Saturday, February 22, 2014

Does a Lip Scrub Really Help With Lipstick Longevity?

One of the most common tips for stretching the life of your lip products is to use a lip scrub before you apply your color of choice. The gritty exfoliator, proponents claim, will help slough off yucky dead lip skin and goop, allowing your lipstick to adhere more evenly. As a result, throughout the day, it will not flake.

do use a lip scrub, but I don't do so with a whole lot of reliability. I was curious, then, if a lip scrub made as big of a difference as makeup lovers suggest. Should I really make an effort to use one every day? I decided to put it to the test.




Personally, I like the Lush lip scrubs because they are edible, which appeals to both the part of me that is lazy (and thus doesn't want to get tools to wipe the scrub off) and the part of me that is hungry. With that said, you could presumably use any lip scrub on the market or you could make a homemade lip scrub out of brown sugar and olive oil and still get comparable longevity results, even if it doesn't happen to taste like bubblegum. For the test, though, Lush's Bubblegum Lip Scrub was my tool of choice.


(For me, Lush is convenient enough to be worth the $9.95 for 0.8oz, or $12.44 per ounce! It's also worth noting that a lot of more inexpensive options are pricier, ounce per ounce. For example, at $3 for 0.16oz, ELF's Lip Exfoliator is actually more expensive at $18.75 per ounce. Plain old sugar, though, will always be cheaper.)



I debated the best method to test my "lip scrub is helpful" hypothesis because it's likely that different people are asking different things. (Some people might, for example, never wear lipstick and want to know if it will be worth it for that one special gala where they're finally going to break out a red pout. Others might use a lip scrub on the regular and want to know if it's worth it to fit it into their daily routine.)

I decided the easiest way to do a test that is helpful for most interested parties was to use a lip scrub on one side of my mouth and compare it to the other half. Because I have no reason to suspect that I use one half of my mouth more than the other half, and because I worried that scrubbing one day would carry over in helpfulness to the next day, I decided to dedicate one half of my mouth to scrubbing for the entirety of the test, rather than switching from side to side.

Before my test, I did not use a lip scrub for one week. Then, I scrubbed one half of my mouth with a lip scrub and applied lipstick over my whole mouth. I applied in the morning, applied nothing to my mouth for the whole day (P.S. NOT RECOMMENDED. I HEART LIP BALM. DRY LIPS HURT.), and then took a picture of my dried up, unhappy lips eight hours later to see which side of my mouth faired better. The test took three days with three different lipsticks.

In the pictures below, the left side of the picture got the scrub, and the right side did not. Warning: ugly end-of-the-day lip pictures ahead.

Lipstick #1: Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Quince


In terms of color saturation, both the left side and right side of my mouth look pretty similar. On the far right corner of my mouth, there is perhaps slightly more fading than there is on the left corner. The big visible difference is that the right half of my mouth has hunks of dead skin that is unattractively coated in lipstick.

Lipstick #2: MAC Party Parrot


The results here were similar. The most notable fading for the non-lip scrubbed right side was at the corner of my mouth.

Lipstick #3: Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Berlin


The difference here was much more substantial. Although the fading was still concentrated near the corner, if was much more spread out and noticeable. The liquid lipstick format, it appears, is much more sensitive to whether or not a lip scrub is applied.

Still, for all three lipsticks, the side that had been scrubbed down had less fading and looked generally more visually appealing due to lack of lip gunk polluting the view. The corners of my mouth and the top of my bottom lip were the most affected regions. I feel comfortable, then, concluding that lip scrubs do extend the life of your lipstick, although the effects may be more or less pronounced for certain types of lip colors.

26 comments:

  1. I got the Lush lip scrub in the holiday version, (Santa.. or something?) at their boxing sale. I like it, the cherry cola flavor is great, but I never knew how much to use it. I settled on once a week, but I keep forgetting about it. I think I'll switch to every morning and see if there's a change. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Let me know what you think! I don't use it every day due to lazy. I wish I had the Cherry Cola one! I keep debating buying the Mint Julep one, but I never want to pay for shipping.

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  2. I don't care if they prolong the wear time of my lipstick, I love exfoliating my lips because I HATE getting little lip flakies in my tubes of lipstick... *shudder*

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    Replies
    1. Oh no! I don't reeeeally care but they definitely make for less photographable blog posts.

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  3. I really love LUSH, but the reason I use lip scrub is because it gets all of the gross goopy skin off my lips so they look smoother when lipstick is on, although now that I think of it, I guess that is mostly increasing the longevity.

