When's the last time you got really, truly excited about a lip balm? Probably sometime in 2003, when you spent your birthday money on a glittery Limited Too stick that you immediately lost. Fun times. Welp, the world of balms has come a long way since your middle-school days, and today's formulas are now available in tinted or sheer, long-lasting or quick-dry, and cheap or pricey—basically, any combination you could ever want.
And to make the sorting process a billion times easier, we present to you the 14 very best balms, stains, salves, and crayons you'll actually get excited to slather on each day.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, $20
PSA: Your lips deserve the same TLC you give to your face. This lip mask has spoiled my lips since the moment we met, and I have no plans on letting it go anytime soon. If you have naturally dry skin, you'll appreciate this fast-absorbing formula filled with antioxidants and vitamin C. The ingredient combo will sink right into your lips, providing you with long-lasting hydration and subtle shine. Even better? You don't only have to wear it overnight. In fact, I keep mine on my desk for when I want to treat my lips to a midday spa session.
Grown Alchemist Lip Balm Antioxidant Complex, $29
It's one thing for your lips to feel moisturized; it's another for them to feel deeply nourished. Grown Alchemist, one of my favorite all-natural skincare lines, ticks both of those boxes. You can tell this balm is the bomb because you can actually feel the moisture lingering on your lips for hours. That's because it's made with essential fatty acids, vitamins, rotenoids, and antoixdiants, which work overtime to keep your lips supple and hydrated.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Lip Balm, $55
The winter's brisk air is constantly coming for your lips. The second you step outside, you're battling that frustrating chapped feeling that likes to creep up and suck out all of the moisture from your skin. Fortunately, this balm's formula is smarter than that, thanks to Vitamin E. This antioxidant fights off environmental stressors like no other, and feels like a tall glass of water for your lips.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $5
Beyoncé uses Aquaphor on her face every night—need I say more? In an Elle interview, Queen Bey said she lathered this all over her face at night to wake up with glowing skin: "I go to bed looking totally greasy." And you better believe my lips follow suit. This multipurpose ointment is rich with moisture, so I like to apply a generous amount on my lips before bed to keep them protected from dryness overnight. Don't be intimidated by its thick texture—a little goes a long way.
La Mer The Lip Balm, $60
Please don't hate me for including a $60 lip balm—I had to, it's that good. This is an opportunity for you to embrace "put your money where you mouth is," quite literally. La Mer has this innovate ingredient called "Miracle Broth," which is a mixture of sea kelp, minerals, and nutrients that have gone through a natural fermentation process to leave your lips feeling ridiculously smooth, soothed and hydrated. In other words, this lip balm is legit.
Addict Lip Glow Color Reviving Lip Balm, $34
It's no secret that I'm obsessed with this balm. It's not too shiny or sticky, it doesn't smell like cupcakes and 2003, and it doesn't give you that gunky white line around your lips after a few hours. And, most importantly, it leaves your lips with the prettiest glow—I know, I know, but there's no better word for it—that sticks around through lunch (and second lunch).
Rebels Refinery Geometric Lip Balm, $6
Alright, alright—aside from its adorably on-trend packaging (PINEAPPLES!), this 100 percent natural lip balm is perfect for anyone who wants major moisturizing powers in a nommy flavor. It's formulated with coconut and sweet almond oils to protect and soften lips, along with
a mix of extracts that give it a mango and strawberry taste. Basically, this isn't like a regular balm—it's a cool balm.
Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, $3
I mean, I can't not include this magical, amazing, cult-favorite lip balm, because it's the only formula I want to be buried with. The formula is incredibly simple: A mix of coconut, lanolin, peppermint, and sunflower oils, plus a bit of beeswax, all working together to moisturize and protect your lips without a ton of fragrance or flavor.
Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 in Ruby, $24
Once upon a time, a lip stain and a lip gloss fell in love, got married, and created this baby tinted balm. The stain-gloss formula is perfectly hydrating, not at all sticky, and comes in 12 bright shades—ranging from pale rose to deep wine—that are so sheer and pretty, they'll look good on every skin tone.
Glossier Balm Dotcom, $12
I know the immediate draw of Glossier products is the Instagrammable packaging, but this thick salve is worth more than a photo. It's formulated with castor seed oil, beeswax, and lanolin that make it easily spreadable, so you can use it everywhere—across your cracked lips, over your ashy elbows, or even along your cheekbones for a natural highlight.
Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Lip Balm, $15
Don't let the whimsical packaging fool you—this tinted lip balm has serious benefits. It wards off chapped lips with nourishing evening primrose oil, while leaving behind a subtle rosy shine thanks to its argan oil base. Layer it over nude lips or matte lipstick for added depth and moisture.
Supergoop! AcaiFusion Lip Balm SPF 30, $10
If sun protection is a high priority for you when reaching for a lip balm (as it always should be), look to this clear, shea butter–based formula that won't leave your lips pasty, despite being loaded with SPF 30.
Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm, $17
Balm meets lipstick in this tinted crayon that delivers all-day hydration (thanks to combo of mango butter and shea butter), along with a surprisingly pigmented layer of color. Even the palest of the eight shades, Curviest Caramel, will leave lips with a subtle, yet long-lasting stain.
Smith's Rosebud Salve, $7
This multitasking retro salve is easily the cultiest of cult-favorite beauty products (even Beyoncé has openly admitted to using it as a primer on her lashes), and reason is clear: You can truly slather it anywhere. At least, anywhere you want a rosy wash of color (and scent)—like over the apples of your cheeks, on the center of your eyelids, or even raked through thick eyebrows for shine and hold.