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Found: The 14 Best Lip Moisturizers Of 2022 That *Actually* Put In The Work

Last updated on August 23, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

To combat the dreaded chap, a good lip moisturizer is a must. As someone who suffers from perennially dry lips no matter the season, I always have a trusty tube or pot of balm on my person (or bag, or desk, or bathroom shelf, or nightstand). And I certainly have my tried-and-true favorites—in this curated list below, you'll find the lip moisturizers that actually, you know, work. 

Ahead, browse our collection of best lip moisturizers for a thirsty pout. 

What is a lip moisturizer? 

You're probably wondering: What's the difference between a lip moisturizer and lip balm? Well, to be honest, these aren't clearly defined categories. Most of the lip product language—moisturizers, masks, balms, salves et al.—is all up to marketing. But if you'd like a set definition, you can think of lip moisturizers as formulas that include a blend of humectants, emollients, and occlusives to actually send moisture to your lips. This is in comparison to an occlusive-only wax or jelly balm that merely coats the surface—or shiny and plumping numbers that are there for aesthetic purposes only. Lip moisturizers can include plumping or glossy agents (you’ll see); just know that their main gig is hydration. 

Finally, other lip-enhancing formulas include active ingredients like salicylic acid or peptides; these would fall more under the "lip treatment" umbrella since they're meant to treat various lip concerns (like, say, lip lines). Like its name suggests, a lip moisturizer’s main purpose is to focus on, well, moisture.

How we picked

Ingredients

Of course, you’ll find hydrating ingredients among this list—better yet, each formula comes with a blend of humectants, emollients and occlusives for long-lasting hydration. 

Skin type & goals

We included a variety of formulas to meet different needs. While every pick focuses on moisture, we included a variety of options that plump, exfoliate, and soothe sensitive lips. 

Quality

Each option on this list is of the highest quality, with ingredients that align with mbg’s clean beauty philosophy. If a formula contains any potential concerns (i.e., animal-derived ingredients or natural fragrance), we made sure to flag it. 

Testing & testimonials

We tested out products firsthand to see what worked and what didn't. When this wasn't possible, our editors utilized expert recommendations and verified customer experiences.

mbg's picks for the best lip moisturizers of 2022

Best overall: mindbodygreen

Pros

  • Simple and nourishing for the skin barrier

Cons

  • Does not have a glossy finish, if you’re looking for shine
Considerations: VeganCruelty-freeFragrance-free
Key ingredients: Shea butterMoringa seed oilSunflower seed waxCocoa seed butterSodium hyaluronateVitamin E

A good lip moisturizer needs a combination of humectants, emollients, and occlusives to truly deliver hydration (and keep it there), and mindbodygreen's formula includes one high-quality blend. Specifically, there's hyaluronic acid to draw in water and fill up the lips with moisture, shea and cocoa seed butters to smooth out any rough areas, and sunflower seed wax to provide a protective barrier, so all that precious moisture stays locked inside. Plus, vitamin E has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to help heal chapped areas and soothe uncomfortable lip cracks.

Best for everyday use: ILIA Lip Wrap Reviving Balm

Pros

  • Brimming with antioxidants

Cons

  • Contains essential oils, if you’re sensitive to those
Considerations: VeganCruelty-free
Key ingredients: Shea butterHyaluronic acidSqualaneSea succulent extractPrickly pear oilCastor oilLavender extractChamomile extract

ILIA took its beloved, hydrating overnight lip treatment and transformed the product into an everyday balm. With hyaluronic acid, squalane, and sea succulent extract, it quenches thirsty lips on contact, while shea butter and lavender and chamomile extracts soothe any irritation. Finally, castor oil and prickly pear oil deliver a host of fatty acids and lock in all that precious moisture.  

Pros

  • Certified organic
  • Chic packaging

Cons

  • Not vegan
  • Using your fingers can introduce bacteria
Considerations: Cruelty-free
Key ingredients: Jojoba oilBeeswaxGreen tea extractSunflower seed oilRosehip oilSweet almond oil

Kjaer Weis' is known for iconic, chic packaging, and its sleek lip balm does not disappoint—but the salve inside certainly lives up to its casing: With sweet almond oil, sunflower seed oil, and rosehip oil, the formula beautifully softens the skin and offers fast-absorbing moisture. It's a bit pricier for an everyday lip balm, especially if you're one to quickly blow through product after product, but the luxurious packaging is a one-time buy (and doubles as decor). 

