Best Lip Balms Tested & Fully Reviewed
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Soothing oatmeal soothes irritation
Repairs persistently dry, cracked lips
Great for overnight use
A little goes a long way
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive
- Banana Boat Sport SPF 50
- Jack Black Intense Therapy
- Coola Suncare Liplux Sport Lip Balm
- Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula
- Portland Bee Balm
- Aquaphor Lip Protectant Plus Sunscreen
- Burt’s Bees Beeswax
- Supergoop! Fusion
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Lip Balms
1. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive
Soothing oatmeal soothes irritation
Repairs persistently dry, cracked lips
Great for overnight use
A little goes a long way
Not ideal for daily wear
If you suffer from persistently cracked lips this soothing and reparative lip balm really works wonders. Reviewers who report trying everything find success with this high-end lip balm. With natural ingredients like honey and colloidal oatmeal, this is a great option for smothering on in the evening for overnight repair. The price is a bit high but the balm lasts, especially when rationed for dire cases, and those who try it become dedicated fans.Read more
Traditional beeswax is boosted with honey and propolis extract to help nourish skin and keep moisture locked in. Colloidal oatmeal also helps to calm and soothe dry and damaged skin.
Unfortunately, this balm does not offer any SPF protection.
The firm balm may require a little warming with the fingers as it can be a bit hard when cold. Once warm it is applied easily and has a slightly thicker texture that sits on lips as it works to soothe and repair.
Subtle mint flavor provides a pleasant and soothing taste without much tingling or lingering taste.
This balm is available in a small container to apply with your fingers. It is not ideal for use on the go but it is probably best to keep this pricey balm in a safe place.
Around 20 dollars, this is by far the most expensive lip balm listed. Despite the mind-boggling price tag, users who really struggle with dry, cracked lips cannot recommend this enough. Many would recommend using this sparingly when lips get rough and choosing a less expensive SPF balm for day-to-day wear.
2. Banana Boat Sport SPF 50
Sweat and water resistant
Does not repair damaged lips
Can cause irritation when used a lot
This Banana Boat Sport lip balm is a great option for people spending long periods of time outside. It offers reliable sun protection and stays put through sweat and water without leaving behind a white residue or bad taste like most sunscreen lip balms.Read more
Active ingredients avobenzone, octocrylene and oxybenzone protect from the sun while cocoa butter and petrolatum moisturize.
With an SPF of 50, this lip balm offers serious sun protection. It is a good option for long runs outside or days at the beach as it is very resistant to sweat and water.
This lip balm is soft and smooth despite its stick formula. It does not feel greasy or too waxy Unlike many sunscreen chapsticks, it goes on clear and does leave a white residue behind.
Most users find this lip balm has little to no flavor. A small minority report a bad sunscreen taste but most are in agreement that the taste is much better than other sunscreen lip balms.
This small standard chapstick container is small enough to fit in any pocket and the bright packaging makes it easier to find at the bottom of your beach bag.
This lip balm is typically around 2 or 3 dollars and is a great bargain for reliable sun protection.
3. Jack Black Intense Therapy
Good results for people with chronically chapped lips
Nice flavor options
Some flavors linger too long
This Jack Black Lip Balm is a bit pricey but will provide results for those who feel they have tried it all. Many users who report constantly chapped lips find improvement in just one week with this product. Not only do shea butter and avocado oil help to heal damaged lips but antioxidant-rich ingredients and sun protectants also protect from further damage. Although this product is marketed to men, everyone seems to enjoy the 5 flavor options and many women find this balm leaves lips smooth enough to wear lipstick over it.Read more
This formula features 3 active ingredients: Avobenzone and Octinoxate to protect from the sun and Petrolatum which protects the skin. It also has lanolin which works wonders for some but can potentially cause irritation for others. Other ingredients such as shea butter and avocado oil work to soften dry lips while Vitamin E oil and antioxidant-rich green tea extract protect from free radical damage.
With an SPF of 25, this lip balm protects from both UVA and UVB rays.
The texture of this squeeze formula goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly into lips without leaving them feeling sticky. It seems to stay on well even while eating or drinking.
