A Comparison of Lip Balms

Many women can get away with putting nothing at all on their lips, while just as many have a problem with chapped and flaking lips and choose not to live without lip balm. I belong to the latter. My lips used to flake all the time. In cold weather, they’d even crack and bleed. I used to think it would take one of those famous lip balms, Carmex and Kiehl’s, to heal my chapped lips; fortunately, I found that just about any lip balm would do. I started my lip therapy more than a month ago, and now my lips don’t chap at all. In addition to drinking more water, I started wearing lip balm all the time. I used to be uncomfortable wearing it at home; now I feel naked without it. I swipe it on my lips every couple of hours, and I even put on a thick layer before I go to bed so that my lips would be soft and smooth when I wake up.

I currently own five lip balms. I actually want to buy a couple more–Maybelline Baby Lips and EOS–as I am attracted to their popularity and the good reviews made about them, but I realize this is silly, not to mention a waste of money and product. Another time, then.

Lip balms

L-R: Nivea Fruity Shine (Cherry), Nivea Angel Star, Human Nature Tinted Lip Balm (Flame Tree), Maybelline Lip Smooth Color and Care (Cranberry Jam), Chapstick Classic Lip Balm (Original)

I’ve been using these for more than a month now, except for Chapstick, which has been with me for about two years–and I still haven’t finished the whole tube! Here’s how they look when swatched on my arm:


Swatched in the same order as they were presented above. Each balm was swiped twice.

Nivea Fruity Shine in Cherry

Nivea Fruity Shine (Cherry)

I like the packaging of Nivea lip balms best. If you twist the usual lip balm tube all the way to reveal the entirety of the product, chances are you would have to push the balm back to make it retract into the tube. Nivea’s packaging facilitates checking how much balm is left.

This goes on sheer and glossy with a subtle hint of red that would show up better on less pigmented lips. The sparkles you see on the balm don’t show up at all, I am happy to say. My lips absorb this rather quickly, so I find I need to reapply after an hour, although it leaves a pinkish stain behind. It does not contain petrolatum, which explains its short staying power. But that’s not a problem at all; lip balms don’t stay long, after all, and I love reapplying this one because it has a delicious cherry scent and taste.

It has an SPF of 10. Too low, but still, some SPF is better than nothing. After all, we don’t rub sunscreen on our lips, so our lip products must contain SPF.

Nivea Angel Star

Nivea Angel Star

Angel Star was bought on a whim around the time the Angel Star line was introduced. I had no idea how the balm would look on my lips; the signature raspberry scent of the line was the motivation behind my purchase. Yes, Angel Star smells lovely, but I hate it because it’s frosty. It’s a pretty baby pink on the tube, but it’s too pale on my lips. I can’t throw it away because I don’t want to be wasteful, so I occasionally use it when I am sporting a bold eye. But I can’t apply it with a heavy hand (i.e., more than five layers) like I do with my other balms because the glitters would stack up, making my lips register “art project” instead of “kissable”. I only pat it on, so it doesn’t really moisturize my lips.

Like Fruity Shine, Angel Star also has an SPF of 10. However, with the amount I apply, I doubt I get any sun protection at all.

Human Nature Tinted Lip Balm in Flame Tree

Human Nature Tinted Lip Balm Flame Tree

This is the best tinted lip balm I’ve ever tried in that it imparts noticeable color on my lips. It registers as a reddish coral my-lips-but-better on me. The finish is between matte and glossy, perfect if you want neither dry-looking nor shiny lips. Despite the number of oils it contains, it can be a little hard to apply when brand new; it sort of drags on the lips. The texture gets better with time, though. It has a special place in my heart because it’s all-natural and it’s made in the Philippines. Having said that, it is unfortunate that Human Nature is not the best in the moisturizing department. It keeps my lips from chapping, but it doesn’t make them soft and supple like Nivea Fruity Shine and Maybelline do.

This doesn’t have SPF. As Human Nature explained on their website, they have yet to find a natural alternative to chemical sunscreens.

Maybelline Lip Smooth Color and Care in Cranberry Jam

Maybelline Lip Smooth Color and Care Cranberry Jam

As you can see from the swatches above, Nivea Fruity Shine and Maybelline are highly similar in terms of color. In fact, they appear identical on my lips. Their main difference is their staying power. Applied before going to bed, I find that Nivea fades during the night while Maybelline stays till I wake up. It’s excellent at moisturizing; my lips are at their softest and most supple after an application of Maybelline. The key to its emollient property is the hydrophobic and non-absorbent nature of petrolatum, one of its ingredients. Petrolatum repels water and is not absorbed into the skin, thus sealing moisture in. This is also probably why Maybelline has greater staying power.

It also has an SPF of 16, a little better than Nivea. However, it has a rather artificial taste.

Chapstick Classic Lip Balm in Original

Chapstick Classic Lip Balm Original

I finished a tube of cherry Chapstick and decided to buy this because Chapstick was the first balm to keep my lips from flaking, thus making retouching lipstick easier. I accidentally peeled off the black label along with the seal in my excitement to try it out so it looks plain and nondescript, as you can see. It smells unpleasant, like an ointment for aching joints, but I obviously didn’t mind. It has a natural finish; it’s colorless and non-glossy, so after application, your lips look bare but soft and smooth. Therefore, this is perfect for women and men who want subtly soft lips.

This has an SPF of 4. As I said, better a little SPF than no SPF at all!

Ranking based on moisturization

  1. Maybelline Lip Smooth and Color Care
  2. Chapstick Classic Lip Balm
  3. Nivea Fruity Shine
  4. Human Nature Tinted Lip Balm
  5. Nivea Angel Star

I wonder how long it would take me to finish all of these. Most commercial lip balms have a life span of two to three years, but Human Nature balms only last a year because they contain natural ingredients and no preservatives.

Next on my list: Maybelline Baby Lips, Carmex, Kiehl’s, Lip Ice


One comment on “A Comparison of Lip Balms

  1. […] done a review on this previously, but I would like to post an update. I’ve mentioned that it’s not […]


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