Nivea A Kiss of Moisture Essential Lip Care (Beiersdorf)
In the winter, catch me coated in a thick and glossy layer of Nivea moisturizers all over my body. On my lips, I love using the brand’s A Kiss of Moisture balm. I put it on every night before I sleep and every morning right after I shower. It’s vaguely minty and leaves a nice glossy finish that doesn’t go on too thick or leave gross residue behind. If a minty taste is not your vibe, may I also suggest Nivea’s A Kiss of Milk & Honey for something sweeter upon thine lips? —Brittany
Beeswax Lip Balm (Burt’s Bees)
I’m taking one for Team Obvious here, but I have to admit that this choice is an uncommon one for me. I’m the kind of stealthy beauty/health consumer that will try anything—ANYTHING—in order to stumble upon a miraculous, undiscovered remedy that I get to humblebrag about as my Ultimate Beauty Secret!!! So it’s hard for me to feel EXCITED that Burt’s Bee’s original beeswax balm is my end-all, be-all, all-season, foolproof lip moisturizer of choice, as it’s popular, cheap, and ubiquitous at any ol’ drugstore. Well, I guess none of that is bad. It just means I don’t have a special, personal secret when it comes to my lip zones. I’ll live.
Burt’s Bees Original Beeswax Lip Balm works really, really well, and that’s what matters most! In the midst of a recent cold snap (don’t laugh at me, East Coasters—38 DEGREES WAS A REAL SHOCK TO MY SYSTEM), this formula was without a doubt the only product that returned my lips to normal and put an end to that atrocious non-stop feeling of having to smack my lips all the time because dry paiiiiin. Oh my GOD, that feeling sucks.
While I’m on the subject, you know what else sucks? ANY OTHER FLAVOR of Burt’s Bee’s lip balm. It’s a whole line of disappointment. I’ve gone through every delicious-seeming flavor variety: Mango! Pomegranate! Honey! Doesn’t honey sound good? Well, I’m sorry to report that it is NOT. It is a BAD ChapStick. I guess that instead of adding pleasant flavors to his perfect original formula, Burt (why, Burt, why?) created entirely different-flavored lip balm recipes without even a fraction of the healing, moisturizing, soothing powers of the original Beeswax Lip Balm. Forgo the tempting flavors and stick with the original. It might be the obvious choice, but it’s the one that’s never let me down. —Dylan
Labello Classic Care (Beiersdorf)
Let me tell you about a weirdly creamy yet slick yet ungreasy lip balm I fell in love with in Europe. LABELLO, greatest of all balms. LABELLO, the healing. Labello of the slight scent and gentle shine and hundred other uses. You guys, this stuff is the absolute best—it heals cracked and bleeding lips within a few applications, you can put it on your cuticles, eyebrows, and cheeks, and it comes with a hard translucent cap that makes a satisfying chock sound when you replace the cover, which makes it a great thing to fiddle with in your coat pocket. There are many Labello flavors in the Labello family, but don’t eff with any of them (except Hydrocare, which is like putting a splash of actual cold water on your lips), because there’s no use trying to improve perfection—original Labello is already perfect. One of my ex-boyfriends living in Milan sends me a package full of Labello every year—even though we’re both gay now, we remain united in our quest for enviably soft lips. —Krista
Argan Infinity Lip And Cheek Creamy Oil (Josie Maran)
This stuff feels like the nectar of the gods when you put it on and it inflates your lips, not because it’s one of those stinging plumping products, but because they get juicy FAT hydrated. The color’s buildable and looks super natural (and supernatural) on your cheeks, too. I have it in every color except coral because I don’t do that, but I especially love Boundless Berry. —Amy Rose
Baby Lips Electro Lip Balm in Minty Sheer (Maybelline)
This is a drugstore staple that comes in four lines: the pastel-tinted, fruit-flavored Baby Lips; the neutral tinted Dr. Rescue; the warm, shimmery shades of Crystal; and (my favorite) Electro, which comes in a rainbow variety of neon colors. I was immediately drawn to the bright green shade, Minty Sheer. I like imagining that it’s part of a wicked witch’s beauty routine, because goodness knows screeching, smooching demons, and riding through the wind on your broom can be drying on the lips. Although most of the Baby Lips colors have a slight tint, this one actually goes on clear. It tastes subtly minty, and—best of all—it’s smooth, non-greasy, and actually moisturizes your lips. —Leanna
Rosebud Salve (Smith’s)
I remember being particularly proud of a sticker I had on my planner back in high school that declared, in two-inch-tall letters, QUESTION EVERYTHING. I believe this still in most cases—it’s just better to know, you know? But once in a while, if it’s something I really, really love, if it isn’t doing any active harm, I just don’t read the ingredients.
