At present, there are 12 lip balms in my top desk drawer…and that’s not including the other five that are floating around at the bottom of my bag. So to say that I “like” them would be like saying Beyoncé is “good” at performing or that Megan Rapinoe is “good” at soccer. In other words: a massive understatement. I’m a full-on connoisseur.
Recently, I’ve noticed a trend amongst my favorite product category: As the “no-makeup makeup” fever has continued to dominate the beauty world, more and more brands have opted to release lip balms that feel a whole lot different than the Dr. Pepper-scented ones that I swiped on in middle school. These lip balms have managed to turn lip hydration into a full-on luxury and decidedly adult experience.
I have to admit, there’s something admittedly decadent about coating your lips from a tube that somehow seamlessly blends lipstick and skin care all into one, with color only optional. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite fancy, shmancy adult lip balms, which make my lips look, feel, and taste like a million bucks.
Famed makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury’s first foray into a lip balm actually isn’t technically a lip balm at all—it’s a clear lipstick (and doesn’t that somehow make it sound even more luxurious)? Named after famed magazine editor Edward Enninful of French Vogue, the balm will make you—and your lips—look and feel like you belong in one of its famed editorial spreads.
I’ve never thought of my lips as glowy before, but that’s exactly what they look like every time I treat them to a coat of this balm. It’s extra hydrating thanks to a blend of antioxidants, and leaves my lips with a flawless subtle shimmer.
It’s rare to find a beauty product that all three of our beauty editors (Rachel Lapidos, Ali Finney and I) deem one of their favorites, but none of us go anywhere without at least one tube of this stuff. It comes in more than a dozen different colors, which give lips a barely-there tint while hydrating and protecting them at the same time.
Though it’s technically called a “lip and cheek stain,” Jane Iredale’s “Just Kissed” is one of the most hydrating products to ever grace my pout. It’s made with natural botanicals and helps enhance one’s natural lip color, which works its magic to make your lips look like your lips, but better.
Packed with hydrating vitamin E, L’Occitane’s lip balm is more than initially meets the eye. It goes on yellow, but reacts with the pH of your skin to turn pink. It also has an instant plumping effect, so you can literally plump up your lips before your eyes.
Think of LipFuel as the professional athlete of the fancy lip balm category. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture, plus soothing wild mint, and konjac root to create a gel-like barrier between your lips and the environment. It’s the perfect product to swipe on before or after the gym…and pretty much every other time during the day, too.
Ilia Balmy Days ($26)
The best part of Ilia’s lip conditioning balm is that it can be used anywhere. The combo of shea, beeswax, and orange peel wax, plus a mix of organic oils (olive, castor, sunflower seed, and sesame, if you must know), help to hydrate your skin wherever you might need it, without ever getting goopy, sticky, or gross.
Dior Lip Glow ($34)
The choice between “lip balm” and “lipstick” has never been easier than with Dior’s Lip Glow, because the line of tinted shades fits both bills. They come in “satin” and “shimmer” finishes, but each color goes on sheer to make lips look radiant. The reason the balms are so universally flattering? Dior’s Color Reviver technology reacts to your lips in order to give them a natural-looking flush.
Just looking at Gucci’s lip balm evokes the tune of Fergie’s “Glamorous” in my brain, because it’s exactly that. Its moisture-rich formula (which comes in literally the prettiest packaging I have ever seen) can be used on your lips, or on your eyes, as a makeshift liner.
Armani’s “invisible makeup” is meant to enhance your natural lip color, and boasts up to eight hours of hydration for our pout. It comes in two shades—a light nude and a deep one—so that there’s a complimentary option for every skin tone.
With nourishing ingredients like honey, beeswax, and rosehip seed oil, Lancôme’s lip balm offers some real beauty double duty: It not only hydrates your lips, but can also be used to help reduce the appearance of fine lines around them.
Chanel Rouge Coco Baume ($38)
You can’t talk about “adult lip balms” without mentioning Chanel. This one will make your lips feel like sumptuous silk whenever you apply.
No matter what kind of lip balm you’re using, here’s exactly how many times you should apply it every day according to a dermatologist. And here are some of our faves with SPF for keeping your lips safe from the sun.
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