21 Best Lip Balms to Soothe and Hydrate Dry, Chapped Lips


Your lips are unlike any other skin on your body. For starters, they don’t produce the natural oils that keep the rest of your skin supple, and while the rest of your body has 15 to 16 protective layers, your mouth has only three to four, says GH Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, PhD.

“Lips are primed to be chapped,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Manhattan. “They are in daily contact with saliva that contains alpha-amylase, a digestive enzyme that can break down skin, and are always exposed to the elements, so lips take a beating from the sun, the cold weather, wind and heat.” Translation: They’re especially prone to dryness, flaking, chapping and cracking. But the good news is that a great lip balm can help.

That’s why the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab tested 175 lip treatments from more than 70 brands: To find the best balms that help to replenish much-needed moisture and seal it in. “A lip balm should be designed to deliver a film of moisturizers onto the delicate skin of the lips,” says Aral, with emollients to replenish lost moisture, and occlusives to prevent further moisture loss. “Look for balms or formulations containing petroleum or beeswax to seal in moisture,” says Dr. Engelman, who recommends formulas with some combination of SPF 30 or greater, vitamin E, beeswax, hyaluronic acid and lanolin.

Hydrating, tinted, wallet-friendly — we’ve got ’em all on this list. These are the best lip balms of 2021, with picks sourced from extensive Lab testing, plus the pro picks our Beauty Lab experts reach for every single day:

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