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Which lip balms are best?

As winter approaches, most areas in the United States will start to see cooler temperatures and dry conditions throughout the day. Biting winds and low humidity can dry out your skin, making your lips crack or split. Many people want to ensure their lips stay moist and supple throughout the winter months. And while there are several lip balms on the market, most tend to fade away quickly. That, or they contain ingredients that dry out your lips even further. 

It’s important to find a go-to lip balm that is safe and effective, so you can protect your lips or heal them with ease. A top pick for the best lip balm for dry lips is the Lanolips Multipurpose Superbalm. This lip balm is a high-end, multipurpose lanolin balm that soothes lips and heals broken skin without using any potentially damaging ingredients.

What to know before you buy a lip balm

Scents or flavors

Plenty of manufacturers use scents or flavoring to make their lip balm stand out from the rest. From classic cherry scented to newer flavored lip balms, there are several options to choose from. That said, these additional elements can detract from the moisturizing properties of the lip balm. And if you have sensitive skin, you may have a bad reaction to scented products. Take time to consider if you’re more focused on the smell or flavor of a lip balm or if you’re focused on effectiveness and moisturizing ingredients.

Moisturizing ingredients

Lip balms are heavy-duty moisturizers that usually contain oils and butters to soothe dry and chapped lips. Look for ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, castor oil, honey and lanolin, as these are some of the most effective options for lip care. If you love wearing color on your lips, combining a lip balm and a lip exfoliator is an ideal way to prepare for lipsticks. Soft, moisturized lips hold color more easily, and lipstick goes on smoothly when you don’t have any peeling skin. 

Medicated balms

Many lip balms have medicinal properties, meaning they contain ingredients that can heal broken or dried-out skin. If you use these types of lip balms properly, they can help heal sore or chapped lips. These are ideal if you spend a lot of time skiing or snowboarding throughout the winter. However, keep in mind there are some ingredients like menthol and camphor that can further dry out your lips with overuse. Make sure to follow application directions, so you don’t unintentionally make your lips dry.

Long-lasting formulas

One of the more cumbersome aspects of wintertime is having to reapply your lip balm throughout the day. That said, even the most wear-resistant lip balms need to be reapplied every few hours. But you can still find formulas that stay on for longer periods. Look for lip balms that have beeswax or castor oil, as these will stay on for an extended period. Don’t forget to reapply after eating meals or drinking beverages. And remember that the heavier the lip balm, the longer it will last on your lips. 

What to look for in a quality lip balm


Most lip balms contain a similar collection of ingredients, with some variation. You’ll often find they have a petroleum base, which can be extremely moisturizing. Some people wish to avoid petrol products for health-related or ethical reasons. That said, these lip balms are effective and affordable. A few other popular ingredients include lanolin and beeswax, which are efficient moisturizers. If you’re vegan, there are several plant-based moisturizing lip balms out there that rely on ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter. With so many options available, it’s easy to find a high-quality lip balm that suits your needs and tastes.


Even if you remember to wear sunscreen every day, most people don’t think about applying it to their lips. However, you can accidentally burn or damage your lips just as easily as the rest of your face. Lip balms that contain SPF are a handy tool since they help prevent sun damage. Even if you aren’t wearing makeup or other sun protectants, they’re easy to apply frequently. Check what kind of sunscreen the manufacturer uses, as you may prefer mineral sunscreen in your lip balm.


Lip balms come in a range of colors, from fully clear to deeply tinted. Some lip balms are glossier or heavier than others, which can also impact how they look. A tinted lip balm can bring out your lips in a subtle way without needing to apply a full face of makeup. Look for a tint that complements your skin and undertones as well as your natural lip color. You’ll want something that enhances your lips naturally, especially since your true lip color will show through a bit. 

How much you can expect to spend on lip balm

Lip balms come at various price points depending on ingredients, brand name, size and formula. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, and lip balms with lower-quality ingredients will have a more affordable price point. Standard drugstore lip balms can cost as little as $2, while pricier name brands can cost up to $20. 

Lip balm FAQ

Is it OK to use lip balm every day?

