Beauty Tuesday: My Lip Balm Wardrobe

The Lip Balms Every Working Woman NeedsI was thinking about lip balms the other day — totally basic, boring lip balm — and I was surprised to realize that not only do I have SEVERAL favorite lip balms, that they each have their own purpose (and that I’m perhaps looking for a better option in a few places). So: here is my lip balm wardrobe — and I’m curious to know: which are your favorite lip balms, and why? Do you have specific purposes for each of your lip balms — and what are the lip balms every working woman needs?

Update: Goodness, I didn’t realize people felt so strongly about the phraseology of balm vs gloss — I’ve updated this post to more accurately reflect the discussion, which, yep, is just about lip balms for working women. (I’m one of those people who gets distracted if my lips are dry, so perhaps I’ve got more lip balms than most ladies?)

The lip balm I put on every night before bed: Caudalíe. As I’ve mentioned before, I love that it has antioxidant properties and is formulated with 99.5% naturally-derived ingredients. The scent is minimal, and I find it comfortable to wear on a nightly basis.

The lip balm I put on at night if I’m severely chapped (or sneak into my kids’ room to put on their kiddo chapped lips while they sleep): Neosporin Lip Health Overnight Renewal Therapy. This one isn’t too thick, doesn’t taste like much, but really makes a difference if left overnight to do its thing.  If my son is doing that thing where he’s licking his lips/face so much that the entire mouth region is red, dry, and splotchy, I’ll swipe it over the other affected areas too. I tried the Bioelements one last winter as an alternative, at least for myself — it worked fine, but considering the expense and the fact that even a light application turned my lips white, I think we’ll stick with the good old drugstore Neosporin brand. (I might also swipe some coconut oil on my lips before getting in the shower (as a very intense but temporary mask), or do a lip scrub before or after layering on the Neosporin stuff.)

The lip balm I try to give my boys to wear on cold days (or the lip gloss for working women who are interested in an organic/no-animal-testing lip gloss): Babyganics.  They often refuse, but I like that this one is organic, free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, artificial fragrances or dyes, and not tested on animals, too. (I’ll also happily swipe some of this myself if I need some.)

The lip balm I put on before I put my lipstick on: I finished a tube of MAC’s Prep + Prime a few months ago and have been trying ColourPop’s primer — between the two I prefer MAC’s, but I wonder if there’s a better option out there. (Still: just bought another tube of Mac’s to get the mystery beauty gift Nordstrom was offering on Friday or Saturday.)

The lip balm I put on top of my more matte lipsticks (and use so often I keep a jar on my desk): Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1. This one is more slippery than some of the others, but I feel like it doesn’t “unseat” my lipstick. (I would put the very popular Smith’s Rosebud Salve in this category also, but the rose scent bugs me.) I prefer the jar to the tube, but it’s tough to find right now.

The lip balm I wear if I’m going to a networking event or somewhere else where I can’t/don’t want to think about lipstick for hours: Either YSL Rebel Nudes Glossy Stain (101) or L’Oreal Infallible (“Barely Nude”), on top of lip liner (filled into my entire lip).  These are both kind of sticky-but-wearable, MLBB tints that stay put for hours. (I never got into the Juicy Tubes or Stila’s lip gloss, which to me were just TOO sticky and felt like they moved around a bunch, too.) I also still love my tube of Tarina Tarantino’s Sparklicity for date nights or girls’ nights out, although I don’t think it’s sold anymore.

tinted-lip-balm-reviewsThe tinted lip balms/glossy lipsticks I wear by themselves: I’m not sure if Clinique’s Chubby Sticks count as lip balm or not, but I’d include those because they’re so moisturizing I don’t feel the need to put anything on top of them. I’m still a fan of Clinique’s Black Honey and other tinted lip balms; I also was happy with the Glossier Generation G stick I bought recently, at least color-wise (I often layer Kiehl’s on top to have a more moisturizing feel). This is more of a lipstick gel, but I really liked the gel color that came in this NudeStix holiday set (it’s a great set if you’re looking, although 2 of the 3 are very saturated colors).

The lip balm with SPF I wear if I’m outside for long periods of time: I’m still hunting for a good version here, to be honest. SuperGoop’s ‘Shine On’ Lipscreen SPF 50 was a bit too sticky for me (and I didn’t like the smell/taste), so I think I’ll go back to plain old Blistex — I’d love to hear your recommendations! (Here is EWR’s guide to the best lip balms with sunscreen.)

Ladies, which are your favorite lip balms? Which lip balms do you think every working woman needs?

