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It doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest beauty lover out there or the most minimalistic of beauty minimalists—we’re willing to bet good money that you own and regularly use, a lip balm. Sure, you could consider it a beauty product (any lip color is simply not going to look good applied on chapped lips), but it really does border on a personal care necessity.
These days, there are more to choose from than ever before. Per our previous point, do you want something simple and straightforward that’s going to do its hydrating duties and that’s it? Or do you want a balm with more bells and whistles, perhaps some color and treatment ingredients? You want it, you got it.
Ahead, the best lip balms for any and every lip preference. Swipe on and pucker up.
Best Overall: Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lip Balm
The definition of a true crowd-pleaser, this cult-favorite truly holds legend-status in the lip balm world. It’s super affordable (AKA you can easily stock up to ensure you have one on-hand at all times), but rivals any of its pricier counterparts when it comes to delivering lip-smacking levels of hydration. Credit a 100% natural formula infused with beeswax (duh) plus vitamin E. There are flavored options, but you really can’t go wrong with the OG, which has just the slightest peppermint flavor.
Best Tinted: Fresh Sugar Lip Balm in Sugar Rosé Tinted
There are 14 shades and finishes of this cult-classic to choose from, and trust us, they’re all good. But, according to Karli Bendlin, Email Editor for Byrdie, it’s this subdued rosy hue that takes the cake. One swipe delivers a gorgeous wash of the pink color (which works surprisingly well on all skin tones), though it’s also easily buildable if you want more of a punch of pigment. Bonus points for the completely addicting sugary scent.
Best Drugstore: Maybelline Baby Lips
The drugstore is a treasure trove for all kinds of great lip balms, but if you’re forced to choose just one, make it this guy. A classic for years, it’s beloved among beauty editors, both for its creamy consistency, as well as the gorgeous shades it comes in, ideal for anyone craving just a hint of color.
Best Multi-Tasker: Lanolips 101 Ointment
As the name suggests there are in fact 101 different ways to use this ointment—we’re talking everything from dabbing it onto nipples that are sore from breast-feeding to using it on your dog’s dry paws (seriously). Go ahead and try them all, but don’t forget that it’s an awesome option for chapped lips, thanks to the pure lanolin it uses to create a protective seal against the elements.
Best Natural: Olio E Osso Tinted Balm
This multi-purpose stick nabbed a coveted Byrdie Skincare Award in 2019; our judges raved about the velvety texture and long-lasting hydration. The ingredient list is squeaky clean, with plenty of natural moisturizers such as beeswax and olive oil. The clear option is great for lips as well as any other dry areas on face or body (or even hair), and there are nine tinted versions, too.
Runner-Up, Best Natural: Kaike Lip Frosting
No icky ingredients here! This lip balm is sure to moisturize your lips with all natural ingredients that you can feel great about (and pronounce). Castor oil keeps lips hydrated all day long while mango butter has healing properties to restore chapped lips.
Best Variety: Glossier Balm Dot Com
This boasts a rich, salve-like consistency but comes in an easy-to-use, mess-free tube. Three hydration heavy-hitters—castor oil, beeswax, and lanolin—do the moisturizing work to soothe and condition chapped lips. There’s a clear, fragrance-free variant for purists, but, per the variety point, it also comes in seven other tints, finishes, and flavors.
Best With Shine: Kopari Coconut Lip Glossy
Yes, a lip balm and lip gloss are two different things, but if you’re on the hunt for something that marries the best of both worlds, this can’t be beaten. Senior Editor for Byrdie Hallie Gould loves it for the high-shine finish, non-tacky feel, and intense hydration (it uses coconut oil, shea butter, vitamin E, and squalane). Also nice: You can even use it dabbed on lids or cheeks to impart added sheen.
Best for Dry Lips: Kosas Lipfuel
Obviously any lip balm is going to help quench dry lips, but if your pucker is parched with a capital P, reach for this formula. Not only does it contain hyaluronic acid—one of the best hydrating ingredients out there—but it also uses konjac root to help anchor those HA spheres to your lips for maximum efficacy. Couple that with plenty of natural oils and chapped, flaked lips don’t stand a chance. There’s a clear option, but it’s the two tinted varieties, a soft pink and coral rose, that we deemed worthy of 2020 Byrdie Eco Beauty Award.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Dr. PawPaw Multi-Purpose Balm
The lips and area around your mouth can be just as prone to sensitivity as the rest of your face. When it comes to choosing a lip balm, that makes seeking out a fragrance-free pick imperative (since fragrance is a common irritant). This soothing balm fits the bill, and also happens to be cruelty-free and vegan. Not only does it work well on lips, but you can also dab it elsewhere on your face and hair, and there are plenty of fun tinted options to choose from, too.