Once upon a time, I believed that Smith’s Rosebud Salve was magic. The packaging makes me feel like I’m in a speakeasy coatroom rifling through Anaïs Nin’s pockets, it smells like an elegant old lady’s house, and its ridiculously shiny without being gooey like a lip gloss. It doesn’t really absorb, so it keeps your lips protected from the wind (key when you live in the frozen hellscape that is far upstate New York), and in a pinch it works as highlighter. Its slight pink tint makes your lips, cheeks and eyelids glow, which makes me feel downright cherubic. Miracle product. Or so I was convinced, until I read the ingredients. It’s just Vaseline with some essential oil and pink tint. Magic, moderately tarnished. I guess that’s the consequence of questioning everything! —Meredith
Lucas’ Papaw Ointment (Lucas’ Papaw Remedies)
This can be a little tricky to get outside Australia, but if you live elsewhere and can somehow track it down, you will be rewarded for your effort. I’ve been rubbing this stuff on my person since the moment I took control of my hands—and before that, my mum would rub it on my chubby baby butt for me.
As well as being a super nourishing and shiny lip balm, it works anywhere you need a bit of extra moisture: Apply it to chafed skin before bed; rub it on your dry heels then pop some cotton socks on for a deep/cheap pedi; squeeze it onto a Band-Aid before affixing it to a blister; rub it into scars to speed up healing; mix it with some coarse sugar for a super cheap lip scrub. One tiny tube in your bag is like a shortcut to surviving winter. My favorite way to use it is to get a bit gross and rub it on my lips, then around my nose (if I’ve got the sniffles and have been rubbing it raw with tissues), before finally putting a little bit inside my nostrils, just to keep any pollen or stray grossness from getting up in my business. —Brodie
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Swivel Stick (E.T. Browne Drug Co.)
My friend Nina introduced me to this lip balm when we were in high school. She called it the Cat Butt, which is what looks like—a giant glue stick with a divot in the center, exactly like a cat butt. Just what you want to put on your mouth! Except that this cat butt smells like cocoa butter (delicious!) and makes your lips silky smooth. The fact that it looks like you’re about to paste a collage on your face is just a bonus. —Emma S.
Intense Therapy Lip Balm (Jack Black)
Last month, my lips reached a level of dryness that I’m pretty sure had never been seen in the modern world. They were like an alien-being attached to my face that would simply not cooperate. No matter how much water I drank, it didn’t help. Opening my mouth to eat became a painful ordeal, and I even started talking weird so as to not stress out the creature that now resided where my lips once were. Desperate, I took to Twitter to ask for advice on what could bring my lips back to life and rid my face of this parasite forever. The lovely writer Sarah Nicole Prickett suggested Intense Therapy Lip Balm, and I bought it the next day. When I first put it on, my lips were so far gone that I couldn’t even feel whether they were balmed. By the end of the day, my lips had regained enough elasticity that I was free to eat triple-decker sandwiches without painful repercussions. By the third day, they were back to normal. To say that this was a miraculous recovery is an understatement. I am now a faithful devotee of this balm and its very classic balm-y texture. Although it may feel greasy when you first put it on (which I don’t mind because I feel like that’s how I know it’s working), you can still kiss your significant other without it being a whole ordeal. It’s a lifesaver. —Laia
Lansinoh HPA Lanolin (Lansinoh)
I know, I know, putting nipple cream on your lips sounds WEIRD. But when I say Lansinoh works for chapped lips… IT WORKS, like fabulously. It’s made from lanolin, a waxy oil that comes from sheep’s wool (which, OK, also sounds weird). I recommend using it as an overnight treatment because it’s thick and can get sticky. Warm it up between your fingertips before spreading it all over and just outside your lips. In the morning, wipe it off or just apply your normal lip balm over it. Trust me, chapped lips will be good as new (or even better). —Chanel
Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker (Bonne Bell)
