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There’s no escaping the fact that winter has arrived; the weather has become rather cold and the chances are that you’ve already cranked your heating up. It’s this combination of cold weather and hot dry air that can wreak havoc on your lips in winter – and your skin in general.
Having a seasonal skincare routine in place is fairly common, but what about seasonal lip care? For one reason or another, we don’t always consider our lip care when we’re considering our skincare, but this shouldn’t be the case.
In the colder winter months our lips can really suffer. The combination of cold outdoor air and dry, hot air from central heating can leave your lips dry, cracked, chapped and sore – which is where a good quality lip balm comes in.
As Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic tells HuffPost UK: “If the skin barrier of the lips is disordered it is important to treat the lips to an extra protective layer.”
Damage happens when the keratin in the top layer of the skin begins to lose its elasticity, which then leads to damage in the form of dryness, chapping, and soreness. Lips are more susceptible to damage and soreness than the rest of our face, which is why protecting them with lip balm is important.
How can you ensure you’re using the right balm?
Choosing a lip balm isn’t always a simple task as there are so many brands and formulas to choose from. Dr Borysiewicz recommends choosing a product that is quick and easy to apply and that can be carried around in your pocket or bag.
She also recommends opting for a lip balm with SPF where possible. “Don’t forget an SPF particularly if you are out all day or exposed to sun especially high altitude environments such as skiing,” she says. “This will help reduce the risk of pre-cancerous sun damage and also reduce cold sore flares.”
Even if you’re not on the slopes, SPF is important, just as it is for your skin.
What ingredients should you look out for?
“Common ingredients found in lip balms are: castor oil and hemp seed oil, petroleum jelly, shea butter and cocoa butter, humectants such as honey. Also vitamin E for its antioxidant effects and mineral sunscreen products such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide,” says Dr Borysiewicz.
When it comes to natural versus synthetic ingredients, Dr Borysiewicz says that each have benefits. “Both work well, so if you generally prefer ‘natural’ ingredients there are plenty of products to choose from,” she says.
And while there aren’t any specific ingredients to avoid, Dr Borysiewicz does recommend steering away from overly fragranced products.
Choose what works best for your skin
“It is important to remember that everyone’s skin is different,” says Dr Borysiewicz said. “One person’s favourite lip balm may not suit another person’s skin, so try out a few until you find your best match.”
If you have an irritation to a balm, your lips will actually become more dry and chapped. “If you notice this happening try switching products,” she says.
Need some lip balm recommendations? We’ve got you covered with our roundup of the best lip balms for winter lip care.
Neve’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
For sensitive lips, this 100% natural, unfragranced beeswax lip balm is ideal. Formulated with apricot kernal oil, jojoba oil (which is similar to the skin’s natural sebum and helps to soften and smooth lips), coconut oil, cocoa butter, and vitamin E, this all-natural balm soothes, protects, softens, and hydrates skin.
Get it for £4.95 from Amazon
Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1
A classic lip balm that’s been popular since its launch in the 1960s, this nourishing balm from Keihl’s is formulated to offer long-lasting hydration and protection for lips.
Get it for £10 from Kiehl’s
Nude by Nature Sheer Glow Colour Balm
For a pop of colour this moisture-rich balm is the perfect option. The smooth formula is made up of natural Sweet Almond Oil and the native Australian Kakadu Plum, which help to provide the lips with an antioxidant defence, while also hydrating and locking in moisture.
Get it for £18 from Boots
Face Theory Lipabalm Bioactive Lip Balm LP1
This hydrating vegan lip balm (which is free from beeswax and petroleum) stimulates the natural skin renewal process, while also hydrating cracked and chapped lips, locking in moisture.
Get it for £10.99 from Face Theory
Glossier Balm Dotcom
Need a lip balm that stays in place? Try Glossier’s. The waxy consistency ensures the balm stays in place for longer, sealing in moisture. This hydrating balm is formulated with natural emollients and antioxidants, along with heavy-duty moisturisers, including beeswax, castor oil, and lanolin.
Get it for £10 from Glossier
Caudalie Lip Conditioner
Formulated with a range of antioxidants and a number of nourishing natural oils, including grape seed oil, this lip balm glides evenly onto the lips without leaving a greasy residue. It’s gentle and soothing, making it perfect for chapped and sore lips, as well as daily use.
Get it for £5.50 from Look Fantastic
Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Overnight Intensive Lip Treatment
Struggling with chapped, sore lips that just don’t seem to heal no matter what you do? An intensive overnight lip mask could be the answer. An overnight lip treatment can help to trap moisture and prevent lips from drying out further.
Get it for £5.24 from Look Fantastic
Forest Essentials Luscious Lip Balm Sugared Rose Petal
This super moisturising balm, made with beeswax and cocoa butter, is designed to help replenish lips that are dry and chapped. Plus, it smells absolutely glorious.
Get it for £10 from Look Fantastic
Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Lip Balm
Is it pricey? A little. It it worth the cost? Without a doubt. Designed to offer immediate comfort, this balm claims to soothe and enhance, ensuring that lips maintain their natural ‘glow’. Formulated with Blue Lotus wax (which helps to repair skin) and Organic Cupuassu butter and Cocoa extract (which moisturise, soothe and protect skin), this balm offers fantastic levels of hydration.
Get it for £17 from John Lewis
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour® Intensive Repair Lip Balm
This deeply moisturising formula protects the delicate moisture barrier of the lips. While best results are seen with overnight use, this intensive balm can also be applied throughout the day, whenever you feel your lips need a moisture boost.
Get it for £14.98 from John Lewis
L’OCCITANE Ultra Rich Organic Shea Butter Lip Balm
This handy little tube of lip balm (which is certified organic) is enriched with Fairtrade Shea Butter, which nourishes and protects lips, while preventing loss of moisture. If you’ve got skin that’s sensitive, this gentle balm is the perfect option. (Prefer a solid stick? L’Occitane also offers a solid alternative to this liquid balm.)
Get it for £9 from John Lewis
NIVEA Lip Balm Soothe & Protect SPF15 For Dry Lips 4.8g
What’s great about this bargain lip balm is the fact that it isn’t overly fragranced, making it a good option for more sensitive skin. When applied to lips, the formula feels thick but quickly soaks in, leaving skin feeling soft, smooth, and packed full of moisture.
Get it from Boots for £1.99
Bulldog Original Lip Balm
This vegan lip balm is formulated with vegan waxes and cocoa butter, along with aloe vera, camelina oil, green tea, and a hint of peppermint oil. A swipe of this balm leaves lips feeling soft and moisturised, and protected from dehydration and dryness.
Get it for £2 from Boots
Blistex Intensive Moisturiser SPF10
Need to transform dry, cracked, sore lips with an intensive boost of hydration? This moisture-rich formula from Blistex is sure to do the trick. (With SPF protection, this handy lip cream can be used all-year-around.)
Get it for £2.69 from Boots
Burt’s Bees® Beeswax Lip Balm 4.25g
This buzzy balm from Burt’s Bees is my personal favourite and go-to balm. The beeswax base conditions skin, with the Vitamin E offering a shot of moisture, and the hint of peppermint oil adding a subtle tingle when applied. Designed to soften and nourish lips, this balm is free from parabens, phthalates, Petroleum, and SLS, and is 100% natural. Plus, it smells incredible.
Get it for £3.49 from Boots