The Best Lip Scrubs of 2023

best lip scrubs | lanolips, dior, fresh, sara happ, chapstick lip scrubs

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Everyone’s pucker needs a little TLC from time to time. That’s where a lip scrub can help. These gritty goos do double duty to make lips smooth and soft, exfoliating dry flakes of skin with a natural buffing agent (often coarse sugar crystals) and hydrating the lips with nourishing ingredients like shea butter, honey, or coconut oil. Rub a little of the scrub between lips and voila!—you’ve got the silkiest pout ever.

Or, at least, that’s the idea. Because there are an overwhelming number of lip scrubs to choose from, we decided to try the eight best reviewed options out there to see which one scrubs and buffs best. A drugstore classic from ChapStick emerged as the best lip scrub for its ability to melt away flakes and moisturize the lips. Some higher-end options from Sara Happ and Fenty are also effective—and have that glam factor that can make you feel like you’re ready for your close-up. 

The best lip scrubs, ranked:

  1. ChapStick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub (Top Pick)
  2. Sara Happ Pink Grapefruit Sugar Lip Scrub (Best Upgrade)
  3. Fenty Beauty Pro Kiss’r Lip-Loving Scrubstick
  4. Lanolips Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm
  5. Burt’s Bees Conditioning Lip Scrub with Honey Crystals
  6. French Girl Rose Lip Polish
  7. Fresh Sugar Lip Polish
  8. Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub

The Best Lip Scrubs

Top Pick

ChapStick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub

  • Conditioning lip scrub made with vitamin E, coconut oil, and peppermint oil
  • .27-ounce jar
  • Instructions recommend applying lip balm after use
$8.49 at Amazon
product image, white background
  • Fresh peppermint flavor
  • Fine grits leave lips smooth
  • Nourishing formula
  • Widely available
  • A little messy
  • Lackluster packaging

ChapStick has been a heavy hitter in lip care since the 1890s, so it shouldn’t come as a shocker that the brand makes a solid lip scrub. What is surprising, however, is that it performs as well as or better than lip scrubs from high-end brands that cost four to five times as much per ounce. This is a product that could easily become a staple for anyone who struggles with dry lips.

At first glance, the ChapStick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub does not invite high expectations. Its packaging—a small clear jar with a black lid, and simple ChapStick branding—is so unassuming, it’s almost forgettable. But once opened, this natural lip scrub releases a peppermint scent that feels refreshing and clean. The fragrance, which comes from peppermint oil, feels appropriate for something meant to be applied to the mouth. (You can also opt for coconut, eucalyptus, or citrus-scented options.) Not only does it smell like toothpaste, the scrub looks and feels like it, too. It comes as a somewhat sticky paste filled with fine sugar grits. 

I scooped a pea-size amount out with the tip of my ring finger and applied it to my lips in small, circular motions. The grits were hardly noticeable and gently scrubbed away dead skin. Most of it absorbed into my lip skin as I was using it, and I wiped off the rest with a damp cloth. (Some residual peppermint-flavored scrub tasted delicious when it touched my tongue.) Afterward, my lips looked and felt silky smooth, with not a flake of dry skin in sight. The scrub also left them with a slight sheen, almost like I had already applied a balm. Even though my lips felt nourished from the scrub’s coconut oil and hydrating vitamin E, I followed the instructions and slathered on some balm to seal in moisture. It felt like I’d gotten a spa-worthy lip treatment. 

This lip scrub comes with some minimal drawbacks. For one, it’s extremely utilitarian, so don’t expect it to come with special qualities (like pretty packaging or fancy ingredients) that make it feel like a treat. It’s also a little messy. If you apply it with a finger, you might be left with a little oil and residue on your skin. Fortunately, it’s easy to rinse off.

