In times of stress, frustration, or sadness, I have a bit of a routine. Candles—the good kind—are lit, a soothing playlist comes on, and I swaddle myself in a fuzzy shearling robe. The warm embrace is so comforting and cozy that before long, my troubles don’t seem so overwhelming after all. I think everyone would agree that’s just part and parcel of getting all snuggled up.
So then it came as no surprise that Ilia, the brand behind some of the most nourishing makeup around, appreciates the power of the wrapped-up effect—in fact, it’s right in the name. Ilia’s Lip Wrap Reviving Balm ($24) is the lip care equivalent to my beloved robe: restorative, calming, nurturing. And really, just factor in its wildly hydrating key ingredients and it has the robe beat.
About The Product
Though it’s right in the name, it doesn’t feel quite right to call the Lip Wrap Balm just a lip balm. It’s as immediately moisturizing, easy to apply, and lightweight as a balm, but the results—especially after some time—feel much closer to a full-on lip treatment or even an overnight sleeping mask. In fact, the Lip Wrap Balm was actually designed to be the daytime-approved companion product to ILIA's fan-favorite Lip Wrap Overnight Treatment ($26), which comes in a nightstand-friendly pot. Packed in a pleasingly minimalist albeit tiny tube, the balm comes equipped with a bracingly cool ceramic tip to soothe delicate lip skin on contact.
Like the rest of ILIA's wider collection, this new balm also stacks up to the company's trademark commitment to truly clean beauty, formula transparency, and ethical, sustainable packaging for easy recycling.
About The Formula
The three main ingredients in the Lip Wrap’s formula are hyaluronic acid, Salicornia, and Prickly Pear oil. Hyaluronic acid is prized in cleansers, serums, sheet masks, you name it for the molecules’ ability to hold 1,000 times its body weight in water. Prickly Pear oil, made from the cactus of the same name (it’s the kind of cactus that has those cute pink tufts on top), is a rising star in the beauty world. Prized for its record-breaking vitamin E content, the ultra-hydrating oil is popping up everywhere from hair treatments to cuticle moisturizers. Here, it’s impossibly hydrating on lips. Finally, there’s Salicornia, another type of succulent, which helps with water retention — which makes sense, considering its natural habitat is salty marshes.
In this instance, Prickly Pear oil and some supporting emollient butter cast remembers, takes responsibility for the instant slick moisture, while the hyaluronic acid and Salicornia work on capturing and retaining hydration for longer-term results. Plus, all that added hydration smooths lip lines for a plumped-up appearance. It also helps strengthen the lips' moisture barrier, crucial for anyone dealing with cold weather or powerful skincare like retinols.
My desk, purse, car, and pockets are absolutely littered with lip balms in assorted shapes, sizes, and scents—but not for long because the Lip Wrap just usurped them all. There is zero risk of accidentally overhyping this product because it's just that good, and might be one of the best beauty products I've ever tried. Like, I could give a full TEDTalk on how much I love this lip balm. The scent is ever so slightly mentholated for a refreshing smell while that cold ceramic applicator feels so mercifully calming on my winter-ravaged lips. The actual balm itself is sheer, just glossy enough, and teased out a really great pink color I didn't think my own lips were necessarily capable of on their own — just as the name promises, it really is reviving.
Then there's the plumping and smoothing to consider. Usually, as I do my makeup, I scrub down my lips with an exfoliant, then load them up with some treatment to make sure they're smooth enough under lip color. Nothing so complicated is needed with the ILIA balm, it's truly swipe-and-go. And in fact, more than once, the balm's color and consistency encouraged me to leave the lipstick behind altogether.
But my favorite time to use the Lip Wrap Balm? When I'm all wrapped up. On a cold winter's night, I get snuggly in my robe, my lips get snuggly under their robe, and suddenly, for just a few minutes, all feels right with the world.