Lip balm’s lifespan is admittedly brief. But that doesn’t diminish its value, especially during winter. Brisk winds and near-zero percent humidity are kryptonite for lips. A first (and very thin) line of defense, lips easily dry out, crack and become painfully chapped. Lip balms are meant to prevent and alleviate such problems; the wax-based products help heal and moisturize, and form a protective barrier against Mother Nature’s assaults. All of these options go on clear, aren’t glossy and won’t cost a fortune — because chances are you’ll lose them pretty quickly anyway.
Beyond Coastal Lip Balm
Best Sun Protection: Here’s a lip balm designed, first and foremost, to guard against the sun. Thought up, created, and now used by a man who spends his summers surfing and his winters skiing, this beeswax-based lip balm blocks out 93 percent of UVB rays. And with hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and shea butter, Beyond Coastal’s lip balm also works great on those morning powder runs.
Best for Day Hikes: Roll this stick over and you’ll notice its ingredients have a common theme: organic calendula, organic lavender, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic beeswax, and the list goes on. Yep, this lip balm is certified organic by the USDA. Even its tube is made of recycled plastic. Meant for people who love fresh air, this lip balm has an SPF of 12, is completely gluten free (in case you get hungry) and goes on matte so nobody will accuse you of wearing lipstick.
Aquaphor Lip Repair
Best for Already Damaged Lips: Liquid-gel lip balms are problematic in the summer. They melt, and with one careless squeeze your t-shirt is ruined. Fortunately that’s not an issue in the cold. Aquaphor’s tube doesn’t joke around: no flavors, preservatives or artificial dyes. Consisting of shea butter and vitamins C and E, it’s a lip balm bred for a single purpose: to heal and protect already chapped lips.
Burt’s Bees Coconut & Pear
Best Hydrating: Watch the documentary Burt’s Buzz and you’ll get a behind-the-scenes story of how Burt’s Bees has evolved. The once roadside seller has blossomed into a global brand, with lip balm heading the charge. Rooted in beeswax from Burt’s actual honey bees, this new hydrating lip balm has a subtle tropical flavor and goes on clear.
Best Vegan Option: In a sea of identically shaped sticks, Hurraw! separates itself with its conspicuous oval-cylindrical shape. Delve deeper and you’ll discover this Montana brand is certified organic, gluten free, soy free, shea free and certified vegan — no animal byproduct, including beeswax. Despite a more moist feel when applying, it leaves no gloss or artificial taste. And their Sun Balm is SPF 15, so it’s great for on-the-go snow men. If you’re wondering, their name is both an exclamation (hurrah!) and a nod towards their use of raw materials.
Lulu Organics Cardamom Lip Balm
Editor’s Pick: Compared to the rest, Lulu Organics “wins” at being the most expensive. But there’s a reason for that: The small company uses completely homegrown, USDA Certified Organic ingredients (featuring moisturizing hemp and coconut oils, organic olive oil and all natural beeswax). The Cardamom flavor is subtle, not overpowering and without a fruity taste (thankfully). Basically, it’s GP approved for your next Nordic trek.
Nivea A Kiss of Moisture
Best for Extreme Cold: Nivea’s 125 years of expertise has produced a weapon that we’d happily take on a winter wilderness hike. Enriched with natural beeswax, shea butter and extra vitamins, it provides extra and long-lasting moisture for people already plagued with chapped lips or who are heading into a blizzard. Gloss-less and tasteless, its larger body will make it a little harder to lose it in your jacket‘s pocket — or all the more demoralizing when you do.
Alder New York Juniper Lip Balm
Best Non-Stick Option: Alder New York lip balm is poured by hand into aluminum tins, which as result are occasionally difficult to open when it’s cold. But this Brooklyn-made treat has something sweet inside. It’s made with all-natural coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter for moisturizing and exfoliating powers. On top of that, it doesn’t leave a shimmering residue. So for the masses who choose hand over stick application, buy one below or at Kaufmann Mercantile. It’s worth the extra asking price.