Considering this scrub works better than many others, comes at a price most people can afford, and can be found at conventional pharmacies and big-box stores, the ChapStick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub earned the top spot in my list of the best lip scrubs. Most people who’ve reviewed the product on Amazon also seem satisfied, giving it an average 4.4-star rating from more than 1,500 total reviews. Once you try it, don’t be surprised if you find yourself tossing a jar in your basket every time you’re restocking your makeup or skincare products.

Upgrade Pick

Sara Happ Pink Grapefruit Sugar Lip Scrub

  • Vegan lip scrub made with finely ground sugar crystals and nourishing oils
  • .5-ounce jar
  • Instructions on product do not include a recommendation to apply lip balm after use, but its Amazon page does
$19.95 at Anthropologie $26 at Amazon
product image, white background
  • Coarse sugar crystals exfoliate well
  • Sweet and tart flavor
  • Pretty packaging
  • Very messy
  • Leaves lips feeling oily

If you want a lip scrub with a more flair than our top pick from ChapStick, upgrade to this one from Sara Happ. It left my lips so smooth, they were almost glassy. Plus, its shiny packaging makes the product feel like a special addition to your skincare kit. 

Just by looking at it, you can tell that the Sara Happ Pink Grapefruit Sugar Lip Scrub is a little different from other lip scrubs out there. It comes inside a jar with a bronze lid tucked within a shiny pink box. The formula is the color of a cherry blossom and has a unique consistency that’s somewhere between a jelly and a paste. The exfoliating ingredient (sugar crystals) give it a gritty texture. 

The first thing I noticed when I applied the scrub with my finger was its flavor. It was pleasantly tart and sweet, without being overpowering or artificial. Whereas some other scrubs dissolved into an oily balm as I smooshed them between my lips, this one stayed very coarse the entire time. I ended up with a polished pout that felt tingly, plump, and smooth. 

Overall, I was impressed with the scrub, but it has a few weaknesses. It was a lot messier than my top pick—the pink goo got all over the skin around my mouth when I used it. A tissue helped me wipe away most of the excess when I was done. However, I felt like there was still an oily film on my lips after using the scrub, so I needed to rinse with water and a damp cloth to get it all off. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but it was enough to make this lip scrub my runner-up. 

Even though it’s messier and more expensive than my top pick, the Sara Happ Pink Grapefruit Sugar Lip Scrub is worth considering if you prefer skincare products that feel ritzy without compromising performance. It has an average of 4.5 stars on Amazon, and other customers say one jar lasts forever, which helps justify the price. Its pretty packaging also makes it feel like a great gift idea for any skincare lovers in your life.

Other Lip Scrubs To Consider

Fenty Beauty Pro Kiss’r Lip-Loving Scrubstick

  • Lightweight, non-greasy lip scrub made with apricot seeds
  • .1-ounce twist-up tube
  • Instructions on product do not include a recommendation to apply lip balm after use, but its Ulta page does
$16 at Ulta
product image, white background
  • Sleek hexagonal-shaped tube
  • More nourishing than some other lip scrubs
  • Mess-free
  • Pricey
  • May get used up quickly
  • Leaves lips a little raw

After testing the Fenty Beauty Pro Kiss’r Lip-Loving Scrubstick, I’m not convinced that Rihanna’s makeup artist deserves all the credit for perfecting the performer’s matte red lips at her Super Bowl Halftime Show earlier this year. I suspect this lip scrub may have been part of the prep for their moment in the stadium. 

Studded with ground apricot seeds, the tan formula from RiRi’s cult-followed cosmetics brand looks like a lip balm that was dropped in beach sand. But its smooth hexagonal-shaped tube transforms it into a chic, sophisticated final product that would feel right at home in your poshest handbag. The neutral-flavored scrub goes on like a regular tube of lip balm (a swipe back and forth on your lips is all you need). It starts off very grainy before turning into a fine grit, like you’d expect from a nail file. My lips absorbed most of the product as I used it. Once I wiped off the remainder with a tissue, I had smooth, nourished lips, ready for the mattest of matte lipsticks. 

Effective as it was, this lip scrub didn’t earn top marks. It was easy to use a lot at one time, so there’s a risk of running out of the pricey product a lot sooner than you might expect. It also made my lips feel a little raw immediately after I wiped off the excess scrub. That feeling went away more quickly than it did with some other scrubs, but I wish it wasn’t there at all. 

Even though it’s more expensive than other options, the Fenty Beauty Pro Kiss’r Lip-Loving Scrubstick could work well if you’re looking for a lip scrub you can use on the go without making a big mess. Its 4.4-star average review at Ulta suggests that the scrub worked decently for many customers. While it made my lips sting a little, it’s something I would be willing to put up with if I needed to get rid of some dry flakes ahead of a big night involving matte lipstick.

Lanolips Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm

  • All-natural lip scrub made with extra fine sugar crystals, crushed orange peel, and lanolin
  • .12-ounce twist-up tube
  • Instructions do not include a recommendation to apply lip balm after use
$17 at Amazon
product image, white background
  • Safe to lick off
  • Exfoliates and moisturizes
  • Intense lemon aroma
  • Easy to use on the go
  • Tube gets messy during use
  • Unlikely to last long
  • Expensive

If you love citrus, Lanolips Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm might be for you. The moment you snap off the cap, you get a burst of intense lemon aroma that makes you feel like you’re in a tropical bakery. Mere seconds after you apply it by swiping the tube back and forth over your lips, the formula penetrates your lips and the sugar grains dissolve. You can lick off the excess (although I found it to be a little too thick and relatively flavorless for that to be enjoyable, so I wiped it away with a tissue). At the end, you’re left with lips that are both exfoliated and moisturized. 

But Lanolips Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm’s high performance and mouth-watering scent come at a price that will make your jaw drop (over $140 for a full ounce!). The gritty formula starts melting the moment it touches your lips. It feels luscious, but the melt factor leads to a lot of excess scrub on your mouth and on the edge of the twist tube. I think you could easily use up the entire .12-ounce tube in just a few weeks.

I can’t see most people making Lanolips Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm their go-to lip scrub unless they have a limitless budget. However, buying a tube of the lemony scrub as a one-off could be a fun way to treat yourself. Just be mindful of which season you order it. Amazon customers, who have given the product a 4.2-star average rating, complain that it was melted on arrival when they ordered it in the summer. 

Burt’s Bees Conditioning Lip Scrub with Honey Crystals

  • All-natural formula with honey crystals, cocoa butter, and beeswax
  • .25-ounce jar
  • Instructions recommend using Burt’s Bees Overnight Intensive Lip Treatment after the scrub
$8.99 at Amazon
product image, white background
  • Fluffy and easy to apply
  • Sweet flavor
  • Gently exfoliates and nourishes
  • Not as effective at exfoliating as other scrubs
  • Sticky and clumpy

Burt’s Bees Conditioning Lip Scrub is exactly what you’d expect from the ubiquitous brand. Tucked within a golden-yellow box with illustrations of beehives and honeycomb is a small plastic jar. Open the brown lid and the smell of honey wafts through the air. Honey crystals as fine as the sand on a Caribbean beach stud the scrub, which has the color of butter and the consistency of whipped cream. You can’t resist digging your finger into the fluffy formula and rubbing it all over your lips—and that’s exactly what I did for about 30 seconds.

The lip scrub’s subtly sweet flavor made the exfoliation more enjoyable, but I found the formula to be a little sticky and clumpy. A lot of the product absorbed into my lips and the remainder was easy to wipe away with a tissue. It left my lips with a balm-like coating that felt nourishing but also a little waxy, sort of similar to what it’s like when you get a little bit of hair conditioner near your mouth when you’re rinsing in the shower.

This may have contributed to the fact that this lip scrub didn’t leave me feeling as raw and sore as others. However, this may also be the reason behind the product’s biggest flaw: it didn’t buff off dry skin as well as other scrubs. I could still see and feel flakes of skin on my lips, although I admit that the scrub did improve the situation slightly. 

