We’ve all been there: your lips are red, sore, and cracked. It’s winter, and it’s dry out. What’s a person to do? The answer can fit in the palm of your hand and has been around for ages – lip balm!
With so many options available, it’s hard to know what’s out there in the world of lip balms, treatments, and salves. So if you’re looking for information and reviews on all the best lip balm products out there, from high-end brands to drugstore gems – keep reading.
Lip Balm vs Chapstick
Lip balm vs. Chapstick: What exactly is the difference between these two products? Is it a wildly different product, a special name, or something else? Well, like facial tissue vs Kleenex, it can be simply put that Chapstick is the most commonly known brand name of the generic lip care product, lip balm.
The invention of Chapstick dates back to the 1890s by an American named Dr. CHarles Browne Fleet. As a pharmacist and inventor, Dr. Fleet first opened his Lynchburg, Virginia pharmacy in 1869. To make products that would help his customers, he tinkered with recipes and ingredients in his pharmacy. Dr. Fleet’s original version looked like a small candle wrapped in foil without a wick – not so handy or usable!
Fast forward to today, when saying “Chapstick” in place of lip balm is a more ubiquitous term than you’d think, and thankfully, the packaging is a little less messy!
The purpose of lip balm is to relieve the symptoms of and treat cracked, chapped lips, as its name suggests. It was invented hundreds of years ago to alleviate dry, irritated lips.
It is true that many people worry that lip balm can be addictive. This is because some lip balm ingredients, like salicylic acid and alcohol, seem soothing but actually dry out your lips, which leads you to apply more.
4 Types of Lip Balm By Common Concerns
There are lip balms for every skin type and need, from those who suffer from cold sores to those who want to protect their lips from sunburn.
We’ll cover the key types of lip balms for you, so you can find the perfect pout partner for your needs.
Check out the key types of lip balms in the table below, as well as a brief description of each.
|Types of Lip Balms||Overview|
|SPF Lip Balm||A lip balm product that acts like sunscreen for your lips with SPF.|
|Medicated Lip Balm (Cold Sore Lip Balm)||A lip balm product that treats severely chapped lips or other painful problems of the lips.|
|Natural Lip Balm||A lip balm product that has no chemical or harsh ingredients, and features natural ingredients like beeswax.|
|Moisturizing Lip Treatment||These are lip products intended to be applied as a treatment (kind of like a facial) specifically to the lips. Some are left on overnight.|
Lip Balm with SPF
If you’re like us and find yourself spending the summer outside more often than not, lip balm with SPF is a must-have. Whether it’s the beach or just walking around town during those warm months, sun protection should always be top of mind when it comes to your skin. And if you can get some hydration there too? Even better.
Lip balm with SPF (sun protection factor) helps protect your lips from the sun’s harmful rays by blocking them from the skin.
Those rays we try to protect ourselves with lip balm with SPF are:
- UVA: Rays known for their “aging” effects, including wrinkles and age spots
- UVB: Rays are known for their “burning” effect that causes sunburn
Ideally, you will choose a lip balm with SPF that is a broad spectrum, meaning it covers your lips in protection from both UVA and UVB rays. You should also look for a formula that is water and sweat-resistant, because, let’s face it, sun and sand go hand in hand, and you need something that will last!
Lip balms with sunscreen should also be SPF 30 or higher, just like the rest of your body SPF, and it should be reapplied every two hours or more frequently if you're sweating or swimming for continuous coverage and care.
Natural Lip Balm
Natural lip balm is, quite simply, a moisturizing lip balm product that’s made with 100% natural ingredients.
Some of the most common natural lip balm ingredients include:
- Shea butter
- Coconut oil
These ingredients are great for your skin and help to lock in moisture for longer-lasting results. They’re also a much better option than petroleum-based products because they won’t dry your lips out further and cause irritation as some cheaper formulas can.
Natural lip balms are also much more sustainable – they don’t contain any harmful chemicals or artificial fragrances that could potentially pollute our environment in the long run
Moisturizing Lip Balm
A lip balm treatment is a type of lip balm that has a higher concentration of active ingredients and more noticeable (and often positive) effects than regular old chapsticks. Lip treatment balms tend to be thicker than regular lip balms. The richness helps seal in moisture because it creates an effective barrier between your skin and the elements.
Lip balm treatments can be:
- Lip masks
No matter the format, they all fall under the umbrella term “lip treatment” and are meant to do one thing: fix your dry lips. They often include active ingredients that work on skin cells to make your lips feel better in the long term. This can range from Vitamin E to hyaluronic acid to shea butter.
Cold Sore Lip Balm
Medicated lip balm is a type of lip balm that contains ingredients to help treat dry, chapped lips. It’s also known as medicated lip ointment. Medicated lip balms contain ingredients like camphor, menthol, and phenol (a derivative of benzene), which are known to have anti-itch properties and can relieve symptoms such as burning or stinging in the affected area.
Generally speaking, medicated lip balms are used primarily on severe cases of chapped lips or cold sores. They can be found at most pharmacies or online retailers with ease.
