The best lip balm for winter

  • So many lip balms rely on the placebo effect – they feel nice, but don’t actually do much for your mouth.
  • This is especially noticeable in the winter, when not-particularly-effective lip balms might leave you constantly reapplying.
  • That’s not the case with Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. It’s the best lip balm we’ve tried because it uses beeswax and fruit extract to not only hydrate but heal chapped lips – all for less than the price of your morning latte.

I am a card-carrying (tube-carrying?) lip balm addict. There are two to five tubes of the stuff floating at the bottom of my purse and in various drawers throughout my house at all times. I’ve got daytime balms, nighttime balms, at-home balms, under-lipstick balms – a balm for any occasion, really. But the ones I’m reaching for right now are my designated winter balms – the products that lock in moisture, prevent flaking, heal cracks, and protect my lips from the elements

In case you haven’t guessed, I will put literally anything that bills itself as a lip balm on my mouth at least once. All that trial-and-error has made me something of a self-professed lip balm expert. I apply various balms anywhere from six to 10 times per day, so I think I know a thing or two about which ones really work. After some serious testing, I’ve narrowed it down to these winter recommendations.

Here are the best winter lip balms you can buy in 2019:

Updated on 12/16/2019 by Caitlin Petreycik: Updated formatting, prices, and links. Added related guides.

The best lip balm overall

Burt’s Bees

Give your lips the gift of beeswax-based hydration with Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. The best part? You can afford to collect them all.

If you don’t have a tube or 10 of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm lying around, what are you doing with your life? I always have so many of them in my house that I basically hand them out like Halloween candy.

There’s a lot to love about Burt’s Bees. The brand’s classic lip balm comes in a ton of different flavors, though my favorite is the original one formulated with vitamin E and peppermint oil – the ingredient responsible for that energizing tingle when you apply it to your lips. Other popular variations include Vanilla Bean and Pomegranate.

Burt’s Bees is a great lip balm to reach for during the day or when you’re wearing other lip products because it’s not very shiny or thick. I love to add this on top of lipstick if I’m feeling dry – so, like, always. The beeswax and fruit extracts in the formula subtly moisturize without making you look like you’re wearing lip gloss. It’s also 100% natural, made without parabens, SLS, or petroleum.

The original formula is a universal favorite, beloved by beauty editors and shoppers. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm has been featured in Allure, Rank and Style, Glamour, Gear Patrol, The Strategist, and countless others.

Pros: Affordable, petroleum-free, not shiny or sticky, 100% natural ingredients

Cons: Texture varies slightly with some flavors

The best overnight lip balm


The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is like a lip balm version of the brand’s cult-favorite Water Sleeping Mask.

I swear by the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask for giving my face a boost of hydration overnight, and I swear by the brand’s Lip Sleeping Mask for soothing my angry chapped lips. Every night I apply a tiny amount of it in place of a regular lip balm and start the next day with minimal flaking.

This is the only lip treatment I’ve found that noticeably diminishes the chapping I experience every single day. I use it nightly and wake up with a smooth canvas for lipstick and fewer bits of skin for my teeth to absentmindedly chew on while I’m distracted.

Vitamin C, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid in the formula provide an effective salve to my always irritated lips. The product comes in a jar with a tiny spatula, but I usually just apply with my fingers.

I suppose you could use this during the day, but the texture is very thick and glossy with a slight pink tint so I prefer to let it marinate while I’m sleeping. There’s also a new Vanilla version, which is the same formulas as the original but with a warm spicy scent. Sure, I still reach for other balms in my waking hours, but the effects of the Lip Sleeping Mask are long-lasting. A 0.7-ounce pot costs $20, but I’ve been using my first one for over a year and I only just dipped past the halfway mark.

With 4,300+ 5-star reviews on Sephora, recommendations from experts at Allure, The Klog, and Racked, and our own review, you really can’t go wrong.

Pros: Extremely hydrating, a little goes a long way, no parabens or phthalates

Cons: Jar packaging, some may find the texture too thick and glossy for daytime wear

The best daytime lip balm


Glossier Balm Dotcom comes in eight versions – four are untinted (one of which has glitter), four are tinted, and every one is as effective as it is fun to apply.

Before I tried Glossier Balm Dotcom for the first time I was convinced it was overrated. I love just about everything Glossier, but how special could a lip balm in a pink and white tube really be? Uh, the answer is really freaking special.

