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The Best Lip Balms for Men

Natural ingredients and essential oils can help calm chapped, crusted and cracked lips.

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Often, the care our lips receive can have an inverse relationship to how important they are in our everyday lives. They make essential tasks like talking and eating possible — but without proper treatment and protection, they can become dry, chapped and sore.

Our lips deserve better, though it’s understandable why we don’t treat lip balm as a grooming essential. It’s a pretty recent invention. In the early 1880s, a doctor from Lynchburg, Virginia, devised what’s credited as the world’s first lip balm, a slow seller that caught wind only when the recipe was sold to another Lynchburg resident in 1912. The buyer, John Morton, owned Morton Manufacturing Company, responsible for the rise of the Chapstick brand.

Since then, lip balm formulas have become more complex and many don’t serve their original purpose of moistening and repairing lips. Chapstick and other mass-market lip balms contain ingredients that can dry out lips and become addictive. They also don’t protect your lips against the elements, especially the sun and cold. “A lot of mass-market lip balms don’t have SPF,” said Madeline Korosec, Men’s Grooming Merchant at Birchbox. Considering your skin needs protection year-round (the sun’s rays are just as damaging in winter as they are in summer) and that SPF balms slow aging, that’s enough to ponder the benefits of your regular drugstore lip balm.

That doesn’t mean you need a fancy balm, though people with dry lips, peeling lips, scent sensitivities or other conditions may benefit from these. Most people can get away using unspecialized sticks, and knowing your ingredients is key to finding the right balm. “Some good ingredients to look for in lip balm are beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter and a variety of natural oils,” Korosec said. “These are considered less harmful and less irritating.” We saved you the searching and label-reading, and found these balms that will moisturize, repair and protect your lips without requiring constant application.

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our pick
Baxter of California
Hydro Salve Lip Balm
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an affordable alternative
Aquaphor
Lip Repair (Two-Pack)
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an upgrade
Maapilim
Lip Balm
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Ingredients You Should Avoid
lip balms
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Many mass-market lip balms contain ingredients that dry out lips and irritate the skin. This seems counterintuitive, though some additives that provide short-term sensation, like petroleum jelly, provide no moisturizing benefit. Petroleum jelly is water-repellent and seals off pores, preventing moisture from entering or exiting your lips. Many lip balms also contain parabens. These chemicals combat harmful bacteria, but are carcinogenic. Studies have suggested that parabens can reduce testosterone levels and sperm production.

Korosec said that some lip balms contain mineral oils and artificial colors and fragrances. These additives may make your lip balm look, taste and smell better, but can also irritate the skin. Look out for chemical sunscreens, like Oxybenzone, in lip balms with SPF. While Oxybenzone absorbs ultraviolet light, it mimics estrogen and can seep through skin and enter the bloodstream, altering sperm production. If your lip balm causes changes your body chemistry, then it’s time for something new.

Jack Black
Intense Therapy Lip Balm
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Aesop
Cedar and Citrus Lip Salve
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Burt's Bees
Beeswax Lip Balm
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Supergoop!
PLAY Lip Balm
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Le Labo
Lip Balm
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Dr. Bronner's
Organic Peppermint Lip Balm
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F. Miller
Lip Balm
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Augustinus Bader
The Lip Balm
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Malin + Goetz
Mojito Lip Balm
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Grown Alchemist
Vanilla and Watermelon Lip Balm
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Woods Copenhagen
Lip Repair
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Oars + Alps
Shine-Free Lip Balm (Three-Pack)
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Kiehl's
Lip Balm #1
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