THIS WILL BE MY MASTERPIECE
I have a love-hate relationship with lip balm, and I know I’m not alone. I couldn’t tell you when I first started experimenting with different brands and formulations, but the struggle is real sometimes. It feels like a compulsion, because I truly can’t stop myself from buying new lip products, thinking ‘this could be the one’. For the purpose of this post, I might use the term ‘lip balm’ to cover moisturizing lip products in general, which covers balms, salves, oils, what have you.
The list of over 60 lip products I have compiled is what I could recall from memory. I do not currently have 60+ lip products in my possession. I’m certain that after I share this blog post, I’ll think of half a dozen I missed*, but I think a detailed list of my Top 10 and list of 5 runner-up options (neither is in any particular order) is sufficient. Heck, it might even overwhelm you. But just know, I’m overloading you with this information, so you know how relentless I have been in my (what feels like a lifetime) search for the best lip products. And it hasn’t been for nothing!
UPDATE: my momma read this blog post, and texted me admitting that she started me on my lip balm journey around the age of 3 because I had such chapped lips from licking them too much. So, my list is missing a whole chapter of my life I’m just now learning about.
As a disclaimer, the following is just my viewpoint on the products I have tried. Products work differently for everyone, so I encourage you to still use your own judgement when it comes to what you do and do not try. I am also not affiliated with, and was not gifted anything by, any of the brands mentioned in this post.
MY TOP 10 LIP PRODUCTS
1 | SUMMER FRIDAYS LIP BUTTER BALM
Summer Fridays just released their first lip product, Lip Butter Balm, at the end of March, and I am already in love. The Shea and Murumuru Seed butters soothe the lips, and vegan waxes soften while giving a gorgeous sheen. It also has natural vanilla scent, which smells good enough to eat. The formula isn’t sticky, and can hold its own against my constant barrage of beverages, where other balms just disappear. I instinctively had a great feeling about this product when it popped up on my Instagram feed, and I am here to tell you TRY IT.
2 | GLOSSIER BALM DOTCOM ORIGINAL
I love a good multi-purpose product, so when I realized I loved Glossier’s Original Balm Dotcom as much on my cuticles as I do my lips, I was sold. I always have one in my handbag, even if I have a handful of other lip products with me.
3 | HEY HONEY BESAME MUCHO LIP BALM
This lip balm from Hey Honey makes your lips ‘besame mucho’ soft. The company infuses honey and propolis into a lot of its products, for their naturally antiseptic and antibacterial properties, and this balm is no exception. If you’re into skincare, you’ve probably heard about Squalane a lot lately, which is another powerhouse ingredient found in Besame Mucho, that helps your lips retain moisture. It’s lightweight but packs a major hydration punch!
4 | NIVEA MILK & HONEY LIP CARE
The Nivea Milk & Honey is the lip balm I’ve used the longest out of the whole list, and it never disappoints. Basically, this will get thrown out of rotation ONLY if I’m trying out new lip products, but it always makes its way back in. Lightweight, intensely nourishing, smells delightful and is under $5. If you try any of my Top 10 picks, this should be it. You can find Milk & Honey at most drugstores, as well as Ulta and Amazon.
5 | WELEDA SKIN FOOD LIP BUTTER
This is a relatively new discover of mine, which is surprising considering how long I’ve loved the Weleda Skin Food Light Nourishing Cream, but as they say, better late than never. Weleda’s Lip Butter is oil-based, so don’t expect to put lipstick on immediately after applying, but DO expect very hydrated lips, which is a worthy compromise. Fun fact, it’s also plant-based!
6 | LANEIGE LIP SLEEPING MASK VANILLA
I tried the Laneige Berry Sleeping Mask when it was released, before the Vanilla was available, and wasn’t impressed – for a mask, it wasn’t particularly nourishing and the smell is overwhelmingly sweet. While the vanilla is still sweet, it seems much more moisturizing. I use this right before my head hits the pillow, and wake up with happy lips.
7 | BURT’S BEES PINK GRAPEFRUIT LIP BALM
As you can see in the list detailing my lip balm journey, I have tried MANY Burt’s Bees lip balms, but the Pink Grapefruit is the only one that I have gotten along with. One swipe, and your lips feel relieved of any dryness. The zingy grapefruit scent is also a great pick-me-up.
