Is Wearing Lipstick Every Day For A Week Bad For Your Lips?

Hi, I’m Sara, and I’m straight-up addicted to lipstick. It’s really not worth pretending that I’m not anymore, especially considering I went to Michael’s over the weekend for the sole purpose of buying this giant glass apothecary jar to hold all of my lipsticks (well, and a giant margarita glass in which to store my nail polish collection, but that’s a post for another day). If I had it my way, I’d wear it all the time, but the hassle of marking up all of my coffee mugs and sandwiches starts to take an emotional toll after a while.

But my obsession got me thinking: A few weeks-long periods of time at the beginning of college taught me that wearing foundation every day didn’t do great things for my skin. I often wound up with red patches and started developing acne, which, as a 19-year-old, was no fun at all. In addition to my own personal experience, countless articles as of late feature women going makeup-free for a period of time and learning that their skin actually benefits from the break.

On the lipstick front, a recent study conducted by the FDA concluded that over 400 lipsticks from leading brands like Maybelline and NARS contained lead, which, as you might be able to guess, isn’t really something you want to put on your mouth. Sure, the lead amounts are minimal, but if my landlord felt the need to include a forty-page summary along with my lease agreement outlining all of the reasons I shouldn’t be licking my walls for fear of lead paint, I think any amount of lead could be considered to be too much lead.

Anyway, I had my problem to test out: If foundation seemed to be bad for my skin, would the same principle apply to my lips? Would wear lipstick every day for one week damage my lips? I went on a mission to find out.

Here are my lips at the beginning of the experiment:

My lips before the experiment

As you can see, I keep my lips in pretty good shape. I don’t generally exfoliate them, mostly because I’m a weenie and think that using a toothbrush to slough the dead skin off my lips hurts, but I use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Swivel Stick Lip Moisturizer (yes, the one that looks like a glue stick) religiously. Also, I’ve been blessed with pretty big lips, which I absolutely love. For the sake of this experiment, I chose to forgo the lip balm for one week. Believe me when I tell you this was a huge sacrifice.

Here’s how my week in lipsticks went:

Lipstick Collage: Here's how my week in lipsticks went

For the curious among you, the shades, in order, are as follows:

  • Nyx Cosmetics Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Soft-Spoken (out in September, stay tuned for a review of the collection!)
  • Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Candy Apple ($8.49)
  • Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor in Blissful Berry ($7.49)
  • Ciaté London Liquid Velvet Matte Lip Slick in Smitten ($18)
  • MAKE UP FOR EVER Rouge Artist Intense in Satin Black ($20)
  • Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in Soft Nude (discontinued, sadly)

I forgot to take a picture on the seventh day because I’m the worst, but I wore Estée Lauder‘s Pure Color Envy Liquid Lip Potion in Lethal Red ($30). You may remember that I recently expressed my undying love for the shade in a review.

I’ll admit that, during the week, I felt that more damage was being done by the consistent use of makeup remover on my lips than the lipstick itself. But, either way, here are my lips after a week of consistent color:

Lips After: Do you wear lipstick everyday?

Much to my surprise, my lips actually look better than they did before I wore lipstick every day for a week. It’s possible that, since some of the lip colors I used were of a higher quality, that they contained some moisturizers that I wasn’t aware of at the time of application, but my lips look noticeably smoother and less lined than they did last week, and I’m not mad at it. However, since life is not without its #FirstWorldProblems at times, it was a bit annoying finding shades each morning to go with my outfit. But, you know, whatever, right?

Final verdict? If you’re going to wear one beauty product every day that won’t damage anything on your body, give lipstick a spin. At least you’ll have plenty of options!

Is Lip Balm/Lipstick Addictive?

Is lip balm/lipstick really addictive? Is there a better solution to keep lips hydrated in winter?

No and no! While lip items might feel addictive—as in, I loved that, let’s do that again—they are not. Lips do not have oil glands, New York/Miami dermatologist Fredric Brandt explains, so they dry out quicker than the rest of your skin: “People also tend to lick their lips in winter to moisturize them—which dries them out and makes them worse.” Dr. Brandt says a humidifier in your bedroom will make a huge difference, along with copious amounts of your favorite lip balm or even moisturizing lipstick. (Highly pigmented ones catch in cracks if you have them, and so should be at least temporarily avoided. Long-lasting lipsticks have a reputation for drying that is not quite true anymore.)

If your lips are chapped, balms or lipsticks with menthol are not mandatory; menthol will not make your problem worse or better. Go with any nice soothing balm: I love Waxelene, Korres, Nyakio, and Burt’s Bees. Apply it as often as feels good. Indulge!

For flakiness, there are glamorous lip scrubs from Jane Iredale, Fresh, and Sarah Happ. You can also mix a little sugar into some butter to create your own delicious treatment. Or just scrub with your toothbrush (a less-glam option). Either way, put on some lip balm once the scrub’s off. The result should be a major and instantaneous improvement in smoothness.

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