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Dry, cracked lips? These treatments promise to hydrate, soothe and moisturize, starting at $4

Plus, ingredients to look for in lip treatments and chapped lips do's and don'ts.
Woman putting on chapstick, outside
Kara Birnbaum / TODAY

Compared with the skin on our face and bodies, the lips may not be high on our list of self-care concerns. But they should be, according to skin experts, who say they can be one of the first places on your face to show signs of aging, such as fine lines, as well as moisture loss in the form of dry, flaking and cracked lips. The latter is especially true if you live somewhere where winters are dry and cold.

One big reason is because the skin on our lips doesn't have sebaceous glands, so "they can't produce the protective oils to keep themselves moisturized," dermatologist Dr. Tiffany Libby previously told Shop TODAY.

Luckily, whether you’re chapped from the cold or just trying to stay ahead of fine lines, there are a slew of treatments that are focused solely on nourishing and moisturizing your lips (and perhaps even giving it a youthful appearance in the process).

But there are a lot of lip products out there claiming to do the job. So we did the research to narrow down the choices of quality lip treatments of all types, from ointments to tinted lip balms. We also include experts' tips on what to look for when shopping and how to keep your pout hydrated.

What to look for | Best daily lip products | Derm-approved lip treatments | Best lip products with SPF 30 | Best lip masks/patches | Best overnight lip treatments | Best lip exfoliants | Tinted lip products and lipsticks | How we chose | Meet the experts

Shop TODAY Snapshot

What should I look for in products for dry and chapped lips?

Whether it's a balm, gloss or oil, there are scores of different types of hydrating lip products out there — and even more brands that offer them. Focusing on what the active ingredients are and what you're using a certain lip treatment for is key to not getting overwhelmed.

Here are the top ingredients you should look for when shopping for treatments for dry and chapped lips:

  • SPF 30+ and other sun-protective ingredients: Especially in the winter, moisturizing goes hand in hand with protecting your lips from the sun. "Lips experience the same ultraviolet damage as the surrounding face. UV damaged lips over time look smaller, less well-defined and scaly, and can be prone to skin cancer," Dr. Robert Anolik, a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, previously told us. Cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank prefers lip products that also come with zinc, another sun-protective ingredient.
  • Humectants: Hyaluronic acid is an example of a humectant, or an ingredient that draws moisture into the skin. In fact, it can absorb and retain up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Glycerin is another example of a humectant that doubles as an emollient, an ingredient that softens and soothes dry skin. It has the same moisture-drawing and retaining powers as hyaluronic acid, but Dr. ​​Sejal Shah, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, previously stated that it has a smaller molecule than hyaluonic acid, meaning it can penetrate into your skin more deeply.
  • Occlusives: Dr. Papri Sakar, a Boston-based dermatologist, previously told us that occlusive ingredients act like Saran wrap. "You put it down over your skin, and it adds another layer, like a barrier. And what it does is it keeps water from being able to evaporate out [of the skin] as quickly," she added. These ingredients include petrolatum, shea butter (also an emollient) and beeswax.
  • Ceramides: Ceramides are fatty molecules (aka lipids) that certified physician assistant Kendra Joseph described to us previously as "building blocks of your skin that protect or provide a link with other building blocks of your skin to prevent exposure to the outside world." This barrier keeps moisture in and helps prevent dehydration. Joseph added that it's helpful for mature skin, too, because our skin naturally loses ceramides as we age.
  • Oils and other moisturizing and nourishing ingredients: Other moisturizing ingredients you might find in lip products include essential oils like jojoba oil, coconut oil, almond oil and other fruit and flower oils, according to our experts. Many of these oils contain antioxidants, as well as offer extra hydration for your lips. Emollients like shea butter and squalane are also excellent moisturizers. You may find vitamins E and A on the label, which are also beneficial: "These help in healing and keeping skin tones even," celebrity makeup artist Amber Amos explained to us in the past.

