Anyone who’s ever experienced chapped lips knows better than leave home without lip balm. But as you’ve probably noticed from trying many kinds – from SPF lip balms to tinted lip balms – not all are created equal. Some leave your lips drier than before, some are so greasy they never absorb into your skin, and some don’t provide any sun protection.
So in the name of chapped-lip-sufferers everywhere, we put together the ultimate guide to finding the perfect lip essential for maximum moisture, long-lasting hydration, sun protection and even a pop of color.
Check out our guide below, and read why our #1 derm-developed lip balm and beauty editor fave is your ultimate lip savior.
WHAT CAUSES CHAPPED LIPS?
Naturally, your lips are already at a disadvantage when it comes to maintaining moisture. Why? Unlike the rest of your skin, your lips don’t produce their own natural oils to stay moisturized and nourished.
To add insult to injury, your lips are also much thinner and more sensitive, leaving them prone to abuse from the elements. One common offender? UV rays. Most people don’t think about their lips when using SPF, but the truth is UV rays can break down the collagen in your lips, resulting in painful cracks and dryness. Not to mention hyperpigmentation and a higher risk for melanoma.
UV rays aren’t just a hazard in the warmer months, but also in the winter, which comes with its own slew of agitators: dry air, indoor heating, hot showers, wind burn and so on.
But do you know what the #1 cause of dry lips really is? Lip licking!
Yes, really! We all do it (whether consciously or not), but the instant relief it provides is not only brief, but makes matters worse in the long run. Unlike lip balms, your saliva can’t provide deep hydration or trap in moisture. So after a few minutes, it evaporates and leaves your lips drier than before.
HOW TO CARE FOR CHAPPED LIPS
If you struggle with dry, cracked, flaky lips, there are a few habits you can incorporate into your routine – drinking more water, exfoliating, sleeping with a humidifier – that’ll help restore and maintain a smooth, plump finish. But the most effective for instant relief? Lip balm!
Lip balm green flags
The perfect recipe for the perfect pout? You want a formula that will attract and hold water to your lips, smooth and improve texture, seal in all the moisture and nutrients, plus provide SPF. Here’s what to look out for:
- Humectants help attract and hold water to your skin for long-lasting hydration. Look for ingredient listings with hyaluronic acid and glycerin to ensure a deep hydration that penetrates below surface level.
- Emollients are key for improving the texture and appearance of your lips. Keep an eye out for lip balms with ingredients like squalane and Vitamin E that’ll smooth out and fill in the cracks in your chapped lips.
- Occlusives are the cherry on top… literally! They’re the essential top layer that forms a protective barrier to prevent moisture loss and protect against environmental aggressors. Look out for ingredients like natural butters, oils and waxes to ensure you stay lip locked with maximum moisture.
- SPF 30 at the minimum. Anything below 30 is not as effective of a shield against UV rays and the damage they cause.
Lip balm red flags
What don’t you want in your lip balm? Drying alcohols. Ingredients such as menthol, camphor and phenol are often used in lip balms to achieve a cooling effect on your lips. The problem is, these alcohols evaporate quickly, leaving your pout even more dehydrated than before.
So, what is the best lip balm for velvety-soft lips?
All of the above shows the importance of checking the ingredient label before buying into any lip balm. Luckily, we happen to know of a super hydrating option that checks off all the right boxes…
That's right... our Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm SPF 30! A top pick for dermatologists and beauty editors alike, its creamy formula is packed to the max with enriching ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalane, Vitamin E, shea and olive butters, avocado oil, plus SPF 30 protection.
This dermatologist developed SPF lip balm comes with a major plus… it’s tinted! With a range of colors from bare to deep plum to the perfect red lip, its buildable coverage allows you to choose your color intensity for a finished look that’s oh-so-you!
LIP BALM PRO TIPS
Maximize moisture and all-day hydration with these key application tips:
- If your lips are very dry, apply the Bare lip balm right before bedtime! Your skin goes into repair mode while you sleep, flushing out toxins and creating new skin cells. Lip balm will help replenish any moisture loss and make sure new skin cells stay smooth and plump, for soft lips by morning.
- Reapply throughout the day. All day long, your lips are being robbed of moisture when you eat, drink, kiss, talk, lick your lips, and so on. Make sure to reapply often, especially after meals and coffee breaks. Reapplying with an SPF lip balm is especially important when you’re out in the sun.
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