We Tested Exfoliating Lip Scrubs — Trust These 9 for Makeout-Ready Lips

The Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator is a sure bet for lips that need a little TLC

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KNC Supa Scrub

InStyle / Jessica JUliao

Stop what you’re doing right now and feel your lips. When you rub your top and bottom lip together, does it feel crusty or tight? Do they often look dry when wearing lipstick or your favorite gloss? If you answered yes to these questions, you need to add a good lip balm AND lip scrub to your regimen.

Lip care isn’t new by any means, but with floods of reviews on TikTok and Instagram, it’s hard to figure out which lip scrub is the right one for you. InStyle cut out the middleman and tested over 20 different scrubs to find the very best in hydration, formulation, and cost. Out of all the products we tested, the Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator has been crowned the winner for its exfoliating abilities without drying out lips. And before you ask, as good as these scrubs smell, please resist the temptation to eat any sugary residue on your lips. Most aren’t actually edible. 

 If you’re feeling like a kid in the candy store with all these scrub options, we’re making it easier to pick a lasting favorite. Continue reading for the best lip scrubs, tested by InStyle.

Best Overall: Fresh Lip Polish Exfoliator

4.7
Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator InStyle Badge

Amazon

What We Love: The subtle exfoliation doesn’t dry out lips. 

What We Don’t Love: The brown sugar crystals leave a sticky film on lips.

My little sister is very anti-intensive skincare and beauty regimens. If it’s more than two steps, she instantly gets disinterested, so you know it’s important if she’s willing to add an extra step for the right product. The one lip scrub I always keep stocked for my picky sister is the Fresh Sugar Lip Polish that InStyle testers also agree is all that. This bad boy is jam-packed with moisturizing ingredients like jojoba oil and vitamin E that keeps the product from getting too grainy recalls one tester. 

This lip scrub differs from others on the market for its use of brown sugar crystals instead of regular sucrose for the exfoliating portion. “The texture and feel are great, but the brown sugar is sticky,” one tester tells InStyle. All this means is you might have to wipe excess product off a few times to avoid lips adhering together slightly. Make sure you wash your hands before dipping your fingers into the circular pot to limit bacteria and apply the scrub all over your lips to gently scrub away any flakiness. Prepping your lips for dry weather or a makeup look makes a noticeable difference, and this exfoliator can be used multiple times per week.

Size: 0.35 oz | Key Ingredients: Brown Sugar Crystals, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter, Vitamin E

INS fresh sugar lip polish exfoliator sephora

InStyler / Janelle Jones

Best Splurge: Dior Lip Sugar Scrub

Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub Tested

Amazon

What We Love: It’s mess-free with a roll-up balm tube for easy application.  

What We Don’t Love: The formula is not as hydrating as others on this list.

Beauty TikTok is a weird space on social media with its mixed bag of content and random clips. From non-professionals giving random advice to new and cult classic makeup products going viral seemingly overnight. One such beauty favorite is the Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub, which has its own spotlight (and 90.7 million views) on the video-sharing app. Right now, I can count three different bags in my apartment that have this buttery exfoliating scrub awaiting me at the bottom for on-the-go use. That’s how obsessed I am. (Also, yes, I’m a Sephora Rouge member if that wasn’t obvious). InStyle testers were also really into this balm-like scrub with sugar crystals that melt on lips. “The texture and feel of the product are very soft, though it is definitely grainy from the exfoliating aspect. However, it’s not too hard or unpleasant. It’s not at all sticky or tacky and glides on smoothly and easily.”

This balm is a little different from other scrubs because of its two-in-one system. The melted sugar crystals create a velvety texture on the lips, then the beeswax and mango seed butter level up the soft, smooth feeling. “Once you wipe your lips, you cannot feel the hydration almost at all,” one tester says. The same reviewer continues, “Nowhere on the packaging did it say how long to keep it on or take it off, so I believe it’s meant to stay on.” And it is. If you’re looking for a luxe investment, this is the one to keep treating yourself with.

Size: 0.12 oz| Key Ingredients: Synthetic Beeswax, Vitamin E, Mango Seed Butter

Dior addict lip sugar scrub 452

InStyle / Janelle Jones

Best Value: Chapstick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub

4.7
Chapstick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub

Amazon

What We Love: The tiny but mighty exfoliating beads won’t leave any sticky residue.

What We Don’t Love: This scrub is part of a collection that recommends multiple steps, which can be tedious.

