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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.).
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.