How To Exfoliate Your Lips & 5 DIY Lip Scrubs You Can Make At Home

Make these with ingredients in your pantry.

Last updated on Feb 25, 2023

woman exfoliating her lips Yuri A / Shutterstock

Exfoliants are a great way to keep our body smooth and silky, and the same is true for keeping our lips kissable and soft.

But buying a lip scrub that's premade can sometimes lead to a big question mark as to what you're putting on your lips, and you could be doing more harm than good while doing so.

Luckily, there are natural ways to exfoliate your lips and keep them nice and soft.

Why should you exfoliate your lips?

While it may seem like we should only exfoliate other parts of our body like our face, knees and elbows, there are great benefits to doing so on our lips.


Whether it's during the winter when our lips are chapped and cracked, or hot and dry during the summer, flaky lips can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Licking our lips does nothing for rehydration, after all.

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Regularly exfoliating your lips removes dead skin and flakiness to make way for a smooth and silky feel. When you remove a dead layer of skin cells, underneath you'll find fresh skin!

Other benefits to exfoliating the lips include improving discoloration or dark spots, increasing the effectiveness of hydrating moisturizers or treatments, and, overall, allowing your lipstick to look incredible.

However, you should never over-exfoliate your lips, as you can worsen the flakiness and dryness. Instead, stick to gentle exfoliation once a week.

How to Exfoliate Lips

1. Make sure your lips are dry and clean.

Before applying anything to your lips, make sure they are free of makeup of any kind. Once removed, pat your lips dry.


2. Test the scrub beforehand.

Whether it's a natural scrub or one you picked up at the drugstore, if you're prone to sensitive skin, do a spot test before applying directly to your lips. Take a small amount of the scrub and use it on your hand or elsewhere to ensure there is no irritation from the ingredients.

3. Gently exfoliate.

When exfoliating any part of your body, but especially your lips, be absolutely certain you aren't scrubbing too harshly. You may end up damaging your lips and stripping too much skin.

Instead, apply the scrub and, using your fingers, gently rub the scrub in a circular motion around your lips. Remember that your lip skin is delicate!

4. Rinse and rehydrate.

After you've gently rubbed the mixture on your lips, wipe your lips clean. Immediately apply a moisturizing balm to act as a protective barrier. You might also consider using a balm with SPF as well.


5. Stick to natural ingredients.

Though there are plenty of lip exfoliants on the market, you don't always know what you're getting.

“Many lip scrubs available for purchase have various fragrances and chemicals added to them to lengthen shelf life, which, in turn, can do the exact opposite of what you actually want and overdry lips, making them even more chapped,” warns Heather Marianna, founder of plant-based skincare line, Beauty Kitchen.

Marianna recommends an all-natural lip scrub or a DIY lip scrub “where you know exactly what you're putting on your lips.”

Adds Marianna, “Any type of synthetic chemical will wreak havoc on your lips long-term. In an all-natural lip scrub or DIY lip scrub that you concoct at home, the main ingredient is sugar, a humectant, which aids in the loss of moisture. This means while the sugar is removing dead skin, it's keeping the moisture in your lips that it desperately needs to keep your pout healthy and hydrated.”


Other natural exfoliants include cinnamon or ground coffee, while emollients, which are moisturizing agents that add a protective film to trap in moisture, include coconut oil, shea butter, honey, jojoba oil, petroleum jelly, or olive oil.

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The 5 Best DIY Lip Scrubs

If you're looking to exfoliate your lips without the hassle of not knowing what ingredients are in your scrub, here are a few DIY lip scrubs you can make at home for ultimate smooth lips.

1. Honey & Sugar Lip Scrub

Courtesy of Heather Marianna, founder of Beauty Kitchen


  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar



1. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix.

2. Use a clean spoon to add a small amount onto a clean finger. The spoon should not touch your lips or it will contaminate the rest of the jar.

3. Gently add the scrub to your lips and apply lightly in small circular motions for about 15 seconds. Rinse with warm water.

