How To Lighten Dark Lips: 12 Easy DIY Recipes To Try At Home

Get ready to flaunt beautiful and healthy-looking pink lips with some sure-fire tips.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Hari Hara Sudhan, MD Dr. Hari Hara Sudhan Dr. Hari Hara SudhanMD
Written by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Monomita Chakraborty MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
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Want to learn how to lighten dark lips?

Healthy rosy lips provide a touch of radiance to a person’s face. While lip glosses or lip tints are not required to keep your lips naturally beautiful and luscious, dark lips can result from improper living patterns, excess cosmetic application, medical issues, eating, smoking, or alcohol intake. So, do not be alarmed if you are one of them. However, if you have a darker upper lip complexion, there are techniques to enhance its looks and maintain its health. Scroll down to learn about the causes of a dark upper lip and how to lighten it at home.

What Causes Dark Lips?

  • Hyperpigmentation: This is a common cause of dark lips. Hyperpigmentation of the lips can be caused by excessive UV exposure, physiological changes, geno dermatosesi  A group of hereditary disorders that manifest as skin disease conditions. (a genetic condition), inflammatory diseases, endocrinologici  Relating to hormone levels in the human body. disorders, use of drugs and chemicals, benign and malignant neoplasm (abnormal mass of tissue), and other non-melanotic conditions (1).
  • Smoking: This is a common cause of a darkened upper lip. A study indicated that almost all smokers had lip pigmentation issues and dark lips (2).
Smoking can darken lips
Image: Shutterstock
  • Sun Exposure: UV ray exposure increases the melanini  A group of natural pigments responsible for skin, eye, and hair color. in the skin (including the lips), causing pigmentation (3).
  • Medical Conditions: Some medical conditions like vitamin deficiencies and anemia may cause dark lips. Using antibiotics like minocycline and chemotherapeutici  Relating to chemotherapy - a standard drug treatment to kill cancerous cells in the advanced stages. agents may cause lip pigmentation (4). Disorders like Addison’s disease (adrenal gland disorder), melasma, and Laugier-Hunzikeri  A benign skin hyperpigmentation condition characterized by flat, brown spots inside the mouth. syndrome may also cause dark lips (5), (6).
  • Other Factors: Factors like dehydration or consuming excessive amounts of caffeine, allergic reaction to cosmetic and personal care products may also turn the lips dark.

Lightening your lips might not be as difficult as you may think. Here are some tips to help.

How To Lighten Dark Lips

  1. Lip Moisturization: Apply vitamin E oil and top it with a layer of petroleum jelly to lock in moisture. Always carry a lip balm to hydrate your lips whenever they feel chapped or dry.
Moisturization can lighten dark lips
Image: Shutterstock
  1. SPF Lip Protection: Use sunblock to protect the delicate skin on your lips from UV exposure and pigmentation. Use lip balms with lip sunscreen with SPF for sun protection.
  1. Healthy Diet: Consume green vegetables and fruits to keep your lips hydrated and supple.
  1. Stay Hydrated: Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day to promote lip hydration.
  1. Lifestyle Changes: Reduce caffeine and nicotine intake. Reduce your intake of coffee and tea, and quit smoking.
  1. Medical Treatments: Some treatments like chemical peels and skin bleaches might help reduce lip pigmentation. Hydroquinone creams, kojic acid, and topical retinoidsi  A class of chemical compounds derived from Vitamin A. can also improve lip pigmentation (6). However, do not use any topical cream and ointments without consulting the dermatologist.

You can also try making DIY lip balms with the natural ingredients from the table below (7).

