and protection, including resveratrol for a bit of antioxidant action and Jojoba oil for non-greasy healing. You can find the full ingredients list here*.
Tell me: what do you think of a) these sheet masks for lips and b) coffee body scrubs. Please tell me I’m not the only one…
Gorgeous printed notebook is by Arden Rose at Ohh Deer – it’s £3.95.