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9 best lip balms to treat and nourish dry, chapped lips

From glossy tints to exfoliating scrubs, prep your pout with one of our favourite formulas

<p>Our lips have some of the thinnest skin on the body,  so it’s important to keep them hydrated  </p>

Our lips have some of the thinnest skin on the body, so it’s important to keep them hydrated

There are two types of people in this world: those who have multiple lip balms on the go at once (and who’ll probably find one in every bag, drawer and pocket) and those who are yet to become reliant on them.

Whether or not you’re a self-confessed balm addict, there’s no denying that it’s worth having at least one in your arsenal.

After the delicate eye area, the skin on our lips is among the thinnest on the whole body, and so it’s important to keep it as hydrated as possible. And that’s even more important during the winter months – not least because having dry, chapped lips can be uncomfortable at best and painfully sore at worst.

So, to help solve that issue and to ensure lips stay plump and nourished all year round, we’ve pulled together a list of some of the best products out there.

From overnight masks to tinted balms and super-hydrating, sunscreen-enhanced formulas, this is our selection of the products we think are worth buying.

How we tested

We used these lip balms as per the instructions. Some were applied a couple of times a day (mostly after eating or drinking) or with our tester’s make-up as necessary, while others were applied liberally at bedtime to allow them to do their best work through the night. We used each for a minimum of a week.

The best lip balms for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Summer Fridays lip butter balm: £21, Cultbeauty.co.uk
  • Best overnight treatment – Esho coat: £21.99, Feelunique.com
  • Best lip mask – BareMinerals phyto-retinol lip mask: £25, Boots.com
  • Best for variety – Glossier balm dotcom: £10, Glossier.com
  • Best for hydration – Nuxe ultra-nourishing lip balm: £8, Nuxe.com
  • Best SPF lip balm – Ultrasun SPF30 ultra lip balm: £8, Spacenk.com
  • Best for chapped lips – Avène cicalfate restorative lip cream: £7, Boots.com
  • Best tinted lip balm – Mac glow play lip balm: £20, Maccosmetics.co.uk
  • Best for sustainability – Rabot 1745 honey chocolat lip balm: £7, Hotelchocolat.com

Summer Fridays lip butter balm

  • Best: Overall
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Formula: Shea butter, murumuru butter, plant-based waxes
  • Shade: Slight sheen
  • Packaging: Squeeze tube with applicator tip
  • Vegan friendly: Yes

It’s not just our tester who fell madly in love with this balm – it’s one that many fellow beauty editors love (and have used right up to the last squeeze) too. The vegan formula is buttery but not greasy, and is packed with shea and murumuru butter alongside plant-based waxes that work to deeply hydrate lips. It adds a slight sheen but nothing too obvious, and it smells delicious. We also loved that it’s available in either a clear formula or a slightly tinted, sheer beige shade. Plus, the tube is now made with bio-resin and has an applicator tip which makes applying on the go even easier.

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Esho coat

  • Best: Overnight treatment
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Formula: Squalane, golden jojoba oil, plant extracts
  • Shade: Sheer shine
  • Packaging: Glass pot
  • Vegan Friendly: Yes

Created by Dr Tijion Esho, the self-proclaimed “king of lips”, his range of products has been designed to hydrate, volumise and sculpt lips without the need for injections, if that’s what you’re tempted by. Our tester’s favourite product is “coat”, an intensive treatment that works to soothe and repair dry, cracked lips. Formulated with squalane and golden jojoba oil, it absorbs quickly and easily instead of sitting on the surface. We applied a generous layer before bedtime and by morning lips our lips were smooth, hydrated and super soft. The effects are definitely cumulative – the more we used it, the more we noticed how much it improved the overall feeling and appearance of our lips (and lipstick definitely started to sit better, too).

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BareMinerals phyto-retinol lip mask

  • Best: Lip mask
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Formula: Papaya enzymes, phyto-retinol, hyaluronic acid
  • Shade: None
  • Packaging : Plastic pot
  • Vegan Friendly: Yes

Clinically proven to replenish moisture, smooth lines and boost lip radiance over time, this leave-on mask from BareMinerals is powered by papaya enzymes that work to gently slough away dead skin, while the brand’s own phyto-retinol – a plant-based alternative to the powerhouse ingredient – encourages the skin’s own natural collagen production while being mild enough to use on lips. The formula is good for generously slathering on at nighttime, and the inclusion of hyaluronic acid works to help nourish lips and replenish lost moisture. It’s hydrating, smoothing and leaves lips feeling very well-loved.

