Published on January 21, 2019

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Photography by Oladimeji Odunsi

Sometimes a beauty hack or solution is so obvious and simple, you think, Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? That epiphany occurred as we watched Dr. Shereene Idriss slather a thick, opaque layer of lotion onto her lips in a post to her Instagram Stories. She called it “lip hydration, aka basting,” an immediate and effective solution to dry lips.

Dr. Idriss, a cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, said she “literally made it up one day when my lips were dry.” The dermatologist has quickly picked up followers and acclaim for her charming, no-nonsense nightly Q&A Instagram Stories, titled #pillowtalkderm—where any and all beauty questions get her concise and knowledgeable expertise in the 15-second allotment. Proof it’s so under-the-radar: When you Google “lip basting,” the only thing that shows up is basting brushes for baking and cooking—not a single lip-related solution.

Lip basting is a simple way of deeply and quickly hydrating dry and chapped lips. Simply apply in a thick, opaque layer onto lips and let the ointment sit while you get ready or loiter around home. “It will seep through the mucus membrane while you’re getting ready,” she says. It’ll look a bit odd for the time being, but you’ll appreciate the method once you see the results. “Once it turns translucent, you can wipe off.” That should take about 10 minutes, and the results are impressive. It works more effectively and deeper than any lip treatment I seem to splurge on every winter to save my chapped lips. And the ease of being able to utilize products already around the medicine cabinet is also especially appreciated.

The brilliance of lip basting is it only takes a few minutes and you can multitask while it’s hard at work. It’s ideal for literally anyone and is particularly helpful in the cooler months, as winter is famously harsh on most people’s delicate skin on the lips. “Mucus membranes are so much thinner in the winter and require that extra dose of hydration,” says Dr. Idriss.

It couldn’t be simpler, and you can do it with products you’ve already got around your home. “All you need is a thick, rich ointment on lips,” says Dr. Idriss. She recommends something dense in texture and usually meant for dry patches, like Vaseline, Aquaphor or Weleda Skin Food.

You’ll want an ointment that can hold its weight and not slide off, so thicker in texture and less oil-based. Here are the products worth having around home to put the method to the test.

Weleda Skin Food, $8.54

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Courtesy of Weleda

Is there something this product cannot do? It appears to be able to soothe dry facial skin better than its $300 counterparts, heal dry cuticles and hands, and now can lip baste with the best. This thick cream is the option Dr. Idriss uses when lip basting, as it holds onto the lips but absorbs beautifully and actually heals the skin too.

Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment, $6.99

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Courtesy of Aquaphor

The ointment that’s ideal for dry spots and feet is also great for dry lips. Layer it on lips really thick and let it get to hydrating. When taking it off, use it as an opportunity to exfoliate by gently massaging lips with a tissue to remove any excess dry skin.

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, $1.99

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Courtesy of Vaseline

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The ointment your parents and grandparents relied on is still great for all forms of hydration, especially lips. Can’t beat that $1.99 price point too.

Farmacy Honey Savior All-in-One Skin Repair Salve, $34

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Courtesy of Farmacy

This ultra-healing balm is packed full of honey, which acts as a naturally soothing antiseptic. It also contains both amino acid–rich royal jelly and propolis, which purifies as it calms and hydrates. It goes on a bit oilier, but throw it on thick and it’ll work like a dream.

Lucas Papaw Ointment, $7.98

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Courtesy of Lucas

Leave it to the Aussies to create a thick ointment packed with miraculously healing qualities all from papaya. It can do it all, from diaper rash for babies to healing irritation from bug bites and rashes, to yep, dry lips. It’ll layer on for lip basting beautifully, plus the packaging is cool and great to show off in your medicine cabinet.