Lip Balm Quick Reviews: Clarins, Jack Black, Nuxe, Tarte, Tatcha, First Aid Beauty

For reference, I test lip balms over months, not weeks or months, as I like to test them under a variety of conditions. My lips are usually what I’d say are “normal,” where they’re not dry, chapped, or cracked, and don’t feel like I need to wear lip balm all the time. As a result, a lot of lip balms are more than adequate for my day-to-day needs, which is why I end up testing them over prolonged periods of time so I can catch my lips when they’re worse as well. I typically test lip balms in the early morning, late evening, and overnight. These are a few I’ve tested (but haven’t gotten around to reviewing) over the last year and a half to two years:

01/03

Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm  
Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm  
Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm  
Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm  
Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm  
Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm  
Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm  
Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm  
Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm  

Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm ($24.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is supposed to have “intensive hydration for dry, chapped lips.” After trying this last year, it became my “holy grail” of lip balms (though there are others I still love and use!). The reason I love it is for how hydrating it is without ever feeling heavy, clingy, or tacky. It has a really smooth, more gel-like consistency on the lips that still lasts for hours but is incredibly comfortable to wear. There’s a subtle, sweet rose scent but no discernible taste–the scent was so subtle to my nose that I forgot it was scented until I sat down to write the review.

For me, the formula works well as a night time lip balm as well as a daytime one, as it can go under lipsticks well, too. This is the lip balm I reach for at night time, and it has worked well whether my lips are dry from too much swatching or testing of drying lip products as well as just when my lips are in “maintenance mode.” I’ve repurchased this one a few times since initially trying.

01/02

Jack Black Fresh Mint The Stick Natural Lip Balm
Jack Black Fresh Mint The Stick Natural Lip Balm
Jack Black Fresh Mint The Stick Natural Lip Balm
Jack Black Fresh Mint The Stick Natural Lip Balm
Jack Black Fresh Mint The Stick Natural Lip Balm
Jack Black Fresh Mint The Stick Natural Lip Balm

Jack Black The Stick Natural Lip Balm ($7.50 for 0.15 oz.) is a twist-up lip balm with a firmer, more solid texture compared to the squeeze-tube version (which has been a long-time favorite). The firmer texture dragged a bit on the lips, though warmer temperatures will help it soften, so it may depend on where you store it (pocket, purse, house, etc.).

I don’t find that the stick version is particularly moisturizing (not drying, just barely hydrating) or long-wearing to the point where it may not feel that hydrating because I feel like I’m always reapplying it (I felt like it was gone within an hour or two). There’s currently only one scent (Fresh Mint), which is minty and subtle, slightly cooling on the lips, but tasteless to me.

01/04

NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  
NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm  

Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm ($15.00 for 0.52 oz.) is supposed to “nourish, repair and protect” for “dry or chapped lips.” The texture was unlike most lip balms that I’ve tried: firmer, even though it was a potted balm, almost gritty, thick, and very waxy (not surprising, given the base). After applying to the lips, the texture has a much smoother feel, but it was moderately heavy and very noticeable to me; I knew I was wearing something, and for me, it wasn’t a texture that I ever grew to like. It did, however, wear an incredibly long time–there was still so much product would still be on my lips after wearing it all night.

The balm has a citrus scent, not too strong or lingering. Over time, I’ve found that beeswax-based lip balms never feel as hydrating for me as other bases–they tend to feel more like they sit on top of my lips but are not deeply hydrating for me. I felt like it worked well for protecting my lips when decently hydrated/moisturized, but this one did not work wonders for me after a long swatching session or a few days of testing really drying lip products.

This balm also reminds me a lot of First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm (in texture, and it is also beeswax-based), which gave me similar results/overall feelings. Both are well-loved by the beauty community.

01/03

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer  
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer  
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer  
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer  
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer  
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer  
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer  
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer  
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer  

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Lipsaver Treatment Primer ($19.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a hydrating lip balm and lip primer in one that can be used with lipstick or “as a soothing overnight treatment.” Initially, the texture has a smooth, balmy feel but shortly after applying, it dried to a white film that looked almost crusty on the lips (I think any time one has to use the word crusty while describing a lip product, it’s not a good sign). The formula felt drying, and when I tried it a few times with lipstick, it never made my lipstick look better–worse and more prone to fading from the center first. I didn’t test this one extensively (five times), given it was drying and produced whiteness–there was not much time needed to determine it was a miss!