Best lip products to shop

Eco Lips "Lip Food" Lip Balm

What we like
  • Plant-based ingredients.
  • Genuinely nourishes lips.
Something to note
  • Available in packs.

Form: Lip balm | Size: 0.15 oz. | Notable ingredient(s): Cocoa butter, coconut oil | Tinted? No

While I own a different flavor of this lip balm, this three-pack still provides the same amount of nourishment to combat dry, cracked lips. With one swipe, your lips will feel instantly soothed, thanks to the cocoa butter and coconut oil ingredients.

I'm personally of a fan of these lip balms because they go on smooth, with a light texture and are made out of plant-based ingredients, so you know you're not putting anything harmful on your lips.

La Roche-Posay Nutritic Lip Balm

What we like
  • Doesn't leave lips feeling waxy.
  • Doesn't have an unpleasant taste. 
Something to note
  • Some reviewers noted it dried their lips out more. 
  • Packaging breaks easily, according to some reviewers. 

Form: Lip balm | Size: 0.15 oz. | Notable ingredient(s): Shea butter, ceramides, glycerin, vitamin E | Tinted? No

This lip balm by La Roche-Posay is formulated to soften and soothe very dry and very chapped lips, and the ingredients show it. The balm contains a moisture-retaining ceramide that mimics the one our skin produces, sustainably sourced shea butter, plant-derived glycerin and a synthetic form of vitamin E to help prevent free-radical damage.

It's safe for sensitive lips, too, thanks to its lack of fragrances and it's designed to go on non-greasy, according to the brand.

Ilia Lip Wrap Reviving Balm

What we like
  • Long-lasting moisture. 
  • Good for sensitive lips. 
Something to note
  • High price point for some reviewers. 
  • Sticky. 

Form: Glossy gel | Size: 0.23 oz. | Notable ingredient(s): Hyaluronic acid, lavender, chamomile | Tint? No

Many of the editors here are fans of this so-called "barrier-building" lip balm by Ilia.

"Its formula includes a moisture-boosting blend of hyaluronic acid, prickly pear oil and sea succulent and it leaves a subtle sheen after application — which is great when I need to elevate my face while in a rush to catch a Zoom meeting," says senior editor Jess Bender.

Paula's Choice Boost Hyaluronic Acid + Peptide Lip Booster

What we like
  • Long-lasting moisture. 
  • Makes lips feel "amazing," plus has nice packaging. 
Something to note
  • Price for size is a bit expensive. 

Form: Glossy gel | Size: 0.33 oz. | Notable ingredient(s): Hyaluronic acid, squalane | Tint? No

This moisture-drawing and -retaining lip booster does double duty with its anti-aging formulation: hyaluronic acid, peptides and squalane. The peptides have firming properties that are said to help slow thinning and minimize fine lines and wrinkles, and emollients like squalane combined with several butters offer an extra boost of hydration and smoothness.

Glossier Balm Dotcom

What we like
  • Leaves lips feeling "smooth and supple." 
Something to note
  • Some reviewers noted issues with delivery and packaging. 

Form: Lip balm | Size: 0.5 oz. tube | Notable ingredient(s): Castor jelly, vitamin E, shea butter | Tint? Some colors provide tint

This "universal salve" by Glossier is a cult favorite for a reason. It's formulated to soothe, hydrate and nourish dry or chapped lips, thanks to its ingredient blend of emollients like beeswax and lanolin. We'd be remiss not to mention the moisturizing fatty acids found in Cupuacu fruit extract, as well as the free radical-fighting antioxidants in the rice bran and rosemary leaf extract.

Best dermatologist-approved products

Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm

What we like
  • Long-lasting product. 
  • Reviewers love the versatility of this product. 
Something to note
  • Some reviewers disliked the thick texture. 