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    Replies
    1. That's been my main reason too! It's one of the reasons I was curious to try out a longevity experiment.

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  4. I definitely suck at using my lip scrub regularly, but I am going to definitely try before I apply lipstick! Especially with these results :)

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    Replies
    1. Let me know if you notice a change! (Or if you don't!)

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  5. I think this sort of thing is going to totally depend on your...er...lip skin? I shed on my lips more regularly than a friggen snake, and no lip scrub is enough for that. My lip color isn't going to last if I'm sloughing off a layer of skin, but on a good day when I'm not, it generally likes to stay on the normal amount for its formula.

    I think you need to go put on all the lip balm, now.

    I recently did a similar and fun test without any photo evidence: does UD's Anti-Aging primer do anything? Regular on one lid, Anti-Aging on the other for like three weeks, no effect, totally don't get it. It's slightly slimier than the original, if you want a slimier primer, that'll be an improvement, I guess. Went back to using Greed because everything on my eyelid must sparkle, dammit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure it does depend on the person for lip scrubs!

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  6. I had big problems with flaking and I was regularly scrubbing. Nothing drastic, just a bit at night to get them smooth and lovely, yay. But still, flaking, no matter how much I smother them in lipbalm.

    Then I saw a Derm TV episode saying the skin on your lips is different than the one on your face and that you shouldn't scrub it, because that would lead to further flaking.

    I'll stop for a few days, what have I got to lose, except for that smooth feel right after a scrub?

    My lips have never been better.
    No flaking in sight, no matter the weather, as long as I moisturise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hm. I think that this is true, but not the entire story. I scrub my lips to remove "lip goop" that's built up, NOT a layer of dead skin. I definitely wouldn't recommend scrubbing your lips with something really harsh, like a toothbrush, or if you don't have lip goop (since you are not accomplishing anything, in that case).

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  7. I found your blog a couple weeks ago, and I friggin love it! You've managed to use science to inspire a new love of makeup in me, so thanks. I have to ask . . . you obviously have a ridiculously large collection of beauty products. How the hell do you store and organize everything??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is my number one most frequently and as-of-yet unanswered questions. I pinky promise I will answer it soon!

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  8. I am still too hpoelessly lazy to use a lip scrub :-P The only thing that I ever really find sticks awkwardly to any dry lip flakes or gunk though (since I usually bite it off as soon as it forms, bad habits 101 here!) are lip stains, which tend to settle much more happily into the dry bits. I don't think I've ever noticed it affecting my lipsticks...

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    1. I definitely have more issues with mattes, for lipsticks. If you don't wear a lot of mattes/liquid lipsticks, you're probably golden.

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  9. The best sentence in the history of beauty blogging: "Personally, I like the Lush lip scrubs because they are edible, which appeals to both the part of me that is lazy (and thus doesn't want to get tools to wipe the scrub off) and the part of me that is hungry."

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for justifying my desire to continue purchasing Buttered Popcorn lip scrub at $10 a pop when I know I could just use sugar.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Im loving your blog! I also read Swift Crafty Monkey- the science fascinates me and although her blog focuses formulating I was really excited to find a blog along the same lines that focuses on ready-made products! I have used Lush lip scrubs before and never thought to check the ingredient list. A decent grocery store should have Superfine Sugar, Jojoba Oil and oil-based candy flavorings. I'd guess you could make a pound of lip scrub in about 5 minutes for less than 20 bucks:)

    Which is exactly what Ill be doing this afternoon since my new Lip Tars got here last week!

    Keep up the amazing work! (I got this on the right post this time)

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  12. Damn, this post has convinced me that I need a lip scrub. I have been holding out for ELF's but its hard to find in stores here in Canada. Next time i'm @ lush, i'm grabbing one..

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey Robyn, I'm using a lip scrub daily, as well as a primer before any color, and still getting flakes before I'm even off work! Any tips?

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  14. I have some scrub I made myself, but before I'd even heard about sugar scrubs, I just used a wet washcloth to exfoliate my lips. I like the scrub, it's tasty and cute in it's little jar, but it's still more convenient to swipe a rag over my lips in the shower.

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    ReplyDelete
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  17. I have grown addicted to your blog in the past week (I'm an engineer with a makeup "problem") and am really sad because it looks like I've reached a point where the pictures expired?? The pictures seem to be missing from this post and older. :(

    ReplyDelete

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