Pucker up, because we’re about to guide you through the very best lip balms on the market to help you achieve super-soft, kissable lips in seconds.
First things first: Why do we need lip balm?
“Lips don’t have oil glands,” explains Lanolips creator Kirsten Carriol. “We subject them to waxy lipsticks and heating, which dries them out and the poor things cannot self-hydrate. Often people lick their lips when they are dry, but the digestive juices in your saliva will also dry your lips out, making them worse. So we need to replenish the moisture and look after them with a nourishing lip balm.”
But won’t using lip balm make our lips reliant on it?
Not necessarily. Annee de Mamiel, founder of de Mamiel, tells us: “Not if you use a balm that contains natural and nourishing ingredients rather than a barrier product.” Carriol expands on that: “If they are waxy or petroleum-jelly based products, they have the effect of drying lips out, which therefore makes lips more reliant on them.
“If you use a natural moisturiser like Lanolin then lips do not rely on lip products, as they will naturally hydrate lips. Lanolin locks moisture in helping to retain the moisture in the lips—I put a layer of Lanolips 101 Ointment on my lips before bed each night and wake each morning to moisturised, hydrated lips that are ready to face the day.”
It is worth noting that while barrier products like petroleum jelly don’t actively hydrate the lips, they can be useful for locking in moisture by quite literally forming a barrier over lips, which is why some people swear by products like Vaseline.
What ingredients should we look out for?
As previously mentioned, lanolin is a super-effective moisturiser for all tricky skin areas. De Mamiel also tells us: “To my mind, the best ingredients for a lip balm are nourishing and moisturising ingredients such as calendula, monoi and evening primrose—for me, they deliver both sensorial delight, and supple, sweetly scented lips.”
Other hydration heroes include shea butter and urea or glycerin which help retain moisture in the skin. Sunscreen is also a serious selling point when looking for the best lip balms.
Anything else we should be doing to keep lips soft?
Once or twice a week, gently exfoliate lips with a mixture of coconut oil and brown sugar. This will help remove any dead or dry skin and refresh your pout. Once you’ve picked your perfect match from our edit of the best lip balms, apply between once and four times a day to keep lips soft and smooth.
Keep scrolling to shop our edit of the best lip balms.
One of our favourite skincare-makeup-blends, this softening balm moisturises lips while giving a pretty pink glow.
Formulated as a softening, healing balm for sore chapped nipples during breastfeeding, this lanolin-enriched balm makes lips feel instantly softer. Use on any patches of problem skin. This is a great one to take on holiday, too, since the tube design helps prevent the product from melting (and keeps it contained if it does go a little runny…).
This hero balm is packed with natural beeswax to seal in hydration, plus coconut and sunflower oils to soften and hydrate.
Hero ingredients in this sweetly scented balm include evening primrose oil, calendula oil and monoi oil.
Just in case you haven’t tried Jo Malone London’s super-healing Vitamin E skincare range, this is a great place to start. The vitamin E protects skin from pollutants and premature ageing while a hint of natural honey gives the balm a super-sweet flavour. Once a week add a little brown sugar to your lip conditioner and use as an exfoliating scrub.
A little luxury well worth investing in, this is a favourite amongst beauty editors. At £48 it’s a real treat, but you’ll use every last drop of this hydrating, smoothing formula.
Celebrity fans of this super-hydrating pure medical-grade lanolin product include Shanina Shaik and Drew Barrymore and MUA Val Garland. It's great for elbows, ankles, knees and other dry patches, too.
Rich in shea butter and acacia honey, this balm is incredibly soothing, while grapefruit essence is uplifting. Massage this into lips to soften and perfect before applying a bold lipstick.
This dusky pink lip balm housed in its copper-adorned pot is Instagram gold. The sweet almond, jojoba and macadamia nut oils will keep your lips happy too.
A buttery lip balm that you can rely on to soothe and heal seriously chapped lips thanks to the blend of oils (hazelnut, plum kernel, sunflower) and two butters: shea and kokum.