Best conditioning: LAWLESS Forget The Filler Overnight Lip Plumping Mask

Pros

  • Makes lips noticeably softer overnight

Cons

  • Dipping your finger into the jar can introduce bacteria
Considerations: VeganCruelty-free
Key ingredients: Shea butterHyaluronic acidMAXI-LIP technology

The LAWLESS Forget The Filler Lip Plumper became an instant hit—so it only makes sense to the brand also offers an overnight lip-plumping treatment to complement the smoothing gloss. It calls on the brand's MAXI-LIP technology to visibly increase lip volume, but the treatment also packs hyaluronic acid and shea butter to leave lips pillow-soft. 

Best for sensitive skin : First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy

Pros

  • Soothes flaky lips

Cons

  • Natural butters may crystalize in cold temperatures
Considerations: VeganCruelty-free
Key ingredients: Shea butterColloidal oatmealGlycerinGreen tea extract

Colloidal oatmeal is a workhorse humectant that's oh-so-soothing to the skin—the lips included. A winner for extra-sensitive lips, the formula also contains glycerin and shea butter to hydrate and soften the delicate area.

Best multitasker: Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm

Pros

  • Great for on-the-go moisture

Cons

  • Not vegan
Considerations: Cruelty-freeFragrance-free
Key ingredients: BeeswaxAvocado oilPeptidesMongongo oil

Rough, flaky lips are no match for this intensely moisturizing balm. A blend of nutrient-rich oils, butters, and peptides protect the skin's barrier and heal any lingering lip cracks. Bonus tip: Feel free to stamp it under your eyes to rehydrate any dry areas. 

Best glossy finish: Kinship Supermelt Vegan Lip Jelly Mask

Pros

  • Great for makeup prep

Cons

  • Exfoliates lips, which can irritate sensitive skin when used frequently
Considerations: VeganCruelty-free
Key ingredients: Shea butterCastor oilSunflower seed oilPapaya enzymes

Looking for a lip balm that doubles as a gloss? This tropical delight features a "quick melt" formula, meaning it warms up with your natural body heat and transforms from a balm into an oil, depositing a dewy sheen on your lips. It also contains fermented papaya enzymes to gently exfoliate stubborn flakes. 

Best plumping: Alpha-H Absolute Lip Perfector

Pros

  • Plumps & hydrates lips

Cons

  • Peppermint oil can be irritating
Considerations: Cruelty-free
Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acidBeeswaxPeppermint oil

This lip serum is the antidote to thirsty, cracked lips: It contains "Hilurlip" technology to infuse the lips with hydrating hyaluronic acid, while cooling peppermint oil instantly calms and creates a plumping effect. Slide it on overnight, and you'll wake up to a smoothed, nourished pout. 

Pros

  • Yummy flavor

Cons

  • Not vegan
Considerations: Cruelty-free
Key ingredients: Castor oilBeeswaxArgan oilRapeseed oil

Meet a simple salve that uses castor, rapeseed, and argan oils to soften the lips while still leaving a subtle shine. A favorite of shoppers for winter, it comes in a handful of intoxicating scents like chai, coconut, and mint (which subtly plums). Our pick is this delicious vanilla formula; it's purely nourishing and smells incredible.

Best tinted: Vertly Lip Butter

Pros

  • Adds color without drying out the lips

Cons

  • Not vegan
Considerations: Cruelty-freeFragrance-free
Key ingredients: Shea butterCocoa seed butterFull spectrum hemp extractKokum butterCoconut oilHempseed oilJojoba oilBeeswax

As a beauty editor, this author goes through a lot of different formulas—but this is, hands down, my favorite tinted lip balm. It offers just a kiss of color in the perfect shade of rose, and the texture is deliciously buttery, thanks to a blend of skin-softening butters and oils.  Plus, a little goes a long way to get that bold berry finish.