Form: Petroleum-based balm | Size: 0.31 and 0.52 oz. options | Notable ingredient(s): Ultra pure grade lanolin, vitamin E, shea butter | Tint? No

Another "cult classic" that we think deserves the name, this all-purpose ointment comes highly recommended by Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon in New York City.

The ointment, which the brand says holds a whopping 400% of its weight in moisture, does a lot, Engelman told us in a previous story: “from soothing chapped lips to healing dry, cracked hands to saving dry elbows and heels. [It also] softens hand skin and nails with vitamin E and shea butter and leaves behind a light vanilla scent," she said.

Bender owns the coconut version of this tried and true lip balm, and says it goes on smooth without leaving lips feeling greasy.

"My lips have a nasty tendency of peeling to the point of bleeding when the air’s really dry, so I needed an effective solution to keep them pain-free during my work from home days. This option has so far been my best option to date with keeping them chapped-free over a long span of time throughout the day," she says.

Kiehl's Lip Balm No. 1

What we like
  • Non-greasy texture. 
  • "Impressed" with how it keeps lips "moisturized and smooth." 
Something to note
  • Some reviewers disliked how thin it went on; needed to reapply a lot throughout the day. 
  • Reviewers appreciate an older version of their lip balm better. 

Form: Lip balm | Size: 0.5 oz. tube | Notable ingredient(s): Squalane, vitamin E, aloe vera | Tint? No

Dr. Diane Madfes, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, shared this lip balm by Kiehl's as one of her favorites for chapped lips.

"It is packed with lipids derived from olives, aloe and vitamin E. You actually see it in many airplane travel kits, too," she explains.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy

What we like
  • Doesn't leave lips feeling chapped compared to others, according to reviewers
  • Has a thicker texture that doesn't leave lips feeling sticky
Something to note
  • Has a peppermint smell that some reviewers didn't enjoy

Form: Oil, balm | Size: 0.5 oz. tube | Notable Ingredient(s): Shea butter, colloidal oatmeal | Tint? No

This one is Shah's favorite for relieving dry and chapped lips: "Colloidal oatmeal in this balm helps to soothe and repair, while glycerin, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, squalane and oils hydrate and soften chapped lips," she explains.

She also highlighted its antioxidant properties, as well as its semi-matte" finish that makes it great for layering under lipstick.

Best of all? This product is free from alcohol, artificial colorants and synthetic fragrances.

Best products with SPF

Aquaphor Lip Protectant with Sunscreen

What we like
  • Doesn't have a weird taste compared to others
  • "Goes on nicely" and lasts longer
Something to note
  • Those with sensitive skin noted irritation, allergic reactions for some

Form: Shimmery liquid | Size: 0.35 oz. tube | Notable ingredient(s): Shea butter, vitamins C and E | Tint? No.

Aquaphor is a household name for many of us who struggle with dry skin. One of the reasons is the efficacy of its moisturizing lip products, including this one that also has SPF 30 to protect sensitive chapped lips from UV rays. It's also got the usual suspects: shea butter, petrolatum and nourishing vitamins like C and E.

As a long-time sufferer of dry, chapped skin, my ingredient preference when it comes to moisturizing my sensitive lips is petroleum. I tend to steer clear of products that have SPF because they tend to slightly irritate my skin — not ideal because my cold sores get triggered when my lips are cracked, red and exposed to the sun.

This lip protectant doesn't do that, and in fact it's now my preferred daily lip moisturizer. Go for it if you have sensitive lips.

Sun Bum SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Lip Balm

What we like
  • Keeps lips from getting sunburned. 
  • Reviewers love the texture and taste of the chapstick. 
Something to note
  • Some reviewers disliked the "flavors" of this chapstick. 

Form: Lip balm | Size: 0.15 oz. | Notable ingredient(s): Almond and jojoba oils, zinc oxide | Tint? No

This mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreen lip balm has the good stuff our experts like in an SPF 30 lip product: zinc. It also has emollients and occlusives like almond oil, jojoba oil and beeswax. Plus, it's formulated to be lightweight and go on non-greasy. Best of all, it rings up at under $5.