BaseOilsColoring AgentFlavoring Agent
Cocoa ButterCoconut OilBeetrootStrawberry
BeeswaxOlive  OilPomegranateHoney
Shea WaxAlmond  OilMarigoldOrange
Shea ButterVitamin E OilTomatoSaffron
White BeeswaxPeanut OilJabulRaspberry
Yellow BeeswaxTea Tree OilWatermelonVanilla
Carnauba WaxGlycerinHoneyMango
Candelilla WaxCastor OilSaffronRose Oil
Mango ButterJojoba OilTurmericSandalwood
Avocado ButterCorn OilCapsicumJasmine
Olive WaxArachis OilCherryCherry
Jojoba WaxLemon OilOrangeApple
Olive ButterAvocado OilStrawberryLemon
Sweet AlmondSesame OilMangoApricot
Sweet Almond WaxGrapeseed OilCarrotRosemary
 Raspberry ButterSunflower OilLemonPineapple

Other than these methods, you may also try these natural remedies to manage lip pigmentation. 

How To Make Natural Lip Lighteners: 12 Easy DIY Recipes

1. Sugar Lip Scrub

Woman applying sugar lip scrub to lighten dark lips
Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

  • A slice of lime
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

How To Use

  1. Dip the lime slice into the sugar.
  2. Rub it on your lips.
  3. Alternatively, mix lime juice and sugar and apply the scrub to your lips.
  4. Gently massage your lips for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Wash off with water.
  6. Use the scrub twice a week.

Why This Works

Sugar granules work as a natural exfoliator and remove dead skin cells. and promote lip exfoliation for helps better lip texture. Lime juice is a natural bleaching agent that minimizes lip pigmentation (6).

2. Turmeric Lip Mask

What You Need

  • 1 tablespoon of tomato juice
  • ½ tablespoon of lime juice
  • ½ tablespoon of turmeric powder

How To Use

  1. Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth paste.
  2. Apply the paste to your upper lip.
  3. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water.
  4. Use the lip mask 2-3 times a week.

Why This Works

Turmeric contains curcumin that balances melanin production (8). Lime and tomato juice may have a bleaching effect on the lips and improve their appearance.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Turmeric can stain clothes. Therefore, apply the mask with precision.

3. Lime Juice And Honey

What You Need

  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of lime juice

How To Use

  1. Mix both the ingredients and apply the mixture to your lips.
  2. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Wash off and apply a lip balm.
  4. Use this once daily.

Why This Works

Applying lime juice improves the appearance of darkened lips and works as a lip brightening agent (6). Honey is an excellent emollient and helps moisturize the lips (9).

4. Carrot Juice

What You Need

  • 2-3 tablespoons of carrot juice
  • Cotton pads

How To Use

  1. Soak a cotton pad in the carrot juice.
  2. Gently dab it on the upper lip for two to three minutes.
  3. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes and wash off.
  4. Use it once every day.

Why This Works

Carrots are used in lipsticks as they contain lycopene that gives an orangish hue to your lips (10).

5. Cocoa Butter

What You Need

  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa butter
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

How To Use

  1. Mix the cocoa butter and olive oil.
  2. Apply it on your lips and massage for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Leave it overnight and wash it off the next morning.
  4. Use it twice every day.

Why It Works

Cocoa butter has antioxidant properties that soften the lips. Olive oil can help improve the appearance of pigment and improve lip tone (6).

6. Pomegranate Rind

What You Need

  • 1 teaspoon of pomegranate rind powder
  • 1 teaspoon of rosewater

How To Use

  1. Mix the ingredients and massage your lips with the blend.
  2. Leave it on for 30 minutes or overnight.
  3. Wash it off the next day and apply a lip balm.

Why It Works

Pomegranate extracts might inhibit melanin production and reduce lip pigmentation (11). Rose water helps to soothe your lips.

7. Potato Juice

Potato juice to lighten dark lips
Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

  • 1 tablespoon of potato juice
  • 1 cotton ball

How To Use

  1. Dip a cotton ball in the potato juice.
  2. Apply the juice to your upper lip or both lips.
  3. Leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
  4. Use it 2-3 times a week.

Why This Works

Anecdotal evidence suggests that potato juice is effective for improving dark circles, pigmentation, and premature aging.

8. Honey And Rose Petals

What You Need

  • 4-5 red rose petals
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

How To Use

  1. Crush the rose petals to form a paste and mix it with honey.
  2. Apply the mixture to your upper lip.
  3. Leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
  4. Use it every day.

