We Take Lip Balm Seriously—Out of Hundreds of Formulas, These 10 Came Out on Top

Welcome to Deep Reviews—your one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. The Who What Wear staffers you already know and trust will research, test, and review the market's most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which formulas (of the hundreds up for consideration) are truly worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, completely uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations.


(Image credit: Kaitlyn McLintock/Aniyah Morinia)

As beauty editors, we take lip balm seriously (probably too seriously). It's mostly due to the fact that we've been burned by waxy, clumpy, and generally unsatisfactory formulas so many times. We're just like everyone else in that we want our lip balm to feel silky smooth and, most importantly, moisturize our lips. We'll say that again for emphasis: We want our lip balm to actually moisturize our lips—not just mask the problem and force us to keep reapplying product just to still somehow end up with chapped lips. Is that too much to ask? If a lip balm has a fresh scent and flavor or gives our lips a nice-looking sheen, that's a bonus. 

Because we're constantly asked which lip balms are truly the best of the bunch, we decided to undertake an in-depth research, testing, and recording process. First, we spent days researching hundreds of different formulas and assembling them into a color-coded spreadsheet (if only you could see the organizational joy of it all). Then, based on ratings, reviews, and personal experience, we narrowed everything down to a mere 10 tubes. That's when our editors got to testing, eventually crowning one humble lip balm as the best. Ahead, learn more about our review process, meet our consulting expert, and see which lip balms made the list. 

Best Overall: Burt's Bees Lip Balm


(Image credit: Kaitlyn McLintock)

Average rating: 5/5

This lip balm is an iconic drugstore product. Its hero ingredients are beeswax, vitamin E, and peppermint. The first one acts as occlusive, keeping moisture trapped in the skin. The second one acts as an antioxidant and soothing agent. The third provides a refreshing scent and sensation (especially if your lips are chapped). 

What we liked: 

"I think that Burt's Bees is the quintessential lip balm. It does exactly what you'd expect a lip balm to do, and I love it for that. It's not too thick and not too thin and I don't feel the need to reapply it a million times throughout the day." —Aniyah Morinia, fashion and beauty editor, branded content

What we didn't like:

There's literally nothing I dislike about this lip balm. It's cooling, refreshing, moisturizing, and it's one of the only formulas that I don't have to constantly reapply. The best compliment I can give it is that it's the only one I'll use when my lips are severely chapped. Even my boyfriend is obsessed with it. He won't use any other lip balm.

Kiehl's Since Lip Balm #1


(Image credit: Katie Berohn)

Average rating: 4.75/5

We had two lip balms tied for runner-up, and this handy little tube was one of them. Its formula is rich in squalane, which is the brand's signature ingredient—a moisturizing lipid derived from olives. It's also rich in aloe vera and vitamin E. 

What we liked: 

"I like the texture of this one. It's got a lot of slip, and I think it falls somewhere in between a lanolin ointment and a petroleum jelly in that it's lighter." —Katie Berohn, beauty editor

"This one was my other favorite of the bunch. It really soothed my dry, chapped winter lips and didn't look overly glossy either. It also did a great job of hydrating my lips and kept them hydrated. I barely needed to reapply throughout the day." —Shawna Hudson, associate beauty editor

What we didn't like:

"No cons! I loved this formula." —Hudson

Fresh Sugar Lip Balm Hydrating Treatment


(Image credit: Kaitlyn McLintock)

Average rating: 4.75/5

This was the second lip balm that tied for runner-up, and it cinched the same rating as the aforementioned Kiehl's products. This one is rich in humectants from beetroot sugar and sugar cane. It's sheer, applies like butter, and lasts for hours. 

What we liked: 

"Fresh's Sugar Lip Treatment is a classic for a reason. It leaves lips extremely hydrated, conditioned, and smooth. Plus, it smells incredible and is so easy to take with you anywhere." —Berohn

I didn't expect to love this lip balm so much, but that’s only because I didn't realize how silky and hydrating it is. It glides over my lips and leaves them feeling soft and moisturized for hours.

What we didn't like:

My only complaint (and it's a tiny one) is that I wish the texture was just slightly thicker to seal in even more moisture.

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm


(Image credit: Aniyah Morinia)

Average rating: 4.5/5

This was the second lip balm that tied for runner-up, and it cinched the same rating as the aforementioned Kiehl's products. This one is rich in humectants from beetroot sugar and sugar cane. It's sheer, applies like butter, and lasts for hours. 