Coola Organic Liplux Lip Balm And Sunscreen With SPF 30

What we like
  • "Very calming." 
  • Doesn't leave lips feeling greasy compared to others. 
Something to note
  • Some reviewers dislike the smell and taste of this lip balm. 

Form: Lip balm | Size: 0.15 oz. tube | Notable ingredient(s): Raspberry butter, carnauba wax | Tint? No

Another affordable pick that's also a crowd favorite, this broad-spectrum SPF 30 lip balm comes in both non-tinted and tinted versions and it's water-resistant, which helps if you’re exercising (or swimming, which we hope you aren't in the winter!).

It's also scented with natural ingredients and includes hydrating and soothing ingredients like Cupuaçu and raspberry and jojoba seed oils. A note, however: This uses avobenzone, not a mineral, for its sunscreen, so we suggest steering clear if you have related allergies.

Best lip masks and patches

BioRepublic Pout Perfecting Lip Mask

What we like
  • Reviewers noticed a difference that lasted a few days. 
  • Left lips feeling "hydrated, soft and luscious." 
Something to note
  • "Awkward" to wear. 
  • Some reviewers disliked the texture. 

Form: Lip mask | Amount: 1 per package | Notable ingredient(s): Hyaluronic acid | Tint? No

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick recommends BioRepublic's lip mask to help soothe and moisturize chapped or sore lips in the winter. (Editor's note: Dr. Garshick is a BioRepublic partner.)

"BioRepublic's lip mask moisturizes for days, as well as smooths and conditions both lips and smile region," she says.

This luxe-feeling gel patch comes in one piece, but the neat thing about it is that it features a contoured split in the middle, hugging your lips and delivering serum to every crevice. It's even wide enough to encompass smile lines. It's also safe for all skin types. The mask's powerhouse ingredients? Hyaluronic acid and antioxidants.

Just make sure to lie down when using, as it does have a tendency to slide down if you're upright or moving, according to reviews.

Henne Organics Lip Mask

What we like
  • "Very moisturizing." 
  • "Rescued" dry winter lips. 
Something to note
  • Price for size is costly. 

Form: Oil-based balm | Size: 0.5 oz. | Notable ingredient(s): Rosehip, sea buckthorn, evening primrose, cranberry and black cumin seed oils | Tint? No

Cracked, peeling lips are no match for this magical golden salve. It’s filled with nourishing ingredients that include evening primrose and sea buckthorn (which even sound magical, don’t they?). Its yellow hue may make it ideal for bedtime, although some reviewers like applying it before lipstick as a plumping primer.

Flashpatch Hydrating Lip Gels

What we like
  • "Great for dry lips." 
  • Help to "lock in moisture." 
Something to note
  • "Extremely fragile," don't stay on lips for long. 

Form: Lip mask | Amount: 5 per package | Notable ingredient(s): Nicinamides, peptides, green tea extract| Tint? No.

This five-pack of gels smooths, softens, hydrates and plumps with green tea, niacinamide and peptides that promote collagen production. Reviewers say that you have to carefully apply the sheets so they don’t rip, but the plumped result is worth the effort.

Awake by Tarte Lip Therapy Lip Mask

What we like
  • "Holy grail" lip mask. 
  • Stops lips from being painful after picking at them. 
Something to note
  • Some reviewers believe it's overpriced. 
  • Doesn't last a long time; a little goes a long way. 

Form: Lip mask | Size: 0.48 oz. | Notable ingredient(s): Vitamin E and various oils (olive, argan, rosehip, & raspberry seed) | Tint? Subtle

This vegan lip mask touts 12 hours of lasting hydration after infusing your lips with a blend of oils that include olive, argan, rosehip and raspberry seed, alongside antioxidant vitamin E. It comes in four delicious fruit-inspired shades that give your lips a slight tint, so it can work double duty whether you apply in the morning or evening.

Best overnight lip treatments

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

What we like
  • "Saved" chapped and cracked lips.
  • "Worth every penny," according to one reviewer
Something to note
  • Those with sensitive and overly damaged lips experienced burning sensations. 

Form: Overnight lip mask | Size: 0.70 oz. | Notable ingredient(s): Shea butter, Berry Fruit Complex | Tint? Subtle

This product has a major cult following and countless positive reviews, and for good reason. Laneige’s lip mask is a low-maintenance, sleep-in overnight product, meaning it gets to work on dry, crackly lips while you get your zzz's.

You simply apply a generous layer of the thick balm, and its hardworking ingredients — like brightening vitamin C, hydrating hyaluronic acid and moisturizing antioxidants — leave your lips super supple by morning. It also comes in five yummy flavors!

"I finally tried this viral lip mask and it deserves all of the hype," says associate editor Lauren Witonsky. "I put it on right before bed, and wake up with my lips still feeling moisturized when I usually have to reapply — even in the dead of winter when the air is dry. It is not sticky whatsoever, a little goes a long way and the mango flavor smells delicious (I now want to try them all)."

Tatcha The Kissu Lip Mask

What we like
  • Truly works against dryness, cracking and peeling. 
  • "Very smooth and hydrating" formula. 
Something to note
  • Some reviewers didn't like the thick texture. 

Form: Overnight lip mask | Size: 0.32 oz. | Notable ingredient(s): Squalane, Japanese camellia oil | Tint? Subtle

If your pout is feeling dull and deflated, re-energize it with this hydrating lip jelly made from Japanese peach extract (which soothes damaged lips), Japanese camellia oil (chock-full of vitamins and omegas) and squalane. Shoppers rave about how this non-sticky formula goes on before bed and leaves them with a pillowy pout by morning.

Kiehl's Buttermask Intense Repair Lip Treatment

What we like
  • Lips went from "dry and flaky" to "soft and pain-free." 
  • Leaves lips feeling moisturized. 
Something to note
  • Some reviewers didn't like the way it went on; weird texture. 

Form: Overnight lip mask | Size: 0.35 oz | Notable ingredient(s): Coconut oil and Wild Mango Butter | Tint? Subtle

This lip mask is formulated precisely to tackle dry, flaky lips. It’s got an A-list of hydration heavy hitters, like shea butter, coconut oil and wild mango butter, which work overnight to restore the moisture barrier of your lips. It's also got the Clean sticker at Sephora, so you know there won't be any unwanted ingredients, especially if you have sensitive lips.

Ilia Lip Wrap Overnight Treatment

What we like
  • "Incredibly soothing, smooth and moisturizing." 
  • "Helped significantly" with dry lips. 
Something to note
  • Has a "natural smell" some reviewers didn't like. 

Form: Overnight lip mask | Size: 0.34 oz. | Notable ingredient(s): Hyaluronic acid, papaya enzymes, salicornia | Tint? Sheer

Great alone or underneath lip color, this ultra-rich, leave-on mask has moisturizing hyaluronic acid and exfoliating papaya enzymes that help enable emollients — like mango butter and sea succulent — to absorb into skin. And when lips are well moisturized, they appear fuller.

Woman with lip cream
Kara Birnbaum / TODAY

Best exfoliating lip products

Fresh Sugar Lip Polish

What we like
  • Lips were "smoother and looked healthier" after use. 
Something to note
  • Thick consistency. 
  • "Awful aftertaste." 

Form: Lip exfoliant | Size: Doesn't specify | Notable ingredient(s): Brown sugar crystals, shea butter, jojoba oil | Tint? Subtle

If you like something a little grittier to actively feel it at work, you can't go wrong with a lip scrub and exfoliator. Brown sugar crystals work to remove flakes and chapped skin, while shea butter and jojoba oil cover newly smoothed lips.

