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To take the guesswork out of finding good lip balms for dry lips, we broke down eight balms that fit into every lifestyle, whether you are trying to up your sunblock, want a lipstick alternative, or have sensitive skin.
Read on to find your perfect lip balm match.
The Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm may be on the pricey side, but its blend of marula, cranberry seed, and avocado oils keeps lips hydrated without going on unbearably greasy.
Bonus points for ingredients. Marula oil present in this balm is particularly noted for its positive effects on the skin. A 2011 study, published by the South African Journal of Botany, suggested that the pressed oil (from the seeds of certain African trees) is rich with fatty acids, which help improve skin production.
Gets the retailer nod. This balm also receives the Clean At Sephora Seal of approval. In order to receive this endorsement, Sephora requires products to be formulated without a list of over 50 ingredients, including sulfates (SLS and SLES), parabens, phthalates, and more.
While this lip balm boasts a blend of conditioning oils on its product label, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) also suggests that a couple of the ingredients might be irritating for some people:
tocopheryl acetate, or vitamin E, which is a skin conditioner
phenoxyethanol, which is used as a preservative in cosmetics against the growth of mold and bacteria
Propolis as an ingredient. The Lysine + Herbs Lip Balm from 100% Pure is formulated with lemon balm and propolis, which are said to be moisturizing and soothing to the skin. Propolis, in particular, is known for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory effect on acne, according to a 2017 review of studies.
Lysine for dry lips. This product also uses lysine, an amino acid used in some skin and hair care products as a conditioning agent. In this case, lysine is meant to help dry, chapped lips.
Several 100% Pure user reviews stated that the balm can be irritating to existing cold sores, making it important to consult the advice of your doctor or dermatologist before you actually use it.
UV protection. The COOLA Liplux SPF 30 is definitely suitable for those of us who have busy lifestyles. Its non-oxybenzone formula keeps lips shielded from harmful effects from UVA/UVB rays.
Sheer application. And sun protection aside, Sephora user reviews suggested that this balm’s aloe and beeswax formula goes on smooth and sheer.
While this lip balm skips out on oxybenzone as an ingredient, the sun protection it provides is not mineral-based.
Its sunscreen ingredients include octisalate and octocrylene, which some people are allergic to. It may also cause skin reactions in people with sensitive skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests avoiding these ingredients if you currently have chapped lips.
Mineral-based sun protection. Oxybenzone is not present in Vanicream’s Lip Protectant. Instead, it contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Made to keep in moisture. Formulated to prevent moisture loss caused by environmental aggressors such as wind, cold air, and sun exposure.
Good for sensitive skin. Vanicream focuses on making hypo-allergenic skincare products, so their products may be the most useful for people with sensitive skin.
Vanicream uses dimethicone to keep lips protected from dryness. It’s silicone-based, and a polymer that doesn’t easily break down.
Based on findings from Environment Canada, the EWG suggests dimethicone may be harmful or toxic. It’s also suspected to be an environmental toxin, according to the EWG.
Clean at Sephora seal. Has the Clean at Sephora seal of approval, which means a product avoids specific ingredients.
EWG verified. It’s also EWG verified, meaning it doesn’t contain EWG ingredients of concern and meets certain criteria for manufacturing practices.
Hydrating ingredients. This balm contains hydrating ingredients like squalane, which is a great ingredient to look out for when you’re constantly bouncing between cold and hot environments.
Plant-based. It also features plant-based ingredients to make it vegan-friendly.
According to a 2016 study published in the
This makes squalene a great ingredient for those with sensitive skin, according to the study. It’s also used in treating skincare disorders such as atopic dermatitis, acne, and psoriasis.
User reviews suggest that it may not be the best solution for severely dry lips. Some Sephora reviewers found the formula to be on the thin side, stating it faded quickly after application.
Other Sephora reviewers noted the issue of pricing, with some suggesting that inexpensive products (such as Vaseline) were actually more effective than this Biossance balm.
Easy to find and inexpensive. Vaseline is made of petroleum jelly, which is an inexpensive ingredient that can be used to lock in moisture for dry and rough parts of the skin, according to the AAD.
Long-wearing. Since Vaseline is thick and has protective qualities, it may be attractive to those spending a lot of time outdoors.
Vaseline can be an affordable option. Just keep in mind that the petroleum jelly itself is not a moisturizer.
What it can do is effectively create a barrier between your skin and the air. The AAD advises applying a small amount onto clean, damp lips to help seal in moisture.
While Vaseline does have the advantage of being an inexpensive beauty product, some people find petroleum jelly to be a bit heavy or too greasy for daily use.
When using Vaseline, remember that a little bit goes a long way.
Tinted lip balms are another option to consider, especially when you want to add a pop of color on your pout. And many beauty brands have unveiled products that keep your lips hydrated.
Plant oils as ingredients. ILIA Tinted Lip Conditioner uses cocoa butter and antioxidant-rich fruit oils to moisturize skin.
Several tint colors means options. And this balm is available in more than 10 different flattering shades, which is great for those looking for a hydrating alternative to lipsticks and other lip tints.
ILIA Tinted Lip Conditioner contains Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil, which like any concentrated plant oil may irritate skin.
This product contains some synthetic dyes, such as FD&C Yellow 5, which is produced from petroleum.
Paraben-free. The Dr. Barbara Sturm Lip Balm leaves out parabens and other potentially irritating ingredients like sulfates and phthalates.
Plant-based. Instead, this balm contains a blend of plant-based oils, butters, and waxes, which is said to leave lips supple and smooth.
Clean at Sephora label. Meets the Clean at Sephora standards.
While this lip balm is a part of a luxury product line developed by a high-profile German aesthetics doctor, a few Sephora user reviews suggested that it isn’t worth the steep price tag.
Finding the right lip balm for dry lips depends on several different factors, such as:
- sun exposure
- skin sensitivity
- personal preferences
Lip balms range in price, and more expensive doesn’t always mean better for you.
These eight brands offer options for a variety of concerns and preferences when it comes to chapped lips.