Choosing the best lip balm is difficult as the market has become a minefield. It's just as well there are so many reviews to help the consumer decide as never has there been so much choice for your lips. Chapped, cracked lips? Perhaps they're dry or sensitive? How about sun-scorched and blistered? There are 101 balms out there: products for kids, men, those which promise to turn back time by offering fine line minimizers and lip plumpers.
Then there are the natural varieties which offer synthetic-free alternatives with only natural, organic ingredients. Luxury brands offer decadent lip treats alongside the everyday drugstore alternatives too.
There are products for the hardcore as well, which offer zinc and high sun protection factors that are great for extreme conditions on the slopes or at sea - ideal for men who spend time outdoors and are exposed to the often harsh elements.
Newer tinted varieties are a hybrid option - adding a hint of colour, they are part way between a chap stick and a lipstick
, making them the perfect addition to any make-up bag.
With all this choice, no wonder the average consumer is a little overwhelmed and confused when it comes to choosing the right product. The following are some of the key questions asked when it comes to opting for the best lip balm
to meet a whole range of needs.
1. Which is best for the winter season?
When it comes to choosing one for cold winter weather, don't forgot the sun's harsh rays are just as damaging at this time of year as they are in the summer. That's why a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 is essential to protect the thin layer of skin. Opting for a product which contains zinc will give further protection. A thicker formula which doesn't slide of easily is best to keep moisture locked in. Try: Zinc & Aloe Sunscreen Sunblock; Blistex Daily Conditioner; Clarins Moisture Replenishing Balm.
2. Which is best to use in the summer?
The same rules apply winter and summer alike, it's all about prolonged exposure to extreme weather, harmful UV/UB as well as the wind, which can dry and chap just as much as the sun can. So again a SPF is essential. Drinking water too generally helps keep the lips - as well as the whole body - hydrated, which is essential as the temperature soars. Reapplying frequently will ensure lips retain a protective layer. And it's worth remembering that sweating occurs in hot weather so lip balm disappears quickly. Try: Vaseline Lip Therapy SPF 15; Aveda's Lip Saver; Virgin Vie Lip Defence SPF 15 Anti-Oxidant Balm.
3. What is the best kind for kissing?
When kissing, you don't want a lip balm that is too sticky, otherwise it's likely to get all over the face, let alone any place else that's being kissed! It's also better if the ingredients are natural as chances are the kissers will probably ingest a fair amount in the process. A pleasant but not overpowering flavor and fragrance will make the experience all the more enjoyable too. Try: Lush's It Started With A Kiss; Anatomicals' Snog Me Senseless; Eve Lom Kiss Mix.
4. Which have all natural ingredients?
Although many products smell and taste great and look fantastic thanks to their sophisticated packaging, they're often full of synthetic ingredients, which, although aren't harmful, are far from natural. Natural, organic alternatives, often made with plant extracts, are proving to be a popular alternative. For the environmentally and health-conscious, lip balms which steer clear of unnecessary extras and stick to elements such as beeswax and essential oils to add perfume are attractive alternatives. Try: Aromatherapy Associates Moisturizing Balm; Aveda Lip Saver; Dr Hauschka lip-care stick.
5. What is the best medicated variety?
Medicated products are excellent at treating severely dry and chapped lips, including those which may be prone to some bleeding. They will get to work very quickly to restore the lips' natural moisture levels so they become soft and supple once again. Left untreated, dry lips can worsen so it's best to regularly apply a lip balm which contains a range of soothing, nourishing, healing ingredients, such as honey, hydramine and grape seed extract. Try: Blistex Daily Conditioner; E45 Lipcare; Lanolips 101 ointment.
6. What is the best tinted kind?
Tinted varieties are a great in-between, doubling up to provide a subtle colour with a slick of moisturizing nourishment. They come in a range of colours and shades and can be sheer and barely-there or darker and more like a gloss. They slick on with a wand or from a dinky tin and are giving the humble lipstick a run for its money. Tinted lip balms are ideal for the woman who doesn't want to look like she's wearing any make-up, so definitely a great option for the lower maintenance kind. Try: Benefit Cosmetics Benetint; Jane be Pure Mineral Tinted; Bobbi Brown Tinted Balm.
7. What is the best which is available from the drugstore?
The good old classics which have graced the shelves of drugstores for years continue to be great choices which are inexpensive and effective, not to mention great smelling and tasting. They certainly compete with some of the more luxury brands. With so much on offer, the consumer can choose from a range of great options across all categories, including those with sun protection or a medicated component. Try: Carmex Classic; Chapstick Ultra Smooth; Blistex Daily Conditioner.
8. Which is the least sticky brand?
A sticky formula may help the product adhere to the lips effectively, but more often than not it can also wind up on the teeth and cheeks - not a pretty sight. It needs to go on smoothly, stay put without the need for further application for at least 2 hours, and sink into the lips - not just sit on the lips' surface. That's why consistency and application is key: it should glide, not stick and disappear on application, not leave a gloopy mess. Try: Badger Tangerine Breeze; Burt's Bees Beeswax; Carmex Fresh Mint.
9. What is the best lip-plumping product?
Products which promise to plump lips and smooth the fine lines which surround the upper lips and the areas around the corners of the mouth are now an essential part of the older woman's skin care routine. Because lips don't have any oil glands, they're one of the first parts of the body to lose essential moisture and start to show signs of premature ageing, which is why it's essential to halt the ageing process with a super-moisturizing, nourishing daily treatment. Try: Creme de la Mer; Lancome, Primordiale Levres.
10. What is best for men?
Men's lips require just as much moisturizing and nourishment as women's but they may be less keen on excessive packaging and strong flavors and smells. They need a hard-working product which also protects, offering a high SPF for exposure to the wind and sun. An applicator which delivers just enough product and doesn't leave behind any shiny, glossy tell-tale signs is also a must. Try: MD Skincare: Powerful Sun Protection SPF 25; Brave Soldier Lip Defender SPF 15; Jack Black Black Diamond Formula Intense Therapy SPF 25.
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