Lip balm. It has always been a gateway purchase for me since I began my exploration of the skincare landscape twenty years ago. Most always affordable, a brand’s lip balm provides a lens into what I can expect from the rest of the line. And who doesn’t need a lip balm? At all times? It is without a doubt my most ubiquitous item — I carry one or two in my bag, jacket pocket; there’s one in the car, on the kitchen counter and on the night table — you name it. At this time of year in New York in particular, I can’t get enough of these soothing, nourishing, and preferably shine-free formulas.
I have probably tried over one hundred lip balms over the years and I’ve developed a few personal preferences. I will never understand the hype that surrounds Kiehl’s #1 Lip Balm ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. And I still miss the original philosophy kiss me formula that lasted through the night. I have finally freed myself from the addiction to Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. Welcome to my personally curated list of recent favorites among the countless, overwhelming number of options available today.
Olio e Osso No.1
Olio e Osso No. 1 may be one of the most impressive clean, green options I have come across to date. It’s a clear (there are twelve other tinted numbers) eco-luxe balm that consists of just four all natural ingredients. This wide stick makes for a perfect single swipe application. You can also use it over your cheeks for a hint of radiant glow, to tame flyaways, or to address dryness on the side of your nose. With a fresh and subtle citrus aroma, it’s the best travel companion. $28 (10g) aillea.com
Boy de Chanel Lip Balm
The luxury fiends who seems to have it all will find the Boy de Chanel Lip Balm one chic accessory. The swivel stick applicator capped with the signature logo is definitely a worthwhile splurge or a perfect gift idea for the grooming-obsessive in your life. The clear formula is infused with skin nourishing jojoba oil, shea butter, and vitamin E to soothe dry lips on contact. It is also completely matte and non-sticky. $38 (3g) chanel.com
PCA Skin Peptide Lip Therapy
A tube of the gel-balm lip treatment is always a staple in my car. The slanted tip tube allows for precise application without having to take my eyes off the road. My lips stay moisturized as I yap away on the phone and sip my grande green tea en route to the city and back. Shea Butter is the moisture magnet here and it delivers immediate relief. Peptides help stimulate collagen production to ensure a plumper appearance long term. No glossy shine here, only a natural looking satiny finish. $28 (8.5g) dermstore.com
Abhati Suisse Mahanadi Natural Lip Treatment
Last year, this Swiss import quickly won me over with their exquisite hair oil. So if you haven’t yet tried this chic looking brand, how about starting off with their lip balm? Mahanadi is fueled by nourishing Castor Seed Oil and Beeswax as well as antioxidant-rich Moringa Oil, Vitamin E, and Rosemary Extract. Semi-glossy and without an aggressive shine, it is a great daily maintenance formula that will make your lips appear healthy and plump. $18 (10ml) credobeauty.com
Avène Cicalfate Restorative Lip Cream
This upcoming French pharmacy launch (mark your calendars for March!) is a superb addition to the healing Cicalfate range. Formulated to protect very dry and irritated skin, the new lip cream is infused with the brand’s signature Thermal Spring Water, Sucralfate, Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Glycerin and plant oils and waxes. All comfort and protection. No stickiness. It’s fragrance-free, which makes it a great pick for anyone with skin sensitivities. $18 (10g) aveneusa.com
DHC Lip Cream
The Japanese super-brand may be best known for its iconic cleansing oil but their Lip Cream is not to be missed. It’s an elegant blend of antioxidant-rich Olive Oil, Lanolin, Aloe Vera, and plant-derived Squalane that provides instant relief to chapped lips. I am just finishing the limited Little Mermaid edition that I picked up at a 7-Eleven in Tokyo last year with a fresh replacement tube at the ready. It’s addictive. $9.50 (1.5g) dermstore.com
37 Actives Lip Treatment
Since oils are a constant in my evening routine, I cannot resist the silky fusion that is 37 Actives Lip Treatment. A permanent fixture on my night table, this blend of plant oils, Hyaluronic Acid, and peptides heals dry skin and brings back a fuller looking pout. Because it’s an oil and glossy, I prefer to wear it at bedtime. If you’re familiar with Dr. Macrene’s anti-aging line, I know you’ll agree that these formulas are indeed investment-worthy. $95 (.24 oz.) skinstore.com
Don’t expect any lip balm to last for eight hours. And if it does, it’s probably best for night time (Aquaphor Healing Ointment status). I don’t mind re-applying and you also should be realistic about staying power. We eat, drink, talk, kiss – it would be suspicious if any formula made it through all the daily mechanics. Would love to hear about your favorites, too!