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Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: We are not—we repeat, are not— suggesting that you trade in lip balm for a lip mask. Lip balms are a beloved beauty product staple for good reason and deserve to always have a place in your purse, pocket, or nightstand. Rather, we’d like to make the argument that a lip mask isn’t a replacement for a balm, but instead, it’s a perfect pairing.
Meet the Expert
Jodi Shays has been a licensed esthetician in California for over 20 years. She is also the owner of Queen Bee Salon & Spa, which has locations in Culver City and Seattle as well as its own skincare line.
Jodi Shays, esthetician and owner of Queen Bee Salon and Spa, recommends lip masks with antioxidants, vitamin E, and silymarin. "Antioxidants in lip masks help prevent premature signs of aging and also help retain moisture (less chance of chapping!) so your lips appear to be more smooth," she says. "They can also be very healing for those exposed to the elements. Always go with a trusted brand that can back up their results with science." The ones below are a great place to start, offering hydration, smoothing, and softening benefits (and more).
Here are the best lip masks to try now.
Best Overall: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
Great flavor options
Lovely, buttery texture
Not clean or cruelty-free
A perennial Team Byrdie favorite, we have yet to meet someone who has tried this and then gotten hooked. Solid in the jar, it melts into a thick, buttery texture when applied to lips. Slather on a thick layer before bedtime and let the proprietary Moisture Wrap technology go to town. Hydrating ingredients are time-released over eight hours while also forming a protective coating to ensure they stay locked in. Plus, a blend of berry extracts makes for a delicious fruity scent and flavor.
Key Ingredients: Shea butter, vitamin C | Size: .7 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Budget: Burt's Bees Moisturizing Lip Mask
Works in just five minutes
Can sometimes move around a bit
This drugstore buy is so good that it may even rival the brand’s classic balm. Infused with meadowfoam seed and almond oils, the single-use mask hydrates lips stat—we’re talking in five minutes or less—with no rinsing required after. Follow our lead and take one with you on your next overnight flight to quickly give your lips some love before landing.
Key Ingredients: Meadowfoam seed oil, almond oils | Size: 1 mask | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Plumping: Kaplan MD Perfect Pout Lip Mask
Plumps and exfoliates
Clean and cruelty-free
Craving a fuller pout? This one gets the job done so well that one Byrdie editor canceled a lip filler appointment after using it regularly. Not to mention, it's even Byrdie clean—color us impressed. Credit the results to a patented amino acid that boosts volume and fullness, coupled with hydrating hyaluronic acid. And the benefits don’t stop there; it also contains gently exfoliating papaya enzymes. You’re meant to wipe on a generous dose and leave it on for anywhere from three to 10 minutes, though our Byrdie staffer uses a smaller amount and leaves it overnight.
Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, amino acid, papaya enzymes | Size: 1 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Preventing Chapped Lips: Dermelect Smooth & Supple Lip Mask Melt
Very thick and hydrating
Comes with an included applicator
To be fair, pretty much any lip mask is a good way to help ward off chapped and flaky lips, but this one takes the cake. The formula features ingredients like castor seed oil, jojoba oil, and dimethicone and is designed to help shield your lips from the elements. Our favorite part? The included metal applicator, which means you never have to stick your germy fingers into the jar.
Key Ingredients: Castor seed oil, jojoba oil, dimethicone | Size: .5 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Patch: KNC Beauty Kiss My Lips All-Natural Collagen-Infused Lip Mask
Packed with nourishing plant-based ingredients
Great for priming lips before lipstick application
Fun to wear
Can't talk or open mouth while using
These collagen-infused gel lip masks are the key to a plump and hydrated pout in just 15 to 20 minutes. Packed with natural plant-based ingredients (think rose flower oil, vitamin E, and bitter cherry extract), each patch works hard to infuse much-needed moisture back into lackluster lips.
And because it leaves the lips noticeably softer and smoother, it also makes for a great priming mask to use before applying lipstick, especially notoriously drying liquid and matte formulas. Did we mention they also make for a great selfie?
Key Ingredients: Collagen, rose flower oil, vitamin E, bitter cherry extract | Size: 5- or 10-pack | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Overnight: Sara Happ The Dream Slip
Contains relaxing chamomile
Soaks in completely
Jojoba oil is a natural oil produced from the seed of the Chinensis plant, a drought-resistant shrub native to southern Arizona, California, and Mexico. It conditions and seals moisture in the skin without clogging pores or exacerbating acne.
Think of this formula as a standard lip balm on steroids. It’s ultra-thick and rich, loaded with (among other things) deeply hydrating jojoba and sweet almond oils. Bonus points for the addition of relaxing chamomile, which makes it perfect for bedtime. You can wipe off any excess come morning, though we usually find that it’s all soaked in by the time we wake up.
Key Ingredients: Jojoba oil, lipids, hyaluronic acid | Size: .5 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Runner-Up, Best Overnight: Aceology Overnight Lip Mask
Squeeze tube applicator
Very hydrating but not greasy
Clean and cruelty-free
Another one of our favorite options to reach for come bedtime, this pick is packed with moisturizing coconut, macadamia, and olive oils, plus squalane, which helps to lock and seal in all of that much-needed moisture. We also appreciate that it comes in a squeeze tube for mess-free application, as well as in two sizes.
Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, macadamia oil, olive oil, squalane | Size: 2.5 oz. and 1 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Fast-Acting: Patchology Flashpatch Hydrating Lip Gels
Works very quickly
Stays on well
Not environmentally sustainable
Green tea is a botanical derived from the leaves and buds of the tea plant Camellia sinensis. The active components of green tea are polyphenols (also called catechins) that are believed to benefit the skin due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Short on time? No sweat. These patches are meant to work in just five minutes, AKA so fast that you can even pop one on at your desk if you’re going straight from the office to a first date. (No? Just us?) A litany of skin-friendly ingredients—think niacinamide, peptides, and green tea extract—soothe and deliver anti-aging benefits, while also hydrating and enhancing your lip shape, too.
Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, peptides, green tea extract | Size: 5 patches | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Clean: ILIA Lip Wrap Treatment Mask
Clean and cruelty-free
Should be used twice daily
A dermatologist once told us that throughout our lifetime we end up ingesting about seven pounds of lip products. Yeah, we know. Hence the upshot of choosing a natural lip mask, like this guy. It checks all of the clean formula boxes and is a dual-purpose option, both exfoliating lips (to whisk away dead skin) and imparting tons of hydration in one fell swipe. Plus, you can even layer it under lip color.
Key Ingredients: Mango butter, shea butter, papaya extract | Size: .34 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Hydrating: Fresh Sugar Recovery Lip Mask Advanced Therapy
Versatile formula can be used whenever
All lips masks are hydrating but reach for this one when you need to bust out the big guns. Even the most chapped and cracked of lips can be healed with a few coats of this guy (part of the brand’s best-selling sugar franchise, which is loaded with sugar, berry wax, and hyaluronic filling spheres). It’s also dermatologist-tested and can be used either overnight or during the day.
Key Ingredients: Shea butter, berry wax, hyaluronic filling spheres | Size: .35 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Gel: Tatcha The Kissu Lip Mask
Non-sticky, lightweight formula
Comes with included applicator
Like all the products from this brand, the formula takes its cue from traditional Japanese beauty secrets. In this case, it’s Japanese peach extract. With an innovative, non-sticky, gel texture, this quickly addresses dry lips, thanks not only to that peach extract but also Tsubaki oil.
Key Ingredients: Peach extract, tsubaki oil | Size: .32 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Leave it on without rinsing for the best results.
What Our Testers Say
"I instantly felt the hydration hit my lips once I applied Tatcha's The Kissu Lip Mask. I completed my skincare routine as usual and then used the gold applicator that comes with the mask to scoop some of the product out, and a little goes a long way." — Karla Ayala, Product Tester
Best for Wrinkles: BareMinerals Ageless Phyto-Retinol Lip Mask
Good for more mature skin
Clean and cruelty-free
Needs to be used continuously overtime
No one wants wrinkles anywhere on their face, but there’s something particularly irksome about those itty-bitty fine lines that pop up on and around your lips. Enter this solution, which relies on plant-based retinol that can help smooth out those lines without causing any unwanted irritation. It’s also packed with moisturizing actives, though happy reviewers point out that it doesn’t feel in the least bit sticky and is even light enough to layer under lip color.
Key Ingredients: Castor seed oil, shea butter, plant-based retinol, squalane | Size: .44 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Tinted: Bite Beauty Agave Lip Masks
Rare tinted option
Rare vegan option
Only color has shimmer
This formula is meant to be left on all day, which is why we love that it has a shimmery rose hue. (It also comes in a sheer, colorless option.) But don’t mistake this for makeup—you're still getting the powerful benefits of a mask, thanks to plenty of hydrating and antioxidant-rich ingredients. Also noteworthy is the fact that it’s vegan, which is often not the case with lip products, many of which traditionally use animal-based ingredients such as beeswax and lanolin.
Key Ingredients: Agave nectar, mangosteen extract | Size: .52 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Trust us—a lip mask is a great option to add to your routine alongside your basic lip balm. The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is our absolute favorite, a cult classic that’s an absolute must-have. If you’re in search of a formula that will also help plump up your pout, the Kaplan MD Perfect Pout Lip Mask can’t be beaten. Lastly, the ILIA Lip Wrap Treatment Mask is not only clean, but it also has the added benefit of giving you more bang for your buck; it both helps exfoliate dead skin and imparts moisture at the same time, ideal if you’re already fighting flakes.
What to Look For in a Lip Mask
Ideally, formulas will contain humectants (such as hyaluronic acid) to attract moisture to the lips, emollients (such as oils) to soften the skin, and occlusives (such as shea butter).
To help combat flakes and especially chapped lips, try a lip mask that contains exfoliating ingredients; papaya enzymes are commonly found in many formulas.
What are the benefits of lip masks?
Much like a face mask, lip masks offer much higher levels of moisture (not to mention other additional benefits like exfoliation and antioxidant protection) than traditional lip balms.
How do you apply a lip mask?
Follow the directions. Some come in jars or tubes, in which case a thin layer swiped across your lips will do the trick. (Many are meant to be left on overnight, while others can be wiped off after just a few months.) Others are essentially the lip version of a sheet mask—single-use products that are usually meant to be left on for just a few minutes.
How often should you use a lip mask?
Unless the ingredients specify otherwise, most formulas can be used once a day (and sometimes even more often).
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. A lip mask is a regular part of her skincare routine; she likes to use one at least twice per week, and/or as prep before any kind of big event. The Laneige one on this list is a personal favorite of hers.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough lip massks from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.
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