Colder weather can be harsh and drying for delicate skin, and it’s not uncommon for chapped lips to become a part of your everyday reality. Dry, cracked lips can feel annoying at best and painful at worst, but there’s no reason you have to just accept them. Plenty of lip balms can soothe that chapped feeling and prevent it from continuing to happen. Here’s a look at some of the best.
The Best Way to Get Rid of Chapped Lips
When your lips are seriously chapped, even a great lip balm won’t work miracles right away. Your mouth might require a little extra TLC to get back to normal, and lip balm is an important part of that process. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using your balm to make sure it works as effectively as possible.
- Exfoliate often. Chapped lips can lead to dead skin that has to be peeled off—applying balm over dead skin like that isn’t going to do anything. Use a gentle exfoliant that’s meant for lips (not just one for your face please), and carefully rub over them a few times a week. Always follow up with a very hydrating lip balm, like any of the options below.
- Wear lip balm every day. Continue applying your lip balm every day, all day, to ensure it works as best as possible. Thicker options made with beeswax, cocoa butter, or petroleum jelly are often your best bet over scented, lighter balms.
- Use a stronger treatment overnight. Medicated or very thick lip balms might not work for you during the day, but you should definitely apply them at night. Let the balm work its hydrating magic while you sleep and wake up to smoother lips.
- Stop licking your lips. When your lips feel dry, your natural response is to lick them to hydrate them. Don’t do this—saliva only temporarily makes them feel hydrated but actually dries them out more.
Best Overall: Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm Coconutter
The all-natural Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm has been a fan favorite for years, and the Coconutter version is as close to perfect as it can get. It combines a balm that genuinely works with a great scent and aesthetically pleasing packaging, and it’s at an affordable price point. Made with lanolin (an emollient that has been proven to be seriously hydrating for dry skin), super hydrating coconut oil, and healing vitamin E, it’s incredibly moisturizing and its effects last even after it wears off your lips.
The 101 Ointment is thick but doesn’t feel tacky or annoying on your lips, and it leaves behind just a subtle shine instead of anything too obvious. The scent is pleasantly tropical and not obnoxiously overwhelming, and a little bit goes a long way. It’s also not just limited to your lips: This ointment can be used on dry patches on your skin, dry cuticles, dry nasal passages, and more.
Best Drugstore Option: Aquaphor Lip Repair Ointment
It’s nearly impossible to talk about great lip balms without mentioning Aquaphor Lip Repair Ointment, a trusted drugstore favorite for many years. It is simple and to-the-point, and is ideal for anyone who just wants a basic lip balm. Unlike most lip balms on the market, it’s fragrance-free, which is great for anyone who doesn’t want a scent along with their balm, or anyone looking for something friendly to sensitive skin.
The shea butter in it is what keeps this ointment feeling so thick and hydrating, while the chamomile is soothing for any cracks and cuts on your lips. It offers only a very subtle shine, and you need just a small amount to get the job done.
Aquaphor Lip Repair Ointment - Long-lasting Moisture to Soothe Dry Chapped Lips - .35 fl. oz. Tube
Made with hydrating shea butter and soothing chamomile, Aquaphor's Lip Repair is moisturizing, fragrance-free, and great for sensitive skin.
Best High-End Option: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment
It may not be super cheap, but Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment is worth the money if you can swing it. This cult-favorite is free of parabens, suflates, synthetic dues, phthalates, GMOs, and triclosan. It’s made with more unique ingredients like sugar, grapeseed oil to smooth and soften, and meadowfoam and black currant seed oils to hydrate. With a subtle citrus scent that feels invigorating, it feels great the moment you apply it.
Fresh Sugar also has SPF 15, which is really important considering how too much sun exposure can lead to not only chapped lips, but also sunburnt lips. The tube lasts forever, and if you want a tint with it, tons of color options are available.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 Sugar- 0.15 oz, Full Size
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment is free of chemicals, has a subtle scent, and leaves lips feeling soft and plump.
Best Tinted Option: Dior Addict Lip Glow
A sheer lip balm is great to have, but sometimes you want something that gives your lips a little color as well, especially if they’re too chapped to wear lipstick. There are plenty of options, but none do it better than Dior Addict Lip Glow, which is a tinted and hydrating balm that definitely doesn’t look like a balm.