An InStyle lab tester was so amazed by this conditioning lip scrub that it got them on the lip care bandwagon, “I can now see the appeal of using a lip scrub in the mornings,” they confirm. Chapstick is one of the OG’s in lip care for no-fuss products that leave lips feeling nourished, and their lip scrub is no different. Their formulation relies on natural ingredients like shea butter and maracuja oil to condition lips as the sugar beads scrub away dead skin and flakiness. “The tiny exfoliating beads were more effective than expected. The beads aren’t visible until it touches your lips, where you can slowly start to see and feel it almost dissolve into your lips,” says one tester. 

“My lips felt like I had moisturized them without the oiliness or tackiness. I would say the scrub holds true to its name; if not anything else, this scrub will keep your lips feeling hydrated for a while after application.” On its own, the scrub hydrates lips after use, but if you want a more long-term effect, you can combine it with the lip balm or serums from the collection for maximum care.

Size: 0.27 oz | Key Ingredients: Sucrose, Shea Butter, Beeswax, Peppermint Oil, Vitamin E, Maracuja Oil

INS chapstick total hydration conditioning lip scrub amazon 373

InStyle / Janelle Jones

Best Drugstore : Burt's Bees Conditioning Lip Scrub

4
Burt's Bees Conditioning Lip Scrub

Amazon

What We Love: The signature beeswax and other l ingredients are 100% natural.

What We Don’t Love: Sugar crystals begin to clump together after initial use on the lips.

Burt’s Bees created an excellent introduction into the world of lip scrubs with this conditioning exfoliator, another natural favorite on this list. You can pick this up at a drugstore price almost anywhere and know it’ll work. “My lips were left feeling super hydrated, and the texture reminded me of a lip oil once the product was warmed from the temperature of my lips,” says an InStyle lab tester. The scrub-to-oil effect is a product of natural ingredients, such as castor seed oil, vegetable oil, and beeswax, that melt fast on the lips. 

Some exfoliating formulas might contain sugar crystals that dissolve on the lips as you rub, but that’s where this one differs. One tester saw the mixture begin to stick together with the base ingredient of honey, “The exfoliator became clumpy after about 45 seconds of use and became one glob of sugar on my lip.” Some extra wiping might be necessary, but the honey crystals do leave a glossy and nourishing sensation on the lips. 

Size: 0.25 oz | Key Ingredients: Honey, Castor Seed Oil, Vegetable Oil, Beeswax

INS burts bees conditioning lip scrub amazon 419

InStyle / Janelle Jones

Best For Flaky Lips: Sara Happ The Lip Scrub

4.3
Sara Happ The Lip Scrub Badge

Amazon

What We Love: This scrub comes in four different scents.

What We Don’t Love: The exfoliating portion is harsher than expected.

When the weather takes a turn for the worst – that could be from intense dry heat or frigid cold – your lips probably suffer from all the licking and biting you do subconsciously. I’m not too fond of chapped lips during wintertime, especially when my lips start to crack and bleed from cold air, so a scrub between lip mask sessions is a must. Sara Happ knows one way to avoid this is weekly exfoliating to promote healing and safely remove flaky skin. An InStyle tester says the grainy formula, while “slightly harsher than I would like,” still left her lips very soft and hydrated. The graininess can be intense initially, but it breaks down on lips to flake off dead skin and create a smooth foundation.

Ava Shamban, M.D., the founder of AVA MD, her cosmetic dermatology clinic in Beverly Hills, knows a thing or two about lip scrubs. “A lip scrub will basically buff away dry, flaking, and cracked skin, restoring and revealing a softness and smooth feeling surface to the lips.” Dr. Shamban loves this scrub for the differing sucrose grains that penetrate deep. “It is packed with 100 antioxidants, ferulic acid, vitamin B, vitamin E, and rice bran (which has elements to increase circulation to the lip area).” And no, you can’t eat this one either. But the vanilla bean, brown sugar, pink grapefruit, and sparkling peach flavors contain subtle scents that aren’t overwhelming, but still equally yummy, adding to the overall experience.

Size: 0.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Sucrose, Grape Seed Oil, Vitamin E, Jojoba Oil

INS-sara-happ-the-lip-scrub-janelle-jones-108

InStyle / Janelle Jones

Best Moisturizing: French Girl Rose Lip Polish

5
French Girl Rose Lip Polish Scrub badge

Amazon

What We Love: The semi-plumping spearmint and peppermint are subtle but effective.  

What We Don’t Love: It’s not suitable for on-the-go use.

Finely ground sugar crystals exfoliate deeply, scrubbing lips in a way that plumps as the spearmint and peppermint leave skin with a slight buzz. This scrub makes an excellent foundation for lipstick or a liquid lippie if you’re afraid of overdrying, says one InStyle tester. “My lips look and feel noticeably softer than before I used the scrub,” they say. 

