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 or Maybelline Baby Lips (hey, still a classic!) that you immediately lost. Well, the world of balms has come a long way since your middle school days, and today's formulas are now available tinted or sheer; long-lasting or quick-dry; and cheap or pricey—basically, whatever it is that your lips, and your wallet, have been crying out for. Not to mention, the same hydrating ingredients you look for in skincare products have finally found their way into the lip category.
Now that the cold is intensifying and we're in the middle of a seemingly never-ending pattern of rain and blizzards, the prospect of dry, cracked, and peeling lips just got very real. And now that we wear masks every day, we have one more chafing, drying obstacle between us and soft, supple lip nirvana. So if you want truly kissable (and honestly, just comfortable) lips, you'll need a good formula that's made specifically to soften, hydrate, and even the texture of your lips. To make the sorting process a billion times easier, we searched the internet (and our own purses and medicine cabinets) for our absolute favorites, both classic and current. Here, we present to you the very best balms, stains, salves, and crayons you'll actually get excited to slather on each day.
There's a reason this Lip Balm is called #1. With squalene, aloe vera, and vitamin E, this product soothes the lips while giving them the moisture they need. This product gives lips a juicy shine that means you can pack away your lip glosses, as an added bonus.
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.
Apricot kernel, black currant seed, grapeseed oil, and sugar make this luscious balm one of the most moisturizing on the market, but you should add it to your cart for its pretty tint alone.
You know that feeling when your lips have had it and your left with irritable, inflamed, cracky lips? Same—we've all been there. This jelly mask will be your lips' lifesaver because it's made of Japanese peach, which is known to soften, repair, and calm inflammation. Not to mention, the Japanese camellia oil uses omegas and vitamins to seal moisture.
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.
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.
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 has gone through a natural fermentation process to leave your lips feeling ridiculously smooth, soothed and hydrated. In other words, this lip balm is legit.
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).
CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory powers, and it's combined with shea butter and rosemary oil to give this balm a hydrating punch.
Sagging skin = sagging lips. Nip that sign of anti-aging in the bud with this all-natural savior, which happens to be Jennifer Aniston's favorite (have you seen her amazing 50-year-old skin!?!). The hefty dose of silk in this balm strengthens your lip tissue, resulting in healthy, smooth lips.
Parisian women pick this up form French pharmacies when their lips are particularly chapped, so you should too. And it's got an almost matte finish that's perfect for no makeup days.
This lip balm is on the pricier side, but there's a good reason. Packed with hydrating oils and vitamins, this balm gives your lips hydration that will actually last all day long. You won't need to reapply it every 30 seconds, so the tube ends up being worth the cost.
"Like a kiss from a tulip" is how Bloomeffects describes this lip and cheek tint. This all-vegan formulation is made of a dutch and tulip combination of antioxidants and amino acids that provide ultimate softness and moisture. It's a soft berry shade you can swipe on your lips, the apples of your cheeks, or wherever you want for a monochromatic sheen.
It's not that hard to ask: You want plump and voluminous lips without the scary, stinging side effect most lip plumpers come with. Enter Too Faced's latest lip treatment, which uses a plumping hyaluronic acid for a velvety smooth boost. A trick: apply this an hour before lipstick, let it soak in and marinate, then check out the fullness of your lips. It's truly mind-blowing.
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.
If the weather gods are not looking out for your lips during brisk winter winds, it's time for you to employ a double-duty lip balm: a lip mask. This four-oil blend of olive, argan, rosehip, and raspberry seed oil can outlast any snowstorm, and feels so much richer than a regular lip balm. It works overtime to ensure a deep and long-lasting hydration.
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, retinoids, and antioxidants, which work overtime to keep your lips supple and hydrated.
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.
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 treatment is rich with moisture, so I like to apply a generous amount on my lips before bed.
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 delicious 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.
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.
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.
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.
This multitasking retro salve is easily the cultiest of cult-favorite beauty products (even Beyoncé has 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.