I’ll admit that this is more of a protective lip balm rather than a restorative one. It’s not going to heal your cracked lips like the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, but it will protect them from further damage, and do so very well, thanks to ingredients like castor seed oil and beeswax. So, if your lips are already in pretty good shape, and winter weather in your area is on the milder side, this might be the lip balm to carry you through the season.

The balm lasts a long time on your lips, withstanding several cups of coffee and even food without completely wearing off. My favorite iteration is the Birthday flavor, which was inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar’s famous cake. It’s sheer with a tiny bit of shimmer, perfect for days when I’m not wearing makeup. I even tap the excess on my fingertips into my cheekbones for a subtle highlighter effect.

The Birthday balm is a bit glossy, but the others just deliver a slight sheen. My husband loves the Mint version, which smells like Breyer’s mint chocolate chip ice cream and goes on clear – I even bought him a trio for his birthday last year so he’d stop swiping mine. Some of the other scents, like Rose and Cherry, have a very subtle tint. Guides editor Malarie Gokey uses the Rose one every day.

I probably don’t need to prove that people love Glossier, but in case you’re not convinced, Balm Dotcom also comes recommended by Marie Claire, Elle, and Allure.

Pros: Long-lasting, hypoallergenic, paraben free

Cons: Need to apply with fingers, protective rather than restorative

The best demi-matte lip balm

Mario Badescu

Rose Lip Balm from Mario Badescu is rich without being thick or heavy, and it makes your lips look plush and supple.

Don’t be deceived by the simple name and even simpler packaging – Mario Badescu’s Rose Lip Balm will make your lips basically look and feel like a silk-covered memory foam pillow.

This unassuming, almost norm-core squeeze tube features an intensely hydrating formula of cocoa butter, and sweet almond, avocado, and olive oils. I can apply a layer in the morning and forget about it until the afternoon after lunch, it holds up that long. I also use it as an overnight treatment sometimes, not unlike a lip mask, though this one absorbs into my lips as opposed to sitting on top.

The demi-matte finish can also help soften the look of super-matte lipsticks and make them a little more wearable, especially when temps drop and chapped skin becomes inevitable.

The slanted tip applicator is intuitive to use, although you might squeeze too much out at once if the tube has been sitting in your pants pocket for a while. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing because you’ll probably just use the excess on your lips, but it could be messy for some. – Jada Wong

Pros: Demi-matte finish, easy squeeze tube, inexpensive

Cons: Norm-core aesthetic might not fit everyone’s style, formula can become liquid-y in high heat

The best unscented lip balm


If you’re sensitive to fragrance, try Aquaphor Lip Repair. The gentle formula works on even the most delicate lips.

There’s nothing fancy about Aquaphor Lip Repair, but that’s what makes it so great. If you hate frills like fragrance, tint, or shimmer and just want that hydrating goodness, this is a fantastic option.

Aquaphor is the number one dermatologist recommended lip brand, and it’s also the number one mom recommended lip brand. Both endorsements have equal weight in my personal opinion. This is the stuff my mom always digs out of her purse when I ask her if she’s got lip balm. It feels like Vaseline only less slimy.

This is also great if you’ve got an open-wound situation like eczema or cold sores near your mouth. The formula is fragrance-free and chock full of shea butter and chamomile extract to soothe and repair cracked skin.

You can use Aquaphor Healing Ointment on your lips, but I’m partial to the Lip Repair because it comes in a portable, squeezable tube.

My mom and I are in good company recommending this stuff. Aquaphor has been featured by Rank and Style, Gear Patrol, and Allure.

Pros: Affordable, safe for sensitive skin, fragrance free, paraben free

Cons: None

Check out our other skin care guides

Shutterstock/Alena Ozerova

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The best exfoliators for any skin type or budget

A good exfoliant is like a magic bullet for any skin-care routine because it truly helps just about anything that’s ailing your face. It’s especially clutch in the winter when you’re dealing with scaly skin and dry flaky patches that never seem to go away no matter how much moisturizer you use. Here are the best exfoliators for a range of skin types, desired outcomes, and budgets.

The best moisturizers

Everyone wants healthy, smooth, and soft skin. Dry skin not only looks dull and flaky, it also feels tight and itchy. The solution? A good moisturizer. Our favorite moisturizer for both face and body is the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, but there are several others that we would also recommend. Here are the best moisturizers you can buy: