The 13 Best Lip Treatments of 2023

Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm offers kissable results with its hydrating formula and enduring versatility.

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13-best-lip-treatments-of-2022-tout

Sara Happ

Though lip balm has been a beauty bag essential for as long as I can remember, it’s often one of the more underrated products. (Let’s be honest, it’s all too easy to skip the balm until your lips feel dry, cracked, or flaky.) But, in reality, investing in a great lip treatment — and using it regularly — is one of the most important things you can do for your beauty routine. Why? Well, according to Ginger King, cosmetic chemist and founder of Grace Kingdom Beauty Cosmetic Product Development, your lips are more of a mucous membrane than the rest of your skin.

“Unlike skin, it can not produce sebum, so it's prone to chap in cold weather,” she explains. “Even during warm weather, lips can get sunburned due to the thin layer of mucous membrane. [That’s why] it is absolutely essential to take care of lips.” 

And, while there are many lip treatments, finding a treatment that’s designed with your needs can single-handedly change the game. To uncover the best options we’ve scoured the web — and asked a few experts — about the very best lip treatments. The goal is to make sure you’re finding exactly what you and your lips need, so we’ve evaluated each pick by active ingredients, scent, and size. Ultimately, we love Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm for its versatility and ultra-hydrating formula

Looking for something more specific? Find the 13 best lip treatments to buy, below.

Best Overall

Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment Superbalm

Lanolips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm

Lanolips

What We Love: It’s a do-it-all formula that packs on the hydration.  

What We Don’t Love: It can feel a bit sticky.

When it comes to selecting a lip treatment, the mission is simple: Find a formula that nourishes, hydrates, and soothes your pout. Lanolips Superbalm does all that and more, making it a cut above the rest. What makes it so hydrating is the Australian lanolin in the formula — a wool grease that’s an excellent natural alternative to petroleum and can hold 400 times its weight in moisture.

Though the original balm is clear and unscented, Lanolips has reimagined its award-winning, dermatologist-tested formula into a handful of delicious scents and shades. Whether you prefer the original, a tinted option, or a delectable fragrance like salted caramel or mango sorbet, there’s a scent and hue for every occasion. The best part? The formula is multi-purpose. Beyond chapped lips, it can also be used to hydrate dry cuticles, parched elbows, or anywhere you’re feeling a little ashy. While it can be a tad sticky when applied, that feeling wears away as it soaks into skin. 

Price at time of publish: $17

Active Ingredient: Lanolin | Scented: Unscented, but available in an assortment of fruity scents | Size: 0.52 oz.

Best Value

Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly

vaseline-original-unscented-petroleum-jelly

Target

What We Love: It’s an easy, affordable option that can heal dry skin in a snap.

What We Don’t Love: The tub format makes it a bit messy to apply.

If you’re looking for reliable lip treatment that gets the job done without costing a small fortune, look no further than Vaseline’s tried and true Petroleum Jelly. Made with 100 percent, triple-purified petroleum jelly, this option is unscented, hypoallergenic, and truly helps to mend dry, cracked lips. “There's a plethora of lip treatments on the market, but I always come back to my good old Vaseline,” InStyle’s Senior Beauty Editor, Pia Velasco, shares. “My lips can go from parched and cracked to smooth and soft overnight, and so far, nothing else has lived up to that. For the best results, I use a lip scrub beforehand to gently buff away dead skin cells and create a smoother canvas for Vaseline to work with.” At less than $5, you get a massive tub that can last for years. (I’ve had my current one for two years and have barely made a dent in it.) That said, the tub format isn’t the most hygienic, so I recommend dipping into it with a clean cotton swab instead of your fingers to keep it sanitary. 

Price at time of publish: $2

Active Ingredient: Petroleum jelly | Scented: No | Size: 1.75 oz.

Best Splurge

Dior Addict Lip Glow Balm

Dior Addict Lip Glow Balm

Sephora

What We Love: Available in multiple tints, this upscale balm will make hydrating your pout a luxurious endeavor.

What We Don’t Love: It tends to melt in the heat.  

Caring for your lips is an investment worth making, and if you have some extra money to spare, Dior Addict Lip Glow Balm is a sound choice. Made with 97 percent of natural-origin ingredients, this pick is a great mix of form and function. The shea butter base gives your smile a nourished flair, while cherry oil locks in moisture to keep your pout from drying out. But, of course, this balm has a lot more to offer that moisture. Not only is this pick available in a handful of striking sheer shades — ranging from delicate pink to bright coral — but it also leaves an envious shine. Just be sure not to take this to the beach or leave it in your car in the summer, as it tends to get a bit melty. 

Price at time of publish: $38

Active Ingredients: Shea butter, Cherry oil  | Scent: Unscented | Size: 0.12 oz.