This product is available in 5 flavors. Although this lip balm is targeted toward men, the flavors and scents are fairly gender neutral. Natural Mint & Shea Butter seems to be the favorite with a hint of mint that is not overpowering. Shea Butter & Vitamin E has little flavor or scent and works well for those who prefer no flavor. Lemon & Shea Butter, Grapefruit & Ginger and Black Tea & Blackberry are a little more divisive. Many users love the flavors but some find they linger in the mouth just a bit too long.
The bright blue tube is small enough to fit in most pockets without too much added bulk. The squeeze top releases lip balm slowly to allow for a more controlled application.
Price on this product may range between 7.50 and 10 dollars a tube. The price seems steep for many but if the typical drugstore brands are cutting it for you, it may be worth the investment. A few users feel disappointed that the small tube does not feel completely full considering the cost but most find that a little goes a long way.
4. Coola Suncare Liplux Sport Lip Balm
Organic natural moisturizers and antioxidants
No chemical flavor
Coola creates an effective barrier against UVA and UVB rays without the chemical taste or waxy texture common to other sport balms. With 70% organic and farm sourced ingredients, this balm is packed with natural moisturizers, vitamins and antioxidants to improve lip health and appearance. It is on the expensive side but has good, natural ingredients and is cruelty-free.Read more
Naturally hydrating aloe, shea butter, coconut oil and avocado butter moisturize lips while beeswax locks in moisture.
With an SPF of 30, this balm stays put in sweat and water and needs only be reapplied every 80 minutes for effective sun protection.
The smooth texture glides on easily over chapped lips. It goes on clear with no white residue and melts into lips quickly for easy coverage.
Available in an unscented original flavor or peppermint-vanilla, this sunscreen lip balm manages to avoid the chemical aftertaste. The original flavor truly seems taste-less and the peppermint-vanilla is subtle and not overpowering.
The bright blue tube of this balm is a bit wider than your standard chapstick. It is easy to grab in the bottom of a purse or beach bag but is a bit bulkier for storing in pockets.
Although the tube is larger, at around 12 dollars, it is still one of the more expensive lip balms on this list. If you are a fan of organic and natural ingredients that will provide reliable sun protection, Coola may be worth the investment.
5. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula
Oblong tube prevents rolling
Good cocoa butter scent
No chemical aftertaste
Potentially irritating mineral oil and Vitamin E oil
This inexpensive lip balm uses cocoa butter to smooth and hydrate lips. Users love the smooth application and pleasant cocoa scent of this balm. It does not have a chemical aftertaste despite the SPF 15 protection and is a good added layer of protection for day-to-day wear. The only downside is the presence of vitamin E oil and mineral oil which have the potential to be irritating.Read more
Cocoa Butter serves as an effective natural moisturizer that helps rehydrate chapped lips. Vitamin E oil provides some antioxidant properties to smooth out long-term damage and works with petrolatum create a barrier to lock in moisture. Vitamin E and mineral oil in this product may cause irritation in some users.
With an SPF of 15, this is not the strongest sun protectant on this list but it does offer some protection for day-to-day wear.
The cocoa butter in this lip balm gives it a creamier texture than most beeswax balms. It goes on smooth and clear and does not need to be reapplied too often.
Cocoa butter gives this lip balm a chocolate smell that most users love. It does not have a strong flavor but works well to mask any chemical flavor that is common to sunscreen chapsticks.
The small tube has an oblong shape that prevents it from rolling off the table. It is still small and fits easily into most pockets.
At less than 2 dollars a stick, this is a good budget lip balm.
6. Portland Bee Balm
Simple, 3-ingredient formula
Unflavored scent for allergy sensitive individuals
Stays on lips without the need for reapplication
Few reports of irritation
Fans of simple, natural and organic ingredients rave about this 3-ingredient lip balm. With beeswax, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, this formula goes on smooth and stays put to lock in moisture. Users who struggle with sensitivities to many ingredients find this formula soothes without causing irritation. If it weren’t for the lack of sun protection, this lip balm would top our list.Read more
Those who struggle with allergies and sensitivities love the simple, three-ingredient recipe. This lip balm consists of beeswax from Pacific Northwest bees, organic cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil and organic California extra virgin olive oil. Although this product does not cause irritation for most, the Oregon Mint flavor also contains peppermint oil which some people find to be an irritant.