Best Budget: EOS Natural & Organic Sphere Lip Balm
At this price, you can go ahead and stock up on this bargain-friendly balm to make sure there’s always one within arm’s reach. We love the lip-smacking fruity flavors, and moisturizing feel, not to mention the unique egg shape that’s both cute and easy to find in a crowded makeup bag.
Best With SPF: Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25
Your lips need daily sun protection like the rest of your face—if you don’t know, now you know. Make this your go-to balm every morning or before a beach day and you won’t ever have to worry about ending up with a ridiculously painful lip burn. Not only does it have the necessary SPF, but it’s also just a darn good balm in general, hydrating but not sticky, and available in six delish flavors.
Best Plumping: Image Skincare Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex
If you feel like your pucker could use a little plumping pick-me-up, try this option, a top choice for Byrdie’s Senior Editor Lindsey Metrus. It’s crazy hydrating, which goes a long way to make lips look instantly fuller, but also touts a polypeptide complex that defines lip contours, too. And, best of all, there’s none of the stinging or irritation that comes along with so many other plumping lipsticks.
Best Splurge: Cle de Peau Lip Glorifier
Yes, it may feel a bit extra spend big bucks on a lip balm, but this guy is worth every penny. You’re actually getting the benefits of three products in one; it moisturizes, of course, but also delivers a gorgeous tint and even acts as a lipstick primer. Whether you wear it alone or do layer it under your fave lip color, you really can’t go wrong. Plus, one tube lasts surprisingly long.
Best in a Pot: Inc.redible Just Kinda Bliss Hemp Hydration Lip Jelly
Byrdie’s Group Editorial Director Elspeth Velten vouches for this pick. While it starts as a more of a solid jelly, it melts into lips quickly, imparting plenty of hydration thanks to cannabis sativa seed oil. It’s choice for anyone who likes swiping balm on from a pot or tin, and also has a rose-like scent.
Best for Lipstick Lovers: RMS Beauty Tinted Daily Lip Balm
For those who can’t go a day without swiping on their favorite lip color, this pick is choice. It’s tinted yes, but we find it to be slightly more so than other tinted options—hence why lipstick lovers will be all about it. And it’s not just the color we love; jojoba oil and cocoa butter make for an ultra-creamy base that makes lips feel oh-so-soft.
Best Overnight: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
Okay, technically this is a lip mask and not a lip balm, but the hydrating benefits are so good that we had to put it on this list. You probably already swipe on some lip balm before bed, so swap that out for this guy instead and prepare to be amazed. It has a rich, balm-like texture (and insanely addicting berry scent and flavor) that melts into lips while you snooze, imparting plenty of hydration from hyaluronic acid along with protective antioxidants. And nope, there’s no need to rinse it off come morning.
Best Vegan: KNC Beauty Supa Balm
Of all the beauty products out there, lip balms are one of the categories where it can be hardest to find a vegan option; many use beeswax. If you’re in search of a vegan formula (or are just looking or a great balm in general), try this guy. It uses plant-based oils and butter for hydration, and also happens to be cruelty-, paraben-, and petroleum-free, too. Bonus points for the refreshing mint flavor.
Best with Shea Butter: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Lip Balm
Shea butter, which is excellent at hydrating and nourishing the skin, is the hero of this vegan lip balm. Coconut and sunflower oils round out the formula, as well as hibiscus flower, which is a natural emollient and helps improve skin tone. A bonus? It's super affordable.
Best Fair-Trade: Alaffia Everyday Coconut Vegan Lip Balm
There are several reasons to feel great about snagging this lip balm. Yes, your lips will thank you, but it's also made with fair-trade-certified ingredients like virgin coconut oil and cocoa butter. The flavor you see here is pure coconut, but it comes in refreshing mint coconut and sweeter pineapple coconut versions, too.