If this lip scrub had polished my pucker a little more, it would have earned more points. But if you find yourself making a beeline to the drugstore next time Old Man Winter has left your lips as dry as the desert, Burt’s Bees Conditioning Lip Scrub may be one of the better options on the shelf to get some relief and nourishment. The product has a 4.5-star average review on Amazon and is widely available, so keep it on your shortlist if you need a lip scrub on short notice and don’t have time to shop around. 

French Girl Rose Lip Polish

  • Vegan lip scrub made with organic sugar, mint oil, rose geranium oil, and cocoa and shea butters
  • 1-ounce jar
  • Instructions do not include a recommendation to apply lip balm after use
$20 on Amazon
product image, white background
  • Removes all dead skin
  • Tastes like a floral mint candy
  • Too oily
  • Leaves lips raw and red

It tastes like a floral mint candy and buffs off every last flake of dead skin, but the French Girl Rose Lip Polish doesn’t stand up to the competition. I bemoaned how sore and red my lips were after I wiped off the thick, rosy paste with a warm washcloth and didn’t immediately apply balm. The oily sensation it left on my lips just didn’t feel nourishing.

Still, it’s worth noting that one jar of the French Girl Rose Lip Polish comes with a generous amount of product, so it’ll probably last a couple of seasons. It tastes like one of those old-fashioned butter mints that are sometimes offered in wedding favors. I can’t say I minded when some of the grit made its way into my mouth. And on a price-per-ounce basis, this one gives the best bang for your buck of all the lip scrubs I tested.

While I would prefer to spend a little more for a scrub that felt more nourishing, the French Girl Rose Lip Scrub could be a decent option if you’re looking for something that’s affordable and has a pleasant flavor. Its 4.4-star average rating on Amazon suggests that this product has worked well for hundreds of other customers, so your experience with it may prove better than mine.

Are Lip Scrubs Legit?

best lip scrubs
Fresh / Sara Happ

If you have pesky dry, flaky lips that balm alone can’t fix, a lip scrub will do the trick. You can think of it as sandpaper in a paste form for your pucker. Apply a little bit of the formula all over your lips, smoosh them together, and move the paste around for 30 seconds or so, then wipe off the residue, along with the flakes loosened from your lips. 

“In the short term, lip scrubs can be very beneficial at exfoliating dry or winter-chapped lips,” explains Dylan Alston, DO, a board-certified dermatologist at Intermountain Medical Group. 

Don’t use a lip scrub on its own, though. Pair it with a lip mask or lip balm (with SPF if you’re heading outside) immediately after to help your lip skin recover from the exfoliation and retain moisture, even if the scrub contains nourishing ingredients, says Alston. This has to do with the unique anatomy of lip skin that, unlike the rest of the body, has only a very thin layer of stratum corneum, or the outermost portion for the skin. Drinking water and using a humidifier can also help maintain healthy lips.

“That’s the layer that tends to build up and provide protection for the skin. That’s why lip skin is generally softer, but because it doesn’t have that layer, it also has to remain wet or moist,” Alston says. “Lip scrubs repair the lips from that dry, damaged, chapped feeling, but your lip masks and balms will help it recover more over the long term,” he says. 

But even if you’re diligently moisturizing your lips every time you exfoliate them, you shouldn’t use lip scrub too often. The products are a type of mechanical exfoliation, a method that uses components like coarse sugar or ground apricot seeds to physically buff off dry skin. It’s effective, yet harsh.

“The consistent use of lip scrubs can cause micro-tears in the skin and that will cause more trans-epidermal water loss and lead to more dehydration,” he says. “If we continue that abrasive behavior on the lips, they can actually begin to callus.” There’s also a possibility of developing exfoliative cheilitis icon-trusted-source StatPearls “Cheilitis” View Source , a condition that leads to continuous peeling of the lips.