Best natural : beneath your mask Remedy Conditioning Lip Balm

Pros

  • Hydrates all day long

Cons

  • Contains essential oils, if you’re sensitive to those
Considerations: Cruelty-free
Key ingredients: Shea butterMoringa seed oilCocoa seed butterCastor oilXimenia

Says the brand, this remedy "glides on like a balm, penetrates like a moisturizer, and treats like a mask" for all-day hydration. We certainly agree: It contains nutrient-rich cocoa butter, shea butter, castor oil, moringa seed oil, and ximenia—an African plum oil filled with fatty acids that condition the skin.

Best vegan: DedCool Watermelon Balm Stick

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Fun consumer experience

Cons

  • Contains essential oils
Considerations: VeganCruelty-free
Key ingredients: Shea butterCoconut oilSesame seed oilAloe veraMacadamia nut oilCandelila wax

Remember those candy-like lip balms of your childhood? Well, this watermelon-flavored dream is bound to give you some nostalgia—but with aloe vera, avocado oil, shea butter, and macadamia nut oil, it's just as moisturizing as it is fun. Luckily, it's just as affordable as your favorite flavored lip balms of your youth, too.

Pros

  • Glossy yet non-sticky

Cons

  • Not vegan
Considerations: Cruelty-free
Key ingredients: Shea butterCastor oilBeeswaxWatermelon seed oilRosehip oilSweet almond oil

Another lip balm that can pass as a gloss—either layer on your favorite lip color or leave the slight sheer to dazzle on its own. Most importantly, the texture is smooth and soothing, never leaving a sticky residue on your lips. 

Best budget: Weleda Skin Food Lip Butter

Pros

  • Has a lightweight, glossy finish

Cons

  • Small size
Considerations: Cruelty-free
Key ingredients: Chamomile extractBeeswaxGlycerinSunflower seed oilCalendula extractPansy extractRosemary leaf extract

It's a classic for a reason: This simple blend of pansy, calendula, and chamomile extracts in a base of sunflower seed oil soothes and strengthens the delicate lip skin, and it has remained a favorite among beauty fans for years. The formula leaves behind a glossy sheen without appearing too greasy, and (bonus) it makes a fabulous cuticle oil, too. 

FAQs

What causes dry lips?

Dry lips can happen for a variety of reasons: dehydration, sun damage, cold weather, contact dermatitis, vitamin deficiencies, and even from using a poor quality lip balm (yes, really!). That said, it’s important to treat dry lips from multiple angles; a good lip moisturizer is a must, of course, but you’ll want to get to the root of the issue so you can prevent those flakes in the first place. 

Which is better, lip balm or lip moisturizer?

Again, these are more marketing terms than set categories. To determine the best lip product, it’s important to take a peek at the ingredients list: If a formula contains a blend of humectants, emollients, and occlusives, then you’re golden. Some products may call themselves a “lip moisturizer” without adhering to this criteria; similarly, some marketed lip balms may contain a blend of high-quality ingredients for long-term moisture. Try not to take the names for face value—it’s worth taking the extra few seconds to assess the ingredients themselves. 

mbg's review process.

At mbg, high standards are earned—and there are no shortcuts. Our beauty editors stay up to date on the latest ingredient research and innovation. It's a dynamic, continuously evolving space, and it's important we look into the science so we can make informed choices about which formulas earn our stamp of approval (figuratively speaking).

Our high standards also come from testing products—many, many products. Our editors and writers rigorously test and research the products featured in our roundups to offer you the best, most informed recommendations. When we write reviews, you can trust we spend quality time with the formulas: We don't simply rave about products we've slathered on the back of our hand. We endorse products we've tried and loved. 

Learn more about our testing process and clean beauty standards here

The takeaway. 

If you’re looking for a lip product that actually hydrates the skin (instead of drying it out further), you might want to opt for a proper lip moisturizer. Sure, it’s really just a marketing term, but many of them include humectants, emollients, and occlusives that are key for a soft and supple pout.

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Meet The Experts

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.