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Balm lips not people
February 1, 2014 1:38 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for the perfect lip balm. Tell me what brands, qualities, and gimmicks you like and what you don’t. O muse, let your preferences form your advice to me.

If you just love a brand, tell me why. I have been using lip balms on a regular basis for more than a decade now, but I have always aimed for convenience (it was already right next to my phone in my pocket), than any kind of preference. I have learned absolutely nothing as I didn’t pay attention to anything except maybe the color of the tube.

Are there some ingredients that would melt if I kept it in my pocket? Are there some ingredients that I should NOT want to put on my lips? Waxes, butters, oils, petroleums? Any advice based on your own preferences? Do some feel better than others? Are there some products that put in cheap fillers? What feels good? What are those cheap fillers I should watch out for?

What is that medicated stuff? Whats the active ingredient? Does it really work, or would putting something oily on your lips do that anyways?

Do you like the ease of using your finger for getting that bit of carmex, do you prefer the hygiene of a chapstick that advances by twisting? I’ve always preferred the latter, but why do they still have lip balm in tubs? Is there some benefit I don’t recognise?

Do you know of someone who wears something awesome that you appreciate on another’s lips? Has someone commented on your lip balm?

For clarification I’m not looking for coloured lip gloss. Although, is that stuff lip balm with colouring? Or is that just lipstick? Or something that I can’t even comprehend? Maybe I am looking for it.

Tell me anything and everything to help me develop some preferences where I don’t have any and find the perfect lip balm.
posted by hal_c_on to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (70 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
 
Burts Bees. Original style, no sunscreen or extra strength or tint or anything else they offer. Just Burts Bees Lip Balm.

- Never melts in your pocket. (Will melt if left in the cup holder in your car during a heat wave.)
- Doesn't do anything stupid to my lips and seems to have mostly natural, or natural enough, ingredients.
- Goes on perfectly, not too gooey or gummy.
- Smells wonderful.
- Stick form keeps your fingers clean and is reasonably compatible with lipstick if you swing that way. (OTOH balm in tubs or those weird squeeze tubes doesn't have the same problems with melting that a stick can have.)

Burts Bees also makes a tinted lip balm, which is exactly what it says on the tin, and is a great alternative to lipstick for a natural/minimalist/basically-no-makeup look.

Most lip glosses are not lip balms and don't provide the same skin softening and lip lubricating function. They're also sticky and visibly shiny as opposed to just enough of something on your lips so that they don't look cracked or get chapped.
posted by Sara C. at 1:48 PM on February 1 [14 favorites]


http://m.sephora.com/minted-rose-lip-balm-P164932?skuId=956359

This stuff. I'm obsessed with it. Mint and rose = wonderful smell and tingle, perfect amount of natural looking red color. Lasts a long time. Does not break off like twist-up tubes. Has melted and congealed again and I still found it useable. I'm in love.
posted by quincunx at 1:49 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I like the blistex simple and sensitive because:
No taste
No color
No spf
Goes on easily and smoothly
Works under lipgloss if i want
Cheap enough to have everywhere
Just a good, basic, easy lipbalm.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 1:50 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I like plain old petroleum jelly. They make them in little travel sizes, that's my go-to "chap stick" in the winter especially!
posted by katypickle at 1:56 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I am not in the slightest bit fancy about my lip balm. I looooove Lip Smackers. Yes, the ones made for little girls in weird flavors. But don't get the ones with SPF in them--those taste bad to me.

I typically buy them in the 4-6 packs because I leave them everywhere and lose them and throw them out on a regular basis if I get a fever blister. (I've heard that you can sanitize them or cut off part of the stick, but they're cheap enough that I don't even bother.)

I keep them everywhere--on my desk, in my purse, in my office drawer, on my vanity, by my bedside table--EVERYWHERE. And if they get lost or anything happens to them *ahem feline noms/plaything*--it's not a crisis.

Plus, I like the way that they taste and that they come in fun flavors. Right now I have Dr. Pepper in my purse, mango at my bed, strawberry on my vanity, and I think banana in my work desk.

