Rant & Rave: Lip Balm

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Lip Balms

Lip balms that FEEL great going on but wear away in an hour two are really frustrating, as are ones that feel hydrating as long as they last but don’t seem to improve lips for the long-term. I love when they are smooth, lightweight, and wear a good amount of time.

— Christine


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Lulle Avatar

Rant: lip balms that contain irritants such as menthol, camphor, essential oils, heavy fragrances… It took me a while to realize that they were making my lips even worse in the long run! I can’t understand why Carmex and the classic Chapstick are so popular. The first is a hazard for your lips, and the second completely useless…

Rave: when you find a real good lip balm that actually repairs your lips. It doesn’t have to break the bank, one of the most effective balms I’ve ever used is the Nivea in a tin. I love when they contain nourishing plant oils or butters, but to be honest petrolatum works just as well (that’s why Vaseline is so amazing on severely chapped lips).

Maggie Avatar

Same. Can’t use Jack black or fresh sugar either BC flavors and scents are also irritating for my lips. I stick with Dr. Bronner’s Magic organic lip balm in naked (same brand that makes the soap).

xamyx Avatar

Petroleum-based lip balms will do nothing to provide moisture, but will seal it in. In colder weather, I will sometimes layer one over an organic vegetable-based balmbalm at nigjt. During the day, I wear a balm that contains SPF, which like any sunscreen, really should be reapplied every couple of hours, anyway. I also find vegetable oil-based balms seem to wear longer, but that could just be due to the fact the skin actually absorbs the moisturizing properties, rather than the petroleum-based products just sitting on the surface.

Julia Avatar

I looove lip balm. I don’t like heavy, waxy feeling ones though. I’ve never been a fan of Burt’s Bees for that reason. I’d rather have to reapply a smooth and hydrating balm (tbh the My Lip Stuff balms I love have a very short wear time, but they are so moisturizing and glossy while they last!). I also hate anything potted- I don’t wanna stick my finger in there; stick is the way to go, or squeeze tube if it’s too soft.

Ray Avatar

Natural lip balms like Burt’s Bees and Badger Balm are always bad and weird in ways that you wouldn’t expect. If a company isn’t using chemicals, it’s hard to formulate a balm that isn’t going to completely melt at 70 degrees, which is complication of coconut oil and shea butter. For a while I tried to get into natural balms (Burt and Badger have other products that I love) but….too much effort.

xamyx Avatar

I’ve been using “chemical-free” lip balms for decades, and I don’t find them any prone to melting than the standard, commercial, petroleum-based products. The only one that was even a slight problem was a Fresh mini, and that was simply a matter of it loosening from the base. I’m not even sure this would have happened with a full-size product. I live in SoCal, and it gets hot here year-round, but no issues even when I’m out all day.

Angela Avatar

I love Nuxe reve de miel. Best lip balm for me when it comes to moisture and repair at night.
I so wanted to love bite beautys agave lip mask buuuuut made my lips so bad because the lanolin in it 🙁
For every day use I love Coola’s lip balm because it has spf and I’m outdoors a lot.

Wednesday Avatar

A love hate thang for sure.. nothing ever ‘cures’ my desert lips for any significant amount of time, but at least they can provide better overall conditioning and comfort for my lips. Korres lip butter is my go to. I also have a quality sunscreen lip balm by TiZO.. very pretty going on as it has a neutral beige colour to it, but it does nothing to preserve moisture, so dries out over time, but certainly does prevent sun damage. It also doubles as a quick swipe sunscreen…perfect for noses and ears.

SusanG Avatar

My one extravagant lip balm purchase was Bite’s Agave Lip Mask. What a disappointment. It’s extremely thick, hard to spread, sticky and very expensive. It made me appreciate my years-long standby, Nivea Essential Lip Care in the navy tube, even more. It’s very inexpensive and effective. I’ll never stray again.

Kylie5 Avatar

I have Heard that there should be no glycerin in the lip balm. Glycerin is also in a lot of creams. Glycerin is told to hydrate at once but dehydrate When you think of a longtime effect.

Mox Avatar

Rant: EOS. Just ugh.

Rave: The Face Shop Dessert lip balm in Honey and in Strawberry. Perfect consistency, super hydrating, a little goes a long way, affordable, cute packaging, smells amazing, makes an amazing overnight treatment as well

I recently had incredibly chapped lips, so bad they split, due to a cold and that stuff, coupled with light exfoliation the next morning, turned them smooth and soft again.

I’m a big fan of Korean balms in general. They just seem to nail texture better than domestic brands.

Nancy T Avatar

Rant: Most of the truly nourishing ones are absolutely gross if one tries using them underneath a lipstick, I find! So for that purpose I will instead use basic, good ol’ ChapStick or MAC Prep & Prime.
Rave: Living in the desert Southwest means I must be scrupulous about keeping my lips moisturized and well cared for. Every night, I apply a good coat of Jack Black Shea Butter & Vite E lip balm. Or sometimes for a little something extra, Hanalei Lip Treatment that I got in my last Ipsy bag. That stuff is amazing!

