Having dry or chapped lips is one of those small discomforts that can take away from the most enjoyable experiences. When slightly dry, they feel a little tight and uncomfortable, but at the height of winter weather they can become extremely irritated even to the point of splitting or cracking.
Lip balms are the obvious solution to the problem, but unfortunately many of them don’t seem to help at all. You can apply and apply all throughout the day and only feel like they sit on the surface of your skin, doing absolutely nothing… with the exception of our selection, that is.
We’ve found the best lip balms available in Canada for every preference, from the subtle unisex options that disappear into the lips to luxurious lip treatments that hydrate deeply while offering a gloss. What they all have in common is that they can actually deal with dryness, to moisturize and repair lips.
Best lip balms of 2020
- Best overall – Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm
- Best for extreme dryness – Eucerin Intensive Lip Balm
- Best for sun protection – Nivea Sun Lip Care with SPF 30
- Most fun – Eos Sweet Mint Lip Balm
- Best high-end – Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
- Best Canadian – Bite Beauty Agave+ Nighttime Vegan Lip Therapy
Hours of Research
Best lip balm comparison
|Burt’s Bees||Eucerin||Nivea||Eos||Laneige||Bite Beauty|
|Best for||overall||extreme dryness||sun protection||most fun||high-end||Canadian|
|Quantity||4.25 grams||10 ml||2×4.8 grams||7 grams||20 grams||15 grams|
|Scent/flavour||Peppermint and others||None||Mild, sweet||Sweet mint and others||Various||Chamomile-bergamot|
|Packaging||Roll-up tube||Squeeze tube||Roll-up tube||Egg-shaped||Jar||Jar|
|Key Ingredients||Beeswax, coconut oil, lanolin||Licochalcone-A, glycerin, and panthenol||SPF ingredients, waxes||Sunflower oil, beeswax, coconut oil||Moisture Wrap™ Technology||Castor oil, squalane, agave|
Our pick for best overall – Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm
- Quantity: 4.25 grams
- Scent and flavour: Peppermint and others
- Packaging: Roll-up tube
- Key ingredients: Beeswax, coconut oil, lanolin
- Cruelty-free and all-natural
- Effectively moisturizing and protecting
- Unisex scent and no-visible sheen make this a good option for the entire family
- All-natural and cruelty-free product you can use without guilt
- Peppermint oil may not work for extremely sensitive or chapped lips
This lip balm is a classic, with a natural formula that works well to moisturize the lips. It locks moisture into the lips with lanolin, a wax removed from wool that has remarkable water-sealing effects. It also includes sunflower and coconut oils, which have a lighter texture but still help to soften the lips. We find that for dry and mildly chapped lips, it does a fantastic job of keeping the lips smooth and hydrated.
Beeswax, the star ingredient at Burt’s Bees, is the reason why it’s so pleasant to use. It makes for a firm stick of balm that melts into a soft, non-greasy layer that feels good on the lips and doesn’t leave a sheen.
Peppermint essential oil is a great mild scent that works well for all genders, and it also has a cooling effect. Those with sensitive lips might prefer a milder fragrance, and fortunately this comes in quite a few other scents and flavours.
Around $4 for a tube is not bad, but the value really comes when you buy a set of three, which brings the price down to around $3 per tube, making this one of the most affordable options on our list.
Best for extreme dryness – Eucerin Intensive Lip Balm
- Quantity: 10 ml
- Scent and flavour: None
- Packaging: Squeeze tube
- Key ingredients: Licochalcone-A, glycerin, and panthenol
- Soothing ingredients help to calm and heal chapped lips
- Moisture-binding glycerin and panthenol pull water into skin to repair dryness
- Gentle, fragrance and lanolin-free formula appropriate for highly sensitive skin
- A little greasy
- Very “medicinal” with no fun factor
Eucerin is our favourite “medical strength” option, for more intensely chapped lips or those with very reactive skin who can’t tolerate lanolin or fragrances. It has a soothing formula with the seriously calming licorice-derived extract, licochalcone-A. This is especially useful when the lips are very significantly dry and irritated, since it can calm down that inflammation.