8 | RODIN LUXURY LIP & CHEEK OIL in berry baci, so mod & HEAVENLY HOPP
I would reorder these Rodin Lip Oils by the dozen if cosmetics didn’t expire. The formula is smooth and comfortable, while having a tint, sheen and the cutest pooches on the packaging. What more could you need? I haven’t put the ‘cheek oil’ capability to the test because my skin flares up at the tiniest change in products, but am more than satisfied using these on my lips only.
9 | KJAER WEIS LIP BALM
Kjaer Weis makes a gorgeous lip balm, with equally gorgeous reusable packaging – you can get just the lip balm “refresh” to save money AND the planet. The formula is lightweight, while still being very nourishing.
10 | CANNUKA CBD HYDRATING LIP BALM
I haven’t completely bought into the CBD revolution, but am intrigued by the anti-inflamatory and anti-aging properties in some products. This lip balm from Cannuka is a good one to have in your ‘lip balm repertoire’. It’s nourishing, and in stick form, so you don’t have to worry about digging into a potted lip balm.
5 RUNNER-UP LIP PRODUCTS
& my rapid fire thoughts on them, so this post isn’t a year long:
- AQUAPHOR LIP REPAIR: great as a nighttime product, and could go up against the Laneige Sleeping Mask as a budget friendly alternative!
- HONEST BEAUTY MAGIC BEAUTY BALM: incredible multi-purpose product, but my lips get used to the formulation, so it’s one I revisit and love every time.
- CLARINS HYDRA-ESSENTIEL MOISTURE REPLENISHING LIP BALM: great all-around with Blue Lotus Wax (sounds fun), this almost made it into the Top 10.
- LANO LANOLIPS 101 OINTMENT: if it weren’t for Glossier’s Balm Dotcom, this would have been in the Top 10, but I will say – the formulations are almost identical. Almost. One advantage Lano has over Glossier – you can get it at Ulta, whereas Glossier is only available online or at its handful of stores.
- BITE BEAUTY AGAVE+ PRE-MAKEUP LIP SERUM: Bite describes this Pre-Makeup Serum as super-lightweight hydration on its own, or a solution to lipstick settling into lines or looking dry, and it is exactly those 2 things. If it was slightly more moisturizing on its own, this would have made it into my Top 10.
I thought I would also share some of my discoveries, from late night angry-googling “why are my lips so chapped??”:
It could be your toothpaste: this article from Allure does a great job of explaining how your toothpaste can be the culprit of dry lips. Essentially, the skin on your lips is thin and doesn’t produce oil like the rest of your skin, which means it’s more susceptible to dryness. There are ingredients found in toothpaste known to be very drying (like menthol), so being mindful of what’s in your toothpaste is not only important to your health, but also to your lips!
Your showers could be too hot: Having just mentioned how sensitive yours lip can be to toothpaste, brings me to hot showers. The Healthy says hot water in general washes away your skin’s protective oils, so similar to a stripping face wash, your lips are left dry and tight when exposed to sauna-worthy shower temperatures. After reading this, I started taking cooler showers (not cold, just cooler). I’m not sure if that specifically has made a difference, but over the years, I deal less and less with chapped lips.
Aaaand then there are realizations I’ve come to on my own:
Tinted formulations just don’t work (for me): Despite some tinted formulations being very similar to non-tinted versions, I find my lips feeling more chapped after using anything with pigment. I have tried different tinted products over time, and have never had any luck. I can, however, use a non-tinted lip balm under a lipstick, so that is my solution and I’m sticking to it.
The worst realization in trying to find a single lip product that does it all: you might have to face the fact that you need different lip products depending on the time of day or activity. I use something thick and ultra moisturizing like the Laneige Vanilla Sleeping Mask right before bed, whereas during the day, I have to decide between something in stick form like Nivea Milk & Honey or something I have to apply with my fingers like the Summer Fridays, for sanitary reasons.
Well, this is most certainly the longest blog post I have written to date. But as I mentioned in the very beginning, I feel like I’ve been unwittingly gathering this information for well over 10 years and finally have a platform to present my findings!
I’m not sure 60+ trials is enough, so I’d love to hear about the lip products you use!