why some people are searching for a lip balm that makes lips look chapped

Here’s the first instalment of i-D’s new column, The Beauty Algorithm.

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Dec 5 2018, 2:34pm

Introducing The Beauty Algorithm, i-D’s new fortnightly column in which beauty editor Shannon Peter answers the internet’s nichest beauty queries. Want to know how to smell like the cola-scented gel pens of your pre-teen pencil case? Or where to find an eye shadow the perfect shade of EU blue? No request is too specific! This week, the algorithm solves one Redditor’s surprisingly common plea for a lip balm that makes your lips look chapped. On purpose.

People on Reddit go wild for beauty shit. Which is why you’ll always find the most fascinating conversations on there. Case in point, a recent post I read on the website’s r/Beauty forum: “How to get that natural pink lip that ALMOST looks chapped.” What a request! Perhaps it's in an effort to channel Finn Wolfhard in his recent chapped-lip selfie? We'll never know. But with a little more context, this unusual plea does kinda start to make sense.

“Not really sure how to explain this but I’m looking for maybe a scrub or treatment that will make my lips look super pink but not at all like I am wearing lipstick. Basically I want the look that you get after making out for hours, that almost chapped look, but heathy [sic].”

Okay, so if you have a Vaseline dependency, you’re probably still thinking that sounds perverse at worst, and counterintuitive at best. But strangely enough, I (along with the handful of Redditors who chimed in on the post) totally get what u/Bailee_4 is after.

Don’t you think there is something weirdly attractive about lips that look like they’ve spent an hour too long in the cold, as though they are a little bit sore -- there’s gotta be some odd primal psychology behind it. There’s a magnetism to those kinda lips that look plump and healthy and glowing and alive. Like the lip version of when you come inside after a mad dash home in the cold and your cheeks look all pinched and pink. It’s a total vibe.

Thing is, you don’t actually want your lips to actually be chapped, so you’ll need to fake it. And I can help with that.

First things first: prep. The idea is to make lips look slightly puckered, but irl flaky, peeling dry skin hurts like hell, so give your lips a good scrub once in a while. A clean dry flannel works but Frank Body’s Lip Scrub is better. It’s made from beeswax and coffee seed oil, with tiny grains of coffee and sugar (not microbeads, obvs) to do the exfoliating. It’s extremely satisfying, but be gentle, and only use once a week max.

Next, it’s time to tweak the color of the lips and for that, I stand by Dior’s Lip Glow. It’s a balm that comes in five shades but in all honesty, the original (and aptly-named 001) is all you need, whatever your skin tone or lip color. It comes out far less pink than the bullet suggests, so will just tint lips ever so slightly, whilst making them look brighter and shinier, as though you’ve filtered them five times over, while doing the moisturizing job of a regular balm too. I swear this shit is magical.

One respondent on the Reddit feed also vouches for Buxom’s PowerPlump Lip Balm in Big O, an unfortunate shade name for what is otherwise a pretty stand-up product. It’s full of nourishing oils as well as a subtly rosy pigment that definitely does the job.

Otherwise, those green color-changing lipsticks are worth a shout. They work by reacting to the pH level of the skin, turning the natural shade of your lips a teeny bit pinker, thus producing that slightly wind-beaten effect. Lipstick Queen’s Frog Prince is great, but Barry M’s Lip Genie is a fairly good dupe for under a fiver.

And if your lips actually do get really chapped? This mega balm from Kiehl’s could bring even the most cut-up lips back from the brink.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.