Lip balms: Rule No.1 – ditch the vaseline
Beauty: Moisture-starved lips need the best balms around – pamper your pout with these top products
Lip balm soothes the most sensitive part of the face during the freeze and fluctuation of winter and through the aggression of summer sun. Photograph: iStock
Lip balm is a product that I am never without, but I have a slight love-hate relationship with it. It soothes the most sensitive part of the face during the freeze and fluctuation of winter and through the aggression of summer sun, but it is quite easy to become dependent on, and some products are most certainly better than others. An ineffective lip balm will encourage pathological application – this is why I’m not a fan of vaseline. It is essentially a raincoat for the lips, and this sort of product has its purpose, but only as a protective film to help hold in more useful products underneath. Alone, it will give temporary relief and then wear away, leaving lips just as hungry for moisture as they were before, if not more so.
For a very affordable option and alternative to Vaseline, I prefer Labello or Carmex. However, they are doing a similar job. Rather than considering lip balms the sole answer to caring for lips, we can get smarter about supplementing them. If you have a hyaluronic acid facial or eye serum, tap a little onto the lips before applying your balm for instant comfort (obviously don’t do this on broken or cracked lips).
Good facial oils are also effective on lips – dab a very little onto the lips and apply your balm over the top. I love Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask (€18 at Brown Thomas). You can also wear it during the day, but it encourages prevention of uncomfortable lips rather than treatment when the discomfort arises.
Apply a layer nightly and lips will be less cantankerous during the day. If the concept of skincare for lips intrigues you, NIOD Lip Bio-Lipid Concentrate (€45 at cloud10beauty.com), from the heavy-hitting and equally scientific sister brand of the massively successful The Ordinary, is very good. It treats and maintains the lips, though can be mildly irritating, so if that bothers you I recommend using it very sparingly, and at bedtime.
If you’re willing to invest more in a product for day, opt for something hard-working. REN Vita Mineral Lip Balm (€12.45 at lookfantastic.com) is mildly antibacterial and contains vitamin E but is rich enough for those who enjoy the feel of a protective layer on the lips.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Nourishing Lip Balm SPF20 (€23 at Debenhams) is a similarly good option. I prefer this unctuous goop to the lipstick bullet version of the formula. During summer, a lip balm with SPF like this one is advisable.
For several years now, I have engaged in a concerted search for a balm which tops La Mer The Lip Balm (€60 at Brown Thomas). I still haven’t found it. Yes, the price for a lip balm is, frankly, a bit mad. Still, when my lips feel done for, this stuff pulls them back from the precipice every time. I buy one annually with Christmas vouchers – it’s how I justify the extravagance.