Tips from a makeup artist: The 5 best lip balms and lip moisturizers

May 20 | Guest post by Tania D. Russell
By: philograpfy
By: philograpfyCC BY 2.0

When you’re in the makeup biz, you really do think about product a lot. Therefore, when I write about makeup, I tend to gravitate to products that I’ve found that work for photographic use, and to the latest greatest of what’s happening in the cosmetics world. I am frequently reminded, however, that “normal people” (aka, non makeup artists/fanatics) do not think about these things at all — they just want some basic products that work so they can look their best and go on about their way. The reality is, when women find out I am a makeup artist, they are MUCH more likely to ask me what is the best mascara or moisturizer than they are to ask about some esoteric micro makeup brand.

So let's talk basics: The best lip balms and lip moisturizers! These are the things that real women ask me about all the time and all the time. Being a pro makeup artist I’ve gone through umpteen brands of each type of product and these are the ones that make my cut.

A word about what I look for in a lip balm:

First and foremost anything Petroleum based is out. Some folks love Petroleum based lip-balms, and if that’s you and it is working for you then great. Keep doing you. I do not like Petroleum based lip-balms at all. They do not actually moisturize, in my opinion, nor do I like the way they feel (greasy) and then as a makeup artist I cannot use them under lip color because they make the color “slip.” Therefore there will be no Carmex, Chapstick, Rosebud Salve (although I LOVE Rosebud salve for other things), or even the ever popular Keihl’s Lip Balm #1. I look for balms that are creamy in texture and feel and are derived from natural oils often in some kind of an oil/water emulsion formula. Here then are my picks of fabulous lip moisturizers…

burts beeswax

5. Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

Burt’s is a classic and with good reason: it works. What is particularly nice about the Burt's Bees formula is not only is beeswax a natural wax, but it’s smooth yet dry in texture. Therefore it is very comfortable to wear — even men like it because it doesn’t feel like there is “something” on your lips — and it is usable under lip color. It is also naturally matte which makes it great for men’s grooming, or anytime a glossy look is undesirable. There are a zillion different versions of the Balm now some of which are oiler/glossier/more fancy-pants than others… For my money the road keeps leading back to the original formula. (Note: I have the tin pictured because that’s what I personally use, but Burt’s Bees Lip Balm is available in tubes as well)

Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment

4. Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment

I know what you’re thinking: Did I not just say that I do not like Petroleum based products? Well, that is correct. Let’s be clear: I am only talking about the lip OINTMENT, not any of the stick balms. The Blistex Ointment is not petroleum based. It has a little bit of petroleum in it, but petroleum is well down the list of ingredients. It's is pretty much unbeatable when you are dealing with dry, cracking, sunburned or any form of distressed lip, that is past the point of using a scrub. The main active ingredient is Dimethicone which acts as a barrier to protect the lips, and the next three active ingredients are Camphor, Menthol and Phenol all of which are healing ointments. These ingredients are set in a creamy, not waxy, base that really stays on the lips and heals them right up. When lips are crying for mercy, Blistex Ointment is there to answer the call.

Vegan Hemp Lip Balm

3. The Merry Hempsters Vegan Hemp Lip Balm

Too many people hear the word “hemp” and their minds go to one wrong place. Hemp seed is very high in vitamins and omega-3 acids making it very healing (it is particularly beneficial for those suffering from eczema). The Merry Hempsters Vegan Hemp Lip Balm is just a good, basic no-frills balm. What’s unique about it, of course, is that it is vegan friendly, using plant-based candelilla wax instead of beeswax. This balm is smooth, creamy, long lasting, and everything I look for in a balm. Like Burt’s Bees it is dry enough for use under lip color.

AGLippyPuckertube

2. Anita Grant Lippy Pucker Lip Balm

Anita Grant is a UK based personal care brand. I was first reeled into the brand by her haircare products for coily/curly hair, and I have been a devoted user ever since. One of the times I ordered her amazing Rhassoul Deep Hair Conditioner she slipped in a tube of her Lippy Pucker lip balm and I have been a fiend ever since. The Lippy Pucker is a blend of all-natural, largely organic vegetable oils blended with a couple of natural humectants (honey and castor oil) to make the smoothest, creamiest, most fantastic lipbalm I have ever used. It comes in a scrumptious array of natural flavors such as Tangy Lemon and Dark Chocolate, but I tend to stick to the un-flavored Original formula. Lippy Pucker is one of those rare lip moisturizers where not only do you not have to reapply constantly, but you can skip a day and your lips will still be soft. Oh yeah. It’s like that. I use it underneath lipgloss all the time without any problems. It might need to be blotted down a bit to but used underneath lipstick. While I wish I could just go to my local natural foods store and buy a tube, it is completely worth it to buy online, in my opinion.

