The 18 Best Lip Balms and Treatments in 2024

Pucker up with balms from brands like Blistex, Summer Fridays, and more.

Best Lip Balms: Vaseline, Dr. Paw Paw, ILIA, Maybelline New York, Summer Fridays
(Image credit: Vaseline, Dr. Paw Paw, ILIA, Maybelline New York, Summer Fridays; Brittany Hollow)

To all the lip balms I've loved (and lost) before: thank you. Besides curing my dry, chapped pout, you've provided SPF coverage, a touch of color, and even a sweep of gloss every once in a while. To say I miss some of you is an understatement, but I do know that there's always another at the bottom of my bag—and it just might be the best lip balm ever.

Not that you need an excuse to add another tube or tin to your purse, but there are plenty of reasons to wear lip balm regularly. "Lip balm provides minimal shine, making it suitable for both men and women. It ensures a smoother application for lip liners and lipsticks without altering color or texture," notes celebrity makeup artist Renée Loiz. Obviously, it's also more than fine to wear a balm on its own—they can condition your lips, combat dryness, and even impart some interest of their own with color or texture.

All great, right?! In an endless sea of options, the only problem with a great lip balm is that it can be hard to discover the best lip balm. Marie Claire spoke with experts to find the right tube for you. Our beauty team has tried and tested almost every single option out there, and these are our favorites.

What Causes Dry, Chapped Lips?

Dry lips aren't a winter-only issue. They can be blamed on the weather, licking your lips, or the fact that you forgot your water bottle at home yesterday.

"We often forget that the sun, wind, and heaters can cause dry, chapped lips. But I mostly notice that my clients have drier and less plump lips when they're not drinking as much water or fluids as they should be," says celebrity facialist and aesthetic nurse Natalie Aguilar. "It's important to gently remind ourselves that lips need a little extra TLC to stay smooth and hydrated. A quality lip balm is by far one of my top three must haves in order to tackle my day."

Dr. Shereene Idriss adds that, while use of topical skincare products retinoids or Accutane can also be culprits, the biggest cause of dry lips is...licking.

"By licking your lips, moisture is drawn out of them, causing them to dry faster. If you want hydrated, nourished lips, this is one habit you should try to break," she shares.

What a Lip Balm Should Do

"Think of lip balm as your lips' personal bodyguard. Lip balm protects the lips from the climate and the sun. It helps to moisturize, soften and soothe the lips from dryness and chapping," Aguilar says. "Prevention of dryness is important. Therefore drinking plenty of water, and protecting them with a lip balm, will prevent water loss and save them from dryness before it even begins. Plus, lip balm can add a touch of shine creating a more healthy appearance."

What Ingredients Make the Best Lip Balm?

"Traditional lip balms often contain ingredients like beeswax, carnauba wax, lanolin, or petrolatum,” says Dr. Idriss. “For lip basting I like to use non-traditional lip balms that melt into your lips for longer lasting hydration. Panthenol is one of my favorite ingredients in Bepanthen Nappy Rash Cream.” 

Ahead, shop the best lip balms for dry, cracked lips, as recommended by Marie Claire editors and glowing reviews alike.

The Best Lip Balms

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How to Apply Lip Balm

While you could just apply your favorite lip balm straight out of the tube or pot as you normally would, the experts have a better way that leaves your lips feeling softer instantly. Ahead, Dr. Idriss breaks down her favorite technique, which she calls "lip basting." 

Lip Basting

"Lip basting is my favorite technique to use when your lips are super dry and desperate for moisture," Dr. Idriss says of her cult-favorite technique. "It’s a really simple and nourishing technique that I suggest incorporating into your routine as often as you’d like—or whenever your lips need an extra boost of hydration. First, you start by buffing your lips with a chemical exfoliant. I like to use one that isn’t too high in concentration to avoid any unwanted effects. After you apply the chemical exfoliant and allow it to dry, the next step is to apply a thick layer of lip baster. Something rich in calendula and panthenol that really feeds your lips is great to use here." 

If you're just starting out with lip basting, start simple. “Vaseline is a classic, no-fail lip product,” she says. “It is super occlusive and gentle, so it’s good for all skin types, especially those with sensitive skin. I even like to use it on my under eyes if they are looking or feeling a little dry. Another favorite of mine is Aquaphor, which is basically Vaseline plus Lanolin. An unconventional, but amazing lip product is the Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream—yes, you can use nipple cream on your lips. Homeoplasmine is another great product to help nourish and soften dry, cracked lips. It is basically Vaseline plus calendula, which has some anti-inflammatory properties and a skin healing formula. Lastly, Bepanthen Nappy Rash Cream is loaded with panthenol, one of my favorite ingredients to look for in a good lip product.” 