Picture at top via Stencil.

The Best Lip Balms for Working Women | Corporette




  1. MargaretO :

    Wait are you saying that you wear make up to bed??? Or is this more like what I think of as lip balm/chapstick?

    • I’m pretty sure she is calling a bunch of things “lip gloss” that I would call lip balm, Chapstick, or even lipstick . Esp since she says she puts it on her toddler. To me “gloss” is the gooey shiny stuff but I guess Kat is using a broader definition .

      • Yeah, this was so confusing. Lip gloss is makeup to me. Half of these products are chapstick or balm.

        • Anonymous :

          +1. This was such a weird post and seemed like it was just a way to insert a ton of affiliate links with no real content.

          • MargaretO :

            Ok I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was super confused by this!

        • …and now it’s over corrected the other way to refer to all products as lip balm. The intended grouping seems to be “lip products other than lipstick, some of which are balms, and others of which are glosses.”

          This post did remind me of a beauty mystery I’ve been trying to solve. In the last year or two, I got a bunch of ‘gift with purchase’ beauty samples from Saks, one of which was an amazing rose lip balm. On googling, I come across the rose balm Kat mentions, but not the one I’m trying to remember. Did anyone else get this and remember what it was? I didn’t buy it at the time because it seemed expensive. Now that I’m ready to cave, I can’t remember the brand. It wasn’t a brand that I was familiar with, so perhaps more upscale than my usual Sephora level purchases. Any hints, universe?

          • ha, I just thought the same thing! It’s really a mix of balms, primers, lip color, and lip gloss in the list.

            My mom recently treated me to a little pot of scented balm – Korres lip butter. It is absolutely delightful when I remember to use it! I have the Jasmine color and it definitely smells floral, but not in a cloying way.

          • Anonymous :

            By Terry

          • Is it the brand By Terry? They have a pricey, yet amazing rose lip balm.

          • Anonymous :

            I think you may be thinking of Fresh’s Rose lip balm.

          • Thanks! Mystery solved. It was indeed the By Terry Baume de Rose.

            That stuff was amazing. But at $60/tiny jar, I’m grateful for the other suggestions, too. Think I might check out one of the other ideas instead. Looks great.

          • I’m responding to the column as being about “lip products other than lipstick”. I have worn two very low cost products ($3-$5 a tube) that are perfect. Not too sticky, not too waxy, with just the right amount of colour and not a strong scent that interferes with food or tickles the throat. I have used Maybelline’s Baby Lips in pink punch in place of lipstick, and as something that can be put on without a mirror – just aim approximately towards your lips! I also like Nivea’s pearly shine over any colour lipstick to add some shine that stays put. The pearly shine can be put on first and then lipstick can be gently rubbed on with a finger. This will bring up some of the shine, and when the lipstick wears off there won’t be a rim of colour left.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I agree. I associate lip gloss as the shiny and often sticky color (sometimes clear) makeup that is applied with a wand. I put lip balm/chapstick into a different category. Almost Honey might be an outlier, but it’s closer to lipstick to me because it comes in a tube. And lip stain is a color likely applied with a wand that stays put for a long time and that often includes a gloss to put on top.

    • right more like a lip balm/chapstick

    • Yeah, I was confused too. I haven’t bought anything resembling lip gloss since 2007, and I don’t know anyone that wears it. And I don’t know anyone that refers to lip balm/lipstick as “lip gloss.”

      • Same… and super shiny lips seem dated to me as well, so I haven’t purchased “lip gloss” since the 00’s either.

        I’m either wearing Blistex, lipstick, or Clinique Chubby Stick.

  2. housecounsel :

    Clinique Black Honey = classic! If only it stayed on. If we’re talking about lip color in general, the two-step Chanel Rouge Infinite is long-wearing and glossy and in my experience far outperforms all other (allegedly) long-wearing lip colors.

  3. Denim Casual Footwear HELP! :

    I am usually at the business end of business casual and frequently wear suits still. Starting in December, we are going to denim. I realize it’s optional and not mandatory. But I have a freezing problem at work, so it’s only worth it to me if I can wear denim with socks so that my feet aren’t super cold. So many things that go with socks aren’t super work-appropriate: western boots, hiking boots, ropers, keens. Cuter footwear (which seems to be all that’s shown) will mean cold feet. Tights under jeans are too much friction. Knee-highs don’t look right.

    I have never figured out booties and many of my jeans are straight leg or boot cut. I have no idea what works with booties that might let me wear socks under my denim, but am willing to try some (Tom’s Lunata?).