I never use tinted lipbalms after a traumatic experience with one in middle school where I used it all the time and looked like a clown.
posted by sperose at 1:59 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I love, love LOVE Fresh's "Sugar" lip balm: it's as smooth as butter-drenched silk without being greasy/sticky/etc., softens up lips like NOTHING else, and tastes/smells like cupcake baked by Escoffier himself. However, it's also outrageously ostentatiously expensive - so I only buy it once every few years.

Cheaper balms I have known and loved include:

LipJao: non-greasy/sticky, quality ingredients, very, very effective.

A Natural Alternative's almond lip balm: delicious scent, absorbs remarkably well, very effective.

The good (and insane!) Dr. Bronner's lip balm is slightly funky-tasting but seems to be mega-moisturizing; it also sinks in nicely and is dirt cheap.
posted by julthumbscrew at 2:03 PM on February 1 [13 favorites]


Burt's Bees tinted lip balm, the one in the skinny little tube. It contains enough tint to actually look like lip color, without being gummy or sticky or weird feeling. And it's not overly greasy. Just a nice smooth lip balm that makes my lips feel moist and comfortable. And it tastes very slightly and pleasantly of mint, not overbearing, chemical-y and greasy like some of the "fruit flavored" lip balms out there

Just as an aside, I'm not sure how rubbing the business end of a lip balm directly onto one's germy lips is more hygenic than sticking one's filthy fingers into a little pot, but whatever lets you sleep at night...
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:04 PM on February 1


I use Weleda Everon lip balm. It's pricey but it's the only one that really does it for me. I buy three or four at a time when I find it - it sells out a lot at Whole Foods and the like. Herbal floral scent that's pleasing but not overwhelming. Won't get your finger covered in goo like the potted ones.
posted by rdnnyc at 2:06 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Burt's Bees stuff in the tube. It's my evening routine before I go to bed lip balm. Smells good, doesn't get cruddy, doesn't have medicine or anything in it, doesn't look like anything, doesn't melt or get too hard under most weather temperature. Tube is a pleasing orangey yellow color. I also have the tinted stuff which I like but you said you weren't looking for that.
posted by jessamyn at 2:06 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I don't recommend lip balms with mint in it (though it feels nice it is an irritant. That includes mint shampoos and conditioners as well). I don't recommend lip balms with essential oils either for the same reason that some essential oils are potential irritants.

I use this now from Sierra Bees. It has great ingredients. Extra virgin Olive Oil, Beeswax, Cocoa Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, Vitamin E. That's all you need and all the ingredients are certified organic. (and the cocoa butter smells nice).
posted by Blitz at 2:07 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Noya lip balm. I got it in an ipsy subscription makeup box, and loved it so much I ran out and bought three more online. It tastes nice, it is super softening and is made from from things I don't mind digesting.

My absolute favourite is Malin+goetz mojito lip balm. It is super expensive, but I got it again as part of an ipsy subscription and love it. It has made my lips look and feel amazing, but the price really puts me off as I like to have the lip balms scattered throughout the house. I am planning on trying to always have one by my bedside to put on at night though as it really does make your lips softer and is more like a moisturiser for your lips that repairs damage than gunk you cover your lips with to protect them.
posted by wwax at 2:09 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I like Nivea "A Kiss of Moisture." Doesn't get sticky, goes on smooth.
posted by lakeroon at 2:09 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I've been using Paula's Choice Sheer Cream Lipstick with SPF 15 in the colour 'invisible' (clear) for years.

Nice texture, lasts well, and the SPF is good. Also, it comes in a stylish-looking tube so I don't feel like I'm twelve when I whip it out in public to slick some on.
posted by Georgina at 2:11 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Cocoacare cocoa butter lip balm, generally about 2 six-packs a year because I keep them everywhere. Eight ingredients*, none of them ending in -cone. Very faint vanilla scent, no flavor. Sometimes Big Lots has a bucket of them at the register, but I just order it online in cool months.

It has zero stability in heat. I even avoid carrying it in my pocket.