Unfortunately, this natural lip balm does not offer any SPF protection.
This lip balm goes on very smooth. A large amount of beeswax in this formula gives this lip balm a thicker feel that seems to stay on the lips longer than typical chapsticks. Users find they need to reapply less often when using this product.
This lip balm is available in an unscented flavor that smells very faintly of honey or Oregon Mint. Even the mint flavor is subtle and not overpowering.
The small, standard chapstick tube is easy to store and carry just about anywhere. Some users complain that the label comes off pretty easily but it does not interfere with using this lip balm.
Portland Bee Balm can be found for a bit less than 5 dollars per stick. It is certainly not the cheapest option available but it is made from good ingredients and supports a small business. According to many long-time users, a little goes a long way and they do not need to reapply constantly, so it may have a competitive value after all.
7. Aquaphor Lip Protectant Plus Sunscreen
Moisturizes and protects
Some users report a chemical aftertaste
This Aquaphor lip balm has a creamy texture that offers an easy-to-apply alternative to standard stick sunscreens. Users enjoy the smooth texture and find that the combination of shea butter and petrolatum works well in hydrating and protecting lips from the elements. Most reviewers find this lip balm to be tasteless but a few report a chemical aftertaste from the sunscreen.Read more
Shea butter moisturizes while petrolatum locks in moisture, creating a barrier from further drying and damage.
This lip balm offers SPF 30 protection and users find that it forms an effective barrier against sun and wind burn. The smooth formula goes on clear and does not leave behind any white residue.
This squeeze tube lip balm has a creamy texture. It is not too gloopy or sticky but goes on smoothly with just a bit of sheen.
Reviewers seem divided on the taste of this sunscreen. While it has no added flavor, some users find the added sunscreen to have a bit of a chemical aftertaste while others feel it is completely tasteless.
A slanted applicator top and squeeze tube design A application easy and smooth. The bottle is quite small and fits easily in most pockets.
Price ranges on this product but it typically can be found around 5 or 6 dollars if bought in a value pack. It is a great mid-range option if the budget brands just aren’t cutting it.
8. Burt’s Bees Beeswax
100% Natural Ingredients
Refreshing peppermint tingle
This famous all-natural lip balm is a popular classic for its moisturizing formula, signature peppermint tingle and inexpensive price. Burt’s Bees is a tried and true option that is well-loved by many users. It falls low on our list because it lacks SPF and some ingredients can cause irritation.Read more
Burt’s Bees is made with 100% natural ingredients. Moisturizing coconut oil and antioxidant-rich Vitamin E helps to hydrate and soften lips. Beeswax and lanolin create a natural barrier for keeping moisture in and a hint of peppermint oil offers a refreshing tingle and subtle flavor. This winning combination works reliably for many people but some users may develop reactions in response to the peppermint oil, lanolin or even Vitamin E.
Unfortunately, this famous bee balm has no SPF protection. The brand does offer some options with SPF but they do not seem to be nearly as popular as the original formula.
This balm has a smooth but waxy texture that coats lips and leaves them feeling a subtle tingle.
A tingling peppermint flavor adds a refreshing note to this classic balm.
The standard chapstick tube is easy to store in any pocket or purse.
Price may range but Burt’s Bees can typically found for about 2 dollars a tube. Dedicated fans stock up and have these chapsticks stashed all over their home, office, and car.
9. Supergoop! Fusion
Effective sun protection
Better flavor & texture than most SPF balms
Moisturizing shea butter
Not the best for damaged lips
This Supergoop! lip balm is ideal for those seeking anti-aging sun protection. The organic formula penetrates skins to provide a reliable barrier from the sun that will not wear off with activity. The subtle Acai and Mint flavors have a much better taste than typical SPF balms but this is not the best balm when it comes to repairing damaged lips.Read more
Active ingredients Avobenzone, Octinozate, and Octisalate protect from the sun. Shea butter moisturizes and Acai provides free radical protection.