01/06

Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  
Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm  

Tatcha Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm ($36.00 for 0.28 oz.) is supposed to be an “ultra-hydrating lip balm” that uses “camellia oil and squalane [to] penetrate deeply.” There’s also a “hand-laid 24-karat gold leaf” that sits on top of the balm. I liked it for its texture–jelly-like, very smooth, and comfortable to wear, thick enough to feel plush but not heavy–and that it hydrated fairly well, but it has never been an intensive lip balm for me. The balm wore well for four to six hours; it didn’t wear away quickly but I could barely tell there was any left when I woke up. There was a subtle sweet scent but no discernible taste.

The gold leaf just feels gimmicky, and I expect it inflates the price (I’d rather they skip it and drop the price). It’s a lip balm I enjoy wearing when my lips need some added moisture but not when my lips are need of genuine repair (dry, cracked, etc.).

01/05

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm  

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm
($20.00 for 0.34 oz.) is supposed to be a “concentrated lip treatment balm” that heals and gives “instant relief to dry, chapped, or distressed lips.” It has a beeswax base, which can work really well for some and less so for others–I am, unfortunately, in the latter camp. For me, it never seemed to repair or restore; it helped lock in existing moisture and prevent damage but other lip balms do more for me, personally. The balm itself has a much denser, thicker consistency that goes on thicker and has more of a “seal” feel on the lips, where I can always tell that I have something on my lips.

It doesn’t look as glossy as the average lip balm, though, which would make it ideal for someone who wants a natural-matte finish in their balm. On the upside, the balm wore awhile and lasted through the night due to the thicker texture that adhered quite well to lips. There was a subtle, sweet, herbal scent and had a slight tingle after initially applying.

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Product Availability

Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm $24.00/0.4 OZ.
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About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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I’ve used the Clarins lip balm for decades for a reason – it’s a great product. I also have used Reve de Miel for a long time too. It is waxy and sort of ugly but I apply it at bedtime and it works its magic overnight so it might look gross but it’s effective too. Jack Black is a newer addition and I like it because of the ease of application and especially the SPF in it. I’ve not tried the other 2 but I really don’t like having to dip my finger into a pot.

The SPF in the Jack Black Lip Balm is a nice touch – separates it from a lot of other lip balms, and I particularly appreciate that I can’t TASTE the SPF in it either.

I’m not a pot balm person by preference, though I’ll use them (after testing, they’re the kind I’d use before bed but not likely during the day). One of my favorites (but now discontinued; there’s a replacement product but am not sure how similar it is) is SUQQU’s, which is in a pot – that’s one of the few I’d use regardless of the container it came in, lol!

Thank you so much for providing reviews of some of the more popular lip balms out here, Christine! You just affirmed for me that there is no real reason for me to do anything differently than I’ve been doing. The Jack Black Lip Balm in a tube has been my personal HG overnight lip treatment because it actually works. For day wear, it’s either just the Moisturizing formula of good ol’ Chapstick or, if I’m wearing a matte or a lipstick, MAC Prep & Prime Lips. Those all do the job perfectly! Btw, I do use a thin coat of Prep & Prime underneath even drydown liquid lipsticks, it does not affect wear time for me.

In general, I think if you already have a solid/HG product (for whatever category), it’s going to be REALLY tough for anything else to beat it. MAC Prep + Prime is fab!

I’ve been wanting to try the clairins one for a while now since the formula changed in my favourite H20+ lip mender, this might be the final push lol.

As a side note, have you ever seen those cute little macaroon lip balms at the impulse section at Sephora for 10$? it’s a Korean brand called it’s skin and I bought it not expecting much but was blown away at how nice it is. never judge a book by its cover, lol

I still use Jack Black often, though usually more at my desk after I’ve tested the last product of the day, myself. I feel like different people respond better to certain types of balms over others. Some find petroleum-based ones to do nothing!

So interesting, i appreciate this review. I have thought that the Jack Black balm was one of the worst i’ve tried! I have dry skin which really translates to my lips being very chapped and dry despite what i eat and drink. I primarily drink water except for a cup of coffee or my occasional sweet tea.

I have also tried that First Aid Beauty balm, when i apply it lightly and with this technique i was taught it can give me 24 hours without chapping but not much more. I once went in during a VIB rouge event and i’m still unsure if the woman who was at the FAB shelf was with Sephora or FAB. She showed me and a friend if we use the FAB facial radiance pad all over our lips then put a light amount of the FAB hydrating serum and seal with the FAB lip intensive balm. I already had the other products so it wasn’t too much of a stretch and i also use their lip therapy in the tube its not as thick as the intensive balm or as waxy.

I will say that the thing that has made the biggest difference in lip hydration for me — and comfort, even through a NE winter — has been incorporating an acid toner 2x day after cleansing. Re-balancing the Ph of your skin, as well as the exfoliation is provides, allows the lip balms to really do their thing. It’s like using lip products in 3D.

