Lip Balms That Are Drying Out Your Lips & The Ones You Should Use Instead

No one likes crusty lips. They aren’t attractive, make you look like you ate sand for breakfast, and can cause your lips to bleed—making everyone you run into question whether or not a vampire kid. It’s true. The bleeding, dryness, and generally chapped appearance that you’re struggling with is actually the fault of many of the ingredients present in some lip balm, making a bad situation worse. According to Style Caster and dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD, “Lip balms with humectants such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin make lips worse … these ingredients pull moisture out of the skin, especially in a dry environment, and then the water evaporates away.” But before you throw away everything with a humectant, Baumann goes on to say that as long as the product has occlusive ingredients like shea butter, beeswax, and some oils, you’ll be fine. Those ingredients help hold water, so the two things can work together.

Here are the best and worst lip balms for you as we (barely) trek into spring.

The Best Lip Balms

Tatcha Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm

Are you bougie enough to wear gold flecked lip balm? Duh. Allure awarded this brand with a Best of Beauty stamp for 2017 thanks to its high content of vitamins, fatty acids (amazing for your lips), and hydration powers.

Camellia Lip Balm

Aquaphor Lip Repair Healing Ointment

It can be used for eczema, which proves it’s perfect for calming down the dry, chapped, and cracked lips that have come to be our go-to accessory this winter. It isn’t fancy, tinted, it comes in a cute tube—which makes it super legit in our book, and NY Mag’s, apparently, too. Don’t worry, it’s great for sensitive skin.

Aquaphor Lip Repair Lip Balm

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

Tinted, minty, and used by our favorite weirdos, the Olsen twins, Smith’s Rosebud Salve is amazing because it can be used ANYWHERE your face is chapped. It also has a super slight tint—perfect for rubbing into lips and cheeks for a nice, subtle glow. NY Mag, HuffPost, and Total Beauty can’t all be wrong.

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm

Allure loves it, The Fashion Spot loves it, HuffPost loves it, so you should, too. With a combo of shea butter, vitamin E, AND sunscreen, you definitely need to start using this lip balm. It goes on a super smooth, and actually heals your lips as opposed to just coating them in weird chemicals.

Fresh Sugar Lip Hydrating Balm

This tinted and slightly shiny balm is listed on several sites including The Fashion Spot, Style Caster, and BeautyEditor as a great chapped lip treatment. It does contain several of the no-no ingredients like fragrances and perfumes, but the high percentage of natural oils derived from apricot, grapeseed, and black currant helps to moisturize even the crustiest lips.


Sometimes you just need something simple that will get the job done. Even if you’re not using the ~fancy~ new Vaseline lip tins that come in varieties like Aloe and Cocoa Butter, this product has been with you since day one. Probably literally—I bet you still have that 10 gallon tub of Vaseline you bought in 2008. Vaseline is the ultimate ride or die, and it’s good for your lips, too.

The Worst

We’re by no means saying don’t, like, EVER use these three, but we’re putting it out there that the internet says they aren’t so great. So, like, buyer beware.


It isn’t going to kill you, doesn’t contain formaldehyde, and doesn’t contain cut glass. According to The Cut, though, the reason it may be irritating or making your lips drier is due to the benzocaine (which many people are allergic to) and the salicylic acid (which you’ll recognize from every acne product ever). The higher levels of menthol feel cool on your lips, but can actually dry them out further.


Sigh. Unfortunately for those of us who pick up packs of this classic and been-around-forever lip balm, Chapstick is likely making your lips worse. It kind of just sits on the top of your lips without actually healing it, causing you to constantly reapply. If you want a classic, plain, normal lip healer and helper, go for the Vaseline or Aquaphor.

EOS Lip Balm

HEAR ME OUT. I know we all love the little spherical shapes and pastel colors of these cutesy lip balms. But don’t forget the lawsuit from January 2016, which alleged this product caused blistering, rashes, and other negative effects for one user.

The case was quickly settled, but by November there were at least 10 more class action suits which EOS also settled alleging the same blistering, rashes, and other not-cute side effects. You and I may use EOS with little to no issue, but it’s worth mentioning that two lawsuits and a lot of people in the past few years have claimed something is up with these lip balms.

Images: RW Studios /Unsplash

Sarah Nowicki
Sarah Nowicki
Sarah Nowicki aka Betchy Crocker writes about food, fashion, and whatever else she's in the mood to complain about for Betches and like, some other people. She resides in Asheville, NC, where she spends her time judging hipsters and holding on to her Jersey heritage and superiority. Yell at her on Instagram @sarahnowicholson