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator

What we like
  • "Really helped" with dry lips and "leaves them soft." 
  • "Game changer" product for dry lips. 
Something to note
  • Application and texture are a bit "hard," according to some reviewers. 
  • "Horrible smell." 

Form: Lip exfoliant | Size: 0.11 oz | Notable Ingredient(s): N/A, but free of parabens | Tint? None.

A portable, easy-to-use scrub that gently exfoliates (thanks to the sugar formulation) as well as deeply moisturizes and nourishes with its blend of vitamin E, shea butter, and avocado, grape and jojoba oils? There's a lot to love.

To use, the brand instructs to rub the formula in circular motions, then gently wipe off any excess sugar.

"The scrub has a thick, waxy consistency and the exfoliating granules have a super-fine texture, so they don't feel harsh on the skin. ... For a second try, I decided to apply much more product to my lips. ... To my delight, this immediately got rid of those unsightly patches and even made the dry lines on my lips appear less prominent," says editor Julie Ricevuto.

Best tinted lip balms and lipsticks

Ilia Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil

What we like
  • Non-sticky texture and formula. 
  • "Light and keeps your lips hydrated." 
Something to note
  • "Didn't stay on well," according to some reviewers. 

Form: Lip oil | Size: 0.14 oz | Notable ingredient(s): Hyaluronic acid | Tint? Yes.

Ilia’s gloss features plumping and moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid, but that's not the only show-stopping ingredient here. It also includes Salicornia herbacea extract that's derived from a salt-marsh succulent from South Korea. The brand says on its website that this ingredient "improves hydration by up to 6,000%."

Too Faced Hangover Pillow Balm

What we like
  • "Soothing, cooling and long lasting." 
  • "Great for dry lips." 
Something to note
  • Packaging malfunctions.

Form: Lip oil | Size: 0.20 oz | Notable ingredient(s): Hyaluronic acid | Tint? Yes

Texture can be a concern with some lip treatments; however, reviewers love that this formula is glossy-but-not-sticky and has a refreshing minty tingle. Hyaluronic acid fights fine lines, and shea butter and avocado oil lock in moisture.

Maybelline New York Lifter Gloss

What we like
  • "Best product for gloss and moisture without stickiness"
  • "Impressed" with the hydrating capabilities
Something to note
  • Packaging malfunctions
  • Those with sensitive skin experienced reactions and irritations

Form: Glossy lip oil | Size: 0.18 oz | Notable ingredient(s): Hyaluronic acid | Tint? Yes.

Bicoastal celebrity makeup artist Jeannia Robinette is a fan of this gloss that's actually more like a lipstick, because it lasts so long, she previously told Shop TODAY. It has hyaluronic acid as an active ingredient, which Robinette also likes for its plumping properties.

Unsurprisingly, the gloss, which is available in a wide range of colors, is deeply moisturizing; reviewers also like that it offers shine and sheer color without going on sticky or waxy. Make sure, however, if you have sensitive lips, to top it off with a moisturizer.

Kopari Coconut Lip Glossy

What we like
  • Good alternative to lipstick. 
  • "Stays on well and doesn't dry out." 
Something to note
  • Some reviewers didn't like the flavor or aftertaste. 

Form: Lip gloss | Size: 0.35 oz. | Notable Ingredient(s): Organic coconut oil | Tint? Yes

This subtle, non-sticky lip gloss contains three moisturizing heavy hitters: squalane, shea butter and coconut oil. The vegetable-based squalane has the omega fatty acids that dry lips crave while locking in moisture; the coconut oil adds nourishing proteins and vitamin E to the mix.

How we chose the best lip treatments

We researched, pored through star ratings, reviews, market analysis and our own previous coverage, to narrow down the best options for soothing, hydrating lip treatments of all types. Over the course of covering the top hydrating and repairing lip care products on the market, the Shop TODAY team has also spoken with skin care experts to determine effective must-have ingredients in lip care products.

Meet the experts