Like any beauty-obsessed individual, I love a pop of lip color. Unfortunately, my perpetually chapped lips don't usually "play nice" with highly pigmented formulas. Look-at-me lipsticks in punchy hues typically end up drying out my already desert-like lips—and things like matte or liquid lipsticks are almost always completely out of the question. For a while, I'd layer lipstick over a balm, hoping that the first moisturizing layer would be enough to combat the lipstick's drying effects, but what I actually ended up with was lipstick that quickly feathered, smeared, or vanished and required constant reapplication.
Eventually, I realized that layering products wasn't the most effective route to achieve the bold lip color I wanted sans dryness, but instead, investing in a new lineup of non-drying lip products that deliver high-intensity color and hydration. More and more brands are releasing hybrid, multitasking products that aren't quite lipsticks and aren't quite lip balms. For chapped-lipped individuals like myself, these lipstick alternatives are a godsend, delivering all-day moisture plus a welcome pop of color.
Here are the best non-drying lip products if you have ridiculously chapped lips.
I'm not overselling it when I say that Ilia's Tinted Lip Conditioner has been a game-changer in my beauty routine. Not only do these babies not dry out my lips, but they actually keep them moist and hydrated throughout the day while also delivering surprisingly pigmented color in a variety of flattering shades.
A Byrdie favorite, Dior's Lip Glow is another almost-lipstick that's packed with hydrating, nourishing ingredients. The semi-sheer color imparts a natural flush with an enviable glow-from-within finish. The product comes in super flattering shades that suit every skin tone (we tested it here at Byrdie).
Leave it to RMS to figure out a way to deliver impactful color while also nourishing lips with organic oils and antioxidants. This high-shine—and clean—formula boasts nutrient-rich buruti oil and vitamins A, C, and E while also giving a glossy finish in an impressive lineup of playful shades.
Described as a "balm-lipstick," this hardworking hybrid goes on smooth and delivers semi-sheer coverage in a shiny finish while relieving lips with a healthy dose of hydration. Inspired by Japanese nature, the covetable shade offerings are reds, browns, and nudes in earthy tones that flatter a range of skin tones.
Soothe and relieve dry, chapped lips while getting your dose of color with this clean formula made from natural goodies like beeswax and lavender essential oil. One swipe instantly softens lips, leaving you with a pretty finish in a subtle hue.
Givenchy lipsticks have long been a personal favorite, and while I love their dynamic shades and luxurious finishes, my lips can't always handle a classic lipstick formula. This lip balm iteration delivers everything I love about Givenchy lipsticks (not to mention the brand's iconic genuine leather case) plus moisturizing ingredients like shea butter as well as eosin that reacts to the pH of your skin to leave you with the perfect customized shade.
This is my all-time favorite lip balm—yet it does so much more. The formula is thicker than typical balms (without being sticky) and envelops lips in a cooling, gorgeous blanket of moisture. I love wearing it with a natural-hued lip liner for a fully finished nighttime look, but also love swiping it on throughout the day whenever my lips need a fail-safe surge of hydration.
You can opt for a high shine or shimmer finish with this super moisturizing product that the brand describes as a cross between lip balm, lip color, and lip glace. A blend of antioxidants, lip conditioners, and vitamins A, C, and E boost the health and appearance of lips while also delivering perfectly sheer color.
To get to the root of the problem, here's how to treat dry lips.