Best Clean Formula

Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

burts-bees-beeswax-lip-balm

Target

What We Love: It’s a natural formula that delivers on a budget.

What We Don’t Love: It’s made with beeswax, so it’s not vegan.

“Lip balms can be ingested, so I often choose healthy lip balms,” King shares. If you’re looking for a natural balm that delivers silky smooth results, Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm is a consistent crowd-pleaser. Made with beeswax — and a touch of vitamin E and peppermint oil — this creates a matte pout that’s still hydrated and nourished in equal measure. And, since this treatment is 100 percent natural, it's free of phthalates and parabens so you won’t have to worry about accidentally ingesting your balm. That said, because it contains beeswax, it’s not vegan, so if you prefer vegan products you may want to look elsewhere. 

Price at time of publish: $4

Active Ingredient: Beeswax | Scent: A Light Peppermint Scent | Size: 0.15 oz.

Best Medicated

Carmex Classic Lip Balm Medicated Tube

carmex-classic-lip-balm-medicated-tube

Target

What We Love: This balm is a power-player that soothes and repairs chapped, dry lips.
What We Don’t Love:
The tube is often sold in multiple packs, so you might wind up with more than you need.

Your lips may not be dry year-round, but the change of seasons can make them chapped and irritated. When that time of the year comes, reach for a tube of Carmex’s medicated lip treatment. This drugstore buy features cocoa butter, camphor, and menthol to soothe, repair, and alleviate dry, chapped skin. (Wind, dry climates, and low temperatures will have nothing on this popular pick.) Bonus points: Its bright red and yellow tube will be easy to spot in your bag. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s worth noting that this balm is often sold in multipacks, so you might end up with more than you need, but it’s a good idea to keep one in each purse so your lips can feel soothing relief on a moment's notice. 

Price at time of publish: $6 for 4 

Active Ingredients: Cocoa butter, Camphor, Menthol | Scent: Unscented | Size: 0.35 oz.

Best With SPF

Sun Bum Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 30

4.9
sun-bum-lip-balm-spf-30

Target

What We Love: You can keep burnt lips at bay with this SPF-infused formula.

What We Don’t Love: The smell and taste can be intense for some.

Did you know your lips can get sunburnt? Protect your pout from the sun’s harsh rays while also keeping them well-moisturized with Sun Bum’s lip balm. The SPF 30 rating will provide adequate UV coverage, while the mix of aloe and vitamin E keep your lips from drying out during those hot ,sunny days. While you’ll love the hydration factor, the tropical scents — including key lime, coconut, watermelon, and mango — will have you constantly reaching for it to keep the summer spirit alive year-round.

Price at time of publish: $5

Main Ingredient: Aloe, Vitamin E | Scent: Key Lime, Coconut, Watermelon, and Mango | Size: 0.15 oz.

Best Tinted

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

fresh-sugar-lip-balm

Fresh

What We Love: This hydrating treatment is so pigmented it just might replace your favorite lipstick.

What We Don’t Love: It was recently reformulated to no longer include SPF protection. 

Why fuss with lipstick when you can grab a tinted lip balm that has gorgeous color payoff? That’s exactly what’s so great about Fresh’s Sugar Lip Balm. Made with sugar from beetroot and sugar cane, this option hydrates, conditions, and nourishes your lips, while also providing a subtle pop of color to brighten your complexion. Though sugar is the star ingredient, cranberry seed oil, grapeseed oil, as well as vitamins C and E also work hard to protect, smooth, and soothe your pout. And with a dozen shades to choose from — ranging from vibrant reds, to barely-there neutrals and clear — you can pick up a few colors to match whatever mood you’re in. 

Price at time of publish: $24

Active Ingredients: Sugar, Cranberry seed oil, Vitamin C | Scented: Light, lemon scent | Size: 4.3 grams

Best Scented

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

4.9
Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

Sephora

What We Love: With four scents to choose from, this vegan balm has a delightful finishing touch.

What We Don’t Love: Though it’s tinted, the color wears off quickly.

For a lip treatment that smells as good as it looks and feels, Summer Fridays has you covered. The burgeoning beauty brand first made its mark with its nourishing, leave-on facial masks, and its balm offers the same results for your lips. The mix of shea and murumuru seed butters soften, condition, and moisturize your skin, while the vegan waxes provide a hint of shine without veering into greasy territory. Choose one (or more!) of the brand’s dreamy scents: Vanilla, brown sugar, or a citrus-forward fragrance called Poppy. While the scents are long-lasting, the tints aren’t as much — the color tends to wear off pretty quickly.

Price at time of publish: $23

Active Ingredients: Shea butter, Murumuru seed butter | Scented: Vanilla, Brown Sugar, and Citrus | Size: 0.5 oz.

