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Best lip balm: Soften dry, chapped lips with a hydrating balm

Jade Vincent Philippa Pearne
6 Apr 2020
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Soothe, moisturise and relieve dry, chapped lips with the best lip balms around

As well as a can of hairspray or tube of mascara, we’d wager a pretty safe bet that a lip balm is never far from your side. Whether you use it to regularly hydrate your lips or you just like the sheen it gives your pout, it’s one of those must-have handbag items that you can’t be without.

But why are lip balms so essential? The skin on your lips is super-sensitive; and from winter chapping to summer sunburn, lips are often the first area to be affected by extreme weather conditions. As such, it’s important to top up moisture for minimal flake, maximum comfort, not to mention creating a smooth and flawless base for your lipstick.

Choosing the right formula for your skin and convenience is key, as well as making sure it leaves your ideal finish and a pleasing scent. Some lip balms actively treat the skin (usually the ones that “tingle” on application) whilst others contain an abundance of healthy, hydrating ingredients to nourish lips for the hours ahead.

So from glossy pots to creamy sticks, read on to find a lip balm that will become your new everyday go-to.

READ NEXT: The best lipsticks

The best lip balm you can buy

1. Burt's Bees Natural Moisturising Lip Balm: The best lip balm for dry lips

Price: £4 (4.25g) | Buy now from Amazon

You can’t go wrong with a classic lip balm in a stick, complete with twisty applicator and click-on lid – and that’s exactly what you get from Burt's Bees nourishing lip salve. For a start, the Burt's Bees lip balm uses a blend of all-natural and hydrating ingredients such as Beeswax, Vitamin E and Coconut Oil to soothe and smooth chapped pouts. The balm itself applies super-smooth and feels like velvet on your lips, and the really amazing bit is that it rarely needs topping up, thanks to the formula being super long-lasting. Its range of tasty flavours, including Coconut & Pear, Honey, Mango and Cucumber Mint, is a sweet treat and its £3 price tag isn't bad either. Overall, a fantastic lip balm that can be trusted to inject moisture into the driest lips.

2. Glossier Balm Dotcom Universal Skin Salve: The best tinted lip balm

Price: £10 (15ml) | Buy now from Glossier

Another squeezy tubed balm, only this one leaves a natural colour on the lips as well as tackling any dryness super quickly. Choose from five tinted shades – including Berry, Mango, Cherry, Rose and Birthday (which leaves a sheer, subtle shimmer) – or go neutral with Glossier's classic untinted flavours instead. A cult classic that refreshingly delivers on all its promises, the Balm Dotcom is enriched with natural moisturisers such as Lanolin, Castor Oil and Beeswax to give parched lips a longlasting surge of hydration. 

Buy now from Glossier


3. Blistex Intensive Moisturiser Hydrating Lip Cream SPF 10: The best lip balm for chapped lips

Price: £2.69 | Buy now from Boots


If you’re suffering from chapped lips then this pocket-sized tube deserves a spot in your handbag. You squeeze it as you apply – but go easy, or you’ll end up with white, creamy lips! You’ll instantly notice the tingly, minty smell and taste – all good signs that this is going to start working on the problem immediately. It feels super-smooth on the lips and will last through a good few hours, between meal times. Within hours you’ll feel the Blistex cream working its magic, with your lips back to their soft and supple best in only a few days. 

4. Carmex Classic Moisturising Lip Balm: Best drugstore lip balm 

Price: £2.50 (7.5g) | Buy now from Amazon

Proving there's no need to spend a fortune to get a hardworking skin salve, the Carmex Classic Moisturising Lip Balm offers fast-acting relief to dry, chapped puckers that are feeling sore after being exposed to the sun, cold weather or central heating. Apply liberally to the lips as often as needed for hydrated, healthy-looking lips. Our thoughts? Drugstore lip balms don't come better (or cheaper) than Carmex's Classic Moisturising Lip Balm.

5. By Terry Baume De Rose SPF15: The most pampering lip balm

Price: £39 | Buy now from Space NK


Attention all luxury beauty lovers, this lip balm is a real treat for sore lips that deserve a pamper. The first thing you’ll notice is the heavenly scent of roses. That will be the floral oils and essential rose wax, which not only smell divine but help to soothe and nourish the lips too. Its texture of the balm is super-glossy with a hint of pink, so not only will your lips feel supple and smooth, but they’ll also be slightly rosy-looking. With protective UV filters and bio-ceramides to help smooth, hydrate and fight against ageing, you can’t go wrong with this pot of joy. 

6. Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm: The best hydrating lip balm

Price: £19.50 | Buy now from Debenhams


Perfect for those pouts in need of some tender loving care, this balm is almost like a facial for the lips, courtesy of some clever skincare ingredients and a melt-on-contact texture. It’s another squeezy tube, so remember a little goes a long way. But once in place, lips are left plumped, slightly glossy and super-smooth – and with a very subtle pink tinge. Its scent is pleasing – no sign of any mint here – and it isn’t overbearing, affecting the taste of food or drink. Apply it regularly and you’ll notice much softer, less irritated lips within the space of a week. It makes a great primer for lipstick too – apply a very thin layer and your lipstick will go on over the top seamlessly.

How to buy the best lip balm for you

Which applicator technique is best?

This is totally down to personal preference. If you like to keep application mess-free, or you’re wanting a balm for on the go, a stick that you apply directly to the lips would be the better choice. A pot usually has a fiddly lid and requires you to dip to apply the balm, often leaving you with a sticky finger to clean up. Tinted lip balms usually come in both stick or pot form, but with either you’re likely to need a mirror for precise application – as you would a normal lipstick – so think about that when you’re making your decision. There are squeezy tubes of balm available, too, which are relatively mess-free – although remember that, with these, a little goes a long way.

Lip balm, tinted lip balm or lipstick: what’s the difference?

A non-tinted balm is as it sounds – a clear formula, packed with skincare benefits that adds either a subtle sheen or gloss to the lips. A lipstick is all about the high pigmented colour and doesn’t necessarily contain the skincare goodness of an actual lip balm. A tinted balm offers a bit of both: it leaves a hint of colour whilst giving your lips a healthy slick of moisture. Look out for tinted balms that adapt to the natural pH of your lips, the colour in these can vary from one person to the next.

How much should you spend?

Since this is a product that’s used so frequently, it definitely isn’t an item to spend a fortune on. This is especially true when you consider that most high-street brands pack their products with all the skincare goodness your lips need to stay in tip-top condition. However, treating yourself once in a while is no biggie – just don’t go spending over £40; it just doesn’t make sense on an item so small that’s used so frequently.

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