Best Lip Balm for Dry Lips
If you’ve ever had dry, cracked lips, you know it’s not a fun feeling. Not only do they feel like sandpaper and look worse, but they also hurt! However, there are plenty of lip balms on the market that can help. These products will hydrate your lips while also providing some color and flavor. In this post, we’ve rounded up my favorite lip balms from brands like Glossier, Tom Ford, and more so that you can find the perfect product for your needs.
Laneige Lip Balm
Thought to be one of the best and most popular lip products on the market, the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is a cult favorite that’s been praised by beauty influencers and regular peeps alike. This product contains antioxidants, coconut oil, shea butter, and murumuru seed butter – so you know it’s going to be good for your lips. The masks are packaged in cute little containers that fit easily in your bag for travel and on-the-go use.
The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is meant to be applied before bedtime and then worn overnight. It feels thick and rich when applied, and we can tell you the mild, fresh scent is something that you’re going to love. It makes your lips feel soft, and they look even and smooth.
Tom Ford Lip Balm
Tom Ford’s Lip Balm is the epitome of luxury lip balm, and that’s because it has flakes of gold inside the bullet. The balm itself is designed to protect and hydrate your lips, and give a fresh, custom sheer color to your lips.
This lip balm isn’t sticky or greasy, so it doesn’t feel heavy on your lips like some other products can. It goes on clear and then turns into a personalized pink color based on your PH levels – so no matter what kind of day you’re having or what mood you’re in, this will give you a fresh flush that looks natural. Be aware of the hefty price tag, though! It’s definitely a splurge item, but according to reviewers, it’s worth it.
Summer Fridays Lip Balm
This product has a nice texture. It smells great, and it’s 100% vegan.
The product contains shea and murumuru butter, vegan waxes, and natural vanilla scent.
This lip balm comes in three shades:
- Vanilla beige
Reviewers say it feels refreshing and not greasy or sticky like some other balms do when you put them on your lips, and the scent is delicious enough to eat.
Glossier Lip Balm
The Glossier Balm Dotcom is an all-in-one skin savior formulated with castor seed oil and beeswax. It’s thick, rich, and deeply moisturizing – but not greasy or sticky. The formula can be used on lips, cuticles, knuckles, and elbows. You get the idea! There’s a range of shades and tints, from deep berry to a subtle shimmer.
Many consider this product an essential part of any healthy beauty routine! Reviewers say it’s perfect for carrying it around in your bag because it’s so versatile and amazing – and smells delightful.
Fresh Sugar Lip Balm
This product is infused with nourishing ingredients that help hydrate and soothe the lips.
The lip balm contains:
- Cranberry seed
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Natural sugars
This lip balm provides effective hydration while also protecting against dryness. It offers a sheer, buildable color with a smooth buttery texture made from beetroot and sugar cane. It’s easy to apply twist-up tube format makes it convenient for traveling or on-the-go touch-ups during the day.
Nars Afterglow Lip Balm
The Nars Afterglow Lip Balm is a sheer tinted lip balm that helps to moisturize and protect your lips. It features a so-called Monoï Hydrating Complex, which makes for supple, fresh lips. The high shine color is beautiful on its own or used as a base for other lip products such as lipstick or gloss.
The product comes in 8 flattering pink and nude shades that are well-rated and reviewed by plenty of fans of the product.
ELF Ride or Die Lip Balm
You’re officially in good hands with this lip balm from E.l.f., a truly affordable cult favorite brand. Formulated with jojoba oil, it moisturizes your lips without feeling greasy or heavy. There are seven shades to choose from, so you’ll always have the perfect match on hand – and with the sub-$10 price tag, you can literally afford to gather the whole collection! Plus, the formula contains shea butter and vitamin E to provide relief from chapped lips by keeping them soft and supple throughout each day with a nice wash of color.
E.l.f lip balms are safer and better formulated for healthy skin and do not contain nasty chemicals like:
- Nonylphenol ethoxylates
- Triclosan triclocarban
Best Drugstore Lip Balm
The lips are a sensitive part of our body, and they require special attention. If you have dry or damaged skin, you need to treat them properly, especially. Thankfully, if you’re looking for drugstore lip balm, there are plenty of options. So let’s take a look at some of the best lip balms for dry lips from the drug store!
Eos Lip Balm
This brand is known for its egg-shaped containers, but that’s not the only reason it’s great. EOS stands for Evolution of Smooth, and they make lip balms in a variety of different scents and formats.
They tout that their lip balm as:
- Paraben free
The ingredients are all natural (with the exception of some beeswax), which means they’re non-toxic and won’t dry out your lips like other products. They also come in several different scents that aren’t too overwhelming – the Vanilla Mint flavor smells exactly like ice cream in our opinion!
Nivea Lip Balm
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, Nivea is a great option. Their lip balm comes in a variety of formats and scents, including watermelon and vanilla, as well as unscented transparent formulas. The formula contains rich ingredients like avocado oil, shea butter, and vitamin e to provide deep hydration for your lips. In addition to being affordable (you can find it at your local drugstore or online for around $3-$5 per tube), this product also comes in an easy-to-use stick format that makes the application quick and convenient!