I’m not even the biggest Dr. Pepper drinker, but this might be the best lip balm Lip Smacker makes. For starters, the Dr. Pepper formula is the only one of their flavors that actually smells like the real deal (as opposed to their more synthetic flavors like Bubblegum or Guava). Even Coca-Cola doesn’t compare to Dr. Pepper’s weirdly accurate scent. You put this baby up to your nose and get a sniff of that root beer-meets-dark cherry-meets—wait, what even is Dr. Pepper’s flavor? The balm also gives your lips the slightest rosy tint and a sheen that isn’t too glossy or sticky. I like to wear it as-is or layer it over matte lipsticks to give them more gloss. Is it the most medically moisturizing lip product out there? Not really, but the color, scent, and tween nostalgia packed into this tube of soda-inspired Smackers makes it a classic. —Hazel
Classic Cherry ChapStick (ChapStick)
I’m a big fan of lip balms, but in my younger years, my love was next-level. My aunt used to pick me up from school once in a while, and we usually chatted on our drive home. One day I was particularly quiet, and here’s why: After getting into her car and buckling up, I asked if she had any ChapStick. She handed me a brand-new tube of the cherry-flavored variety (a perennial classic). When we arrived at our destination, and she asked for her ChapStick back, I bashfully shared a bit of bad news: I’d eaten all of it. (Not the plastic, mind you. Just the chap. Still gross.) While this lip balm’s cherry color and scent may be enticing, it’s a treat best enjoyed by following the essential rule of lip-balm etiquette: DON’T EAT IT. —Lauren
Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm (NUXE Rêve de Miel)
This was recommended by a pharmacist when she saw the desperate state of my chapped lips one winter. She told me it was “the only thing that really works” and she was so right. One blob of this thick, golden-yellow balm on my lips at night, and I wake up with a peanut-butter smooth pout. It smells like honey but it’s not sticky. I can’t use anything else now. —Cynthia
Natural Hawaiian Lip Balm (Alba Botanica)
I’m a big fan of Alba’s shampoos and body lotions, so I decided to give their lip balm a whirl. I picked up this one in the Pineapple Quench flavor, and it is DIVINE. It tastes like the pineapple candy I used to get when I was a li’l BB. It’s made with aloe and coconut oil and leaves my lips soft and ready for SMOOCHIN’. I’m excited to try their Coconut Cream version next. —Marie
Smooth Sphere Lip Balm (Evolution of Smooth)
I’ve never been much of a product expert, and I try to stick with the basics when it comes to my *beauty routine*. Last winter, I suffered from the inevitable crumbly lip, and wasn’t sure what to do beyond my usual slathering-on of coconut oil. I turned to my beauty guru, my 13 year-old stepsister. She insisted that I try to find “that weird round one” to cure my ailment, and told me her goal is to have every color/flavor rolling around in her makeup drawer. She was talking about Smooth Sphere Lip Balm, and it truly was the answer to my cute-lip conundrum. I opt for the Sweet Mint flavor, as it produces a nice tingle when it hits the cold air. And it’s not goopy at all! It does exactly what I want it to do: It keeps my lips soft, doesn’t give me hair-stuck-to-lips syndrome, and is aesthetically pleasing in the front pocket of my yellow backpack. —Allyssa
Moisture Melt (Blistex)
Thanks to a love of playing in the snow, blasting the heat indoors, and wearing matte lipsticks, my lips get pretty messed up in the winter. I’ve used a bazillion lip balms over the years and found most of them pretty frustrating—they’d be too slimy, or too medicinal, or would taste and/or look nice but not do a thing for the actual condition of my lips. But Moisture Melt is the best. It has these little moisture beads in it (like bath beads for your lips, I guess?) and keeps my lips super soft all day. It is also super helpful to apply some a few minutes before you put on your lip color—it makes the color go on smoother and last longer. Good stuff, man! —Pixie
Balm Dotcom (Glossier)
I’m smitten with this thick, emollient salve for lips/hands/cuticles/whatever. Because my lip routine is to apply balm liberally, and then after a few minutes blot my lips on the back of my hand (so I can apply my super-matte lipsticks to a hydrated but not-slick set of lips), something that does double- and triple-hydrating duty is perfect for me. The cherry on top is the really cute pink ‘n’ white minimal tube design. —Elizabeth ♦