‘A kiss is a secret which takes the lips for the ear’. Except it’s cold out, with the seasonal weather making even the most sensual secret into a hoarse whisper.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve pressed a balm to the rest of my face when donning my facemask, the material either sticking to any salve or else the feeling of cotton chafing my un-balmed lips. Finding the perfect lip balm has always been a quest of mine, but now we have further compounding factors affecting performance. So, tried and tested over the last few months, here are my top ten.
Best for SPF, think of Lip Defence as your skin’s dutiful chaperone, defending from harmful blue light and environmental pollution with broad spectrum SPF30 protection, all the time keeping respectfully quiet with a non-sticky and colourless formula. Vitamin E plays a huge part in protecting and repairing the skin, whilst tiger grass extract promotes healing and calms inflammation. Enjoy the slight peppermint finish and be safe in the knowledge that your skin is fully protected.
Best for multitasking, a swift swipe of Disco Nap offers lasting hydration. Go in with a thicker layer to highlight lips with a subtle shimmer and glossy look, without suffering the signature hair-grab hurdles of a gloss. Providing an intense hydration layer-up before bed, as its namesake indicates, Disco Nap wakes you up to fully refreshed lips.
Best for immediate relief, Skinfood Lip Balm’s combination of sunflower oil, lanolin, beeswax and glycerin creates a rich, smooth salve. For anyone who knows Weleda, their skin food has a distinctive herbal scent in addition to its skin-comforting qualities. A little goes a long way for instant relief for dry skin, alongside protecting against cold weather and the drying effects of central heating.
Best for hopeless cases, Cicalfate restorative lip cream came into my life early one morning in Paris. I’d nipped out to grab pastries and shower gel (a replacement for the dire 3-in-1 found in my hotel room) and, whilst paying, I absentmindedly grabbed the first lip balm I saw (intended to mediate the drying effects of a little too much joie de vivre the previous evening). I never imagined that such a chance meeting would develop into an enduring friendship with my all-time favourite balm.
For the driest or most sore, tight or flaky of lips, a thick swipe of cream offers superpowers for repair and healing. Even a light application offers lasting hydration and comfort, complemented by a light silky feel. I’ve one at my desk, one in my car, one in my kit, and one in every bag. I implore you to do the same.
Best for sustainable luxury, Irene Forte is strict with its ingredients: cruelty-free, vegan, organic, ethical and using extensively researched botanicals. For a formula you know will truly care for your lips, and with clean ingredients too, you can enjoy the richness of shea and mango butters, olive, pistachio and sweet almond oils. It’s as intensely nourishing as it is lavish.
Best for a light touch, the Squalane And Rose Vegan Lip Balm by Biossance has an ingredients list enhanced with both ceramides and hyaluronic acid, actively enhancing your lips alongside line-plumping wakame algae extract. For super dry or flaky skin, use it as a mask before buffing away dry skin with a soft, clean toothbrush. A light sweep of balm melts right in, with no greasy feel or cumbersome texture, leaving soft, smooth lips adorned with the gentle scent of rose.
Best for heavy lifting, Dr Lipp’s original multi-use medical-grade lanolin formula has had two new updates, recently culminating in this limited edition power couple. Their CBD Calm Balm updates the original formula with a hit of the good stuff for extra nourishment and anti-inflammatory properties, whilst CBD Superfood Beetroot Tint adds an all-natural organic vegetable pigment (packed with antioxidants) for a subtle wash of colour. Its rich formula fully protects from whipping winter air, providing ultra-long lasting, soothing salvation.
Best for ultimate softness, Patchology Lip Service leads a double life. On one hand, it’s a gloss; on the other, it melts into the skin as a super-soft, soothing balm. Aloe and honey treat skin to restore softness, vitamin B3 helps with overall skin health and hyaluronic acid hydrates. Peppermint oil leaves a great taste and goji berry gives a soft pink tint to enhance lips. It’s so much more than just a balm. I’m never without it and live in fear of it ever being discontinued.
Best for all-round care, the lip kit is everything you need for day-to-day care for your lips. Using Buffer, gently exfoliate with brown sugar, sweet almond oil and comforting shea butter to keep skin smooth. Hydrate with Plumper and enjoy the added warming effects of the natural ingredients: peppermint, chilli and cinnamon work together to gently enhance your natural fullness.
Best for pre-event prep, and a little bonus entry to the listings (and not strictly balm), the Keep Smiling patch can’t be ignored when honouring loyal servants of the cause. The cooling gel patch infuses the lips with skin-softening glycerin with coconut extract, accompanied by soothing lavender and sweet violet. Ten minutes later and voila, you have softened, hydrated and plumped. It’s an unmissable step in preparation for any time you’re getting all dressed up. Even when you have no place to go.
My editor has noted that I have identified multiple lip balms which I am ‘never without’. To allay the concerns of my readers– and to better clarify– this is no exaggeration. There is no one-balm-fits-all solution, but the right combination of the above recommendations is darn close. As women, we may be consistently denied decent pockets on a garment, but at least we have oversized handbags.