10 Best Lip Balms Tested & Fully Reviewed

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Dry air, cold winds and indoor heaters that are common during the winter months create the perfect storm for developing chapped lips. For runners and outdoor enthusiasts in particular, finding good lip protection and restoration is essential when constantly exposing your face to the elements. When lips become cracked and dry you may find yourself going through tubes and tubes of lip balm with few results. Finding the best lip balm can be a trying chore as many people react differently to common key ingredients. We put together the following list to give you some diverse options for the most effective lip balms to cure, moisturize and protect your lips year round.

Jack Black Intense Therapy
  • Jack Black Intense Therapy
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Quality Ingredients
  • Price: See Here
Coola Suncare Liplux Sport
  • Coola Suncare Liplux Sport
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Water Resistant
  • Price: See Here
Supergoop! Fusion
  • Supergoop! Fusion
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Effection Sun Protection
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Lip Balms

 

1. Jack Black Intense Therapy

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 protects 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.
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Key Ingredients:
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.

SPF:
With an SPF of 25, this lip balm protects from both UVA and UVB rays.

Texture:
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.

Flavor:
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.

Container:
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.

Value:
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.
Pros

Convenient tube

SPF 25

Good results for people with chronically chapped lips

Nice flavor options

Quality ingredients

Cons

Pricey

Some flavors linger too long

2. Coola Suncare Liplux Sport Lip Balm

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.
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Key Ingredients:
Naturally hydrating aloe, shea butter, coconut oil and avocado butter moisturize lips while beeswax locks in moisture.

SPF:
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.

Texture:
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.

Flavor:
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.

Container:
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.

Value:
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.
Pros

Organic natural moisturizers and antioxidants

SPF 30

Cruelty-free

Smooth texture

No chemical flavor

Water-resistant

Larger tube

Cons

Pricey

3. Supergoop! Fusion

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.
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Key Ingredients:
Active ingredients Avobenzone, Octinozate and Octisalate protect from the sun. Shea butter moisturizes and Acai provides free radical protection.

SPF:
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.

Texture:
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.

Flavor:
This Supergoop! formula is available in Acai or Mint. Both flavors are subtle, smell good and do not linger too long.

Container:
The squeeze tube container is small and easy to apply.

Value:
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.
Pros

Effective sun protection

Better flavor & texture than most SPF balms

Moisturizing shea butter

Cons

Not the best for damaged lips

Pricey

4. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive

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.
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Key Ingredients:
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.

SPF:
Unfortunately, this balm does not offer any SPF protection.

Texture:
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.

Flavor:
Subtle mint flavor provides a pleasant and soothing taste without much tingling or lingering taste.

Container:
This balm is available in small container to applied with your fingers. It is not ideal for using on the go but it is probably best to keep this pricey balm in a safe place.

Value:
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.
Pros

Soothing oatmeal soothes irritation

Repairs persistently dry, cracked lips

Great for overnight use

A little goes a long way

Cons

No SPF

Expensive

Not ideal for daily wear

5. Portland Bee Balm

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.
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Key Ingredients:
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.

SPF:
Unfortunately, this natural lip balm does not offer any SPF protection.

Texture:
This lip balm goes on very smooth. The 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.

Flavor:
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.

Container:
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.

Value:
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.
Pros

Simple, 3-ingredient formula

Unflavored scent for allergy sensitive

Stays on lips without need for reapplication

Few reports of irritation

Cons

No SPF

6. Aquaphor Lip Protectant Plus Sunscreen

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.
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Key Ingredients:
Shea butter moisturizes while petrolatum locks in moisture, creating a barrier from further drying and damage.

SPF:
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.

Texture:
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.

Flavor:
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.

Container:
A slanted applicator top and squeeze tube design makes application easy and smooth. The bottle is quite small and fits easily in most pockets.

Value:
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.
SPF 30
Moisturizes and protects
Creamy texture
Easy applicator
Pros

SPF 30

Moisturizes and protects

Creamy texture

Easy applicator

Cons

Some users report a chemical aftertaste

7. Banana Boat Sport SPF 50

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.
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Key Ingredients:
Active ingredients avobenzone, octocrylene and oxybenzone protect from the sun while cocoa butter and petrolatum moisturize.

SPF:
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.

Texture:
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.

Flavor:
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.

Container:
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.

Value:
This lip balm is typically around 2 or 3 dollars and is a great bargain for reliable sun protection.
Pros

SPF 50

Sweat and water resistant

Easy application

Small container

Cons

Does not repair damaged lips

Can cause irritation when used a lot

8. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula

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 potential to be irritating.
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Key Ingredients:
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.

SPF:
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.

Texture:
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.

Flavor:
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.

Container:
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.

Value:
At less than 2 dollars a stick, this is a good budget lip balm.
Pros

Smooth application

Oblong tube prevents rolling

Good cocoa butter scent

Moisturizing

SPF 15

No chemical aftertaste

Cons

Potentially irritating mineral oil and Vitamin E oil

9. Softlips

The velvety texture and slim stick design makes 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.
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Key Ingredients:
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.

SPF:
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.

Texture:
Softlips stands out for its buttery soft texture that melts into lips as it glides on.

Flavor:
This lip balm has a pleasant mint and vanilla flavor that is subtle and does not linger on lips too long.

Container:
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.

Value:
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.
Pros

Buttery texture

Pleasant vanilla-mint flavor

SPF 20

Slim stick design

Cons

Vitamin E oil may be irritating for some

10. Burt’s Bees Beeswax

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.
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Key Ingredients:
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.

SPF:
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.

Texture:
This balm has a smooth but waxy texture that coats lips and leaves them feeling a subtle tingle.

Flavor:
A tingling peppermint flavor adds a refreshing note to this classic balm.

Container:
The standard chapstick tube is easy to store in any pocket or purse.

Value:
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.
Pros

100% Natural Ingredients

Inexpensive

Refreshing peppermint tingle

Cons

Potentially irritating ingredients

No SPF

 

The Metrics We Used to Determine the Best Lip Balms

Key Ingredients

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.

Petrolatum:
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:
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:
Lanolin is a naturally occurring waxy oil produced by sheep to lock moisture into their wool. When extracted for lip balm it performs that same, effective barrier to keep moisture in and prevent from further damage.

Coconut Oil:
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:
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.

SPF

The delicate skin of the lips is 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.

Texture

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.

Flavor

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.

Container

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.

Value

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 Things to Consider

Irritants

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.

FAQs

Q: How do I know if I am reacting to an ingredient in my lip balm?

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.

Q: How do I treat chapped lips?

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.

Sources

  1. Villet, Michelle, 6 of the Most Common Lip Balm Ingredients That Cause Dry Lips, Web Article, Dec 22, 2015
  2. Benvenuti, Nicki Zevola, The Truth About Petrolatum, Web Article, Aug 27, 2012
  3. Horvath, Norah, 3 Common Lip Balm Ingredients That Irritate Your Lips, Nov 11, 2016
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