There are so many lip balms out there. SO MANY. It’s overwhelmingly amazing to have so many choices but also sometimes just overwhelming. I’m a lip balm fanatic. I’ll admit it. There’s just something about having plump moisturized lips that’s really appealing to me. I just love trying the different flavors (flavors? I’m not sure if that’s what they are called because flavors makes them sound like skittles), different tints, and finishes. Burt’s Bees, Rosebud Salve, Vaseline, Carmex, Blistex, Eos, Aquaphor, Cortibalm, all the classics and more! Which one is really the bang for your buck?
First, we should go over what makes a good lip balm so good. Obviously, preferences may vary but some factors are universal. Obviously, you want a moisturizing balm that actually sinks into your lips and doesn’t just sit on top. Your lips should also stay moisturized, not just feel wet for .3 seconds and then feel crusty and crackly again.
Secondly, we have different finishes of lip balms. Do you want one that loads up on your lips, gives you a glossy slippery finish, or one with a thin coating that gives a natural, matte-ish finish? In different quantities either or may be able to give you both but in general, they fall in two different categories. Usually the glossier finishes are salves such as Rosebud, Vaseline, Aquaphor, or Blistex Medex and the matte natural finishes are from balms like Burt’s Bees or Eos. I think the salves gradually dry down to a natural finish but it definitely takes some time as a lot of the salve will need to evaporate in order for that to happen.
Thirdly, you’ll want to consider color. Do you want a tint or do you just want a clear coating. I find that usually, tints aren’ too strong if they’re advertised as lip balms. They still make a little small difference but don’t expect a dramatic difference. It is important to note that your lip color may change if your lips are extremely dry and you proceed to moisturize/exfoliate them, so there may be some subtle (good) change.
Lastly, packaging. I personally do not prefer tins but they do usually give you the best bang for your buck. It’s just you have to use your fingers and then it’s hard to get it off your fingers so you have to swipe it on your hand or something and eugh. I will occasionally allow for a tin-like packaging if I love the formula enough though.
The first lip balm we’ll go over is a cult favorite: Burt’s Bees. Of course, I love the classic peppermint flavor (I’m big on mint balms) but the other ones are all fun as well. It really just depends on the scent you want since the formulas are pretty consistent. I’ve tried all the tropical flavors: Coconut and Pear, Mango, Grapefruit, and Pomegranate. (I like the Mango and Grapefruit the most out of the four) They’re all smooth and buttery but I always come back to the mint. Here, I have the medicated version. In terms of fragrance it smells like mint cough medicine and gives a tingly feeling on the lips. I don’t notice much of a “medicating” effect and tbh I still kind of prefer the original peppermint. That said, I will always have some version of Burt’s Bees lip balm on my desk. Despite being smooth and buttery, it’s light and has a very subtle natural shine. It’s simply the best, no hassle, most practical lip balm for day to day life. I would buy this in bulk in order to cut down on the mullah.
Next, we have Rosebud Salve, another cult following. I have tried three of the scents: the classic rose, mint rose, and strawberry rose. All three of mine are in the tube packaging (not a fan of tins), and all three are slightly tinted pink. The classic rose has a very strong scent and is quite reminiscent of rose perfume. This stuff is potent. If you love roses, you’ll love this. If you don’t like roses, steer clear. My favorite one is the mint rose, it’s subtle and smells like the soft peppermint candies that melt quickly in your mouth. It’s also cooling which is always a plus. The strawberry rose has often been described to smell like a lip smacker’s lip gloss which I believe to be extraordinarily accurate. I find it to be a little grainier than the other ones. Personally, it’s not my cup of tea but I can still see why people love it. If you’re storing the lip balms in chilly temperatures, the formula will be a little difficult to get out of the tube but as soon as it touches your lips, it melts quickly and spreads evenly. The formula is definitely thicker than Burt’s Bees and is rather high gloss but still a solid option. It’s a little pricey but if you really love the rose scent, (very very subtle) light pink tint, and thick formula, you will love this. My cheap wallet and I will take our coins elsewhere. (Except maybe for repurchasing the mint one)
Thirdly, we have good ol’ Vaseline. Not much to say here as most people have used vaseline in some shape or form. Definitely moisturizes lips with very thick and sticky formula, but it may break out the area around your mouth (it did for me at least). Vaseline’s Rosy Lips however, is a different story. It’s a dupe for the tin of Rosebud Salve (IMO). However, because I don’t like tins because sometimes the lids get stuck/i don’t love using my fingers, I don’t usually buy this.
Carmex. I can already smell the medicinal signature smell. I personally love the smell and the texture of Carmex but some people hate it. I would say Carmex is similar to a salve in texture, a little thick but thinnable. The classic carmex has no tint and is quite enjoyable. Although I ended up purchasing this as a tin, I think next time I would purchase this as a squeezy tube. Definitely an affordable option that has been a classic for so many years for a reason.
Fifth on the list is Blistex. Specifically, the Blistex Medex. SUCH AN UNDERRATED LIP BALM OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS STUFF SO MUCH! It’s so affordable if you buy in bulk and it never disappoints. It’s like a much thinner version of vaseline that is extremely cooling and instantly mends cracked lips. If you really need moisture for your lips, Blistex Medex is such a key purchase. This is the only formula that I will consistently buy even though it does not come in a tube. Super high gloss but fades to a natural sheen, exactly my type. On winter nights I will glob this on to wake up to pillowy lips. The only drawback is the scent. It’s extremely medicinal which I kind of love, but many people do not.
Aaaaand Eos. Otherwise known as Evolution of Smooth. God, remember when literally everybody had these? I remember my mom buying one for me and me looking at the egg in the middle and being rattled. In middle school I literally bought every single scent. Now they’re coming out with clear chapsticks and whatnot. These were kind of pricey I’m not going to lie (although they have gotten cheaper lately) and now that I think about it, I just don’t love them the same way anymore. They dried out my lips a little and were sort of impractical and mildly bulky to carry around. However, if you only need a little moisture, and you love the scents, they are an option. Just not an option I will purchase for a while. (If you do get one get the mint one. I’m serious this mint is actually the best scent, it smells exactly like how chocolate chip mint ice cream tastes)
?Seventh-ly? Let’s talk about Aquaphor. It’s like plain Vaseline in a tube. Slightly lighter maybe and less sticky. It’s is pretty shiny at first as all salves are, but it fades down in time. It’s honestly an affordable purchase that’s super stable but since I love the cooling sensations I usually opt for Blistex. (ONCE AGAIN WITH THE BLISTEX!!) My brother loves this stuff though and he only likes things that work well and efficiently. (He doesn’t know that I’m giving this out as his recommendation but…) I think because of the simple packaging and the neutral scent, I’ve seen a lot of guys use this, making it a great stocking stuffer or daily present for the guy in your life.
Next we have Cortibalm. Cortibalm is not to be messed around with. This stuff is disgusting tasting, disgusting smelling, and overall the farthest from heavenly and fun. However, if your lips actual need some serious help because the winds of the desert are attacking your dry crackly lips (Or you’re on retinol-A pills) then this is a big time recommendation. If your lips actually hurt and bleed at the corners (no for real), Cortibalm will save your life. Trust me, you’ll know if you need Cortibalm. Since it is formulated with actual hydrocortisone, it will hydrate your lips with some sciency magic unlike any other lip balm.
!Extra! Some time ago when I was on a lip balm splurge (yesterday ahahaha i need help) I got these art naturals lip balms in the tropical flavor. They weren’t as buttery and smooth as Burt’s Bees but they smelled so good and they were so cheap I would definitely buy again.
I mean $7.55 for a 6 pack of high quality lip balms?
Lastly, a lip balm won’t help too much if your lips have loads of dead skin just sitting on top. To combat this, I recommend exfoliating, especially if you have dry lips. You don’t need to buy a lip scrub (sometimes when I’m using a face scrub I’ll just toss a bit on my lips and scrub gently), but I find a toothbrush and a lip balm of your choice to be sufficient. Just put on a few layers and then gently scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Make sure you aren’t too rough, you really don’t need that much force. Super cheap, super effective, LOVE this so much.
You’re probably still like wow that overly long post just really didn’t help. Imma break it down for you. If you’re looking for daily balms that aren’t too sticky, go for Burt’s Bees. It’s always been there for me like a best friend. If you’re looking for a shiny balm and you don’t mind pots, try the Blistex Medex. You might not love it at first coat, but you will love it by the time you finish it. If you don’t want a salve you have to use your hands for, I would honestly recommend Aquaphor or Carmex (depending on the scent). Overall, lip balms are just such good presents for the people in your life because who likes dry cracked lips?
Thanks for reading friends! If you have a lip balm you love that I did not mention, leave a comment below. I’m always on the search for a new lip balm. Next week we’ll be back to reviews with a good one for Benton’s Aloe BHA Skin Toner. Could it be better than my favorite dearKlairs toner? Wait next week to see!