Best for Overnight

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

5
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Sephora

What We Love: This nourishing formula replenishes lips overnight.

What We Don’t Love: There isn’t an unscented version. 

Anyone who wants to improve their lip care overnight will love the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. The Korean beauty darling enlists power ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and murumuru seed butter to keep your lips hydrated for up to eight hours. (Read: It’s the perfect lip treatment to apply before a good night’s sleep.) Meanwhile, a vitamin C-rich berry blend works overtime to soften and soothe your lips. The result? You’ll wake up to a moisturized, supple pout. In fact, according to a clinical study, participants noticed a 135 percent boost in hydration after immediate use. One of the major selling points are the delectable scents (the original berry is our favorite), but we do wish there was an unscented option, too. 

Price at time of publish: $24

Active Ingredients: Shea butter, Coconut oil, Vitamin C | Scented: Berry, Mango, Vanilla, Gummy Bear, Sweet Candy | Size: 0.7 oz.

Best for Dry Lips

Bliss Fabulips Overnight Lip Mask

bliss-fabulips-overnight-lip-mask

Walgreens

What We Love: This lip treatment simultaneously exfoliates and moisturizes skin.

What We Don’t Love: The texture is stickier than other options on this list.

Make dry, chapped lips a thing of the past with Bliss Fabulips Overnight Lip Mask, which is vegan and made with clean ingredients. “It contains AHAs to gently exfoliate lips as well as super hydrating and smoothing ceramides, glycerin, and squalane,” shares Rebecca Marcus, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Maei MD. “[It also smells] yummy, courtesy of citrus extracts in the formula.” Simply apply a generous layer on your lips before you go to bed, and this formula will take care of the rest as you sleep. Note that thick formula is a bit sticky, so if that’s not your jam you may want to avoid it, but we don’t find that aspect to be irritating.

Price at time of publish: $15

Active Ingredient: Squalane, Ceramides, Glycerin | Scented: Fruity Tea | Size: 0.3 oz.

Best Exfoliant

Sara Happ The Lip Scrub

4.3
Sara Happ The Lip Scrub

Ulta Beauty

What We Love: This buffs away dry, flakey lips, leaving them feeling soft and supple. 

What We Don’t Love: The scents are strong. 

If your lips are really dry, you might need to call in some reinforcements. That’s where Sara Happ’s lip scrub comes in. Available in four delicious, albeit strong scents, the sugar-based scrub gently buffs away dry patches and flakey skin, leaving a soft pout behind. In fact, in a third party consumer study, 100 percent of participants saw instant results after one use. Simply massage a small amount onto your lips, wipe away the formula with a washcloth, and lick (yes, lick!) the remnants away. 

Price at time of publish: $24

Active Ingredient: Sugar | Scent: Vanilla Bean, Brown Sugar, Grapefruit, Sparkling Peach | Size: 0.5 oz

Best Multi-Tasking

Cocokind Mymatcha All-Over Moisture Stick

cocokind-mymatcha-all-over-moisturizer-stick

Walmart

What We Love: This clean formula can add a dash of moisture to your entire face.

What We Don’t Love: The heavy matcha scent is polarizing.

Don’t let its simple ingredient list fool you: Cocokind’s MyMatcha All Over Moisturizer Stick covers a lot of ground. A simple mix of organic coconut oil, organic beeswax, and organic matcha tea powder, this clean formula is built to cater to various parts of your body beyond your lips. Experiencing dark, puffy under-eyed? Glide this along your orbital bone to depuff. Have random, dry patches of skin? Rub it along elbows and knees for a boost of moisture. And, of course, if your lips are seriously dry and chapped, apply this to reveal soft, soothed skin. If you’re not a fan of matcha, the scent is pretty polarizing, but otherwise this is a no-brainer to stash in your purse all year long.

Price at time of publish: $9

Main Ingredient: Organic coconut oil, Organic beeswax | Scented: Matcha Tea | Size: 0.5 oz.

Best for Shine

ILIA Lip Wrap Reviving Balm

ilia-lip-wrap-reviving-balm

Sephora

What We Love: It has the hydrating feel of a lip treatment with the shine of a gloss.

What We Don’t Love: The thick consistency can be a little hard to squeeze out of the applicator. 

If you’re torn between lip balm and lip gloss, think of this formula as the best of both worlds. With ingredients like hyaluronic acid, prickly pear oil, and salicornia, this pick has the hydrating, nourishing benefits you want in a lip treatment, but, thanks to its high-shine finish, it has a glossy effect for a no-makeup makeup look. To sweeten an already enticing offer, Ilia Lip Wrap Reviving Balm is also vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. We do wish it came with a doe foot applicator over the squeeze tube, though, because the treatment itself is so thick it can be a bit difficult to squeeze it out of the applicator. 

