in addition to white t-shirts, coffee tumblers, and fine-point pens, add lip products on the list of “things Hes buys too many of”. I own far too many of them, and while I have a decent collection of lipsticks and a plethora of lipglosses, my biggest kryptonite in this category are lip balms. I’m partial to ones that give you the slightest hint of color that looks like your lips just better or the completely colorless options that go a long way towards restoring your lips to their pre-chapped glory. I’ve dug through my stash and come up with my most loved, from the drugstore steals to the wallet-pinching ones. some are called lip tints while others are called lip treatments – as long as they’re moisturizing and not completely a gloss, I’ve included them in the lip balm category.
the drugstore steals
vaseline lip therapy in rosy lips | aside from being the most travel friendly balm I have, this stuff really is therapy. almost gel-like in consistency, this applies smoothly to the lips, giving a light moisture barrier that just so happens to soften your lips while making them ever so slightly pink.
softlips | I’ve loved these babies since middle school, when they were still packaged in cigarette-slim plastic twist-up tubes. while the new ice cube packaging is bulkier to lug around, it is cute, and I admit, it’s more fun to apply. these are a good drugstore lip balm – does the job in soothing chapped lips with a light vanilla-menthol scent that makes me nostalgic upon first sniff. bonus: these have spf 15.
maybelline baby lips | I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of this line. I bought the original un-tinted one and didn’t like the way it felt on my lips. it didn’t absorb very well and just left me feeling like I had a layer of wax on my lips. I gave them another go when I purchased this tube in the Philippines in a mini drugstore haul. I was in need of a lip balm, and this was the only one that wasn’t the medicated variety. I got the shade rose addict, a nice, soft pink. the packaging reminds me of lip smackers, so there’s some nostalgia points, and unlike the U.S. version, this one feels much more absorbent and light on the lips.
carmex | the classic, hands down. I know the scent throws some people for a loop, but I love it. the packaging is a throwback – no fuss, just the iconic red & yellow and block text. I prefer the tub version, but the squeeze tube is great for on the go. as far as color, this thing is clear through and through, but it’s pretty much unbeatable in terms of curing chapped lips. trust me – it’s a classic for a reason.
blistex medicated lip ointment | this is for the worst of the chapped lips, when nothing but the most intense will do. there’s nothing glamorous or fancy about this, right down to the packaging, and I sort of hate the smell, but it works. it’s a tiny tube, but a little goes a long way. although it only gets used in the most dire of circumstances, I always have one in the wings, for the inevitable mid-winter chapped lips from hell.
jack black intense therapy | this is the mvp of my collection. not the cheapest, not the most glamorous, but the most dependable. I have tubes of this everywhere – in my car, in my coat pockets, in my handbags. aside from the mint scent and the spf 25, it’s a light, ultra-moisturizing formula that applies easily but stays. the slanted tip applicator is nice, and it’s just as well-loved by James. this is the only lip balm I’ve had any luck getting him to use regularly. he approves of the black and blue packaging, and I approve of his soft lips. at ~$7 a tube, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, but multiples add up…
by terry baume de rose & dior crème de rose | these two are in the nosebleed sections when it comes to price, and I’m extremely glad I bought both of these with the aid of a gift card. both of these are rose-scented balms in tubs, which makes them not optimal for on-the-go application but perfect for nightstand routines. the formula for both is on the thicker side, and application feels like you’re giving your lips a treatment that lasts through the night. if you’re looking for a lip balm that does the job with a hefty does of luxury and a price tag to match, these two are great options. I prefer the dior one slightly more, not least because it’s the significantly cheaper one of the two, but both give you incredibly soft lips & look great on your vanity.
ysl volupté sheer candy in 4 & 6 | while not everyone would classify these as a balm per se, I do, because that’s how I use them. they’re not liquid/shiny enough to be a gloss, and they’re certainly not pigmented enough for a lipstick. I throw these on when I want a non-sticky, slightly moisturizing, sheer lip color. I love the mango (?) scent and the juicy slick of color they provide. as for the packaging, these are the crème of the crop.
tarte lipsurgence skintuitive lip tint & clarins lip balm crayon in my pink | I’m not sure if I buy into the science of ph-dependent lip balms, but I do know that I like the color they give, ph-dependent or not. I’m not even sure if it’s a color – it’s more of a sheen that just perks my lips up without making it look like I have a layer of color on. it’s easy, easy to apply, and low maintenance. the twist-up tubes are super convenient, and I find myself tossing them in my bag as I’m making my way out the door.
korres lip butter in jasmine | I discovered this line back when I was searching for a natural makeup line that wouldn’t exacerbate my sister’s eczema. I love some of their skincare offerings, like their yogurt masks, but the standout for me is their lip butters. they come in a handful of colors, but my long-time favorite is jasmine, a sheer pink that’s not too warm or too cool. it looks really subtle on the lips, is deeply hydrating, and lasts for hours. with no parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances, among other things, it’s also incredibly clean and natural.
fresh sugar lip treatment in rosé | these were my first foray into the world of high-end lip balms. I learned about the brand from my Korean friend whose easy, natural makeup I loved and wanted to emulate. I bought my first tube of their original, non-tinted treatment the winter of my freshman year in college as a post-finals treat. I discovered the rosé version a little while later, and it’s been a favorite ever since, perhaps the favorite of the high-end lot if I had to whittle it down to one. it has spf, the packaging is chic and simple, the color is the loveliest rose blush, and the scent – of fresh lemons – is right up my alley. I’ve given them away as stocking stuffers and are always a huge hit. a word of caution: the bullet is creamy and emollient and incredibly soft. don’t leave this one out in the heat or you’ll have a melt down on your hands, and this balm is too good and too pretty to get used up like that.
clearly, I don’t need any more lip balms, but…do you have any lip balm recommendations? ;)