It also contains water-binding glycerin and panthenol which help to directly hydrate the skin, making this by far the most reparative option on our list. Finally, it also contains the typical moisture-sealants that we’d expect, which create an important protective layer.
When you suffer from severe dryness, chances are “pleasantness” is quite low on your list compared to the need for moisture. This lip balm is a little more greasy than the others, and it leaves behind some sheen.
It is totally fragrance-free, which is great for those with sensitive skin but does make applying it a less sensorial experience. However, the intense relief it offers certainly ups its “pleasantness” quotient.
It’s hard to put a value on efficacy and relief, but even so, this product is thoroughly affordable. It’s a little more expensive than some of our other options, but the tube package holds more product than average.
Best for sun protection – Nivea Sun Lip Care with SPF 30
- Quantity: 2 x 4.8 grams
- Scent and flavour: Mild, sweet
- Packaging: Roll-up tube
- Key ingredients: SPF ingredients, waxes
- 30 SPF protects the lips from sun damage
- Softens and moisturizes the lips
- Bright, unisex packaging won’t get lost in your bag
- Extremely affordable
- Has a very slight white cast
It’s easy to forget the lips when applying sunscreen, but the lips need sun protection just as much as other parts of the face. This balm simultaneously protects the lips from the sun while also moisturizing them with a few waxes and botanical oils that create a seal over the lips.
This balm will definitely alleviate mild dryness, although it’s not our most nourishing option. It’s the best choice for sunny days, though we’d recommend using something more hydrating at night.
This smooth formula glides over the lips nicely but doesn’t leave behind too much of a sheen, making it a good choice for all genders. It does leave behind a very slight white cast when first applied, especially if you’re heavy-handed, but it blends in and disappears after 5-10 minutes.
A single pack contains two tubes of lip balm, making this the most affordable option on our list. This is great, because you shouldn’t have to think twice about protecting yourself from the sun!
Most fun – Eos Sweet Mint Lip Balm
- Quantity: 7 grams
- Scent and flavour: Sweet mint and others
- Packaging: Egg-shaped
- Key ingredients: Sunflower oil, beeswax, coconut oil
- All-natural and 95% organic
- Lightly moisturizing all-natural formula
- Adorable packaging and fun scents
- Extremely affordable
- Not very reparative
Efficacy – 4
Made with beeswax, sunflower oil, and coconut oil, this lip balm can keep the lips moisturized, though it’s not as reparative as some of the other options on our list and is only partially occlusive. We think it’s a solid protective choice, but we won’t recommend it for lips that are already very dry or chapped.
The egg-shaped packaging and multitude of gorgeous scents have made this product a huge hit, and it’s remained a best-seller over the years. Sweet mint is by far the most popular flavour, but there are plenty other fun options to choose from, and you can even buy a selection.
Another reason we think it’s so popular, especially with teens and tweens, is the addition of stevia extract, which gives it a very sweet flavour.
For an obsession-worthy cult item, it’s surprisingly affordable, costing less than $4 for a larger than usual quantity. Despite costing so little, it feels luxurious and fun.
Best high-end – Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
- Quantity: 20 grams
- Scent and flavour: Berry and others
- Packaging: Jar
- Key ingredients: Moisture Wrap™ Technology
- Hydrates and locks-in moisture with trademarked ingredients
- Works both as an overnight mask or as a lip balm in the day
- Small amount sinks into lips while large amount gives a sheen
- High-end pricing
- Jar packaging is inferior to tubes
- Fragrances may not work for highly sensitive skin
Our luxury pick has a very unique composition that features both moisture-sealing and moisture-binding ingredients in a trademarked blend. It sinks into the lips quite well, and nourishes them from within. That said, it doesn’t work for everyone, with a few users reporting that it made their dryness worse.
It’s technically an overnight mask, and most who use it find that it really transforms the lips by morning, but it also works as a lip balm in the daytime, which is why we still included it here.
Overnight, a small amount sinks into the lips fairly quickly, so you don’t need to worry about it smudging on your pillowcase. If you use a little more it does leave behind a bit of a glossy sheen, which can be nice in the day time instead of a lip gloss.