Price at time of publish: $24

Main Ingredient: Hyaluronic acid, Prickly pear oil, Salicornia | Scented: No | Size: 0.23 oz.

What to Keep in Mind

Ingredients

Behind every must-have lip treatment are ingredients driving those kissable results forward. “The ingredients that are beneficial to skin in general will also be great for lips — think antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, and peptides,” Dr. Marcus explains. “Since lips lack sebaceous glands, they can tolerate and even require heavier emollients than the rest of our skin.” Though some brands  have developed their own moisture-boosting recipes, you’ll often see a few common players in your beauty aisle. Here’s a breakdown of several key ingredients worth considering:

Beeswax, which is sourced from beehives, is known to be non-allergenic and anti-inflammatory — not to mention it leaves the skin feeling oh-so-soft, and is the star active in Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

Made with an assortment of waxes and mineral oils, petroleum jelly has been a mainstay in moisturizers, lotions, and, yes, lip balms. Beyond its ability to prevent moisture loss, heal wounds, and treat rashes on the skin, it can also do all that for lips, too. It also happens to be the only ingredient in Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly.

Derived from the shea tree, which is commonly found in West Africa, shea butter is known to soften and hydrate lips, plus aid in cracks and dry patches. The catch? Its thick texture can feel a bit heavy, but that makes it ideal for severely chapped lips. If your pout needs a little extra TLC, layer on the shea butter-infused Dior Addict Lip Glow Balm. Another butter to look out for is cocoa butter, which comes from cocoa beans. This emollient (which can be found in Carmex Classic Lip Balm Medicated Tube) can add a nice protective layer to keep your skin from drying out, but rather than feeling heavy, it has the tendency to feel a bit oily. 

We couldn’t round out our list of key moisturizing ingredients without mentioning lanolin, the wool grease that powers our best overall pick, ​​Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm. This ingredient is known to hold 400 times its weight in moisture — so it works overtime to prevent moisture loss — but it does come with its drawbacks. Since it is derived from wool, anyone allergic to the material should avoid lanolin.

Scent

Scent or no scent? The choice is yours. While fragrance might bring a fun, delicious touch to your lip care routine, those with sensitive skin might notice some irritation. “Fragrance can be extremely irritating to lips, and even more so than it is to regular skin because the lip skin is so thin and delicate,” Dr. Marcus shares. “[It can] cause lips to become irritated, inflamed and cracked, negating any beneficial effects of a lip product.” If you want to err on the side of caution, you might want to consider forgoing scents altogether. There are plenty of unscented picks on our list including Ilia Lip Wrap Reviving Balm, Dior Addict Lip Glow Balm, Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly, and Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm.

Size

As lip treatments prove, big things can come in small packages. Unless you’re opting for a jumbo-sized tube, most lip balms and masks are sold in containers smaller than an ounce. (Translation? They’re perfect for tossing in your purse, backpack, or coat pocket.) If you want to figure out the best bang for your buck, compare the price and size of your container. Twenty dollars may seem like a lot for a lip balm, but if you’re getting closer to an ounce of formula, it might be a good deal. The largest container on our list also happens to be the cheapest — Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly, comes in a massive 1.75 ounce tub for less than $5.

Your Questions, Answered

What is a lip treatment?

Just like the serums and moisturizers you apply to your face, lip treatments are designed to repair and protect your lips. Typically sold as balms, masks, and scrubs, they prevent moisture loss, eliminate dry patches, and hydrate your pout.  “Lips have skin too, and it needs to be nourished and protected just as much as skin elsewhere on the body,” Dr. Marcus explains. “Skin on the lips differs from skin on the rest of the face in that it is thinner and more delicate and also lacks sebaceous glands. Therefore we need to work a little harder to protect and hydrate the skin on the lips.” She also points out that our lips are constantly exposed to moisture that evaporates — be it a tasty beverage or our own saliva — so they can be especially vulnerable to dryness.

Can I use a lip treatment every day?

Absolutely. For Dr. Marcus, it all depends on the type of lip treatment you’re working with.  “A balm can be used several times a day, a scrub can be used about twice per week and a mask can be used as often as every day or night, or as often as a person feels they need it,” she shares. But, one thing she says is non–negotiable is a lip treatment with SPF, which should be applied every few hours and after eating or drinking. Sun Bum Lip Balm SPF 30 is a great option that has high SPF protection. 

Why Shop With Us

Kelsey Mulvey is a freelance journalist with over seven years of experience creating shopping content. To make this list, she considered each pick’s ingredients, scents, and sizes. She also consulted Rebecca Marcus, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and founder of Maei MD, and Ginger King, cosmetic chemist and founder of Grace Kingdom Beauty Cosmetic Product Development to find out how lip treatments actually benefit lips. 

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