Rachel R. Avatar

Rave: They keep my lips soft and the right formula can make a great lip primer. I love the huge variety of scents/flavors that are available. Extra points for cute packaging. Tinted balms are great for when you want the benefits of a balm but, like me, must have color.

Rant: It can be difficult to find one I like. Most are too waxy (I detest Chapstick) or too oily. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a lip balm with sunscreen that doesn’t taste completely gross to me.

Eriu Avatar

I had the same problem with SPF lip balms (Aquaphor w/SPF was nauseating!), but the Paula’s Choice one is great. SPF 50 with no discernable taste to me. I also love the regular balm at night or when I’m indoors, but that one’s in a pot, so if that’s a no go for you, I’d skip it. I also alternate with regular Aquaphor as a treatment for extra hydration. I need a formula with some wax to seal in moisture, but it has to contain really good oils and moisturizing ingredients as well. Super waxy formulas like Chapstick or Burt’s Bees just seal in dryness for me. I also don’t understand the hype around EOS…it’s useless.

Rachel R. Avatar

Thanks for the tip about the Paula’s choice SPF lip balms…I’ll give them a try. I always here good things about their products. I get along with Burt’s Bees and eos during the day under lipstick, but I don’t have very dry lips, either. my lips are really pale though, so if I could find a good SPF balm, I’d be set.

SSC Avatar

My absolute favorite lip balm is Bite’s Agave lip mask, BUT I abhor the packaging. I wish it came in a squeeze tube with applicator on the end- using my fingers is a huge turnoff!

Elizabeth Avatar

I agree that the right combination of long lasting carefree moisture with the color and texture of choice can be a frustrating search. My purse usually has one product for moisture or comfort and another for color. Fave casual balm is Neutrogena revitalizing lip balm, which has both pretty hint of color AND SPF20 (no taste!). I just wish Neutrogena would produce a few new colors of this product.

Kylie5 Avatar

I agree. Every lip balm I have tried works hydrating As Long As it is on the lips. And I have tried a lot.
But I wear a lip balm always under Any lipstick. I have the feeling that it is better especially under matte lipsticks.
Love dior lip glow and the dupe for it from catrice. Jack Black is also very good.

Erica Avatar

They are a necessity. Stuff like fragrance and fragrant plant oils like peppermint /menthol, lemon or citrus should NEVER be in lip products and do nothing but dry out your lips in the long run!

sleepybird Avatar

Rant….lip balm cubes pr eggs or whatever. ! They may be cute but I want something slim that will just slip into a jeans pocket or lay flat in my purse. And due to the popularity of the EOS balm other bams are doing it now too. I was a fan of Softlips in a tube but now its a cube. My lips are weird and there are so very few balms that don’t make my lips worse I hate to lose them over packaging.

Genevieve Avatar

I use lip balm every single night and I have tested quite a few of them.
Rave: good ones stay on your lips, moisturise and hydrate and your lips feel better the next day. Repeated applications improve cracked lips markedly

Rant: Not enough good ones out there – many are stiff, hard to apply and wear off very quickly.
Lots contain fragrances, tastes (Burt’s Bees) etc that I don’t like and are known irritants.

Alecto Avatar

I don’t hate anything about lip balms, but I really dislike a lot of slip, so I guess I prefer my balms waxier. I do have ones with more slip than I like, but I’ll use them regularly – even with an annoying amount of reapplication – if they keep my lips decently soft (which would be the thing I love about balms).

KJH Avatar

Having an allergy to chem sunscreens makes them a general problem. Can’t wait to see if the new tube version jack black is truly without them. Can’t even use the spf Paula. Boo! Use the Paula lip & body treatment balm. No spf. Guess there are some zinc or titanium formulas, but my lifeguard years are decades ago. I do use zinc/titanium sunscreen on lips, if I go to the beach, covered by the Paula.

Codename Duchess Avatar

I hate lip balms that feel gooey or greasy on the lips. Basically anything with a high petroleum jelly content is out, not because I have specific objections to petroleum based ingredients in my cosmetics, but because I don’t like the way they feel.

HeavyMetalJess Avatar

Rave: Found a great one local to Portland made with three ingredients called Portland Bee Balm. Beeswax, coconut oil, and olive oil. That’s it and it provides long lasting results and comes in convenient stick form.

Rant: The ones in cute packaging suck the most.

Jen Avatar

I have used a ton of brands and a good old Softlips tube is the best for nighttime wear for me. It doesn’t get all goopy but it doesn’t dry out either.

I’ve always liked Aveeno balm in the tube as well. Slightly glossy for early morning/no makeup wear. And I keep Chapstick in my car because it doesn’t melt. I like BB Vanilla and don’t have problems with that, but I hate Eos and also the Chapstick Naturals (so goopy after an overnight of wear!).

I don’t have dry lip issues specifically though!

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