*Petrolatum, C-18-36 Acid Tryglyceride, C-18-36 Acid Glycol Ester, Cocoa Butter, Aloe Vera Extract, Fragrance, Propylparaben, Butylparaben.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:18 PM on February 1


I'm a lip balm addict and my absolute favorite balm of all time is Crazy Rumors. Not only is the formula great — smooth, not stiff or overly melty, moisturizing without making your lips feel like they're coated in glop — but the flavors are phenomenal, like Lip Smackers for grown-ups. Orange Bergamot and Chai are my favorites, but I've never had a flavor I didn't like.

Generally speaking, I've liked most of the lip balms I've tried. I'll use twist-up tubes and tins, but I prefer tubes because there's less exposed surface area for lint to cling to. Other brands I get semi-regularly are SoftLips, Labello/Nivea, and occasionally Lip Smackers. The only two brands I haven't liked are Badger (had kind of a weird musky off-odor) and EOS (which comes in an egg-shaped container; the balm itself is in a domed shape and I didn't find it too user-friendly).

I don't use tinted lip balms because I just want to moisturize my lips whenever I want, and I don't want to have to look in a mirror when I do it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:20 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I currently have 5 Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer + SPF. One in car, purse, bedside, coat, etc. Comes in a twist tube. No taste, no smell, easy-on gliding. Slight hint of moisture if you look closely, but not a gloss. Cannot live without.
posted by mmf at 2:29 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Carmex all the way. In a jar or stick, but not in the squeeze tubes. Stays on forever, good about not melting, doesn't taste like anything.

Flavored-anything chapsticks don't seem to work all that well, but that just might be because of the ice-age winter this year.
posted by mibo at 2:34 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I like EOS lip balm. It's got a simple ingredients list, and I like how the rounded container doesn't get lost as easily in a bag. Also, to me, the medicated tangerine version smells like the head of a Cabbage Patch Kid doll.
posted by bizzyb at 2:35 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Burt's Bees and Fresh's Sugar.
posted by greta simone at 2:35 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


Trader Joe's brand in the green and white tube. I will use nothing else. $3 for 3 sticks. It's smooth, tasteless, stays and is just awesome.
posted by tristeza at 2:43 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I only use lip balms without petroleum products so that means they are usually some combo of olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter. I don't like the way petrolatum feels on my lips especially after repeated applications. And though I'm not an expert, I find the concept of smearing petroleum products on my face fairly icky and try to reduce the amount of petro-chemicals I use on my body in general, so why not lips too? Also, what I've read is that petrolatum or other petro based ingredients are not actually being absorbed/helping moisturize your skin or have any property which helps skin heal. Instead of being absorbed, it just sits on the skin and forms a protective layer. This does have the benefit of keeping moisture from evaporating from the skin in dry/windy/cold conditions but it's not enough to make me want to use them. All the following are obviously hippy-dippy type balms, many with organic or fair trade ingredients, which you can generally find easily at a food co-op or whole foods type place. Something I have found is that "natural" balms with orange oil or extract can often get a kind of stale rancid flavor after several months, very gross. (The ones I recommend below, I haven't had this problem with.)

Lip balms I have loved:

All Good Lips: the ORIGINAL no SPF flavor. This is maybe my all-time favorite lip balm. It was the first time I had experienced lavender in a lip balm, I usually hate flower-flavored things but this is amazingly subtle and earthy. Plus it has calendula which is supposed to have healing/irritation soothing properties. This is a great herbal flavor and smooth silky gloss.

Badger: They make "classic" lip balms in the small/regular sized tube, in this line I'm fond of their Ginger & Lemon and Lavender & Orange flavors. Then they make a cocoa butter line which I like even better. These come in slightly fatter tubes and I'm crazy about the Cool Mint and Lime Rocket flavors. The bigger tube means it lasts forever and I like that I can really smear a lot on quickly. The "classic" balms can be a little on the oily/easy to melt side but the cocoa butter line does not have this problem.


Dr. Bronner's
: I happen to be using their ginger/orange and lemon/lime flavors.

Zambeezi
: two flavors are both nice: a gingery lemongrass original and a tangerine. This one comes in a unique oval shaped tube which is kind of fun. The texture is great but the SPF version is not recommended (bad texture, visibly white/chalky.