This scrub gets its moisturizing powers from the heavy exfoliating that gently strips the skin of dead follicles while cocoa and shea butter put back the softness it desperately needs. The product image alone shows how packed this container is, with more scrubbing factors than filler to shuck off dry spots without irritation. Because of how tightly packed the product is (you get an entire ounce of lip goodness), the scrub can get messy. “You may find bits of the scrub spreading all around your mouth area. This product is best for at-home lip prep,” recommends a tester.

Size: 1 oz | Key Ingredients: Sucrose, Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, Spearmint, Peppermint

French girl rose lip polish scrub 149

InStyle / Janelle Jones

Best Multipurpose: Dr. PAWPAW Scrub & Nourish Duo Pot

4.7
Dr. PawPaw Scrub & Nourish Duo Pot

Amazon

What We Love: The convenient double-sided packaging offers an easy two-step system. 

What We Don’t Love: You’ll want to re-apply through the day for extra chapped lips. 

Let me get right to it. You CAN lick the residue of this scrub from your lips after use. It says so on the directions! This multipurpose duo is double-sided, with the scrub bit on the top and a soft balm on the bottom. “It adds loads of hydration while removing dry skin on the lips. I love that it includes a lip balm along with the lip scrub,” says one InStyle tester. 

Dr. PawPawis an Australian brand known for its versatile products that customers can use for multiple purposes. I sometimes carry this balm with my manicure kit to prep my nail bed for cuticle removal with the scrub portion that doesn’t leave my fingers feeling greasy or sticky. Castor oil works to heal chapped lips with the brand’s signature carica papaya fruit extract giving lips hydration with a pleasing scent. “It leaves lips incredibly soft and smooth. I felt comfortable exfoliating with it for longer,” says another tester. 

Size: 0.5 oz | Key Ingredients: Castor Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Olive Oil, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract

Dr pawpaw scrub nourish duo pot amazon 363

InStyle / Janelle Jones

Best Natural: Handmade Heroes All Natural Vegan Coconut Lip Scrub

4.7
Handmade Heroes Cocolicious Luscious Lip Scrub

Amazon

What We Love: The moisture is long-lasting, and you won't need to use it long to feel its effects. 

What We Don't Love: The thick formula gets very messy. 

Out of all the natural lip scrubs, this one from Handmade Heroes is given the "very best" title for its straightforward ingredients and sustainable practices. With neutral plastic packaging and clean ingredients, you know you're making a conscious choice when using this scrub. Tested by InStyle, one reviewer was impressed by this product that left lips velvetier longer. "My lips feel softer after using, and I don't feel the need to apply chapstick as consistently as I normally do throughout the day," a tester tells InStyle.

Coconut is the hero ingredient in this lip product that keeps the sugar from clumping together while effortlessly melting on the lips. The coconut to sugar ratio leans more towards the exfoliator, giving it a denser texture. "It does feel a bit sandpapery and is pretty thick to apply," says one tester, who agreed this grit is what makes it effective after the initial penetrating sensation. 

Size: 1.23 oz | Key Ingredients: Sucrose, Sweet Almond, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Vitamin E

handmade heroes all natural vegan coconut lip scrub 430

Instyle / Janelle Jones

Best Vegan: Truly Gloat Sexy Soft Lip Scrub

Truly Gloat Sexy Soft Lip Scrub

Target

What We Love: The skincare ingredients included hydrate long term.

What We Don’t Love: The tint can stain around the mouth.

This lip scrub from the TikTok-obsessed brand was kindly dropped into my hands by a fellow editor after a horrible, chapped lips and face mask dry heat day. After scrubbing my lips with the product, I was impressed with the dead skin that rolled away and the subtle tint left behind. 

InStyle testers and I both agree that the subtle red hue was a welcome addition, but if you overuse the product, you can end up with a ring of sugar and a tint of color around your mouth. “It took me a while to figure out that you needed only a little product to be effective and that the crystals would melt and moisturize as I scrubbed it,” says one tester. 

Truly is a vegan brand that combines natural ingredients with skincare favorites. This scrub utilizes hyaluronic acid, turmeric, and vitamin E to penetrate the skin deeply as well as on the surface for an immediate effect. Just start with a little product at a time to avoid popsicle mouth.