So if Anita Grant is so amazing, what brand is #1 you say? Well, Anita Grant is what I use on myself on a day to day basis, but in my kit I use the one and only…

Malin and Goetz Lip Moisturizer

1. Malin and Goetz Lip Moisturizer

When I say you have never experienced anything like this product, I mean you have NEVER experienced anything like this product. Malin and Goetz exists in the realm where nature meets science. Unlike any of the other natural brands mentioned which just melt down a recipe of oils/butters/waxes, Malin and Goetz synthesizes the best properties of its naturally derived ingredients to create something altogether different. The result is a glossy lip moisturizing gel. It feels both hydrating and velvety at the same time. It is shiny like a gloss (so you minimal gals can wear it alone and be good to go) but it is not at all greasy or slippery so it works a dream underneath lip color. Like Lippy Pucker it is long lasting to the point where you can skip a day and your lips will still feel soft. It has barrier properties to protect dry lips from the elements, yet it penetrates into the lips and heals as opposed to just laying on the surface as most balms do. It’s just amazing, frankly. But since it is so potent you do not need much.

What are YOUR favorite lip balms and moisturizers?

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  1. Sorry, but phenol is NOT a healing ointment. Phenol is corrosive to the skin. If you have dead, dry skin on your lips, phenol can be an asset for clearing it away, but I wouldn't recommend a product containing phenol for every day use.

    3 agree
    • Yes! I stay away from anything "medicated" after playing brass instruments in high school. It was explained me these products can perpetuate chapped lips because the phenol will also start to eat away at the healthy skin too. I know it's a main ingredient in Carmex and I see people addicted to that stuff all the time. To be fair, I may have been misinformed but it's easy enough to avoid.

      2 agree
  2. I love mary kay's satin lips lip balm. Unflavored, uncolored and unscented it works great for even sensative skin and guys. I was always told to stay away from anything with alcohol in it as it dries your lips and requires you to put more on. That's how I came across satin lips in my search for a good lip balm. Alas it's also not sold in store, you have to find a salesman, but since I know someone who does, it's my go to daily lip balm.

    2 agree
  3. Any picks for balms with SPF? I prefer natural products, but I don't like the whitening effect of zinc oxide. I usually opt for Alb Botanica Very Emollient SPF 25.

    • Yes to! has some beeswax-based SPF lip balms that are slightly tinted to mask the white look of the zinc oxide. Plus, yummy flavors.

      1 agrees
  4. I have an issue with chapped lips and the corners of my mouth cracking (which is a sign of a vitamin deficiency), so I've tried a bunch of different types of lip balms. I haven't tried the hemp lip balm, which sounds like something I'd try so I'll be checking it out, but what I've found works best for me is a dab of my unscented, sensitive skin hand lotion.

  5. I definitely wouldn't say that people should use Carmex or anything like that for everyday stuff, but it is a lifesaver for truly chapped lips. For everyday use, I stick with good old Burt's Bees or Malin+Goetz. Malin+Goetz really is a whole different beast. It is pretty spendy (mine was ~12 USD from Birchbox), but I think it is worth it of you want something that doesn't feel like your normal stuff.

  6. Ha! I clicked on this thinking "Ooh I wonder if there is anything better than Malin + Goetz" good to see I can stick to mostly that!
    Loving these posts.

  7. As a dry-lipped vegan, this is one of my favorite topics. (So many good balms out there! So much beeswax to avoid!) The Merry Hempsters balm is one of my favorites! I'm also partial to None of Your Beeswax (Lush) and Soothing Touch, which has vegan and yummy scented options. It's spendy, but I got some Hempz Ultra Moisturizing Herbal Lip Balm in a gift set and it's really lovely too. It smells incredible.

    1 agrees

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