Supergoop! is serious about SPF protection and this SPF 30 lip balm is no exception. The organic formula penetrates lips rather than sitting on top providing more reliable protection through an active day.
Users are pleasantly surprised by the smooth texture and glossy finish of this lip balm. It does not feel tacky or sticky and stays on lips for a decent amount of time.
This Supergoop! the formula is available in Acai or Mint. Both flavors are subtle, smell good and do not linger too long.
The squeeze tube container is small and easy to apply.
At just under 10 dollars a tube, this is not a good budget option. However, if you are serious about preventing aging lips, this effective sunscreen is worth considering.
Pleasant vanilla-mint flavor
Slim stick design
Vitamin E oil may be irritating for some
The velvety texture and slim stick design the Softlips a comforting go-to for people who find themselves constantly applying lip balm. The pleasant vanilla-mint flavor is subtle and successfully masks any chemical sunscreen taste. The label and flavor may seem a bit feminine but this lip balm is well-loved by men and women alike.Read more
Vitamin E oil in this product can be a divisive ingredient among dermatologists. On one hand it seals in moisture very well but some people react to it and find it becomes an irritant after prolonged use.
With an SPF of 20 this lip balm provides good protection for day to day wear. It stays on well but may not stay on as reliably during activity as a sport balm.
Softlips stands out for its buttery soft texture that melts into lips as it glides on.
This lip balm has a pleasant mint and vanilla flavor that is subtle and does not linger on lips too long.
These little sticks are thinner and longer than a standard chapstick tube. User like the slim design and find them easy to store in a variety of places.
Softlips is easy to find for less than 4 dollars a tube. It is a comforting classic that users love to have stashed all over their home, car, and work.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Lip balm recipes vary widely but the most effective balms have elements that moisturize and repair with others to form a barrier to protect and lock in that moisture.
There is some bad press about petrolatum but dermatologists suggest most of it is undeserved. The biggest concern is really that petrolatum sits on top of the skin. This is great for locking in moisture but it also can lock in other ingredients that may be irritating.
Beeswax is a more natural alternative to petrolatum and offers a more breathable barrier that does not lock in irritants quite as firmly. Some people with honey sensitivities may find themselves reacting to the propolis that often gets mixed in with the beeswax.
Lanolin is a naturally occurring waxy oil produced by sheep to lock moisture into their wool. When extracted for a lip balm it performs that same, effective barrier to keep moisture in and prevent further damage.
Coconut oil is a wonderful natural moisturizer. The addition of coconut oil can add some softness to the balm that allows for smoother application and better-dispersed coverage.
Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E is rich in antioxidants and has smoothing properties often recommended to treat the appearance of scars. Dermatologists are a bit divided on its use in lip balms as it can be a relatively common allergen. If you are experiencing irritation with your lip balm, consider switching to a formula without Vitamin E to find out if that is the culprit.
Peppermint oil is a common additive for a pleasant flavor and refreshing tingle. This is usually the first ingredient to try skipping if you are having irritation from your favorite lip balm.
The delicate skin of the lips is SPF protection for your lips is highly recommended for daily wear but is even more important for runners and hikers who will spend hours in the sun. Not all of our top 10 balms have SPF but it was weighted heavily in the ranking." target="_blank">sensitive to the sun and exposed most of the time you are outdoors. Some SPF protection for your lips is highly recommended for daily wear but is even more important for runners and hikers who will spend hours in the sun. Not all of our top 10 balms have SPF but it was weighted heavily in the ranking.
Lip balms range in price from 2 dollars to 20. Typically more expensive balms feature higher quality ingredients that are more reparative or less likely to cause irritation. For many people, drugstore lip balms work just fine but if you are experiencing persistently chapped lips you may want to save yourself some time by investing in a higher quality balm.
Other Factors to Consider
A smooth and soft texture is important for application and easy dispersal over the lips. We sought out balms that are easy to apply and do not feel too heavy or distracting.