While there’s no agreed-upon recommendation for how frequently lip scrubs should be used, Dr. Alston suggests applying them no more than once a week to start. Over time, try to start spacing out your lip exfoliation sessions even more, especially in the summer months, when the air tends to be less dry and chap-inducing. 

The bottom line: Lip scrubs can be a healthy part of your skincare routine if used occasionally. Just be aware that there may be other reasons for dry, chapped lips—like medications, allergic reaction, chronic sun exposure, nutrition deficiencies, other underlying medical conditions, and infection. You may want to visit a dermatologist depending on the severity or if the dryness is associated with other symptoms, like pain, bleeding, sores, purulent drainage, yellow crusting. If you’re cleared to use a scrub, make sure to stay hydrated and restore your lips with balm or a mask.

How We Found The Best Lip Scrubs

best lip scrubs
Joni Sweet for The Nessie

Meet Your Guinea Pig

I’m Joni Sweet. I’ve been covering health and wellness as a writer and editor for major publications for more than 10 years. My work is in SELF, Health, Prevention, Forbes, Healthline, mindbodygreen, Greatist, and dozens of other publications. I’m a skincare skeptic, and I love researching whether there’s science to back up the claims of the trendiest devices and products.

Our Testing Process

To determine which lip scrubs to test, I read reviews of more than 40 lip scrubs in nine other mainstream publications. I plotted them all on a spreadsheet to see which ones were mentioned the most frequently. Products that earned a good review in at least three other publications made my shortlist. I then eliminated lip scrubs that seemed to be discontinued, unavailable, redundant, or extraordinarily expensive. That left me with the eight lip scrubs you see in this review, which The Nessie then ordered for me to test. 

Testing lip scrubs involved rubbing a bit of each product on and between my lips for about 30 seconds, then removing the excess according to the instructions. Some scrubs absorbed right into my skin, while others could be licked off or wiped away with a damp cloth. Immediately after, I took a close look in the mirror to check if the scrub got rid of dry lip skin. I paid attention to how each scrub made my lips feel, and noted any drawbacks (such as stinging or rawness), as well as highlights (like scrubs that made my lips feel moisturized). My research also included looking at the exfoliating ingredient in each scrub and the overall product packaging. 

The entire testing period lasted about eight weeks. I had to give my lips lots of breaks between scrubs, both to recover from the exfoliation and to accumulate more dry skin to buff away.

The Lip Scrub Buying Guide

What Matters Most When Shopping for Lip Scrubs?

  • Ingredients: The more natural, the better! This product is going on your mouth, so you’re likely to ingest at least a little bit. Avoid harsh chemicals and preservatives where possible.
  • Texture: Lip skin is sensitive. Scrubs that are too coarse or abrasive could be uncomfortable to use and leave lips cranky. 
  • Moisturizing agent: Lip scrubs can dry out the skin. A lip scrub should have an emollient that soothes and moisturizes the skin. 
  • Packaging: A lip scrub should fit your lifestyle. If you want to use it on the go, a lip scrub in a twist tube might work best. If you prefer using it at home in your bathroom, you may opt for a scrub in a small jar or container that you apply with your finger or a small spoon.
  • Flavor, scent, and overall quality: Lip scrubs should generally be pleasurable to use. They should taste and smell great (or at the very least, be neutral). They should also be easy to apply and remove, without leaving lips feeling tacky.

How Often Should You Use Lip Scrub?

“Using a lip scrub once a week is a reasonable starting point, as long as you’re using it with a lip balm or mask to help the skin recover,” says Dr. Alston. Over time, try to decrease how frequently you use your lip scrub. You may eventually find that scrubbing your lips once a month is plenty, especially in the summer months when chapping isn’t as big of an issue as it is in the winter. 

Can You Lick Off Lip Scrub?

It depends. Certain lip scrubs are made with ingredients that are safe to lick. Others should be wiped away with a damp cloth. Check the product packaging for instructions. 

Lip Scrubs You Can Skip

Fresh Sugar Lip Polish

  • Conditioning lip scrub made with brown sugar crystals and jojoba seed oil
  • .35-ounce jar
  • Instructions do not include a recommendation to apply lip balm after use
$17.95 at Amazon
product image, white background
  • Polishes lips
  • Sweet, herby scent
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to spread on lips
  • Too coarse

The Fresh Sugar Lip Polish is a little too effective. One use of the bronze-hued formula left my lips smoother than ever, but they were so raw, it almost felt like I had a sunburn. Using the product had some downsides, too. The paste felt too thick to spread across my lips easily. I ended up using way more than necessary just to cover my pucker. The taste started off sweet, but left a bitter aftertaste. The product also started to feel greasy once the sugar crystals dissolved.

The good news is that the excess scrub was easy to wipe away with a washcloth after I felt thoroughly exfoliated. I also appreciated the product’s fragrance—it smelled like a glass of honey-sweetened iced tea with a slice of lemon. If a candle could capture this aroma, I’d have it lit all summer long.

Even though the Fresh Sugar Lip Scrub made my pout look ready for a photoshoot, its scrubbing left my lips too cranky for it to earn my recommendation. If you end up buying this product, it’s worth picking up the brand’s advanced therapy recovery lip mask, too. I happened to have a small sample of the lip mask nearby and it offered relief from the brushed-with-a-Brillo-pad feeling induced by this scrub.

Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub

  • Designer lip scrub that exfoliates with sugar grains and melts into a balm
  • .12-ounce twist tube
  • Instructions do not include a recommendation to apply lip balm after use
$40 at Amazon
product image, white background
  • Gorgeous packaging
  • Sweet minty scent
  • Easy to use on the go
  • Doesn’t exfoliate well
  • Leaves waxy film on lips

Despite landing on lists of the best lip scrubs at seven other mainstream publications, the Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub didn’t win me over. The bubblegum-pink formula feels grainy at first, then turns into a waxy consistency after about 10 seconds of rubbing it between your lips. The sugar grains dissolved too quickly to remove dead skin from my lips. My lips felt even more dry and flakey 40 minutes after I used this product than they did previously. It was unpleasant.

The disappointing experience I had using the Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub stands in stark contrast to a few features I loved about it. Its two-piece packaging—a chrome silver lipstick tube nestled within a foggy pink case—felt luxe. The product was extremely easy to use and melted into the lips, with no need to wipe off any residue. And if you love Orbit Sweet Mint gum as much as I do, you’ll dig the nearly identical scent of this lip scrub.

Given that the Dior Addict Lip Scrub is the most expensive ($333 per ounce!) and least effective of all the lip scrubs I tested, it’s not a product I would recommend for personal use. However, its upscale packaging and appealing scent could make it a decent gift for a diehard Dior enthusiast.


  1. ChapStick has been a heavy hitter in lip care since the 1890s: “When Was ChapStick Invented? The History of ChapStick,” ChapStick (December 2020).
  2. This has to do with the unique anatomy of lip skin that, unlike the rest of the body, has only a very thin layer of stratum corneum: “Relationship between lip skin biophysical and biochemical characteristics with corneocyte unevenness ratio as a new parameter to assess the severity of lip scaling,” International Journal of Cosmetic Science (March 2021).
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This article was rigorously researched and fact checked. We use peer-reviewed journals and reputable medical sources (think: CDC, WHO, NIH, and the like) to back up every claim we make, and also reach out to experts in the field to ensure we’re covering things the right way. We apply these principles to everything we cover—including brands we partner with—and we’ll always disclose sponsorships, ads, and any kind of financial relationship with anything featured on The Nessie. You deserve the best, most straightforward information on health and wellness, and we think this is the right way to do it. You can read more about our testing and review process here.

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