Plus Burt's Bees original is always great!

Top picks out of these: All Good Lips, Burt's Bee original and Badger Cocoa Butter Cool Mint
posted by dahliachewswell at 2:54 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I like the EOS sphere lip balms. The shape won't fit comfortably in your pocket, though.

As for ingredients, if you're allergic to wool, avoid lip balms with lanolin in them. This probably doesn't apply to you since it's a common ingredient and you would probably have noticed if your lip balm made your lips flaky and red, but I think it's worth mentioning.
posted by MadamM at 2:59 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Seconding the Smith's rose lip balm linked above -- I stopped using anything else several years ago when I received a tin as a gift. (I usually use just the rosewater scent, not the mint-rose, but they're both nice, and they're packaged in tubes as well as tins.)
posted by scody at 3:18 PM on February 1


I seemed to have developed an intense sensitivity to all lip balms, even 'unscented' ones, and Vaseline. So, what I did? Got a tiny vial, and put in a combo of plain olive oil and Vitamin E oil. That's it. Oh, and staying hydrated. It sits in my pocket, doesn't leak, and is dirt cheap. Yes, it's oily, but it's better than nothing. I only have to apply it once every couple of days or so.

Even if my sensitivity goes away, I don't think I'm going back to actual balms.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:22 PM on February 1


Labello (Nivea) is also my favorite one. I like that it feels thick enough to actually stay on my chapped lips for hours and also that you can get a totally unscented, untinted one (classic care). I know it's available in Canada, France, and Germany, not sure which other countries, though.

I prefer chapsticks in tubes so that I don't need to wash my hands before and after applying it.
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:32 PM on February 1


Yup, the Smith's rosebud salve or this rose salve. I never get on an airplane without a tin of it because it's really nice on my hands, as well as my lips, both of which get dry and awful on airplanes, but it doesn't get messy like handcream and it's easy to apply to your lips without a mirror (unlike anything with a real tint in it).
posted by crush-onastick at 3:42 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Aveda lip saver is the best one I've ever used.
posted by zadcat at 3:47 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I adore Fresh Sugar (in the non-tinted and Petal tint), but they're ridiculously expensive. But so, so good.
posted by lysimache at 4:07 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


To keep my lips from celebrating their annual flake harvest here in the north country, I lubricate from the inside out and keep the air in my condo from turning into the Sahara.

#1. I stay hydrated. Even though Dr. Oz tells me the amount of water I drink will have no bearing whatsoever on the elasticity and moisture of my skin. I think he's lying to me.

#2. I drizzle Omega 3's in the form of flax seed oil on my steamed vegetables and salads to keep everything oiled from the inside out. Yes, omega 3's will lube the skin.

#3. I use a good humidifier and keep my condo from turning into a crispy static zap zone. People have prettier skin in the South for a reason. The more moisture in the air, the more supple the skin. That's why lizards can stay slimy and not turn into crispy critters down there.

Voila. No need to strip my lips with the phenol, menthol, salicylic acid, and other crap they put in lip balms to "exfoliate the lips and keep them smooth" which translates to "let us strip your lips and cause sloughing of the sensitive lip skin on your face so we can keep you in a perpetual cycle of peeling so you'll become addicted to our products and make us rich."

As for my lip balm, it is one ingredient and that is either organic jojoba oil or cocoa butter if I really feel like I need to do more.
posted by OneHermit at 4:11 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


One thing about the Fresh balms is that they melt in the heat.

Try to find Aquaphor in travel sizes, it makes an excellent lip balm (and is great for hands).

At bedtime, I use Bio-Oil on lips, hands, feet.

Also, Rodan and Fields Lip Shield, yay.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:13 PM on February 1


I'm going to favorite and best answer everything in this thread.

I haven't even fully researched the first suggestion and already there's a wealth of info everywhere. So yeah, thanks balmers.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:14 PM on February 1


Like sperose, I'm also addicted to Bonne Bell Lip Smackers. My friends all make fun of me since they stopped using it in Junior High. I also have them everywhere - purse, home, work, car. They are inexpensive and smell/taste divine, and they last a relatively long time on my lips. They are also insanely cheap, and the majority of them have no color. I can't vouch for the ingredients, though.

If you did want just a tinge of color but that looks natural, the Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker is perfect. Very, very slight color that looks natural on the lips. It's my go-to :-)
posted by canda at 4:18 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


Just have to endorse the suggestion for Badger Balm. I like the original in Cool Mint - not as robust a mint as Burt's Bees, and very smooth.

Also, I totally agree with canda that the Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker is basically the best lip gloss ever. I have tried a bajillion things, expensive and not, and it is seriously the best. Looks polished but natural. Moisturizes the lips. I kind of hate it because ingredients are crap, but I can't find anything I like better.
posted by jeoc at 4:33 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I love love love Nuxe's reve de miel lip balm - it's subtle, matte, not sticky but thick, and slightly textured to give you exfoliation. Lisa Eldridge recommends it in this video.
posted by ukdanae at 4:54 PM on February 1


I have way more lip balm than I actually need. My favorites: Burt's Bees grapefruit flavor, John Masters Organics Lip Calm, and Trader Joes brand.
posted by three_red_balloons at 5:09 PM on February 1


Saltspring SoapWorks Organic Lip Balm is my absolute favourite stuff. Not cheap but the best. I like it because it goes on smoothly, moisturizes without being greasy, is colourless, and has a very very faint but pleasant scent. I bought a bunch of them the last time I was at the flagship store in Victoria, BC but you can order it online. I've found each stick lasts a long time.

As for my favourite readily-available brand: Burt's Bees original in the tube, because although I find it not quite as good as the Saltspring stuff, it does have the same general properties (smooth, moisturizing, colourless, slightly stronger scent but no flavour).
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:34 PM on February 1


Bonne Bell Brand Lip Smackers are my guilty pleasure - I love that there are so many different flavors ranging from Bubble Gum to Coca Cola to a huge fruit variety of Skittles flavors.

There is another brand that has candy flavored balms of Hershey products like Sugar Daddy, Bubble Yum and Tootsie Roll. Those are very waxy, have little flavor and should be avoided.
posted by NoraCharles at 6:18 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I make my own. I need my lip balm to be a little bit thick/oily, because most lip balms I buy disappear in 20 minutes, unless they have a large amount of petrolatum, paraffin, or beeswax. I also hate all the additions of menthol, scents, and flavors.

I make mine out of beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, sesame oil, and jojoba oil. Works great, although the shea butter can get grainy if it partially melts then cools again.
posted by Zelos at 6:32 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I love lip balms, and I've yet to meet one I truly disliked except for Burt's Bees which in every variety leaves a white cast on my lips and Nivea's "kiss of shimmer" which makes my lips feel and look dry. I tend to have so many on hand that I can't even count them all.

Just some recent hits for me:

tinted: Yes to Carrots color balm - decently moisturizing, matte color if you aren't into shimmer or shine.
tin: Smith's Strawberry - tastes good, moisturizing, never had one melt on me. I like tins because something about the fingertip application makes me feel sexy.
tube: Softlips vanilla - this is actually a much narrower, tube compared to the regular size of say, Chapstick. Slightly taller but it fits great when space is at a premium. Is more "scented" than "tasty" to me, which is fine. Probably my favorite lip balm due its combination of long-lasting moisture, subtle taste, layerability and slim profile.
gloss: Liplicious by Bath & Body Works - tasty, not as shimmery as it appears in the tube but does give shine. Not as long lasting on the lips, probably because it's a bit too lickable.
posted by sm1tten at 6:56 PM on February 1


Nthing Badger Balm (specifically the cocoa butter line); I buy them in bulk but they last forever. They do get soft in your pocket but not melty/messy. They are mostly just cocoa butter and olive oil and don't make my lips chap like chapstick (hah, pun, irony) does.

I order the packs online but some Whole Foods have them. Apparently there's a whole slew of flavors/scents I haven't tried that folks suggested above, very exciting!
posted by Sayuri. at 7:00 PM on February 1


Also Burt's Bees for me, though I've tried a few different kinds in their line and liked them all. It's the only lip balm I've tried (so far) that keeps my lips moisturized for days -- I tend to find that when I use Chapstick, for example, I feel like I need to reapply every few hours. I can use Burt's Bees once every few days and not feel like my lips are about to fall off.
posted by jaguar at 7:15 PM on February 1


Nthing Burt's Bees. Their 'replenishing' lip balm with pomegranate oil is the best balm I've ever used.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:22 PM on February 1


+1 to making your own. Mine's beeswax + coconut oil, ratio eyeballed.

Grate some beeswax and scoop more coconut oil. Melt in the microwave (2-3 minutes?) and pour into a suitable container. If it dries too hard, add more coconut oil into the mix and re-melt, too soft means you need more beeswax.
posted by kjell at 7:23 PM on February 1


Like mmf above, I cannot live without several tubes of Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer scattered around the house (seriously, I go into a panic if I can't find my lip stuff). No smell or taste, and it glides on smoothly without becoming tacky. Currently testing out Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm which isn't too bad, with just a hint of shimmer.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 8:09 PM on February 1


I have had great experience with eos. They have a tube variety, if the ball isn't your thing. Mint is my favourite. The others can be a little too fruity at times, but I do use the lemon with spf 15 every now and again. I like eos because:
- My lips feel moisturized for a longer period of time
- Its not super shiny, but leaves my lips looking nice
The "95% organic" stuff is just marketing. I don't believe it is that much better because of that factor. Also, if you are in the US, buying in a big box store is cheaper, or waiting until there is a sale at CVS.

I've loved Molton Brown's Lip Saver. I started using it when they still gave Molton Brown stuff with the British Airways toiletries. After my free sample supply ran out, I immediately went and bought this. But, its too expensive for now. Its a "apply with your finger" one, which I don't mind.

And, if nothing else, Aquaphor is surprisingly good as a lipbalm. It was a tip from my dermatologist.
- gives shiny, moisturized lips. No need for lip gloss
- Skiing? Going out on rough seas? This is the stuff you want.
- But wears off immediately if you are drinking or talking a lot.

I have not liked Burt's Bees. Didn't stay on long enough, and left my lips feeling more flaky when it wore off. And the smell was really bothersome to me.

There are lots of things lipbalm won't do for you. Manually exfoliating lips can make a world of difference.

posted by troytroy at 8:42 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


The ones with castor oil are counterproductive for me. And now that I quit using petroleum products, they feel horribly sticky to me. Burts Bees cuticle cream works as lip balm, though it smells like furniture polish.
posted by Comet Bug at 9:42 PM on February 1


So loving this thread, I thought I was the only one who stashed multiple lip balms about her house and life. I cannot leave the house without my wallet, cell phone, and lip balm! Otherwise I will be in chapped lip hell for the day.

I am a Burt's Bees tinted lip balm lover, too. I liked the large range of shades, particularly the subtle ones. I think champagne is my favorite, though I wish they had SPF protection.

But mostly I'm excited to try the Dr Bronner's and Neutrogena.

Finally, though I love the pricey L'Occitane line of moisturizers (shoutout to Shea Butter Hand Cream!) the shea butter balm I bought out of desperation at the airport went rancid after a few months, so it's something to keep in mind with the 100% fat-based formulations.
posted by Pocahontas at 9:45 PM on February 1


Paula's Choice lip balm. I don't know the exact name, but it comes in a small screwtop tub with a pale blue lid. Mail order only, from her website only.

I lived in Canada for a million years and had chapped lips all winter every winter. I tried petroleum jelly, Burt's Bees, Chapstick, fancy brands, lip gloss, emu oil, all kinds of stuff. Nothing worked.

Paula's Choice works. I hoard it. I am terrified it will one day be discontinued.
posted by Susan PG at 10:59 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


This is a fun thread -- I had no idea so many people shared my love of lip balm! I won't use petroleum products anymore now that I'm trying to cut as many chemicals as I can out of my life. I also can't handle the taste -- I don't understand the appeal of putting gasoline on your lips, basically.

Nthing the eos brand -- I started using it a while ago because I could no longer get the amazing London Drugs lip balm I used to drive up to Canada to buy. Seriously, I drove up to Canada to buy this stuff, it was that great. The eos ones are easy to find in a bag, too.

My treat lip balm is Tokyo Milk Dark Salted Caramel balm. Holy geez. It's really hard not to eat it straight from the canister.
posted by emcat8 at 12:43 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


There is no lip balm better than this lip balm.

I buy one a year I think. I feel ridiculous, because it's expensive, but on the other hand, it's the best lip balm in the world. Especially in New England winters, where your lips can be just fine for a while and then you're outside on the wrong day and the texture of your lips is like a wool sweater. This fixes that sort of thing. I'll also use it occasionally, for instance, if my nose is roughed up from sneezing six thousand, seven thousand times, which also happens occasionally in New England winters.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:15 AM on February 2


Burt's Bees for me too: I like the mango one, but thought the honey one smelled kind of like something rotten. Some "honey" things do, I find. The mango one goes on super easily, but doesn't vanish instantly, its fragrance is very subtle sort of fruity, and it doesn't taste like anything (I don't *think*, I try hard not to lick my lips).

Castor oil is used in a lot of balm to make shine, but some people don't like it. Lip balms with butters (shea butter especially) can turn grainy, particularly with temperature changes. I used a really great one I bought on Etsy that was oils and waxes, no butters, which was very light and non-sticky, and seemed to last very well. I don't like petroleum balms. Chapstick does one with no petroleum products which is surprisingly nice.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 4:49 AM on February 2


I'm a huge lip balm user, but here are my guidelines:

Nothing I wouldn't eat as an ingredient. Where do you think that stuff goes? I am not interested in ingesting petrolatum, unknown "fragrances," propylparaben, butylparaben, octinoxate, oxybenzone, mica flakes, and other potentially creepy things.

Also, nothing that adds a crazy shine. I'm not looking for a gloss.

Environment-wise, I don't like the plastic tubes, but I haven't found something in a metal tube (yet - should probably look for that!), and I don't like sticking my fingers in a container.

I'm on the verge of making my own, but if I'm buying something, it's likely something as minimal as the Eco Lips Gold or the Eco Lips Hemp balms.

These both do just fine in the pocket of my jeans year-round, but I wouldn't leave them in a car on a hot day.
posted by metarkest at 6:50 AM on February 2


Does no one love Kiehl's Lip Balm No 1? That's my favorite, in the tub. Creamy and nice.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:13 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


For all the Bonne Belle and LipSmacker's folks: I recently found Chapstick with caramel flavor on one end and green apple on the other. It's my new favorite flavor.
posted by CathyG at 9:02 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I used to be a Burt's Bees lip balm devotee, but nowadays I avoid their classic lip balm because it contains peppermint oil, which irritates the skin. Same with their Eucalyptus & Menthol flavor.

I recently picked up a ChapStick Moisturizer and I've been very happy with it.

If you're ever in the Netherlands, HEMA's lip rescue balm is really good.
posted by neushoorn at 9:10 AM on February 2


There was a period of several years in my life where I would go through a jar of Carmex every 4 days. 4 DAYS. It "works" to dry out your lips so you just need to keep reapplying all day long. That shit is downright addictive, and I reccommend avoiding it at all costs.

Burt's Bees all the way. One tube lasts me a good few weeks, and it doesn't actively damage my lips.
posted by wats at 9:18 AM on February 2


I haven't tried it myself, but I've been wanting to try Soapwalla's Lip Locked ever since reading this review. Love & Toast is also recommended in that link.
posted by mokin at 10:05 AM on February 2


as I've previously mentioned, the best lip balm ever is Palmer's Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick. It doesn't taste like anything, smells vaguely chocolatey but not so people notice, and it comes in a big tube that makes everyone think you are putting gluestick on your lips. Amusing!
posted by exceptinsects at 2:06 PM on February 2


I cycle a lot and my lips get really dry and chapped in winter. Blistex in a tube fixes them overnight. It's like a medicated cream. Unlike everyone else here I don't really apply lip balm throughout the day (can't keep my purse with me at work, no pocket in my uniform) so blistex is perfect if you're only going to apply it once or twice a day.

If you are going to apply it more often that's fine, it sinks right in and doesn't leave a residue (more like putting moisturiser on your lips). But there's no real need to, once or twice is plenty.
posted by tinkletown at 2:44 PM on February 2


For the person who mentioned not liking the wastefulness of the plastic tubes, I was once given a lip balm in a fun cardboard tube, really ingenious. I don't think it was this brand but the packaging was the same. Googling things like "lip balm cardboard tube" or "ecotube" comes up with some options if anyone wants to explore.
posted by dahliachewswell at 6:10 PM on February 2


I really, really liked using tinted Lanolips when I was on holiday in a cold climate.

I do like the original Burts Bees, though I'm not sure if that's down to the minty fresh sensation!
posted by mippy at 8:13 AM on February 3


Desert Essence Lip Rescue Moisturizing, and Lip Rescue Ultra Hydrating.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:41 AM on February 3


i have tried at least half of the lip balms in this thread. My current favorite is Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips. It's much thicker than most balms and stays on much longer.
posted by inertia at 7:27 PM on February 3


I have found chapsticks to be ineffective, and researching it a bit, saw a lot of recommendations for petroleum jelly. which is boring. Zim's crack creme is nice - is like the petroleum, but cherry flavoured and comes in a handy tube.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:11 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I almost forgot- Chicken Poop. This stuff is so good. Hard to find in stores, order online.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:03 PM on February 4


Nthing Bonne Bell Lipsmackers but ONLY in Dr. Pepper. Have been using religiously for over a decade (and doing any makeup or other beauty stuff at all comes and goes for me, but the one constant since I was a teen is putting it on every morning after washing my face). Have tried a zillion others, fancypants $35/tube (always gifts, I swear!) down to midline to Carmex and Vaseline and etsy and homemade, even the other Bonne Bell stuff, and nothing is as comfortably light but still good at keeping my lips soft/sealed, just the right shade to feel invisible-to-the-naked-eye-and-yet-I-look-just-a-smidge-nicer, cheap as all get out (important as, like others note above, it quickly becomes something you want in every bag and car and desk and primp room in your life), easy to restock at any drugstore or supermarket, etc. All the others, there's always something off--either too much color, a weird color, feels good but over time makes my lips flaky/worse, too sticky, too shiny, too smelly, blah blah blah.
posted by ifjuly at 8:51 PM on February 4


I was sort of confused by all the comments about the minty taste of Burt's Bees, so I checked and just realized the kind I have isn't the original--it is actually the replenishing balm with pomegranate oil. This does not have any mint oil in it, so it isn't irritating.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:33 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


The only lip balm that I've found that doesn't make my lips feel "addicted" (by which I mean drier an hour or two later and needing more) is Blistex DCT. I live in a very dry climate, don't need to reapply all the time, and have no cracking/flaking/anything else untoward. I fully recognize that it is not "natural", but damn it works. Also, I guess I actually want SPF in my lip balm. It can be hard to find, so maybe I'm the only person for whom it is like magic, but CVS carries it (Walgreens tends not to).
posted by freezer cake at 11:08 AM on February 5


I will never forget my high school chemistry teacher excoriating me for using Carmex in class. He went on a rant about salicylic acid actually blocking the lips' natural ability to create lipids, thus essentially becoming addictive. (Huh. The AP sort of backs this up. I always wondered if it was just an urban legend.)

Either because of lip sobriety or because of a more humid environment, I rarely need anything. I'll use Burt's Bees or plain shea butter occasionally.
posted by puddleglum at 5:44 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


i stumbled on another i love, so i'll throw it in the ring: choco-smooch. its first ingredient is cocoa butter, and it does a good job of staying on a long time but not feeling sticky or heavy or anything. i was wondering why i've been calmer lately and then it hit me it might be because every day now i'm going through life with a low-level aroma of chocolate right beneath my nose, along with lavender hand cream. insta calmer.

bonus, choco smooch is available as a 3-pack where the tops have a hook so it can go on your key ring. never worrying i'm forgetting lip balm before i leave the house has turned out to be pretty convenient.
posted by ifjuly at 12:40 PM on March 31


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