Meet The Experts

Shereene Idriss
Dr. Shereene Idriss, M.D.

Shereene Idriss, M.D., founder of Idriss Dermatology in NYC is an expert in facial rejuvenation who embraces spotlighting her patients’ unique facial features rather than morphing them into someone else. In a world amped up on filters, Dr. Idriss strives to combine a strong doctor-patient connection with her medical expertise and made a career of being honest and transparent with her patients, talking to them one-on-one about what they need (and what they don’t) and educating them about their skincare routines along the way. In 2018, she began posting informational videos from her bed to her Instagram account and quickly became known to her followers as the PillowtalkDerm. She’s since launched a YouTube channel and amassed a social media following of more than 800K. Dr. Idriss believes that subtle cosmetic changes can have dramatic results, and her goal is to help her patients and followers look—and feel—their best.

Two women wearing white tank tops smile with their heads close together.
Lauren Ireland and Marianna Hewitt

As beauty influencers, Marianna and Lauren have been sent every product imaginable. After years of sifting through, comparing and testing each formula, they were still left desiring a line of products that ticks all the boxes: easy-to-use, clean ingredients, immediately satisfying, and so pretty you'd want them on display.Their first product, Jet Lag Mask, is the ultimate multi-tasking product for busy lives. An award-winning, one-of-a-kind hydrating cream face mask (which, by the way, doubles as a moisturizer, eye cream, and hand cream) that leaves skin looking gorgeous whether you're hopping off a plane or just running out the door.Today, Summer Fridays is a growing collection of products that continue to give us what we are missing—beauty, efficacy and simplicity—while inviting us into sensorial experiences that are nothing short of dreamy escapes. Like daily mini stay-cations for your skin. Enjoy!

Jonet Williamson
Jonet Williamson

Makeup artist Jonet Williamson discovered her love for art at a very early age. While growing up in New Orleans, one of the world's most eclectic and inspiring cities, Jonet was admitted into the gifted art program of her magnet high school. Here is where she began to master color theory, symmetry, texture, and innovation. From paint brushes to makeup brushes, she has used those same skills to solidify her style as a pro within the beauty industry.

In 2005, Jonet began her journey in beauty working as a makeup artist for M.A.C. Cosmetics. Here the feeling of connecting with other women and helping them see the beauty within themselves became her greatest passion.

With a willingness to learn and an eye for perfection Jonet moved to New York City in 2014 determined to further her artistry and career. Since then, her work has been featured in commercial campaigns (Dolce & Gabanna, Levis, Shea Moisture), editorials (Essence, L'Officiel), and tv & film productions (CBS, MTV, TNT).

Drawing influence from the art of painting her style is a fusion of hyper real skin, modern beauty elements, and abstract expressionism. Jonet Williamson also works closely with brands on content creation (Revlon, Shiseido, L'Oreal, Beauty Counter) and product development. If you follow her online you can expect to see lots of fresh skin, a vibrant use of color, striking graphic liner shapes, and soft glam looks fit for a red carpet.

Renee Loiz Headshot
Renée Loiz

Renée Loiz is a top celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert with over 20 years in the industry. Renée is best known for her work with celebrities including Quinta Brunson, Cynthia Erivo, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Sherry Cola, Adele, Chelsea Peretti, Uzo Aduba, Danai Gurira, Thuso Mbedu, and Jaylon Barron.

When she’s not creating press-worthy red carpet and editorial looks for famous faces, Renee can be found working with renowned international brands such as NARS, Beauty Blender, Charlotte Tilbury, Chanel, Sephora, J.Crew, Disney, Target, BuzzFeed, Adidas, and Warner Brothers.

Her industry expertise and artistry are regularly tapped by the top fashion publications including InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Essence, EBONY, People, L’Officiel, Who What Wear, Vanity Fair, The Zoe Report, Allure, and featured on Saturday Night Live.

She is also known as the founder of Color May Vary—the ultimate guide to the best black-owned brands for beauty enthusiasts. After launching, Color May Vary was recognized by Ulta Beauty in an initiative to celebrate inspirational Black voices, and won a Refinery29 Beauty Innovator Award. She continues to spread positive change in the beauty industry by representing the underrepresented.