The original formula has a very mild berry scent and flavour, but minimal sweetness, and there are other options like grapefruit and vanilla. We do wish they also released a fragrance and flavour-free option for those with sensitivities.
The packaging is cute, with a small silicone applicator, but we do think a tube would be more hygienic and convenient.
While this product definitely comes with high-end pricing, the amount of product in the jar is about triple that in an average tube, making it pricey but not egregiously so.
Best Canadian – Bite Beauty Agave+ Nighttime Vegan Lip Therapy
- Quantity: 15 grams
- Scent and flavour: Chamomile-bergamot
- Packaging: Jar
- Key ingredients: Castor oil, squalane, agave
- Vegan and Cruelty Free
- Rich, moisture-locking formula
- Shiny finish doubles as a pretty gloss
- Vegan, cruelty-free, and Canadian
- Jar packaging is not ideal
There’s a bit of a rivalry between our Canadian winner and our luxury pick, partially because both products are advertised as overnight lip treatments. However, they work very differently to moisturize the lips, which explains why people love either one or the other but rarely both.
This formula from Bite is thicker and more occlusive, coating the lips in a layer of oils and fatty acids that softens, locks in moisture, and also has some soothing and hydrating effects. We think it’d be most effective if applied to the lips after regular moisturizer, and it can certainly double as lip balm in the daytime.
It has a thick, creamy texture that users adore, even though we know it won’t be right for everyone. It makes the lips a little shiny, so it can be used instead of a lip gloss.
The scent is delicate and pleasant, so while we always wish for a fragrance-free option, it’s not bad. Once again, we don’t love the jar packaging and would have preferred a tube.
This is the most expensive option on our list. It does feel like a luxury product, and some of the ingredients here are more expensive, but even so, we do think it’s marked up slightly higher than it should cost.
|Burt’s Bees||Eucerin||Nivea||Eos||Laneige||Bite Beauty|
What to consider when looking for a lip balm
First and foremost, a lip balm has to actually moisturize the lips. There are a couple of main ways in which it can do that.
First, almost all balms will include occlusive ingredients like petrolatum or lanolin, which create a layer over the lips that prevents water evaporation. A balm without any occlusives or with weak occlusives (like most plant oils are weak occlusives) is not going to work as well as an occlusive-rich option.
The second aspect is humectants, which are ingredients that actually pull water into the skin, like glycerin, panthenol, hyaluronic acid, and butylene glycol. They’re less commonly used, but they can actually be super useful for plumping up and hydrating the lips, which is why products that include them get bonus points from us.
Finally, there are additional effects you might get out of more special options, like balms made with SPF or made to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
There’s no point to a product that’s kind of gross to use, especially if you’re going to be smearing it all over your lips. This is why we looked for pleasant to use options that won’t be greasy, heavy, or oddly scented.
We also take into account that different people want different things out of their lip products: men will likely value a matte, totally undetectable option while teens might want something that comes in cute packaging and has a great flavour. If you’d like a lip balm that could double as makeup you might actually want a bit of a sheen or even a tint.
The ingredients used in lip balms are usually so simple and easy to obtain that it’s hard to justify spending too much money on them. We definitely take price as well as quantity into account when determining value, although in a few special instances we admit that higher-cost ones have still managed to prove that they deserve a place on our list.
How often to apply lip balm?
It shouldn’t be applied too often. When you’re healthy and the weather is gentle, once at night and once in the morning can be enough, although you might want to reapply again after eating or drinking.
When the weather is harsh and dry your lips will suffer, so you may want to reapply every two hours or so. Lip balms with SPF should also be reapplied every two hours in order to keep yourself protected.
If you find yourself re-applying every hour or more, it might be a sign that you’re “addicted,” that your balm is irritating your lips, or that the flavour is making you lick your lips more often than you should. In any of these cases you might want to switch to a milder, fragrance-free, or more hydrating formula.
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Over to you
Do you prefer a luxury lip balm or something plain that does the job well? Have you tried any of the ones on our list? If no, what’s your go-to for keeping your lips moisturized? Leave a comment and let us know!