Try The Best Lip Balms for Healthy, Gorgeous Lips

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Unlike lipstick and lip gloss, lip balm is not primarily applied for its visual appeal. Lip balm is all about skincare for your lips, which means keeping them healthy, soft, and moisturized. Luckily, there are some great cosmetic gurus out there who have managed to combine the ideal lip care with colorful characteristics to offer the best of both worlds for those who prefer a subtle glow.

Since lip balm is such a universal product for people of all ages and genders, there is an endless variety of options from stick applications and tubes to medical formulas, tinted balms, flavored creams, and all-natural options. In addition, they’re available almost anywhere, from grocery stores to pharmacies or gas stations.

If you have severely dry or cracked lips, you may benefit from a balm with specific moisturizing ingredients, while summer days spent in the sun are best paired with a sunscreen balm. Our lip balm guide will help you sort through the plethora of options out there, but first, here are our top picks for the leading lip balms in 2022.

Leading Lip Balms of 2022 Reviewed in Detail

Burt's Bees Balm  —  Best Overall

lip balm reviews

Key Features

  • Pack of 4 fruity flavors including Pink Grapefruit, Mango, Pomegranate, and Coconut Pear
  • Free of parabens, phthalates, and petroleum
  • Sustainable environmentally-friendly beeswax product
  • Climate Pledge and CarbonNeutral certified

Burt’s Bees Superfruit lip balm comes in a pack of four tropical flavors that don’t only feel great on your lips but smell delicious too. The pomegranate stick is infused with antioxidant-rich pomegranate oil, which also gives it a natural tint of color. The mango butter flavor is gorgeously hydrating, while the grapefruit-flavored stick contains grapefruit seed oil with beneficial Vitamins C and E. The beeswax formula offers high-quality protection and features antibacterial properties. These balms are a popular natural lip care choice for general long-lasting moisture and a delicious hint of tropical paradise, so we think they’re a no-brainer!

Melixir Lip Balm  —  Most Useful

Lip Balm reviews

Key Features

  • Enhances your natural lip
  • Protects your lips
  • Deep nourishing plant-based vegan chapstick

Next up on our list, we have a deep, nourishing plant-based lip butter made by a well-known brand in the beauty industry — Melixir. All of the main ingredients are completely natural and are known to be extremely moisturizing. So, not only will this give your lip a glossy look, but it will also improve its overall health condition. It doesn’t contain any kind of honey, beeswax, parabens, or artificial fragrances. Available in multiple color combinations, you will be capable of tracking down the most suitable option for your lips in absolutely no time. Also, let’s not forget to mention that this brand only uses sustainable packaging to reduce the impact on the environment and increase awareness of global warming.

NIVEA Balm  —  Runner-Up

Key Features

  • Combats dryness and moisturizes with shea butter
  • Contains jojoba and avocado oil to help chapped lips
  • Dermatologically tested for skin compatibility
  • Available in 10 flavors
  • Free of mineral oils

Nivea has been a long-time leader in skin care products and high-quality beauty formulas. The neutral unisex Moisturizing Lip Care Balm comes in a pack of four lightly scented retractable sticks. The formula is free of mineral oils and enriched with natural shea, jojoba, and avocado oil for nourishing hydration and softness. To keep your lips protected from dryness, you can also choose from Nivea's range of other flavors including strawberry, watermelon, vanilla buttercream, cherry, blackberry, peach, shimmer, milk and honey, as well as a recovery balm for intensive lip treatment and a shea butter SPF15 formula.

Blistex Balm  —  Honorable Mention

Key Features

  • Each pack contains 3 retractable lip balm sticks
  • SPF15 sun protection
  • Protective formula with beeswax, lanolin, and cocoa butter
  • Soothes irritated lips

This pack of 3 Blistex medicated lip balms is formulated to offer sun protection and seal in moisture. The protective formula contains beeswax and lanolin that are known to prevent dryness and itching, hold moisture, and offer antibacterial properties. It also contains cocoa butter, which improves the skin's natural protective barrier. Blistex is a good choice for people with moderately dry lips to soothe irritation, all while ensuring your lips stay protected from the elements. Plus, the retractable sticks glide on easily to soothe any irritation.

Jack Black Balm  —  Best Sun Protection

lip balm reviews

Key Features

  • Purchase includes one mini squeeze tube of lip balm
  • Protective SPF25 formula
  • Colorless emulsion infused with shea butter and Vitamin E
  • Cruelty-free lip care

Jack Black’s Intense Therapy lip balm should be your number one choice if you are spending a lot of time doing outdoor activities. With SPF25 protection, your lips will stay well protected from the sun, while the conditioning formula also protects against windburn and extreme temperatures. The balm is designed with a multitude of beneficial ingredients including antioxidants, Vitamin E, and green tea to nourish, soothe, and relieve dry or irritated lips.