As I have posted regularly, I like the P50 1970 product. Clarins also offers a Gentle Exfoliating Brightening Toner, as do other brands. Not only are acid toners a workhorse for the health of your skin overall, but your lips will thank you too. My two cents.

Christine I always wanted to write you and ask if you have tried the jack black stick version and if it is the same as in the tube.
So would you say the only difference is the one is a stick and the other a balm in tube or would you say one is really better when you think of the hydrating ?
I have the tube but in general I prefer sticks. If they work the same I will buy the stick next time.
And I also have to say GREAT THANK YOU for this review and the time you spend with it. One and a half year of testing. Wow. You do so much to give the best review so that your reviews are always really helpful. I especially like that you always say if a lip product has a taste or not because I cannot have a product on my lips which has a taste.

I don’t recommend the stick version at all – it’s not really hydrating, drags on lips, and lasts an hour or two or less! I would not personally use it again. I love the original squeeze-tube version, though! The stick version also lacks SPF, in case that’s important to you!

To be clear, I don’t test each one for a year and a half, only that I test them for awhile and these have been the ones I’ve worked through over the last two years or so! πŸ™‚

I’ve reviewed the Lip Mask previously. By Terry’s was just okay – another lip balm that seemed fine while wearing it but didn’t repair/restore if my lips were in a drier state.

Wow, the Clarins beat the Jack Black in the tube? That’s impressive, given how well Jack Black works. I like to use the Nuxe a few minutes before I wear lipstick because it gives my lips that soft pillowy look, but I dislike the texture so much for the reasons you mentioned. It’s just so waxy!

They are very comparable overall but Clarins did edge out Jack Black just a bit! I still have and use Jack Black Lip Balms, though.

I love Jack Black in the tube. I’m prone to very, very dry lips — cracks, bleeding, etc. — especially in the winter. Jack Black fixed it. I prefer the shea butter one but all work for me. I look forward to trying Clarin’s. Thanks for this review

Hot dayum!! Clicked the link on the Clarins, and per Nordstrom, no spf. Used to love Jack, until the big sensitivity to chem sunscreens started. Glad as I am to have figured it out, I’m thrilled to mind s.t. balmy for lips without it. Great tip for me. And a wonderful, comprehensive review, as always.

I’m a huge fan of the First Aird Ultra Repair Lip Therapy, the one that comes in a squeeze tube. It really hydrates, softens the lips, and lasts all night long. When I wake up, my lips are soft and plush

Hmmm…
I actually prefer beeswax based lip balms to apply at night because they last so much longer than the petroleum or paraffin based balms. Nuxe’s lip balm has been my nighttime fave for years because of it’s beeswax base.
I will definitely have to try the Clarins one though!

I find the wear time can vary from formula to formula for both types of bases – like Jack Black (tube, not the stick) lasts awhile on me but so does the Reve de Miel!

I’ve been really enjoying the Drunk Elephant Lippie. It lasts for many hours and I usually wake up with my lips feeling nicer the next day as well. I let my wife borrow it the other day and I think she’s going to steal it for a trip (not really stealing, cause I offered). The only problem I’ve run into with them is they’re expensive and they do eventually go bad, though I think it takes 6 months or so.

My lip is a must for me because I work in a hospital (all that dry, recycled air, ugh), so I have quite a variety. Supergoop’s SPF30 lip balm is the one I’ve had the most luck with – it’s smooth and long lasting without being tacky or sticky. I wasn’t a fan of Fresh’s nourishing lip balm, it’s got a waxiness to it that I dislike after awhile. Shiseido’s SPF35 lip was pretty good, but it definitely leaves a white behind, so it’s definitely more of true sun protection product for me than an every day one. I used to love Jack Black, but it stopped working as well on me after awhile.

It is always interesting to see what people use and what they don’t like. We are all so different and what works for one is not even passable for another. I have used Nuxe Reve de Miel for many years and have found that it is the only balm that protects my lips in the cold, windy winters in Montana. I have usually purchased it at Target along with their honey cleanser but have not been able to find it lately. I recently read somewhere that Nuxe has removed their products from the U.S. market. I am really saddened about that and will have to see if I can find it on Amazon or through another source. I have used the Jack Black stick but didn’t really like it either. I guess if I can’t find the Nuxe I will try the Clarin. I have heard good things about it but haven’t needed to try it while using the Nuxe. Thanks for the review, Christine.

Lip balms are interesting – I feel like some holy grail formulas work great for some but then are a total fail for others – so it is interesting to see how people respond to different types.

