Test-driving a pair of lip-care products

A chapped, cracked kisser is hardly something to smile about. Luckily, Tarte's fRxtion Sugar Exfoliator & amp; Lip Balm Duo does double duty to smooth and soothe your winter woes. One side of the lipstick offers a sugar-grain scrub that sloughs off dry skin in seconds; the other boasts a creamy balm meant to whip your lips into pucker-perfect shape. (Warning: Don't get overly enthusiastic with the exfoliator -- rubbing too hard can leave your lips a bit raw.) Tarte's shimmery purple case is decked out with a pop-up mirror that is cute though hardly necessary to apply a balm. If only the company offered that same design in a dazzling pink or ravishing red lipstick -- now that would be sweet.
11 at www.tartecosmetics.com.
-- Debra Leithauser
Most days, I carry at least five lip products. (What if I want a shiny red gloss when all I have is clear balm? The thought keeps me up at night.)
But now I've found it. The One. The holy grail of lip balms. Enclosed in the beautiful, batik-printed packaging of Juara's Sweet Black Tea Lip Treatment is a delicately scented, velvety cream brimming with natural wonders: emollient moisturizers such as candlenut and avocado oils, wrinkle reducers such as vitamin E and fermented black tea. The lightweight lotion, meant to be used on and around your mouth, absorbs easily, leaving lips so soft you won't miss the high-impact hue and come-hither gloss of your regular lipstick. Can Juara do no wrong? If it means fitting this little beauty into my bag, I'd gladly leave my keys at home.
20 at www.juaraskincare.com, or call (212) 228-9601.
-- Michelle Thomas

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