No beauty-lovers makeup collection is complete without a trusty lip balm. The unsung hero of the cosmetics kit, lip balms create the perfect canvas for any lip look, whether you're keeping it simple with a light gloss or making a statement with a bold lipstick.
Even if you’re a stranger to the makeup aisle, using a lip balm offers a multitude of skincare benefits and is a great way to protect and hydrate the delicate skin of the lips. But, with so many products on the market, where do you start? Well, that's where we come in.
At The Recommended, we’re committed to helping you shop smarter, so we’ve taken out the guesswork and pulled together our top picks of the best lip balms for every need (you’re welcome).
The best balms at a glance:
- Best tinted lip balm: Burts Bees Moisturising Tinted Lip Balm
- Best organic lip balms: Cliganic USDA Organic Lip Balm Set
- Best moisturising lip balm: Carmex Classic Moisturising Lip Balm
- Best lip treatment: Burts Bees Lip Mask
- Best lip balm gift set: Burt's Bees Lip Balm Gift Set
- Best nostalgic lip balms: Lip Smacker - Coca-Cola Can Collection
- Best unscented lip balm: O'Keeffe's Lip Repair Unscented Lip Balm
- Best SPF lip balm: Blistex Ultra Lip Balm with SPF 50
- Best vegan lip balm: Ilex Wood Store Vegan Lip Balm
- Best multipack: Sky Organics Organic Beeswax Lip Balms
The best lip balms
Best tinted lip balm: Burts Bees Moisturising Tinted Lip Balm
A touch of colour
This lip balm is super moisturising and has a subtle berry tint for a barely-there lip look. It’s made with responsibly sourced, conditioning beeswax, moisturising Vitamin E, and a touch of peppermint oil for a refreshing tingle.
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To help give the lip balm a fruity flavour, it’s formulated with antioxidant-rich pomegranate oil. It comes in a stick balm form with yellow packaging that can be screwed up and down when you need to apply it.
Best organic lip balms: Cliganic Organic Lip Balm Set
This set of six organic lip balms offers great value for money and is made with top-quality ingredients. All of them are made with 100% natural, USDA-certified organic ingredients that work to nourish and hydrate the lip for improved skin health.
The multipack features a range of scents, including vanilla, coconut, and citrus, so that every day can taste different. What’s more, the brand has a 100% money-back guarantee if you don’t like the balm.
Best moisturising lip balm: Carmex Classic Moisturising Lip Balm
This cult-classic lip balm is popular amongst beauty lovers for its effective, soothing formula. The lip balm is formulated with nourishing cocoa butter that works to soften and moisturise the lips while protecting them from environmental stressors.
Menthol and camphor also work to cool and soothe irritated lips, which can give a nice sensation after application. The balm comes in a small tube, so can be applied to specific areas which need moisturising.
Best lip treatment: Burts Bees Lip Mask
This fragrance-free lip mask works to soothe and condition the lips as you sleep. The softening lip mask is made with 100% natural origin ingredients, including jojoba and castor oils that work to nourish and moisturise the lips deeply.
As well as moisturising, the lip mask also helps to repair and restore, reducing the appearance of fine lines and leaving the lips soft and comfortable. It comes in a pot for application by a finger that will keep your lips feeling hydrated when you wake up.
Best lip balm gift set: Burt's Bees Lip Balm Gift Set
The perfect present
This gift set contains three lip balms and a reusable glass jar. The three nourishing lip balms are formulated with 100% natural origin ingredients that work to moisturise the lips and provide 8 hours of hydration.
The hibiscus-tinted lip balms add a hint of warm colour to the lips, which enhances their natural look. The reusable glass jar and stylish handle make this set the perfect gift.
Best nostalgic lip balms: Lip Smacker - Coca-Cola Can Collection
A novel collection
This nostalgic collection of lip balms features six classic coke flavours and a novelty case. The Lip-Smacker lip balms are a real throwback and make a great novelty gift.
Each balm is formulated to soothe and hydrate the lips with flavours, including vanilla and cherry. The multiple moisturisers and special emollients inside the balms help to prevent and guard against dry, chapped and cracked lips
Best unscented lip balm: O'Keeffe's Lip Repair Unscented Lip Balm
For very dry lips
This unscented lip balm promises to relieve very dry, chapped lips and provides long-lasting protection. O’Keeffe’s Lip Repair Balm creates a flexible, protective layer to protect against dryness and encourage the lips’ hydration.
With seven moisturisers and conditioners, O’Keeffe’s Lip Repair continues to work whilst you eat and drink. O’Keeffe’s Lip Repair also claims to be clinically proven to provide all-day moisture in just one application.
Best SPF lip balm: Blistex Ultra Lip Balm with SPF 50
For sun protection
This SPF 50 protective lip balm is formulated to protect against UVA and UVB rays. The Blistex Ultra Lip Balm works to protect against sun exposure, while a bend of hydrating vitamins C and E moisturises and nourishes the lips for long-lasting comfort.
The balm is ideal for use on the ski slopes or when sunbathing on the beach. It also contains a blend of moisturisers and antioxidants that promote more healthy lips.
Best vegan lip balm: Ilex Wood Store Vegan Lip Balm
This vegan lip balm is made with 100% cruelty-free, natural ingredients and is free of palm oil. It is also made with high-quality natural ingredients and a delicate lemon and peppermint scent.
Each hand-crafted lip balm is made in a plastic-free circular tin. The lip balm is also perfect for anyone who is prone to suffering from cold sores as it contains high anti-viral properties.
Best multipack: Sky Organics Organic Beeswax Lip Balms
Value for money
These lip balms are made with quality, skin-loving ingredients and feature a range of refreshing scents. The ingredients include conditioning beeswax, nourishing sunflower and coconut oils, and moisturising vitamin E for long-lasting comfort.
The variety of scents is sure to suit any taste and is 100% organic and cruelty-free. The balms are inspired by flavours of nature, such as Eucalyptus Mint, Tangy Citrus, and Strawberry Bliss.
Lip balm buyer’s guide
When shopping for a lip balm, it can be a little overwhelming to try and pick the right one. There are thousands of options to choose from, so where do you start, what do you look out for, and what should be avoided?
At The Recommended, we know the importance of lip care, and that’s why we’ve created this helpful buyer's guide to assist your next lip balm purchase. Here we delve into what ingredients you should be looking out for in your lip balm, the different types of lip balm, SPF importance, and several other frequently asked questions.
How to choose the right lip balm
When choosing a lip balm, you should identify whether you need the lip balm for hydration, protection, or healing against cracks/being chapped.
Once you have figured this out, you can use your needs to guide your purchase. For instance, those with chapped lips should opt for balms containing hydrating ingredients like shea butter, and those who want to protect their lips can choose a petroleum-based balm.
You also need to take into account your lip care preferences which are the texture of the balm and any allergies/sensitivities you may have. By pairing these preferences with your needs, you should now know what you want your lip balm to be doing.
Lip balm ingredients: what to look out for and what to avoid
You now know what effect you want your lip balm to have, so it’s important to know how different ingredients will react with your lips. Selecting your ingredients carefully is important as some ingredients can help you achieve your lip care goals, whilst others might cause adverse reactions.
When looking at lip balm ingredients, emollients are a good property to search for as they soften and moisturise the lips. Examples of emollients are shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil. Also, humectants, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, are good to have in your lip balm as they draw in moisture from the environment to keep lips hydrated.
Lips balms to avoid are those containing potential irritants like menthol, camphor, or excessive fragrance, because these can cause dryness and discomfort. Also, be cautious of allergens like lanolin, which may cause reactions in those with sensitive skin.
Natural vs synthetic ingredients in lip balm
The debate around natural vs synthetic lip balm is mainly down to personal preference, but there are some key pros and cons to be aware of.
Natural lip balms
Natural ingredients, such as beeswax, shea butter, and plant oils, are typically gentle on the skin and can provide ample hydration. They are often beneficial for people who have allergies and sensitive skin. Many natural lip balms are also cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and contain more vitamins than their synthetic counterparts.
The downside of natural lip balm is that it often costs more than synthetic lip balm and is less widely available in high street stores.
Synthetic lip balms
Synthetic lip balm is often cheaper and more widely available than natural lip balm. It has been criticised in the past for not moisturising the lips properly. This is true for some synthetic ingredients, such as petroleum in Vaseline, which is effective at sealing in moisture and protecting lips from harsh environmental factors rather than adding moisture.
This doesn’t mean synthetic lip balms can’t moisturise dry lips- it is just a reminder to read the ingredients and choose the right lip balm for you based on lip care needs, preferred texture, and any allergies/sensitivities.
Importance of SPF in lip balms
Lips are just as susceptible to sun damage as the rest of your skin, so incorporating an SPF lip balm into your routine is essential. Sun exposure can cause dryness, premature ageing, and even increase the risk of skin cancer.
Opt for a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher and look for broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every two hours or immediately after eating, drinking, or swimming to ensure continuous protection throughout the day.
Different styles of lip balm
Now that you know what you’re looking for in the lip balm, it’s time to choose how you want to transport it. Balms come in various shapes, sizes, forms, and textures- each one caters to different people’s needs. When selecting a lip balm, it’s important to consider what form you want your lip balm to be in, depending on how you want to apply it and also your fashion preferences.
These are convenient and portable and come in a stick-like shape similar to lipstick. They can be twisted at the bottom to reveal the balm so it is protected in your pocket throughout the day.
These are tubes of varying sizes, filled with a lip balm which you then squeeze out. They are better for more precise application as the hole where the lip balm comes out is usually just larger than a pin size.
Come in a pot that you usually have to twist open, and they require finger application. This means they are not ideal for hygiene reasons but can offer firmer, more luxurious textures.
Want to read more expert-recommended product round-ups? Check out our Cosmetics page for a full list of recommendations, including our list of the best SPF sun creams, the best moisturisers, and the best body lotions.
Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.
Isobel Nutbrown is a Staff Writer at The Recommended and works with leading industry experts to help readers make informed decisions and shop smarter online.