What we liked: 

"I sing this lip balm's praises a lot and I've tried several flavors. I love that it has the consistency of a lighter-formulated lip balm with the look of a gloss. The color payoff is really great, too. I love that this can be used in place of some of my stickier glosses." —Morinia

I love the silky feel of this lip balm and its wide range of shades and scents (the Sweet Mint one is a personal favorite).

What we didn't like:

"The packaging can get a little messy, but other than that I have no issues with this lip product and will always repurchase it.—Morinia

I found myself reapplying it more often than other lip balms, so I wish the formula stayed a little while longer on my lips.

Glossier Balm Dotcom


(Image credit: Aniyah Morinia)

Average rating: 4.3/5

Another iconic lip balm, this one has a silky smooth texture and comes in a bevy of different flavors and scents. Our team's favorite was either the Wild Fig or the Birthday Cake iteration, although, you can't really go wrong with any of them. 

What we liked: 

"I love how amazing this lip balm smells. Every scent truly smells heavenly. The formula is thick but not heavy, and so easy to glide on. I almost wish that these were more tinted because it really is a perfect formula.—Morinia

"I like how easy this balm is to use, and I like that it comes in so many different colors and flavors. This is a great one to keep in any bag. The sparkles in the Birthday Cake flavor are fun!—Berohn

What we didn't like:

"If your lips are super chapped, I don't find it to be incredibly hydrating—this one is better for maintaining moisture. I also find that it rubs off of my lips rather quickly." —Berohn

Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm


(Image credit: Shawna Hudson)

Average rating: 4.3/5

The star ingredient in this multipurpose skin salve and lip balm is lanolin, which is a moisturizing ingredient derived from sheep's wool. Its renowned for its ability to soothe and moisturize even the driest, cracked skin. 

What we liked: 

"This one definitely provides a good amount of moisture for a longer period of time, it was a favorite in the bunch. My number one complaint with most lip balms is that the moisture doesn't last long and you have to keep reapplying every hour or so. I didn't have that problem with this one at all. It also makes your lips feel really soft and adds a nice gloss to them too.—Hudson

"I like that this lanolin-based ointment feels like it really penetrates the skin while still being a heavy occlusive.—Berohn

What we didn't like:

"The texture is a bit thick. I think it's better with a base layer of hydration underneath. —Berohn

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask


(Image credit: Katie Berohn)

Average rating: 4./5

Here it is—one of the internet's favorite lip balms. Even though it's technically an overnight mask, it locks in moisture and softens rough lips at any time of day or night. We like the variety of flavors it comes in and the fact that it lasts for what feels like forever. With this one, you get a lot of bang for your buck. 

What we liked: 

"Sometimes when I apply lip balm, it's hard to tell that it's working. With this mask, I can actually feel my lips being moisturized.—Morinia

"This is my holy-grail lip balm that I will always keep stocked no matter what. Laneige is the absolute best for hydrating and softening lips.—Berohn

What we didn't like:

"The thing about this mask is that it doesn't really feel like a balm to me. It's super thick and truly feels like it should only be worn to bed so that I can wake up with soft lips. I don't think I'd enjoy wearing this during the daytime because it's so heavy.—Morinia

Rhode Peptide Lip Treatment


(Image credit: Shawna Hudson)

Average rating: 3.75/5 

Leave it to Hailey Bieber to create an internet-viral product like this lip balm. Each one of these little gray tubes holds a high-shine, peptide-rich balm. They come in a variety of flavors, although Watermelon Slice seems to be the definitive Who What Wear team favorite. 

What we liked: 

I love two things about this lip balm: The first is that it's actually hydrating. I know that might seem like a basic tenant of all lip balms, but in my experience, most glossy lip balms aren't all that hydrating. The second is that it's thick enough to stay put without too much reapplication. I can apply this, leave it on for over an hour, and still see and feel it on my lips.

"I really loved the flavors of this one, my favorite being Watermelon Slice. This treatment also leaves a nice gloss on the lips so it's great for an event or dinner when you don't want to wear full-on lipstick. —Hudson

What we didn't like:

"I didn't love how thick this one was. It was so thick to the point of it being a bit gritty which is a bummer. I also didn't think it plumped my lips as much as other plumping glosses I've used.—Hudson

Aquaphor Lip Repair Ointment


(Image credit: Katie Berohn)

Average rating: 3.75/5 

This product is one of the most commonly recommended by dermatologists, because it acts as an occlusive, meaning it seals moisture into the skin and prevents transepidermal water loss. That explains why this product is a go-to for so many people who struggle with dry, chapped lips (especially in the winter). 