Made with Dior’s Color Reviver technology, Lip Glow reacts to the unique chemistry of each person’s lips, giving a custom, natural flush of color to whoever is wearing it—it’s basically a better version of your natural lip color. The tint leaves lips looking plump and full, even if they were feeling chapped. You can wear it as just a balm or layer it over or under lipstick to slightly change the shade.
Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Awakening Lip Balm SPF 10 by Christian Dior for Women - 0.12 oz Lip Color
Dior Addict Lip Glow uses Color Reviver technology to adjust to the unique chemistry of your lips, giving you a customized shade that works perfectly for your skin tone.
Best Lip Balm with SPF: Supergoop! Fusion Lip Balm SPF 30
The sun can damage your lips just as much as it can damage the rest of your skin. Too much sun exposure with no protection can cause chapped lips and a burn, both of which leave lips dry and cracked. So, finding a lip balm with SPF is incredibly important, especially during the summer. Supergoop! Fusion Lip Balm offers an SPF of 30 (which can be hard to find in balms), stays on for hours, and feels super hydrating.
Made with shea butter, honey, and sunflower oil, this balm is thick, so a small amount goes a long way and easily thins out as you apply to your lips. It leaves behind a subtle shine, and actually does not smell like sunscreen, which is a nice plus.
Supergoop! Fusion Lip Balm Acai SPF 30,0.5 Fl Oz
Supergoop! Lip Fusion has a higher SPF to protect against the sun's rays while hydrating lips.
Best All Natural Lip Balm: Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm
Made with super clean ingredients like avocado, mongongo, cranberry, and marula oil, Drunk Elephant Lippe is a great natural alternative to some other lip balms on the market. It helps plump lips as well as hydrate them, and is also made with green tea leaf and vitamin C to work as an anti-ager.
The only downside to this? It’s small, especially for the price, but the good news is that you don’t need a lot to leave lips feeling better.
Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm - Moisturizing Lip Balm with Avocado Oil and Vitamin C. (3.7 Grams, .013 Ounce)
Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm is made with clean ingredients for smoother, less dry lips.
Best All-Purpose: Smith’s Rosebud Salve
Cult favorite Smith’s Rosebud Balm is made of clean ingredients, including a mix of essential oils. It feels silky and lighter because it’s not quite as thick as some of the other balms listed, which can be a good thing depending on what you’re looking for. It also has a really nice rose scent, if you’re into that.
This is another all-purpose balm that can be used for dry skin on the rest of your body and even as a diaper rash salve. The vintage-looking tin is pretty and makes it easy to scoop out a lot (although this can be a negative for anyone who doesn’t enjoy applying a lip product with their fingers).
Rosebud Salve Tin, .8 Ounce
Smith's Rosebud Balm is a cult favorite that has a nice rose scent and feels lighter than other balms.
Best Heavy Duty Option: Blistex Lip Medex
When your lips are seriously chapped or you’re also sick, you really need a heavy duty, medicated option that doesn’t just smell great. Blistex Lip Medex is a classic. It’s made of petroleum, so it’s nice and thick to coat your lips. Its Cool Burst formula gives it an invigorating scent that makes your lips feel nice and leaves behind a cooling feeling that’s super soothing when they’re very chapped.
It’s also made with an Active Prevention formula that keeps lips more hydrated and ensures they’ll stay that way even when it starts to wear off (which takes hours).
Blistex Lip Medex 0.25 oz (Pack of 3)
Blistex Lip Medex is a classic that soothes chapped lips and is made of a Cool Burst formula that feels great.
Best Nighttime Option: Bite Beauty Agave+ Nighttime Lip Therapy
For an intense balm that you can apply right before bed, try Bite Beauty Agave+ Nighttime Lip Therapy. It’s a balm-to-oil formula that goes on pretty thick and eventually turns to a more oily feeling (so it really is best used while you’re sleeping). It feels wonderfully hydrating, smells nice, and genuinely works to relieve discomfort and make lips more moisturized in the morning.
Made with agave nectar, pomegranate extract, and jojoba, sunflower, and safflower seed oils, this balm is clean, all-natural, vegan, and cruelty-free. No matter how much you toss and turn, this one stays on until morning.