The Best Lip Balms For Winter

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No matter how much you bundle up in the winter, it's a fact — your lips are going to take a serious beating. Not only are they nearly impossible to keep protected from the elements, but they're also constantly being exposed to moisture from your mouth, which creates the perfect condition for chapped lips. And even though you might already be loyal to one particular brand of lip balm, it might not be the best option for cold weather-induced dryness, cracking, and flaking. May I, then, introduce you to some of the best lip balms for winter?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the best ingredients for chapped lips include ceramides, petrolatum, white petroleum jelly, castor seed oil, and even the silicone dimethicone. You can also look for a lip balm that contains mineral sun blockers like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which can be especially helpful if you spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter (skiers, take nite). To help heal dry winter lips, you can also try incorporating a lip mask into your pre-bedtime routine (you’ll find a great option below).

One other tip for repairing dry, chapped, winter lips comes from Insta-famous dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss, who recommends the “lip basting” technique. First, she suggests gently exfoliating your lips using a product with glycolic acid (she likes the L’Oreal Paris Revitalift serum in particular), then, after letting it fully absorb, slather on a thick layer of rich ointment (such as Weleda Skin Food), and let it sit there for as long as possible.

Now that you’re armed with a few key tips, scroll on to find your new BFF for winter.


Editor’s Pick: Best Lip Balm

“I’ve long been a fan of Bioderma’s Atoderm lip balm. If you’re looking for a basic, lightweight lip balm — not a thick cream or ointment — that’s nourishing enough to stand up to winter weather, this is it. The simple formula soothes and softens my dry lips without leaving behind a thick residue, which is nice because it doesn’t mess with the integrity of any lipstick I layer on top.” — Adeline Duff, Bustle beauty editor

Key ingredients: shea butter, vitamin E, laminaria extract


Editor’s Pick: Best Glossy Balm

“I originally picked up Patchology’s Lip Service as a whim to use up a gift card, but now I’m hooked. It’s thick but not sticky with incredible shine and smells like Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies — the finish is gorgeous over lip color, yet comfortable enough to wear to sleep (and yes, I do both). In addition to outperforming so-called ‘ultra conditioning’ balms and banishing my chronically chapped winter lips, it’s loaded with derm-favorite skin care ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides to keep them looking supple long-term. And it feels a hell of a lot nicer to use on a daily basis than plain old Vaseline. Long story short, I now own three.” — Scarlett James, Bustle editor

Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, vitamin B3, aloe, honey


Editor’s Pick: Best Intensive Lip Balm

“This lip repair balm has saved my lips this winter. I get really dry and chapped lips that can get painful at winter time, and I started putting this on my lips before bed and they have healed so much. It’s a heavier formula, but I use it night and day during the dry months. I’d swear by this lip balm.” — Amy Biggart, Bustle editor

Key ingredients: lanolin, vitamin E, glycerin, aloe


Best Drugstore Lip Balm

Another great, affordable, and basic-in-a-good-way option is Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning lip balm. Sold in an affordable set of two, these classic drugstore balms are rich in all sorts of nourishing, plant-derived oils and butters to promote smoother, more comfortable-feeling lips. At $8 for a two-pack, it’s a great value, too.

Key ingredients: cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, beeswax

According to one Amazon reviewer: “I have NEVER loved a Burts Bees formula more than this one. Whenever my lips start cracking and feeling all crusty from the harsh winters, [I rub] this on and they are so intensely soft.”


Best Basic Lip Ointment

Oftentimes, it’s the simplest products that are the most effective. Case in point: Aquaphor Lip Repair, which has stood the test of time for a reason. The basic, unscented formula simply works: it soothes and softens even the driest, flakiest lips, and it provides both immediate and long-term benefits. Use this as often as you want, either overnight or throughout the day.

Key ingredients: shea butter, chamomile, glycerin, panthenol, beeswax

According to one Amazon reviewer: “I feel like I have tried every lip gloss and this is the winner. I get terrible dry lips, worse in winter but really it’s year round. They crack and bleed. While other products help, this one stays on the longest and hardly ever needs reapplied. The best for moisturizing. No scent or artificial colors, and it’s affordable. I buy them three at a time to have everywhere.”


Best Lip Balm With SPF

Formulated with SPF 30 to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, Dermatone medicated lip balm is the official lip protectant of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team. (The brand even claims that their product has been tested in climates “from Mt. Everest to K2 and Antarctica to Death Valley.”) The water-resistant formula contains nourishing and healing ingredients like aloe, sunflower seed, and tea tree, and it’s sold in a budget-friendly two-pack for less than $10.

Key ingredients: dimethicone, mineral oil, beeswax, petrolatum, aloe

According to one Amazon reviewer: “I've used this living in the mountains of Colorado and now on the beaches in Florida. There is no better lip sunscreen.. And... it doesn't give you that bitter aftertaste.”


Best Lip Balm With Mineral SPF

Dermatone lip balm may be the official lip protectant of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team — and a go-to for adventurists around the world — but it does use chemical sunscreen filters, which some people prefer to avoid. (To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with chemical sunscreen — some people simply find that mineral sunscreens work better for their skin.) If you’re one of those people, or if you have super-sensitive skin or are allergy prone, reach for this lip balm from Vanicream. Like all of the brand’s products, it’s made without common irritants and is made only with super-gentle ingredients that serve a purpose — no unnecessary additives or fillers. It has an SPF of 30 and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so it’s a great choice for anyone who spends a lot of time outside.

Key ingredients: dimethicone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide,

According to one Amazon reviewer: “Bought this after Dr. Dray discussed it on YouTube. I use it under lipstick and on its own throughout the day. There aren't too many high quality, high SPF lip products on the market and this one is top notch. It feels comfortable, sheers out well, layers well, and is very affordable. Highly recommend.”


Best Tinted Lip Balm

Tinted lip balms aren’t very hard to find, but tinted lip balms that contain the necessary ingredients to repair dry, chapped lips are a rarer breed. ILIA’s all-natural lip balm is worth the splurge — it’s made with several AAD-recommended ingredients, like shea butter and castor seed oil (there’s also a hint of iron oxide and titanium dioxide in here), while cocoa seed butter and and jojoba oil offer even more nourishing benefits. Best of all, it’s offered in eight pretty shades, from bold red to warm brown.

Key ingredients: shea butter, rosehip oil, castor seed oil, beeswax, jojoba

According to one Amazon reviewer: “Yes, it is truly hydrating, Feels so good.My lips tend to feel dry and irritated recently. This helps with that problem. Thank you.”


Best Luxury Overnight Lip Treatment

Thanks to all that dry, cold air, it's unfortunately all too common to wake up with dehydrated lips in the winter. The solution? Laneige's best-selling Lip Sleeping Mask, which was specifically formulated with overnight use in mind. It's rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that soothe and soften dry lips, as well as hyaluronic acid, which is one of the most hydrating ingredients on the planet. Through the brand's Moisture Wrap Technology, this creamy mask moisturizes lips for eight hours and releases its active ingredients while you sleep on a time-release schedule. Also, the berry-infused formula feels like sherbet and smells absolutely delicious, so you'll actually look forward to applying it each evening.

Key ingredients: shea butter, dimethicone, antioxidant-rich fruit extracts

According to one Amazon reviewer: “This product blew my mind! I live in the frigid tundra that is Minnesota and my lips always get dry and cracked this time of year no matter what lip products I use! To say I was desperate for a solution now that it is January doesn’t quite do it justice. This product comes with an adorable little spatula and it [glides] on with a pretty gloss too. I’ve used it 3 nights in a row now and instead of waking up with split and hurting lips, I wake up with soft moisturized lips. My fiancé even wanted to try it last night and was amazed! 15/10 highly recommend!”


Best Drugstore Overnight Lip Treatment

For a less expensive lip treatment that was designed for overnight use, try this one from Neosporin. It contains white petrolatum jelly — one of those ingredients the AAD recommends — as well as cocoa butter, vitamin E, and other nutrients to help nourish and repair your lips while you sleep. It feels more like a gel-cream moisturizer than it does a sticky lip balm, and it delivers results in just three days, according to the brand. Get it in a two-pack for under $15.

Key ingredients: white petrolatum, cocoa butter, vitamin E, lanolin

According to one Amazon reviewer: “Great product, helps so much with dry, sore winter lips. My lips can get painfully sore, and visibly chapped during dry winter months. This makes them not hurt, and within a couple days they start to heal. A must if you live in dry air locations!”

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