4. Add remaining mixture from the bowl into your small jar with a clean spoon. Make sure the jar is sealed tight, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Do the scrub once a week.

"The sugars in the lip scrub exfoliate dead skin cells, while the honey and oil act as natural moisturizers, both being rich in vitamins. This is one of my favorite DIY lip scrubs," adds Marianna.


2. 'Lipcial' Vegan Lip Scrub

Courtesy of Natalie Aguilar, licensed aesthetician and dermatological nurse


  • 1 drop of peppermint oil
  • 4 teaspoons of white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil or sweet almond oil


1. In a small bowl, mix 4 teaspoons of white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil or sweet almond oil. After getting a nice fluffy consistency, add only 1 drop of peppermint oil and mix well. Be careful not to add more than one drop as it could cause sensitivity in some. Store in a small airtight jar.

Sugar is not only a wonderful exfoliant, but is also a commendable source of glycolic acid, a humectant that draws moisture to the skin and softens. Both coconut oil and sweet almond oil are naturally anti-inflammatory, so it locks moisture under the skin.


Peppermint oil has a soothing effect and it helps to heal chapped lips.

2. Prior to using your lip scrub, soak your lips with a warm water towel for 2 minutes. This will soften the dead skin.

3. After soaking, apply a small amount of your scrub and gently make small circular movements. Rinse and follow with your favorite hydrating balm.

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3. Lemon Sugar Lip Scrub

Courtesy of Karina Chung, director of A Rosewood Spa at Rosewood Miramar Beach


  • 3 tablespoons brown or white sugar
  • Juice from a lemon wedge
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil


1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.


2. Apply scrub to lips or body and remove right after the exfoliation is complete. Exfoliate in circular motions, until dry, flaky skin is removed.

3. Remove scrub from the lips with warm water and a wet washcloth for excess granules of sugar. If using on the body, apply in the shower and remove with warm water.

4. Refrigerate scrub in an air-tight container and use within 3 days.

4. Organic & Natural Lip Exfoliant

Courtesy of Reema Khan of Brow Bar By Reema


  • 2 tablespoons of organic turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of room temperature organic ghee
  • 1 tablespoon of organic honey
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 brand new toothbrush
  • Small container with lid
  • Small bowl and spoon to mix ingredients



1. In your bowl, create the base by adding in all the ingredients: 1 tablespoon of room temperature organic ghee, 1 tablespoon of organic turbinado sugar, 1 tablespoon of organic honey, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

The lemon juice acts as a natural lightening agent for skin discoloration, honey is naturally nourishing, and brown sugar is more gentle than any other natural exfoliant. Ghee helps nourishes and helps with skin discoloration.

This lip scrub is hydrating, while effective at removing dead skin cells. The lime juice exfoliates, while coconut oil adds beneficial fatty acids, and the pink Himalayan salt purifies.


2. Next, mix the ingredients together until you get a thick and coarse consistency.

3. With your finger, apply a small amount of the lip exfoliant onto your lips and then, with a toothbrush, gently exfoliate your lips in a circular motion for 1-2 minutes. By doing so, it helps circulation, causing your lips to become plump and smooth.

4. After 1-2 minutes, remove the remaining lip exfoliant from your lips with a warm washcloth.

5. Apply a small amount of ghee onto your freshly exfoliated lips to help nourish, plump and naturally make your lips pink.

6. To store the excess mixture, transfer your scrub in a clean container. It should be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.


5. Coco Lime Lip Scrub

Courtesy of Joshua Ross, celebrity aesthetician of SkinLab


  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of agave
  • 1/2 pink Himalayan salt (ground fine, not too coarse)


1. Combine the coconut oil, lime juice, agave and salt in a small bowl. Stir the ingredients until they are well combined.

2. Using your fingertips, apply the scrub to your lips and gently rub it on using circular motions for 30-60 seconds.

3. When you’re done, wet a washcloth with warm water and wipe the scrub off the lip area. Apply a lip balm to your lips to give them added moisture.

4. Use scrub once a month. ​Always make this scrub fresh for each use, so toss anything that's leftover when you’re done.


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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter.