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We’ll answer the question on everyone’s mind first—yes, you do need SPF in your lip balm. After all, the skin on your lips is just like the skin on the rest of your face and is susceptible to burning, sun damage, and even skin cancer.
Because lip skin is thinner and more delicate, however, a lip burn is seriously painful (just ask anyone who’s experienced one). And somewhat ironically, many people forget that they need to apply sunscreen to this sensitive area. You’re likely using a lip balm already, so why not make it one that contains SPF? There are more standout formulas out there than ever before, ones that are so darn good you’ll forget you chose them for their protective prowess.
Swipe on any of these best lip balms with SPF and you’ll see what we mean.
Best Overall: Sun Bum Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 30
Super, super creamy, this balm, a favorite of Byrdie’s Commerce Editorial Director Jessica Mahgerefteh, hydrates lips just as well as it shields them from damaging UV rays. Credit a base made with aloe and cocoa butter for mega-moisture. But arguably the best part is the lip-smacking fruity flavors—coconut, pineapple, banana, pomegranate, key lime, and mango—that are incentive enough to keep swiping this on. Use it alone or layer it over any lip color for added protection.
Best Drugstore: Aquaphor Lip Repair + Protect Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Your beloved tube o’ Aquaphor just got a major upgrade, thanks to a dose of broad-spectrum sun protection. Still, it delivers those same hydrating benefits, with plenty of shea butter, glycerin, and beeswax to quench a parched pout. Also nice: It’s both fragrance- and paraben-free.
Best Tinted: Fresh Sugar Lip Balm SPF 15
This beloved cult classic may be lauded for its creamy texture and gorgeous, sheer color, but did you know that it also boasts an SPF 15? All of the 12 shades—ranging from clear to rosy to berry to red—have it, ensuring that your lips stay protected. Though it is those beautiful tints that keep us coming back to this tube anytime we want just a little something to perk up our pout.
Best Natural: W3ll People Nudist Lip Butter SPF 15
Given the fact that we inevitably end up ingesting some of the products we put on our lips, it makes sense that you might want to go with a clean lip balm. This one fits the bill, using several different organic oils for hydrating purposes. Even the sun protection is natural, non-micronized mineral zinc, a rarity given that many lip products use chemical sunscreen ingredients. It comes in both a clear version, as well as two tinted options.
Best Multitasker: Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Color Balm SPF 50
What’s better than a multi-purpose color stick that you can swipe on lips, cheeks, and eyes? One that contains SPF, of course. This newbie delivers gorgeous pigment on all those spots—it comes in three shades, a berry, blush, and bronze—along with a hefty dose of sun protection. Not to mention that you can easily layer and mix and match the colors wherever you apply them. Sold.
Runner-Up, Best Multitasker: Sol de Janeiro My Sol Stick SPF 50
Trust us when we say you need a sunscreen stick in your sun protection arsenal. These solid formulas are portable and spill-proof, perfect for travel. They’re also ideal for swiping not only onto your lips but also smaller areas on your face, like around your eyes and on the tops of your ears. (Not to mention it’s great for fast touch-ups, anytime, anywhere.) This one earns top marks for its impressive SPF level, creamy consistency that glides-on without tugging, and addicting scent, the brand’s signature blend of sugar, caramel, and vanilla.
Best Budget: Carmex Classic Medicated Lip Balm SPF 15
Byrdie Associate Editor Holly Rhue recommends stocking up on this affordable option; a three-pack of this classic stick rings in at just a few bucks. Pick up a whole bunch and keep one in every purse, pocket, you name it. It’s the original beloved formula, which boasts camphor and menthol to help soothe chapped lips, but with added sun protection.
Best Hydrating: Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30
When your lips are chapped to begin with, protecting them from the sun is more imperative than usual; after all, exposing them to the sun is only going to dry them out even further. This crazy creamy pick offers the best of both worlds, thanks to a coconut oil base that keeps lips hydrated for up to 12 hours, plus broad-spectrum SPF 30. There’s a clear choice, as well as five tinted versions, too.
Best Splurge: Clé De Peau UV Protective Lip Treatment SPF 30
As the name suggests, this is truly more of a lip treatment than a basic lip balm. The ingredient list like something you’d find in a fancy moisturizer, boasting smoothing Japanese pearl, tone-evening theanine, plus an array of herbs and botanicals. These all work together to improve the look of lips, while sunscreen and antioxidants offer necessary protection. The natural rose scent is subtle and sophisticated, and this also pulls double duty as a great lipstick primer.
Best Gloss Replacement: Supergoop! Shine On Lip Screen Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Gloss fans will appreciate the sheen this protectant delivers. While you can use it on its own, it’s best swiped over your go-to lip color, instantly imparting a soft shine, and, most importantly SPF. It also has sunflower oil for added hydration, never a bad thing.
If you’re going to be out in direct sun all day, it’s best to avoid any kind of shiny finish on your lips as it can attract rays. Save this for everyday use instead.
Best Sport: Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 50
Be sure to swipe this on before your next outdoor run, swim, or beach volleyball game. It’s hydrating, yes, but more importantly, it delivers an impressive SPF 50 to protect your pout from getting scorched during your workout. Not to mention that it’s also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so you don’t need to worry about reapplying it if you’re swimming or sweating.
Best Unisex: Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25
Packed with emollients and conditioning ingredients, think shea butter, vitamin E, and avocado oil, it’s choice for hydrating even the most chapped of lips. Bonus points for the addition of antioxidants that act as back-up for the sun protection it provides. There’s a flavorless option, but we suggest one of the yummy flavors—mint, lemon, grapefruit, and ginger, or black tea and blackberry.