What we liked: 

I like that it's occlusive so it seals in moisture on even the most dry, flaking lips.

"I love how occlusive this balm is. It's great for locking in moisture, particularly during colder months.—Berohn

What we didn't like:

I don't love the scent, but I deal with it because it doesn't irritate my dry, sensitive lips.

Vaseline Lip Therapy Lip Balm


(Image credit: Kaitlyn McLintock)

Average rating: 3.75/5 

This iconic product has been around in one form or another for literally over one hundred years. Yes, it's made with petrolatum, which many people avoid for a variety of reasons, but you won't find a product that's more well-tested and expert-recommended. Dermatologists tend to recommend Vaseline products for their incredible occlusive properties. 

What we liked: 

"Vaseline is a classic! I used it my entire childhood and have always come back to it, especially during the winter when I need a heavy-duty lip product. It's super sheer and easy to apply and genuinely makes my lips feel 10 times softer.—Morinia

"This is a great no-fuss lip balm. It has no fragrance and is great for everyday use.—Hudson

What we didn't like:

"My biggest qualm with this product is that over time you do get some product build-fup on the inner corners of the lips. Once the product is worn off through the day, my lips feel pretty dry and addicted to feeling that formula again which isn't the greatest feeling.—Morinia


(Image credit: Geeta Yadav)

Geeta Yadav, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Facet Dermatology. As an expert in all things skin, we reached out to ask questions—namely, what ingredients make a good lip balm and what ingredients make a bad one? 

What are the best ingredients to look for in a lip balm?

Humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid to help hydrate as well as ceramides and shea butter to help seal in moisture are great ingredients to look for in a lip balm. I'd also recommend looking for a lip balm that features SPF. The lips feature some of the thinnest skin on the body, so it really needs protection against UV.

Are there any ingredients you recommend steering clear of? 

I'd advise against using ingredients like camphor or menthol. While they can provide a pleasant cooling effect, they can ultimately irritate and dry the lips, creating a never-ending cycle of reapplication. This is where the myth of "lip balm addiction" comes from—you continually reapply lip balm because your lips feel dry, but it is the camphor-infused lip balm that is drying out your lips in the first place.

How often can/should lip balm be used? 

Whenever your lips feel dry or stripped. I'd recommend using SPF lip balm every few hours or

after you've eaten/drank; apply a richer formula at night for deeper treatment.

Are there any other products that you recommend using for dry, flaky lips? 

Yes. I'd recommend using a lip exfoliant, either a mild sugar scrub or simply a damp, soft washcloth or toothbrush to remove dead skin. This will help any lip treatment you apply absorb better, moisturizing and softening the fresh, new skin.

Our Deep Reviews Research and Testing Process for Lip Balms

This installment of Deep Reviews, like all others, took weeks to complete. Not only do we take our time to research the best products on the market, but we put our top contenders through rigorous testing, which is conducted by our very own editors. 

Here's the 411: We started by looking at other publications—AllureByrdieGlamour, and many others. We created a master list of all the lip balms that were recommended. From there, we compared and color-coordinated the lists, looking at how often each lip balm was mentioned as well as its overall ratings and reviews on major beauty retailer sites.

After all of this, we had our list narrowed down to a mere 10 lip balms. All that was left was to do our own testing, and we did. Each editor received the lip balms and was asked to test, rate, and review them. Once we had everyone's responses, we assembled them into a document and ranked each lip balm according to the feedback. By the end, we had crowned the best one.

Kaitlyn McLintock
Associate Beauty Editor

Kaitlyn McLintock is an Associate Beauty Editor at Who What Wear. Although she covers a wide range of topics across a variety of categories, she specializes in celebrity interviews and skincare and wellness content. Having lived in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, she recently relocated back to her home state of Michigan where she works remotely. Prior to Who What Wear, she freelanced for a variety of industry-leading digital publications, including InStyle, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Coveteur. Before that, she held a long-term internship and subsequent contributor position at Byrdie. When she's not writing, researching, or testing the latest and greatest beauty products, she's working her way through an ever-growing book collection, swimming in the Great Lakes, or spending time with family.