Along with eating my weight in sushi and visiting cat cafés, shopping for beauty products topped my list of things to do on my recent trip to Japan. I picked up a mix of novelty products (Pokémon face masks), old favorites for way cheaper than I could find in the States (Baby Foot), and some creams and oils whose purposes I’m only somewhat sure of thanks to the language barrier. But the best, and most immediately useful, product I purchased was this moisturizing lip mask.
As expected, the 14-hour transpacific flight left my lips parched and cracked. I packed my everyday favorite balm, but even multiple daily applications couldn’t alleviate the dryness. So when I spotted the plump and glossy lips on the Choosy mask packaging — and the all-star moisturizers (vitamin E, collagen, and hyaluronic acid) listed on the back — I knew it had to be part of my haul.
While there aren’t any English instructions on the package, using the mask, which is shaped like an oversize pair of lips, is pretty self-explanatory. It’s literally a sheet mask, only for your lips. Slap it over your mouth — it does completely cover it, so save the mask for a time when you don’t plan on talking or eating — and wait 10 to 15 minutes. Thicker than a typical sheet mask, it has the same wet-feeling consistency where you can imagine the ingredients seeping into your skin or, in this case, lips.
My lips felt moist and refreshed right after I removed it (careful not to wipe any of it off), but even more impressive was that after hours of exploring Tokyo the following day, I realized I didn’t reach for my lip balm once. Without looking or feeling greasy, my lips simply felt hydrated to the point that I didn’t even think about them. I typically reach for my balm every few hours once the moisturizing effect wears off. It wasn’t until two days later that I needed any lip balm, and a few days after that that I felt the need to mask again.
I bought another mask for the flight home, which helped prevent chapped lips entirely, and thankfully it’s on Amazon, so I can stock up without buying a plane ticket. I used the lightly scented honey flavor in Japan, and I’m ordering some of the other varieties like peach and herb. As the weather gets colder, I’m planning on masking one or two nights a week to break out of the endless ChapStick-reapplication cycle.
Pure Smile Choose Lip Gel Mask ($21 for 20)
More Strategist-approved Lip Products
Another mask option — this one with three steps — recommended by Strat beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton. She says it “gives your lips that extra boost of hydration and vitality for the rest of the day.”
Blistex DCT Daily Conditioning Treatment SPF 20 ($12 for 6)
This lip treatment, with added sun protection, caught our attention thanks to its rave reviews on Amazon. One reviewer “orders these Blistex tubs a dozen at a time.”
If you want some color with your balm, writer Alice Gregory says this nearly sheer, moisturizing lip stain has been her “go-to lip product every single day for the last three years.”
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