A. It depends on the product. Most lip balms are perfectly fine to use every day, and this is often encouraged to protect your skin from dry, cool weather. However, some lip balms have ingredients that can dry out your lips, like menthol or camphor. And others have medicinal ingredients that are only meant for healing damaged lips. If you want a lip balm you can use every day, look for one with a basic list of moisturizing ingredients. 

How long does lip balm last?

A. This also depends on the product, how often you use it and whether you’re doing activities that rub the balm off. For example, if you get a lip balm that is more wax-based and you’re not eating, drinking or touching your face, this will likely last for at least a few hours. However, if you’re using a shea butter-based lip balm and put it on just before lunch, it likely won’t last very long. Make sure to reapply as needed to keep your lips soft and supple.

Which lip balms are cruelty-free?

A. Manufacturers will list if their products are cruelty-free. You can find this in the product description or on their website. However, keep in mind there are varying levels of cruelty-free products. For example, some companies do not test the final product on animals, but they will test ingredients on animals. Others won’t test specific final products on animals, but other products do have animal testing. The best way to know if your lip balm is cruelty-free is to look for the leaping bunny logo on the label.

What’s the best lip balm to buy?

Top lip balm

Best Lanolips Multipurpose Superbalm

Lanolips Multipurpose Superbalm

What you need to know: This lanolin multipurpose lip balm fights off dryness and peeling. It’s silky smooth and makes your lips feel highly moisturized. It’s incredibly popular and is suitable for long-term daytime wear or for overnight wear. 

What you’ll love: This lip balm is truly high-quality and has a petroleum-free and unscented formula, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin. A little goes a long way, so one tube will last you a while. Plus, the tube is easy-to-use and very hygienic.

What you should consider: It’s 100% lanolin, so it’s not suitable for vegans or those with wool allergies. And since the ingredients are top-notch, it’s a bit expensive for a lip balm. 

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

Top lip balm for the money

Best Smith’s Rosebud Salve

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

What you need to know: If you’re looking for a tried-and-true cult classic lip balm, this salve has a subtle pink shade. It comes in a beautiful, old-school style tin that’s easy to store in your purse or pocket. Ultimately, there are good reasons why this balm has been popular for so many years.

What you’ll love: Die-hard fans call this lip balm a holy grail lip product. Many feel it’s the only thing that helps their chronically dry skin. It has a light pink tint that’s perfect for complementing a simple look, and it isn’t as expensive as some of the other name brands out there.

What you should consider: Some had difficulty opening the container. Also, the balm will melt in high temperatures.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Top lip balm for winter sports

Best Ski Balm

Ski Balm

What you need to know: This unique lip balm is designed for those who love to hit the slopes. It has SPF 40 and is waterproof, too. And you can put it on your skin as well as your lips.

What you’ll love: It’s unscented and long-lasting, so you’ll only need to reapply a few times between ski runs. Even though it won’t stop frostbite in extreme temperatures, it will protect your lips and face from windburn. It comes in a handy tin, so you can keep it with you all day.

What you should consider: This product has several active ingredients, so if you have sensitive skin, you may want to do a patch test first.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top tinted lip balm

Best Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

What you need to know: Give your pout the perfect tint with this ultra-hydrating lip balm. It comes in 12 different shades and uses beetroot and sugar to create buildable color.

What you’ll love: The company claims that this balm will hydrate your lips for up to 24 hours. It uses sugar and plant-based fruit oils to keep your lips moist and doesn’t have any phthalates or parabens. The buildable color allows you to have more control over the shade, and it continues to moisturize even when the color begins to fade.

What you should consider: This is not a vegan-friendly product, and it’s one of the more expensive lip balms out there.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Worth checking out

Best Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm

What you need to know: Along with moisturizing ingredients, this lip balm has SPF 25 to protect your lips from the sun. It comes in five different scents and is full of natural healing ingredients.

What you’ll love: It contains antioxidants and superior moisturizers for peak hydration. The SPF factor ensures your lips don’t suffer from any sun damage. It’s also paraben- and sulfate-free. 

What you should consider: It does contain petroleum, and the sun-blocking ingredients are not reef-safe. Some users have said they did not like the scent.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora and Ulta Beauty

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Arabella Matthews writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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