Problem: Rough, parched lips
Solution: Flower-wax-infused balms
Flowers that grow in rough climates stay soft with the help of a vegetable-based wax that forms a protective barrier over their petals. Now, more beauty companies are using this all-natural alternative in lieu of petrolatum, an occlusive silicone-like substance typically used for locking in moisture. Part of the reason for the switch is that the wax contains essential oils with powerful antioxidant properties. These antioxidants can shield your lips from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays in the same way that they protect the flowers. Flower-wax products also go on smoother than petrolatum-based balms, according to experts. They may even help prevent you from licking your lips.
Problem: Dull, flaky lips
Solution: Pampering spa treatments
In the past you were lucky to get a quick swipe of lip balm following a facial. Now, increasingly, spas offer exfoliation treatments for your mouth. Available as an add-on to a facial, the Lip Smoothie at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, for example, uses a gentle scrub made from a sumptuous blend of shea butter, soybean extract, and jojoba beads to slough off dead cells ($50; canyonranch.com). At the Peninsula Spa in Beverly Hills guests can indulge in a stand-alone Epicuren lip treatment--an invigorating scrub containing ground apricot and walnut shells ($85; peninsula.com). If there are no lip treatments at your local spa, ask your aesthetician to zone in on your lips for a few minutes during your next facial or body-buffing session.
Problem: Thinning lips
Solution: Lip-plumping peptides
Though their lip-enhancing effects are reportedly modest, experts think peptides (which were first folded into facial moisturizers) work better on lips than anywhere else. The maximum collagen-boosting benefits will come after one to two months of consistent use. To maintain the effect, though, you have to use the product twice a day.
Also, the newest generation of lip glosses deliver a sheer wash of color and lots of conditioning, without leaving your lips feeling gooey. Shimmery gloss is still popular and a good option if your lips are thin, since a subtle glint adds a three-dimensional highlight to lips, which makes them look fuller.
Problem: Hard-to-find flattering lipstick color
Solution: Let your complexion be your guide
There's nothing more satisfying—and more elusive—than finding the perfect shade of lipstick. To make it easier, let your complexion be your guide. Fair-skinned faces are complemented by petal pinks and nudes, while darker complexions look best in deep berries and caramel browns. If you're still unsure about which hue works best for your skin tone, opt for a sheer shade.