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Glossier balm dotcom

  • Best: Variety
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Formula: Castor oil, beeswax and lanolin
  • Shade: Range of colours and flavours
  • Packaging : Squeeze tube
  • Vegan friendly: No

You cannot go wrong with Glossier’s now-iconic balm dotcom – a product that’s now become synonymous with the brand. Reasonably priced, coming in cute packaging and with a colour and flavour to suit everybody and every mood, they’re great to keep in your bag and use throughout the day. Our favourite is cookie butter; not just because it smells like Biscoff spread, but because the “melted caramel” tint is a your-lips-but-better shade. Made using castor oil, beeswax and lanolin, the waxy texture does harden in cold weather (but can quickly be melted down with the heat of your hands) and it stays in place for a relatively long time, leaving lips feeling moisturised but not greasy or shiny.

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Nuxe ultra-nourishing lip balm

  • Best: For hydration
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Formula: Honey, beeswax, essential oils
  • Shade: None
  • Packaging: Glass pot
  • Vegan Friendly : No

A much-loved hero in the lip balm world, Nuxe’s balm harnesses the nourishing properties of honey to soothe dry, damaged lips, alongside beeswax to protect against cold, windy weather. It melts into lips for immediate and intense hydration – and while it won’t be to everybody’s taste, we really liked the zesty lemon and grapefruit scent. The formula also contains sweet almond and musk rose essential oils that work to replenish lost moisture and prevent dryness.

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Ultrasun SPF30 ultra lip balm

  • Best: SPF lip balm
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Formula: White meadowfoam, blackcurrant oil, beeswax
  • Shade: None
  • Packaging: Lip balm tubes
  • Vegan Friendly: No

A good lip balm with added sunscreen is a must-have for just about everybody, and Ultrasun is probably the very best available. A brand that prides itself on effective and technologically advanced sun protection, this nourishing balm protects the lips from damaging UV rays. Formulated with white meadowfoam and blackcurrant oil, it’s the perfect size for travelling but it’ll also fit neatly in your pocket – because protecting your lips against the sun all year round is just as important as protecting the rest of your face. We liked that this was super easy to use, took seconds to apply and sank in nicely without leaving any sticky residue in its wake.

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Avène cicalfate restorative lip cream

  • Best: For chapped lips
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Formula: Fragrance-free, Avène thermal spring water, zinc sulphate
  • Shade: Slight white-cast
  • Packaging: Squeeze tube
  • Vegan friendly: No

If you’re somebody who suffers from chronically dry or chapped lips, this gently soothing formula may be the product you’ve been looking for. Every item in Avene’s extensive range is made with sensitive skin in mind, and this fragrance-free balm is no different. It simultaneously protects against external, often-aggravating aggressors while also nourishing and repairing dry skin. The water-resistant formula makes it longer-lasting than most, and the blend of anti-irritating ingredients will work wonders. However, be warned that it does apply white, so you need to gently massage it in to help it absorb into lips, but that’s a small price to pay.

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Mac glow play lip balm

  • Best: Tinted lip balm
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Formula: Shea butter, mango and jojoba seed oils,
  • Shade: Range of shades including clear with buildable coverage
  • Packaging: Lip balm tube
  • Vegan friendly: No

These tinted balms are the best we’ve found: they can be worn sheer or easily built up for a more intense pop of colour, and are made with a blend of shea butter, mango and jojoba seed oils that work in tandem to smooth and hydrate lips. We love the range of shades available, from deep grape to bright red and neutral pink, and there’s a clear one too if you want the benefits without the tint. They feel super comfortable on lips, and add a shine without looking too much, plus they’re super easy to wear and top-up when necessary.

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Hotel Chocolat rabot 1745 honey chocolat lip balm

  • Best: For sustainability
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Formula: Almond oil, cacao butter, rosemary leaf extract
  • Shade: Slight tint
  • Packaging: Reusable bamboo tub
  • Vegan friendly: Yes

It might be surprising to hear that Hotel Chocolate (yes, the chocolate brand) has branched out into beauty products, but the entire range is well thought out and makes an excellent addition to the brand. It’s inspired by the brand’s cacao farm and rainforest spa in St Lucia – nourishing and revitalising, the honey and chocolate scent is reason enough to try this, but throw in the blend of natural ingredients (which includes cacao seed butter, obviously) and the reusable bamboo tub that it’s housed in, and this really is an underrated must-have.

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The verdict: Lip balms

The vast range of lip balms available these days can make it difficult to seek out a good, solid product that has both style and substance. Summer Fridays strikes the balance exceptionally well, and Glossier’s offering is also excellent for the price (it makes for the cutest gift, too). If you consider yourself a chocoholic, Hotel Chocolat’s balm will give you a hit of the good stuff whenever you need it, while Mac has proven itself once again with its tinted offer.

It's not just our lips that could use a bit of TLC – we've found the best hand creams to soothe our dry, sanitised skin

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