Added flavorings can be a common culprit of irritation but sometimes it is nice to have a pleasant scent. Flavor is particularly important when it comes to sunscreen lip balms as they tend to have a chemical aftertaste that can linger after application. We looked for balms that have a nice flavor or no taste at all and never feel overpowering or stick around too long.
Whether you are the type of person who brings their balm everywhere or just stashes a bunch in convenient locations around the home, car, or office, the container needs the be easy to store and find. Consider your lip balm habits before deciding how important size and shape is to you.
Some brands may have variations of their lip balms that are lightly tinted or have a little color in them so that they serve a cosmetic purpose as well. Burt’s Bees has expanded their line to include lipsticks as well as tinted lip balms that are as colorful as they are moisturizing. You may want to decide whether or not you want a tinted lip balm and how it may affect your cosmetic routine before you buy.
Finding the best ingredients for lip balm can be a serious challenge as many people can develop sensitivities to some of the most common ingredients. In many cases, common ingredients like Vitamin E, Lanolin, and even beeswax can work wonders for one person and cause irritation for another. The best thing you can do is pay attention to your own lips. A product could work for years and suddenly cause irritation. If you note major changes, try switching to a product with different ingredients. You can make an educated guess on what is causing the irritation but unfortunately, in most cases, it will be up to trial and error.
A good way to test whether a new product will be an irritant is to pick a small patch of skin on the top of your hand or inner arm and apply it there before using on an ultra-sensitive area like your lips. This may help predict whether a product will irritate your skin or be uncomfortable for you to use. If you start to feel any kind of discomfort, make sure to rinse off the area thoroughly. Don’t scrub or use anything rougher than your hand or a very soft washcloth to rinse off. And as always, if you have a bad reaction or are worried about a severe amount of discomfort don’t hesitate to seek medical help and call a poison control expert.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: It is difficult to know for sure if you are reacting to your lip balm, and if so, even more difficult to determine the ingredient. If you are experiencing increased dryness and irritation with your balm, the best solution is to switch brands. Pay attention to common irritants and try to ensure the ingredient list differs in the new balm.
A: Apply lip balm! The lips do not have oil glands and cannot produce a good protective barrier. Applying lip balm creates this barrier so lips can heal. Additional moisturizing and soothing ingredients can help the healing process, and improve lip health. Additionally, make sure you stay hydrated as this can be a common cause of chapped lips. If you find that you’re constantly licking your lips because they are dry or you are dehydrated, invest in a good water bottle that you can take with you. Your saliva can actually damage your lips or make them more chapped.
A: Chronically chapped lips and long-term damage can make your skin dry and rough and can even be painful. Not licking your lips and keeping hydrated can prevent your lips from drying out, but to get your lips soft again you’ll need to do some extra care. Use a food-safe exfoliator with mild grit or even a toothbrush to gently scrub some of the dead skin off of your lips. Once you’ve removed the dead skin you can use a lip balm or moisturizer to protect and hydrate. Some natural oils like almond oil and coconut oil can be very healing for chapped lips and applying these or an overnight moisturizer before bed can really help.
If you live somewhere arid or have a hard time with the dry air while you’re sleeping, consider getting a good humidifier. This can help keep your skin hydrated throughout the night so you don’t wake up feeling like you could co-star Arthur Byron in The Mummy.
A: There are varied opinions about whether or not products like Vaseline that use petroleum (sometimes called petrolatum) are bad for your lips. When you apply petroleum products they create a barrier that seals in moisture which helps keep your lips hydrated. The problem with this is that it also traps in things that may be irritants for some, like mint or lanolin, so they are then trapped beneath the barrier causing your skin to become more and more irritated. Petroleum is generally okay to use on its own, just be aware of what you use with it and try to be knowledgeable about skin irritants and the things that may put you at risk.
- 6 of the Most Common Lip Balm Ingredients That Cause Dry Lips, Web Article, Dec 22, 2015 ,
- The Truth About Petrolatum, Web Article, Aug 27, 2012 ,
- 3 Common Lip Balm Ingredients That Irritate Your Lips, Nov 11, 2016 ,