Vaseline Lip Balm
Vaseline is one of the most well-known skincare companies in the world, having been founded over 150 years ago. The company was started by Robert Chesebrough, who used petroleum jelly to heal dry skin, and has since evolved into a beloved brand that offers a wide range of products, including lip and body care. Vaseline offers both tubs and tubes of lip balm, as well as cute tubs and tins (a fan favorite being their rosy lips).
These products come in a variety of formulas for different needs, like soothing chapped lips to provide moisture for normal lips.
Aquaphor Lip Balm
Aquaphor Lip Balm is a great drugstore lip balm option, as it’s super thick and moisturizing. It also has a ton of stuff in it that’s good for your lips, including nourishing moisturizers, shea butter, and jojoba oil – and the product itself is fragrance, preservative, and paraben-free, making this product appropriate for sensitive skin.
Blistex Lip Balm
If you have ever bought lip balm, there’s a good chance it was Blistex. In the world of lip balm, it’s one of the best-known brands by far. If you’ve ever been to a drugstore or Target and seen bottles of this ubiquitous product on end caps, you know that Blistex is everywhere – and for a good reason!
Blistex Lip Balm comes in both medicated and non-medicated formulas, which means there are options no matter what kind of dry lip treatment you’re looking for. The long-lasting care ensures that your lips will be protected from dehydration throughout the day – even if you’re working out or going through an especially rough patch at work. Ensures that cell balance stays normal so that moisture is evenly distributed throughout each layer of skin. It contains natural ingredients like beeswax as well as active ingredients such as potassium salicylate (a derivative) to help fix severely dry lips.
Cerave Lip Balm
Cerave Lip Balm is among the best lip balms on the market today. It is one of the few non-fragranced products available, making it ideal for those who have sensitive skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid to moisturize your lips and prevent future dryness.
Cerave’s original formula contains SPF 30 sunscreen, which can be a bonus if you need to protect yourself from sun damage while also keeping your lips moistened up. This product comes in stick form as well as tube form, so you have options depending on what kind of packaging works best for you!
Best Lip Balm for Men
Even guys need lip care! It’s important to find a product for men that helps nourish and moisturize lips, especially during colder seasons when wind and cold chap lips. But some guys don’t want a tint or scent typically associated with lip care products women prefer.
That’s why we want to take a look at the best lip balm for men so you can find a perfectly manly lip care product.
Jack Black Lip Balm
A portable tube format, packed with antioxidants and superior skin conditioners, soothes and relieves dry, chapped, irritated lips and is perfect for throwing in a gym bag, work bag, or desk. Jack Black’s lip balm for men contains antioxidants such as vitamin E and green tea, broad-spectrum sun protection, and natural emollients.
An emollient is a saturated or unsaturated hydrocarbon that moisturizes and protects the skin. While occlusives such as beeswax will sit on your lips, and humectants like hyaluronic acid will pull moisture to your lips’ top layers, emollients penetrate your skin and offer more deep hydration.
Best Natural Lip Balm
When you when to hydrate your lips but don’t want all those chemical ingredients, it’s time to consider the best natural lip balms on the market. These products focus on minimal ingredients, natural ingredients, and delivering a hydrating punch in a more wholesome package.
Let’s get into the best natural lip balms out there, so you can skip nasty fillers and ingredients your lips don’t need.
Lanolin Lip Balm
Lanolips is a brand focused on both sustainable and natural ingredients that pack a multi-purpose punch! Lanolips Original 101 Ointment is formulated with lanolin, which is excellent for hydrating extremely dry and chapped lipsThis product is a superhero ointment and is a natural alternative to ordinary petroleum-based balms. As a deeply moisturizing oil found in sheep’s wool, lanolin is both renewable and natural, as it mimics the skin’s natural oils to heal and hydrate.
Keep an all purpose lanolin balm like this on hand for more than just lip care. Lanolin balms can be ideal for soothing everything from cracked elbows and cuticles to minor burns and cuts from shaving.
Hempz Lip Balm
If you’re looking for the best ingredients in natural lip balms, look no further than Hemp oil. Hempz harnesses the benefits of this natural ingredient to lock in moisture and protect lips. It’s also scent-free, which is great for those who are sensitive to heavily scented products.
Mongo Kiss Lip Balm
Looking for the best natural lip balm that also has ethically sourced ingredients? Check out this offering from Eco Lips. A high source of Vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients, mongongo oil, is perfect for moisturizing and nourishing the skin. Eco lips is focused on sustainable, ethical sourcing as well as strong corporate social responsibility, which is a great bonus.
So there you have it. Our top picks for the best lip balms on the market. From the best lip balm for men to the best drugstore lip balm options on a budget, you can be sure your lips will be feeling luscious, hydrated, and smooth the next time you need to stock up on lip care.
Looking for some color in your life? Find out our picks for the best lipstick brands and more lip care tips.