Burt's Bees Original Balm  —  Best Natural Formula

lip balm reviews

Key Features

  • Cooling comfort with a dash of peppermint oil
  • Pack of 4 stick lip balms
  • Free of parabens, phthalates, and petroleum
  • Climate Pledge and CarbonNeutral certified

For the ultimate natural hydrating formula, Bert’s Bees Original lip balm includes deeply moisturizing shea butter, Vitamin E, and a touch of peppermint oil for minty freshness. The nourishing balm comes in a pack of 4 sticks, offering long-lasting wear and protection. This is a great choice for keeping your lips soft, nourished, and feeling fresh. Plus, Burt’s Bees prides itself in sustainable practices and a low carbon footprint, so not only are the products friendly to your lips, but they’re friendly to nature, too.

Buyer's Guide to Finding the Top Lip Balm

Lip balms generally contain wax-based components like camphor, lanolin, beeswax, paraffin, or carnauba wax. Depending on the type and purpose of the balm, it may also include sun protection formulas, essential oils, medications, and flavorings. You may have found that after a while of applying certain products, your lips start craving more balm in order to feel soft and moisturized; it’s almost as if the balm is drying your lips out. And trust us, you aren’t imagining it.

Although certain products are soft and smooth on your lips, they can actually cause them to dry out. So, how do you choose the right balm for your needs and ensure the ingredients are high quality, nourishing, and deeply moisturizing? In this guide, you’ll find out everything you need to consider when making lip care a priority.

How to Choose the Perfect Lip Balm

Check the ingredients

Lip balm ingredients may serve different functions, but generally, the product is designed to form a layer on the outer skin to keep moisture from escaping and protect your lips from chapping, drying, and cracking. Ingredients vary greatly from high-quality natural substances to low-quality mineral oils. Some substances may seal the skin to prevent moisture from going out, but they don’t allow moisture in and don’t offer nourishment.

Another point to consider is that ingesting some of your lip balm is unavoidable, as you may naturally lick your lips. Although this is in minute quantities, it is another reason you can’t just put anything on your lips.

Here are some of the ingredients to look out for, when to use them, when to avoid them, and the effects they may have. 

What to look for

  • Lanolin: Lanolin is obtained from sheep wool extractions and prevents dry skin, irritation, and itching. It is not only used for lips but is also often sold to treat other dry skin conditions. A word of caution, however: if you have any wool allergies, you should avoid this otherwise beneficial ingredient.
  • Beeswax: Beeswax holds moisture and has antibacterial properties. Opt for sustainable beeswax products.
  • Shea and Cocoa Butter: These natural butters boost skin moisture and are superb options for lip and skin care. They soften, hydrate, and improve the skin's natural barrier due to the fatty acids present. Plus, shea butter protects lips from everyday environmental damage caused by factors such as pollutants.

Other natural ingredients that are a good choice in lip care products are apricot kernel oils, sweet almond oil, and silk proteins, which also offer a silky gloss. 

What to avoid

  • Salicylic Acid: This ingredient serves well as an exfoliation mechanism and decreases skin inflammation. Although this is a good thing, it does nothing to moisturize your lips and instead dries them out. It may be a good option for intentional short-term use to exfoliate dead skin cells, but it is best to avoid putting it on your lips long term.
  • Camphor and Menthol: Both these cooling ingredients create a slight tingly and fresh sensation on your lips. This sensation is, however, the stripping of defensive layers which can leave your lips more sensitive to environmental factors such as the sun, pollutants, and dry air.
  • Phenol: Phenol is not bad when used only for a short period of time, as it can successfully treat cracked lips from bacterial infections. It will, however, exacerbate dryness if used continuously for extended periods.
  • Parabens: Parabens are used as preservatives in a wide range of hair and skin care products as well as cosmetics. More recently, however, their harmful effects have hit the spotlight. These include a range of symptoms including brittle and sensitive skin, inflammation, aging, and hormone disruptions. Parabens are best avoided in all products used on your body, whether it be shampoo, makeup, or lip balm.

Tube or tub

Lip balms are available in retractable sticks, small squeeze tubes, and mini pots or tubs with a screw-on or flip lid. The option you choose is really up to personal preference. However, if you choose a tub that requires application with your fingers, always make sure your fingers are completely clean before dipping them in the pot and applying them to your lips. If someone else’s fingers are also going in the pot, this can be a bacterial disaster. 

Flavored balms

If you prefer a flavored, fragranced, or slightly tinted balm, opt for brands that use natural ingredients for flavorings, such as fruit and seed oils and butters.

Benefits and treatments

The lip balm you choose will largely depend on the purpose it needs to serve. Lip balm packaging will state any specific qualities and purposes, such as intensive moisturizing for cracked lips, tinted glow, sun protection, or medicinal products for specific infections or cold sores.

Minty balms can act almost as a breath freshener. For a day on the beach, a high SPF lip balm application is necessary in addition to your sunscreen, as regular sunscreen for your skin will rub off much more easily on your lips than products designed specifically to stick to your pucker when swimming, eating, and drinking.

Regardless of the fragrance, flavor, or sun protection factor, high-quality oils such as sweet almond, vitamin E, and sage are never a bad choice since they nourish, soften, and moisturize.