Ever wondered why some lip balms seem to make your lips even more dry? If you suffer from chapped lips, discover how you can easily treat them and how to choose the right lip balm for your needs.
Dry and cracked lips can be painful and uncomfortable, yet it can be frustrating to spend your money on a lip balm only to find out that it doesn't work for you. If you are constantly swiping on balm to soothe your lips, only to find them chapped and flaky again a short time later, you might be wondering if you're actually just making the problem worse.
Can lip balm make your lips drier?
It is easy to think that a lip balm is poor quality when, in reality, you might not be using the right balm for your needs. That’s why it’s important to know a little bit about the ingredients so you can choose the right balm for your skin concern.
There are three main types of moisturising agents: Occlusives, humectants and emollients.
- Occlusive ingredients like paraffin, mineral oil, candelilla wax, beeswax and silicone will not generally absorb into your skin, but create a protective layer that protects your lips from harsh environments and seals in moisture.
- Emollient ingredients like butters and oils soften, soothe and moisturise dry skin by penetrating the skin and filling in gaps between skin cells.
- Humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin (as well as beeswax!) attract moisture and slow down water evaporation from your skin, but can also pull moisture out of the skin causing it to feel dry - especially in less humid environments. Lip balms with humectant ingredients need to be offset by occlusive ingredients which creates a barrier, keeping that moisture on your skin and preventing it from evaporating.
To make it more complicated, ingredients within the same category are not necessarily equal.
For example: Mineral oil is derived from petrochemicals, is not environmentally friendly and has a large molecular size. It can suffocate your skin and clog pores. Beeswax, on the other hand, is much lighter and allows your skin to breathe; it has emollient properties even though it is technically an occlusive.
If you feel like you have to reapply your lip balm all the time, you might be using a balm that is formulated to absorb quickly into the skin without leaving behind a slippery or sticky feeling.
This is great if you only use it during the night, but will do little to protect your lips during the day or in dry environments.
On the other hand, when using Vaseline, petroleum jelly or regular chapstick, you might notice that while they protect your lips and doesn't make them drier, they don't introduce any moisture either. That is because they are primarily made out of occlusive ingredients.
If you want something that penetrates the skin you will need to apply some sort of moisturiser underneath, or choose an occlusive with emollient properties such as beeswax.
The skin on your lips are very thin and can also be affected by external factors such as:
- Cold temperatures
- Indoor heating or air conditioning
- Salty or spicy foods
- Lipstick (especially matte)
- Licking or biting your lips
Choosing the right lip balm for you
Even though you can find lip balms in all price classes, a good lip balm doesn't have to be expensive or fancy. Just look for a blend of high quality ingredients that are - at the very least - a combination of both emollients and occlusives. You don't need to avoid humectants, but make sure they appear alongside the other moisturising agents.
We also recommend steering clear of mineral and palm oil for ethical reasons, and strongly flavoured balms or lip "plumpers" which might be irritating.
If you have particularly sensitive skin, you might also opt for an unscented lip balm. Always make sure to check the label for ingredients you might be allergic to.
Remember that it is not about the brand, but what goes into the product tthe matters. A good lip balm will keep your lips conditioned and smooth through all seasons without blowing your budget!
Fun, Natural and Affordable: Classic Literary Lip Balms (€7)
Our classic lip balms come in over 20+ different scents (all natural!) and you can grab a bundle of 3 for only €18. They are the perfect balms to keep on your night stand or carry around in your purse. Organic shea butter, vitamin E and almond oil keep your skin nourished, while beeswax protects it from the elements.
Vegan-Friendly: Murder on the Orange Express Eco Lip Balm (€10)
Our bestselling vegan lip balm is not only compostable, it also contains over twice as much product as regular chapsticks. Candelilla wax, organic plant butters, vitamin E, and apricot and castor oil add natural protection and hydration to your lips. Subtly scented with citrus, rose geranium and ylang-ylang.
All-Natural & Unscented: The Coconut of Monte Cristo Eco Lip Balm (€10)
This vegan lip balm contains no added fragrance and is suitable for people sensitive to scents or who just prefer a natural balm for everyday use. Organic coconut oil and cocoa butter gives a subtle, sweet scent while adding hydrating and moisturising benefits.
For Men: Moby Dickens Coffee & Cocoa Lip Balm (€10)
Similar to our Coconut of Monte Cristo balm, the Moby Dickens eco lip balm is also suitable for vegans and contain no essential oils. It has a subtle, delicious scent of mocha as it is made with roasted coffee oil and organic cocoa. Coconut oil and vitamins help to heal and provide lasting protection for your lips.
Subtly Tinted: Agent Carter Natural Lip Tint (€16)
If you love to wear some colour on your lips, but hate the dry feeling you get from lipsticks, this lip tint is the perfect solution. Smooth and subtle enough for everyday wear, it relieves dryness and soothe chapped lips with candelilla wax, vitamin E, coconut and apricot kernel oil. Layer stick on top for a bolder colour or wear it alone for a natural tint.