How Do You Get Rid of “Smoker’s Lines”? Bobbi Brown Answers ALL Your Lip-Related Questions

Bobbi Brown lips

You may only have two lips, but we’ve got lots of ideas for how to pamper them.

Do you suffer from chronically dry lips? Have you noticed the color on your lip borders is fading as you age? Have you started developing “smoker’s lines,” — those little wrinkles around your lips that make you look like you’re permanently sucking on a straw?

While there’s no magic potion to get back the lips you had as a teen, we asked Jones Road Beauty founder and makeup icon Bobbi Brown to give us some of her “lip tips,” including how to fight aging-related problems with your kisser. Bobbi’s got great ideas for combating dry lips in fall and winter (hint: it involves a product you wouldn’t expect) and instructions on making your own ultra-moisturizing, chap-destroying lip scrub at home, with just two simple ingredients.

KCM: As my lip edges lose definition, should I start using lip liner? If so, how do I apply it the right way?

Bobbi Brown: I personally don’t use lip liner as part of my everyday makeup routine. But if you’re using lip liner, apply it after you put your lipstick on, and use the liner very sparingly — and only where you need, to add a bit of definition to your lips. You always want to follow the natural line of your lip so it doesn’t look fake. 

I love bright, vibrant-colored lipstick, but I worry as I get older that it makes me look like I’m trying to be too young. What colors do you recommend for women 50+?

Wearing bright colors is more about your personal style than your age. I believe that you can wear whatever color you like, no matter how old you are— the key is finding the right shade of that color so that it compliments your skin tone and enhances your natural beauty. So if you love a bright pink, then by all means, go for it! But find a shade that compliments your skin’s natural undertones. You can also choose a lip gloss that gives a softer, more sheer look than a matte lipstick that’s highly pigmented.

Is there a way to reduce the appearance of those annoying smoker’s lines around my lips? 

That all comes down to staying hydrated and using a good moisturizer on and around your lip line. And if you’re using foundation, always apply moisturizer under it so the foundation doesn’t collect inside any fine lines. 

Do lip scrubs actually work? Is there a DIY one you can make at home?

A scrub always works to remove flaky skin. For lips, I make my own sugar scrub at home: Just combine a 1/2 tsp of sugar with a clear lip balm, and gently rub it in, for an effective, DIY lip scrub. Then just remove by wiping it off with a damp washcloth.

A very 2021 question: What’s the best lipstick to wear under a mask?

I only wear a natural-colored lip gloss under a mask. It keeps the lips moisturized under the mask and when it comes off, it doesn’t stain the mask with lipstick everywhere. 

Is there a way to deal with thinning lips without using fillers? 

You can use lip color and a lip pencil to adapt and enhance the shape of the lips— but just be sure to follow your lips’ natural shape. Any attempt to use color and liner to draw on brand-new lips won’t be successful. I also love using a lip gloss with a little natural peppermint oil in it. Peppermint naturally plumps the lips, making them appear fuller. 

What’s the best way to select a color that will work as an everyday color for your skin tone? 

For every day, I always recommend choosing a lip color that’s closest to the natural color of your lips. To test this, try the lip color on when you don’t have any makeup on your face at all — the right color will make you instantly look better and healthier. You can also use that same color as a blush. Just smile, put a few dots of lip color on the apples of your cheeks, and blend with your fingers or a brush towards your hairline for a beautiful, completely natural everyday look. 

How do you get regular lipstick to last longer? Lip stains are too dry. 

The truth is that lipstick really isn’t meant to be long-lasting — it’s meant to be applied as needed during the day. Any lip product that says it’s “long-lasting” is unfortunately going to be very drying, and will look cracked on your lips. If you want to keep your lipstick on a bit longer, use your favorite lipstick in a color that works for you, and then apply a lip pencil on top of the lipstick — that’ll help seal it in place. 

What’s your personal remedy for dry lips?

When your lips get dry, it’s a sign that you’re dehydrated, so the first thing is to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day. As the seasons change and the weather gets colder, it might feel counterintuitive to drink more water, but that’s exactly when you need it the most — the cold weather makes everything dry. To keep my lips moisturized, I use either a natural lip balm or a lip gloss instead of a lipstick. I also love using an all-over balm like the Jones Road Hippie Stick on my lips. But when I’m really dry, I use my eye cream on my lips. Eye creams are so hydrating and designed for delicate areas like the skin on your eyes, which makes them perfect for the delicate skin on your lips.