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Between the weather, health issues, and even cosmetics, your lips take a licking. Lips are susceptible to dryness because the skin covering them is thinner than the skin on the rest of your body. They don’t have sebaceous glands to keep themselves moisturized, nor do they have melatonin to protect them from the sun.
That’s why daily lip care, including the use of lip balms and chapstick, is so important. Lip balms contain occlusive agents like petrolatum, silicone, lanolin, shea butter, and waxes that create a barrier on the skin, preventing moisture loss. They usually include a humectant like hyaluronic acid or glycerin to hydrate and are often formulated antioxidants or SPF as an added bonus.
Whether you’re looking to treat dryness and irritation or simply want to maintain hydration, check out our roundup of the top lip treatments out there.
Best Overall: Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1
A Kiehl’s classic, this petroleum-based lip balm moisturizes with aloe vera, vitamin E, and wheat germ oil. It’s also infused with squalane, a hydrogenated derivative of squalene, which is one of the many natural lipids our body’s produce to hydrate and protect the skin’s barrier. The small tube is just the right size to stash in a winter jacket pocket or purse.
Best Budget: Aquaphor Lip Repair
An inexpensive option, this multi-purpose ointment does more than just simply moisturize lips. It’s frequently recommended by dermatologists to also relieve common skin irritations like minor burns, diaper rash, and cracked heels. That’s because it’s formulated to retain moisture while allowing the flow of oxygen, creating the ideal environment for skin to heal itself.
Best Luxury: Skinceuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair
This soothing treatment by Skinceuticals contains the antioxidants silymarin and vitamin E, which help to prevent premature aging caused by free radicals. It moisturizes on the spot with urea and hyaluronic acid and even exfoliates to soften and smooth your lips. Unlike other lip balms, this lip treatment only needs to be applied once or twice daily to work its magic.
Best for Men: Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25
Offering long-lasting hydration and fresh minty flavor, this little blue tube is beloved by guys and gals alike. It features shea butter and avocado oil to soften lips, plus vitamin E and green tea extracts to protect against skin-aging free radicals. And while it’s not uncommon for lip balms to include sun protection, this one has SPF 25, which is particularly high.
Best for Dry Lips: CeraVe Healing Lip Balm
Like all CeraVe products, this healing lip balm contains three essential ceramides to repair and shield the damaged skin barrier—i.e. chapped lips. It also has moisturizing hyaluronic acid and dimethicone, a smoothing silicone that forms a protective cover on the skin. With chemical-free zinc oxide (SPF 30), this dermatologist-recommended lip protectant gets a thumbs up from the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Best for Winter: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy
Intensely hydrating, this wax-based lip balm seals in moisture with glycerin and shea butter. There’s also skin-soothing colloidal oatmeal extract to comfort dry, chapped lips as well as First Aid Beauty’s Antioxidant Booster Complex to protect against those pesky free radicals. Devotees rave about its mild mint scent, which some say helps to freshen their breath too.
Best for Cracked Lips: Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm
Combining occlusive agents like beeswax, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil, this stick lip balm provides a long-lasting barrier to prevent moisture from leaving the skin. It also contains 1% hydrocortisone, a mild steroid, to reduce inflammation caused by splitting, peeling chapped lips.
Best Tinted: Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm
How do you improve a longtime favorite lip balm? By adding a sheer tint of color that flatters your complexion while naturally nourishing your lips with shea butter and botanical waxes. Like Burt’s Bees classic beeswax lip balm in the yellow tube, this tinted version is also free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.
Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular chapstick on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different chapsticks overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers and read over 15 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.