Years ago on a trip to Paris, I got a list via text from a (French!) beauty editor friend comprising every essential I needed to bring home from the French pharmacies. Atop the list (which was corroborated by even more beauty industry pals), was an inconspicuous item that she assured me was a game changer: lip balm.
Not just any lip balm, though: It was Avène Cold Cream Nourishing Lip Balm ($14). A product that has not only stayed in my daily rotation (in my medicine cabinet, car, nightstand, and purses), but has been a gift for virtually all my friends and relatives, and what I stock up on in bulk on my trips overseas.
You may be thinking, “It’s just a lip balm, calm down,” and to that I might say “fair,” but also… If you’re not completely enamored with it, you simply haven’t tried it. And don’t just take my word for it, acclaimed dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, and Vice President of the Women’s Dermatologic Society, shares my (very strong) feelings about this product. “It’s my go-to lip product for dry, cracked lips,” she tells me.
This lip balm spurred my love for the entire Avène line—a gateway product, if you will. For starters, you have to understand that the texture is nothing like the cherry Chapstick. As Dr. Gohara puts it, “it has a lovely creamy texture that melts into the lips when applied.” It’s true—if silk and butter came together and made a lip-product-baby, it would be Avène Cold Cream lip balm.
What makes it so special? For one, the star ingredient in all of Avène’s beloved skin-care products: Avène Thermal Spring Water. This fountain-of-youth water comes from a specific spring in France, and dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, MD, told me previously that it’s "been shown to soothe and calm the skin, and it's formulated to minimize risk of allergic reactions."
With this product in particular, the “natural cold cream” (which is an emulsification of water in oil) with Avène’s miracle water, jojoba oil, and shea butter is what makes this formulation particularly magical. “It provides intense hydration, helps restore comfort, and leaves your lips smooth and soft,” says Dr. Gohara.
Additionally, “It’s also water resistant and provides intense nourishment for as long as six hours, so you don’t need to worry about constant reapplication,” she says—this could also help prevent ‘lick eczema’ or perioral dermatitis that tends to happen in the winter months.
While I stock up on as many as I can overseas (they’re 3 euros a pop over there) so I can dole them out as luxury-on-a-budget gifts to friends, I still shell out the full $14 (or get them on subscription for 10 percent off via Avène) here in the US because this lip balm is truly a priceless item. Trust me on this one—you need it.
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