Why This Works

Rose petals are used extensively in the cosmetic industry, especially in lip balms, lip stains, and related products. Crushed rose petals give a reddish hue to the lips, and honey keeps them moisturized(6).

9. Glycerin

What You Need

  • Glycerin
  • Cotton pad

How To Use

  1. Apply the glycerin to your lips with the cotton pad.
  2. Leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
  3. Use it every night.

Why This Works

Glycerin is an effective moisturizing agent used in many skin care products (12). It may help keep the lips soft and moisturized and reduce discoloration caused by dryness.

10. Beetroot

What You Need

  • Beetroot juice
  • Cotton pads

How To Use

  1. Apply the beetroot juice to your lips with the cotton ball.
  2. Leave it on overnight.
  3. Rinse it off the next morning.
  4. Use it daily or 2-3 times a week.

Why This Works

Beetroot juice is often used as a natural dye and adds a reddish hue to the lips.

11. Orange Peels

Orange peels to lighten dark lips
Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

  • 1 tablespoon of dried orange peel powder
  • 1 tablespoon of curd

How To Use

  1. Mix both the ingredients and apply the mixture to your lips.
  2. Leave it on for 30 minutes.
  3. Use it 2-3 times a week.

Why This Works

Orange peels contain beta carotene that gives them a reddish-orange shade. It has antioxidant properties that prevent skin and lip damage (13). Curd is used in traditional recipes for its moisturizing properties.

13. Strawberries And Honey

What You Need

  • 2-3 ripe strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon honey

How To Use

  1. Thoroughly clean the strawberries, then cut off their stems.
  2. Create a smooth paste out of the strawberries using a blender.
  3. Mix one teaspoon of honey with the strawberry paste.
  4. Apply a thin layer of the strawberry paste to your lips.
  5. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Rinse it off with lukewarm water.

Why This Works

Anecdotal evidence suggests that strawberries may have an exfoliating and moisturizing effect. They also contain vitamin C and antioxidants that may help lighten the dark color of the lips, though there is not enough scientific evidence to prove the same. Honey has humectant and emollient properties that help hydrate and soothe the lips (9).

Tami, a vlogger, shared her experience of using apple cider vinegar for 2 weeks to help brighten her dark lips. She followed it up with almond oil and vaseline and was amazed with the results. She said, “My lips are way lighter. It definitely worked for me (i).”

protip_icon Quick Tip
Mustard oil is a popular home remedy to lighten dark lips. Lip massages with two drops of oil daily for quick results of lip plumping.

You may try these natural remedies to reduce lip pigmentation. However, there are some basic dos and don’ts you should follow to maintain your natural lip color.

The Dos And Don’ts To Avoid Darkening Of Lips

1. Follow A Healthy Diet

  • Consume water-rich vegetables and fruits like melons, cucumber, and green leafy veggies to keep your body and lips hydrated.
  • Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages to prevent your lips from becoming dry and dark.

2. Lifestyle Changes

  • Always carry a water bottle to stay hydrated on the go.
  • Remove your makeup and lipstick before sleeping. The product residue may contain chemicals that can darken your lips.
  • Avoid smoking to prevent lip
  • Fluoride in toothpaste may cause allergic reactions and dermatitis (14). Avoid using fluoride toothpaste as they may affect your lips and darken them.

3. Cosmetic Products

  • Use cosmetics that suit your skin. Go for trusted brands and vegan and organic products.
  • Avoid using cheap lipsticks with harmful chemicals. Check the ingredients Avoid products with artificial fragrances, parabens, drying alcohols, and PEGs.

Infographic: 5 Habits That May Cause Dark Lips

Dark lips or hyperpigmentation of lips is one of the common issues faced by many people. While many underlying factors may darken the lips, a few lifestyle and skin care habits may also add to the issue.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about the habits you must avoid to prevent dark lips and maintain their health.

5 habits that may cause dark lips (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Factors such as hyperpigmentation, smoking, or sun exposure can increase melanin production, resulting in dark lips. They may also be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as melasma. You can use organic ingredients such as sugar, turmeric, or beetroot to reduce lip pigmentation. Additionally, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and following a proper lip care routine can go a long way toward lip nourishment and lip health rejuvenation. We hope this article helped you understand some simple tips on how to lighten dark lips at home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Vaseline make lips pink?

According to anecdotal evidence, Vaseline helps eliminate the external pigments built up on your lips. This leaves the lips looking smooth, velvety soft, and with a natural pink hue.

Can aloe remove dark lips?

Aloe vera contains aloin, a compound that helps to reduce pigmentation on the skin (15). Therefore, it may help lighten dark lips.

How can I make my lips pink with Colgate?

Here’s what you need to do to make your lips pink with Colgate toothpaste:

  • In a bowl, mix half a teaspoon each of Colgate toothpaste, sugar, and honey.
  • Apply the paste to your lips and gently scrub them with a toothbrush until they are completely covered.
  • Scrub your whole lip surface with moderate circular strokes for two minutes.
  • After that, carefully wash the paste off with lukewarm water.
  • Apply a thick layer of clear chapstick to your lips.

Key Takeaways

  • The causes of dark lips include hyperpigmentation, smoking, exposure to the sun, and medical conditions.
  • You can lighten your dark lips by continuously moisturizing them, using lip balms with SPF protection, and adopting a healthy, hydrating diet.
  • A lip scrub made of sugar and lime juice, which naturally exfoliates, removes dead skin cells, and naturally bleaches your lips to reduce pigmentation is recommended.
  • Dark lips can be prevented by staying hydrated and using cosmetic products that suit your type of skin.

Learn how to get rid of dark lips and pigmentation with simple, natural remedies. Discover the best tips and tricks in this video to restore your lips to their natural color. Check it out!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Approaches To The Evaluation Of Lip Hyperpigmentation
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22715817/
  2. Interrelationship Of Smoking, Lip And Gingival Melanin Pigmentation, And Periodontal Status
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905564/
  3. Management Of Hyperpigmentation Of Lips With 940 nm Diode Laser: Two Case Reports
    https://www.ijold.com/doi/IJOLD/pdf/10.5005/jp-journals-10022-1052
  4. Minocycline-Induced Hyperpigmentation
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4120055/
  5. Addison’s Disease
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/addisons-disease/
  6. Management Of Hyperpigmentation Of Lips With 940 nm Diode Laser: Two Case Reports
    https://www.ijold.com/doi/IJOLD/pdf/10.5005/jp-journals-10022-1052
  7. Review On Natural Lip Balm
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301204451_Review_on_Natural_Lip_Balm
  8. A Review On Skin Whitening Property Of Plant Extracts
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.639.5645&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  9. Honey in dermatology and skin care: a review
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24305429/
  10. A Review on Herbal lipsticks
    https://www.jparonline.com/review/JPAR-2103-RSA-000193%20Mr.%20Anilkumar.pdf
  11. Inhibitory Effect Of An Ellagic Acid-Rich Pomegranate Extract On Tyrosinase Activity And Ultraviolet-Induced Pigmentation
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1271/bbb.69.2368
  12. Moisturizers for Acne
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4025519/
  13. Peels of Lemon and Orange as Value-Added Ingredients: Chemical and Antioxidant Properties
    https://www.ijcmas.com/5-12-2016/M.H.%20Ahmed%20Abd%20El-ghfar,%20et%20al.pdf
  14. Allergic Contact Cheilitis to Amine Fluoride in a Toothpaste
    https://home.liebertpub.com/publications/dermatitis/672/overview
  15. On the novel action of melanolysis by a leaf extract of Aloe vera and its active ingredient aloin, potent skin depigmenting agents
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22495441/
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Dr. Hari Hara Sudhan is a dermatologist in Coimbatore,Tamil Nadu. He has 14 years of experience in this field. He is a regular contributor to newspapers and has also authored a book. He is a member of the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL) and Indian Medical Association (IMA) and specializes in Dermabrasion, Scar Treatment, Dental Fillings, Anti...read full bio

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