Size: 0.3 oz | Key Ingredients: Sucrose, Vitamin E, Turmeric, Hyaluronic Acid

Truly Gloat Sexy Soft Lip Scrub Lab 0993

InStyle / Janelle Jones

Our Testing Process

InStyle looked at 23 lip scrubs to find the ten best among them according to the feel, exfoliation, and overall hydration. Before InStyle narrowed down the list, we researched to find the dermatologist-recommended, editor-beloved, and already highly-rated lip scrubs on the market. Once we found the ones worthy of praise, InStyle put them to the test. Many lip scrubs tested had their own directions, so our testers followed the recommended use for each product. These directions mainly consisted of using the product on clean lips in a circular motion for a few seconds (or minutes) before wiping off the excess product that didn’t melt away. Each tester applied a lip scrub to product-free lips with their fingers and/or an applicator if the designated product had one. Then based on the product’s texture, dead skin removal abilities, and lasting moisture, InStyle examined each scrub on a scale of 1 to 5. After multiple tests, we found the ten best lip scrubs that deserve their own crown.

What to Keep in Mind

Ingredients

Some lip scrubs are more grainy than others. If you’re dealing with a lot of damage on your lips, consider a lip scrub product that’s more balm than scrub as your lips heal before using a product that may be too abrasive. Dr. Shamban, the founder of SKINFIVE Medical Spa, says a good lip scrub will have a combination of a physical (sugar or microbeads) or a chemical (like fruit acids or enzymes) exfoliant with humectants and emollients. Let’s break that down; humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid attract water to penetrate the skin, while emollients – lipids like shea butter and vitamin E – create a protective film to seal in nourishment. Our best overall pick, Fresh Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator, has shea butter and brown sugar. 

Application

Proper application is one thing, but the real question of, “Should I use that weird silicone brush thing I see on TikTok?” is something else entirely.  Before you pick a lip scrub, think about that little tool some scrubs are starting to include, Dr. Shamban is all for the silicone brush but says a finger will work just fine. The bumpy tool is an excellent addition to the overall experience if you want something to penetrate the product better or to avoid getting your fingers messy. While some products come with an applicator, you can also pick up an extra set on Amazon.

Your Questions, Answered

Can you over-exfoliate lips?

“Yes, you can over-exfoliate,” Dr. Shamban explains to InStyle. She notes that scrubs can be troublesome for some depending on how damaged lips are and how excessive you’re scrubbing. According to the dermatologist, skin on the lips is only three to five layers, compared to the 15-16 layers of skin on the face. Less protection from outside factors can cause lips to peel, chap, and feel dry more frequently if not cared for properly. A lip scrub can help exfoliate the dead skin cells and peel the outer layer of skin from the lips, says Dr. Shamban. She shares, “It can leave smooth lips, but it can also cause redness, inflammation, irritation, bleeding, and further cracking for some.” As with any skincare product, if your skin starts to feel inflamed or bleed after use, stop using the product and consider a less grainy scrub, or stick to nourishing salves like the Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm.  

Is there a proper way to use a lip scrub? Any after-care?

Make sure you wash your hands first. Generally, it’s a good practice to always cleanse your hands before using any skincare or makeup products with your fingers. Dr. Shamban recommends gently applying the product with a silicone applicator or your finger, back and forth on each lip or in circular motions on closed lips. (Remember, no eating of the forbidden treat.) “To get the most benefit from a lip scrub, leave it on and wait a minute before removing,” Dr. Shamban says. She says masks are safe to stay on for five minutes or more. When InStyle tested the best lip scrubs, many reviewers left masks on for multiple minutes to get the whole scrub experience. Like our testers, you can remove the scrub with a warm (NOT hot) cloth. After you remove the scrub, apply a moisturizing balm to seal in hydration. Good thing InStyle has a list for that too. 

Why Trust InStyle

Alexis Gaskin is a commerce writer at InStyle covering beauty and fashion, with the former being one of her favorite subjects to write about. As a self-proclaimed liquid lipstick fanatic, her lips get dry a lot so she always makes sure to have a lip scrub on hand – she takes soft lips very seriously. This is why she poured over our in-house testers' reviews and spoke to an expert to share with InStyle readers the best lip scrubs that your pout deserves. In addition to the dozen of testers, she’s got insight from the founder of AVA MD, Dr. Ava Shamban to discuss the importance of lip scrubs, and how to exfoliate properly to get the best results.

What Is InStyle Picks?

Did you notice the InStyle Picks seal of approval at the top of this story? That means our team of testers has reviewed every product on this list using a unique methodology to ensure it’s really worth your time, money, and attention. We may get samples for free to try but we never promise positive (or any!) coverage in exchange. Put simply: InStyle Picks are products we love, and we’ve put them to the test to be sure you will too. 


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