I definitely think that the texture of Nuxe Reve de Miel would do well for windy weather and protecting lips from getting chapped, though, just based on the texture and overall “sealing” it sort of does.

Beeswax does not work for me either. I think it exacerbates dryness Thanks for the insight into the Tatcha as I had that in my basket a few times, but pulled out because of the price. I’m still a fan of Korres lip butter after all this time. I wish the tube versions were as good as the pots, but I still use them despite not so sanitary. I find Guava to be the most moisturizing version. I’m also still a fan of BITE lip mask. I recently tried Laneige lip sleeping mask and I find it too thick and not as effective for my lips as the original Bite.

I try to keep my pot balms for night time, since I’ll apply after I do my night time routine when my hands are already clean! I have used them in the day but find them less practical.

Bite’s Lip Mask is a staple in my routine, too!

My all-time favorite lip balm is Blistex in the pot. It is inexpensive and is available in most drugstores. Even when my lips are at their worst, extremely dry and chapped, if I apply Blistex in the pot on my lips before bed when I wake up they are healed. This does not happen with another other product I’ve ever used. I also apply it before sitting in the sun because it has sun block. It is definitely worth trying.

The only one of these that I’ve tried is the Nuxe. It’s okay, but I’m fairly unimpressed. From the raves I’ve read, I was expecting something extremely hydrating. What I got was thick, heavy, and not all that hydrating (though, not drying, either). When I use it overnight, my lips just feel like there’s leftover balm on them in the morning, not that they’re softer or more hydrated. I’ve actually had better results with drugstore brands like the original Carmex and Aquaphor Lip Repair, and they were considerably cheaper! I am interested in the Clarins, though, and I just ordered Lano Lanolips balm from Ulta with my Platinum coupon, so hopefully one of those will work well.

That’s more in line with my experience – I felt like it protected my lips but didn’t repair/restore like some other balms have for me!

I’m currently on the hunt for a lip balm actually, as the ones I’ve tried that everyone seems to love (Jack Black and Burts Bees) just seem to make my lips drier about 30 minutes later. A lot of lipsticks, seem much better for me in terms of hydration, but I’m looking for a colourless option.
Anyone with a similar experience have any recommendations?

You might take a look at the ingredient lists for your most hydrating lipstick formulas to see what hydrating ingredients they use that you might be able to find in a lip balm!

I am like you. Jack Black doesn’t work for me. Nuxe rΓͺve de miel was a disaster and I can’t understand the hype. In general, FPS in lipbalm dries my lips out. I’m currently using lanolip lemonaid and it works great. Also, I used for a while Notoriously Morbid lipbalm and salve. It’s an indie brand. I love both of these products and would buy again! Hope this help πŸ™‚

I find that the only Holy Grail Lip Balm/Lip treatment for me is the Sensai Cellular Performance Lip Treatment. It’s definitely ridiculously pricey for what it is, but it’s the only thing that can save my lips no matter how much damage I’ve inflicted on it. It comes in a pump tube and is more of a cream so I guess that’s why it feels like it absorbs more!
My second best would have to be Drunk Elephant’s Lippe. No where near as good as Sensai, but still it doesn’t feel like it just sits on top of my lips like other lip balms do.

I like trying lip balms too, I’ve got a few I use since I like to keep them everywhere. One I love right now is from Toly Moly, it’s a little potted balm that looks like a peach. It feels surprisingly wonderful on the lips! It isn’t thick or sticky and it smells INCREDIBLE. Like real peaches. β™₯ I know they have other scents too… I think I saw a blueberry one and a cherry?

Thank you, Christine πŸ™‚ I’m mad about lip balms, so I’m definitely going to have to pick up the Clarins Moisture Replenishing.

Wow, thanks for these reviews! It’s so great you were able to try so many and give them a fair shot. Definitely going to check out the Clarins one.
Would love to know your thoughts about the following, if you try them:
– Glossier’s balm
– Fresh Sugar’s Advanced Therapy and Lip Treatment
– Bite’s Agave lip balm

Man, I wish I had seen this sooner! I just purchased the Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil. So far I like it, but I’m not sure if its the most moisturizing thing I’ve tried. I like when lip products are still there when I wake up in the morning, and I don’t think this stays overnight. Maybe I’ll return it for your HG instead.

This is so helpful, especially since our lip balm preferences line up (beeswax is not effective for me either, and I tried the Jack Black on your recommendation and fell in love). One that feels nice but doesn’t do any repairing for me is Chanel’s Hydra Beauty balm, so I wouldn’t pick that up if you haven’t already!

Great review. I am so sad that Nuxe has stopped selling to the US, my all-time favorite. I suppose I will try the First Aid based on your comparison here?

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