8 Products to Fix Chapped Lips for Good

Lela Loren on Mom Jeans and Makeup as Warpaint

Chapped lips have been a persistent skin care woe of mine since I was a kid. I’ve always blamed it on the dry climates I live in, and I slather on various lip products to keep them from getting really terrible.

But, whatever the reason, dry lips were just my normal. It wasn’t until I accidentally stumbled onto a truly effective lip product when I realized this was a problem that could really be solved.

To find out the real culprit behind chronically chapped lips and if there’s any truth to those beauty magazine claims that lip balms actually dry out your lips (yikes!), I reached out to a mix of dermatologists and founders of a few skin care brands.

I’m happy to report that, along the way, I found eight products that have made my chapped lips a thing of the past.

Turns out, I was mostly right about the cause of my dry lips. Typically, climate and weather are largely to blame, along with excessively licking your lips and even some medications.

Also, the pandemic isn’t helping. “Our current need to wear masks dries out the lips even more,” says Dr. Brent Ridge, the co-founder of Beekman 1802. “The fabric wicks away moisture. And we often breathe more through our mouths when wearing a mask, which also dries out the lips.”

Now, what about the idea that it’s the lip balm itself drying out your lips?

As it happens, there’s some truth to it. “Certain lip balms contain micro-abrasives or irritants that can cause your lips to feel drier, which creates a frustrating cycle,” says Sarah Villafranco, MD, and founder of Osmia.

It gets worse. “A lip balm with the wrong ingredients can definitely keep unhappy lips in a state of distress,” Villafranco says. “Lip skin is very thin, and once lips get irritated, it’s easy to keep them that way.”

Kirsten Carriol, the CEO and founder of LANO, agrees. “The wrong balm can absolutely cause further dryness or irritation.” She says problematic ingredients often include too much wax, which sucks up moisture and dries out lips, along with synthetic fragrances, essential oils, and camphor.

Villafranco advises avoiding menthol and all synthetic fragrances, too. And if your lips are irritated or sensitive, she seconds the need to be careful with essential oils in your lip care products. “Essential oils that are particularly problematic are mint, cinnamon, and certain citrus oils, like grapefruit or lemon, which can cause trouble when exposed to UV light.”

You can find lip balms just about anywhere, from gas stations to drugstores, but that doesn’t mean they’re all worth using.

“Most lip balms are petroleum based, and they just coat the lip,” Ridge says. This doesn’t actually address the issue, and as soon as you lick off that coating — and you will — you’re back where you started.

“If you’re using a balm with high wax content, the balm’s oils will wear off fast, leaving you with the waxy layer coating your lips — this can make lips feel tight and suck away moisture,” Carriol says.

She adds, “A great, natural, lip-compatible balm will wear off seamlessly and always leave your lips feeling better than before.”

Ever noticed a tingling or mild burning sensation after applying a lip product? Some swear it’s a sign that it’s actively healing chapped lips, but there’s more to the story.

“Tingling is not necessarily a good or a bad sign,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology.

“In some cases, tingling may represent inflammation of the skin. In other cases, a fragrance may give off an artificial tingling sensation,” he says. “As a general rule, if you experience anything more than mild tingling or feel any discomfort, you should remove the product right away.”

And be wary lip products that promise to plump your pucker, too. “Any temporary plumping is caused by purposely irritating the lips,” Carriol says.

It’s one thing to avoid specific ingredients, but what about those you should actively seek?

“While silicones and other petroleum-based ingredients can help fill in rough patches and give the illusion of smooth skin, they don’t actually moisturize or heal the skin,” says Jenna Levine, founder of LINNÉ Botanicals.

For long-term nourishment, Levine suggests finding products with humectants (like hyaluronic acid and glycerin) and plant-based fatty acids (like sunflower oil and cocoa butter).

In general, the fewer the ingredients, the better. “There’s no reason to get fancy with lip products,” Villafranco says, “You’re probably ingesting some of the ingredients if you’re a regular lip balm user.”

Believe me when I say I’ve tried probably hundreds of lip products over the years. Nothing really worked, so I just kept buying and trying new ones. But I can tell you definitively that the products here are the real deal.

Ogee Sculpted Lip Oil, Clear

This moisturizing lip oil from Ogee is packaged like a chunky lip pencil, and it glides on beautifully and really melts into your lips.

It’s made with a mix of organic oils to combat dryness. Once those are absorbed, your lips are left feeling moisturized with a layer of beeswax and shea butter.

The tinted versions of this balm are conditioning lip treatments in a rainbow of flattering hues. They give you all the perks of a great lip color with the benefits of an ultra-moisturizing oil. Plus, the oversized pencil packaging makes application a breeze.

Ogee’s all about high performance certified organic beauty products. The brand has an impressive laundry list of certifications and standards. Pair those with a lip product that really does its job, and this one is a win.


No one has to put up with chronically chapped lips. Get out of the habit of picking up a lip product from anywhere, and make a point of checking the ingredient list first.

It’s worth spending a little more on a lip product that will really work — and won’t perpetuate that miserable chapped lip cycle.