    Can anyone give me some quick office denim + footwear examples? Preferably with links (and I’d love that our move to denim let me get some Frye Campus 14s, but I still can’t figure out how to style them except with bare legs and casual dresses in warm weather months).


    • Some wingtip sir oxfords? I struggle with this too and I have noticed that basically all pants for sale are styled without socks these days. Even when skinny jeans are shown with booties there’s a gap if bare skin. It makes no sense to me but now that I rarely see anything styled w socks it’s starting to look a little dated/frumpy to wear socks? I don’t care because my feet are always cold so I just go with oxfords or wing tips. But I hope this trend goes away.

      • Denim Casual Footwear HELP! :

        Agreed that socks are not cool, but my office is maybe 70 degrees and drafty. I am inclined just to go all REI-style and wear hiking boots and/or Birkenstock Arizonas and/or Danskos with warm socks, fashion be d*mned. Or keep wearing tights with my normal clothes. It is winter, people! Feets be cold!

        • Anonymous :

          Space heater? I’m always cold and that’s my solution.

          • Denim Casual Footwear HELP! :

            Illegal in our building. And the one time I tried it, I came close to igniting something, so lesson learned.

            I just need the Frye boots, no? [Seriously, I have tried the jeans tucked into boots thing and looked like a bad version of a Revoluntionary War soldier / bad Hamilton extra. BAD. Not sleek and cool at all.]

          • Wildkitten :

            Electric blanket/heating pad.

          • Anonymous :

            You need boots that come all the way to your knees. Mid-calf ones like the Fryes don’t look right with jeans, I agree. Espresso brown and black tend to look sleeker than light brown. And you need extremely skinny jeans or (even though I hate this word…) jeggings. And tuck the pants leg into your sock to make it even smoother.

          • Maddie Ross :

            I disagree about the Frye boots not looking right with jeans. I wear the Frye Engineer boots with jeans, leggings, and cords and to me they look great. I’m tall enough though that they do not look like I’m trying to reach my knee and can’t – they are simply mid-calf.

        • Yeah, they can pry my socks off my WARM dead feet. I feel oxfords/wingtips are the way to go. Also non-skinny jeans so the fabric drapes a bit and covers the sock. OR other times I go the other way and wear loud-ish socks so it looks intentional.

    • Shopaholic :

      I think any ankle boot that comes up a bit higher will hide your sock – not quite calf length but not so low profile. For example, look at the rag and bone ashby. I think a lot of rag and bone booties would hide your socks but the ashby has a bit of a higher profile.

      I would wear both of those with skinny jeans (which is all I wear) but I think they would also fit under the boot cut jeans?

    • Footwear help :

      OTK boots, obviously.

      Also, teen girls are still wearing LL Bean duck boots, so there’s that.

      I envy guys: fashion seems to let them have socks with their shoes. We get cold feet in the winter and blisters year round.

    • Anonymous :

      Knee high boots, with or without a heel. You’ll need to get some skinny/very straight leg jeans though.

      • Denim Casual Footwear HELP! :

        I’ve thought about that. But I have tiny ankles and enormous hips, so it would be a very Kardashian Kristmas. A lot of look for the office. But I’d be warm and with happy feet!

        Seriously: jeggings would work with OTK boots, right? not skinny jeans but all the way to jeggings?

        • I don’t understand how a pair of boots like riding boots will come across as “a lot of look”. It all depends on what you wear with them.

          • Denim Casual Footwear HELP! :

            I am such a failure at boots that I was confusing OTK boots with “to the knee” (TTK!) boots. My bad. Oy.

            If the weather is awful, I will at least be able to not stick out with weather-appropriate boots.

            If I were an undergrad or fashion-blogger, I’d be so good at this! But I am really out of my element and December is but a few days away (and everything is on sale now . . .).

        • Anonymous :

          There’s a difference between knee high boots and over-the-knee boots. Knee high boots are fine in almost all offices, OTK is, as you say, a lot of look and probably only appropriate if your workplace is super casual (and even then they’re too overtly sexy for my taste – my workplace isn’t casual enough for either, but I’d wear LLBean Duck Boots to work before I’d wear OTK boots). And yeah I think you can do jeggings at work, but you may need to choose carefully and size up so they’re not skin tight. I think jeans with stretch in them are fine but skin tight clothing of any variety is not.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I wear above-ankle booties with thin cashmere socks, and while they’re only a little bit thicker than trouser socks, they keep me nice and warm. Higher cut booties (Chelsea boot style) will be completely covered by the bottoms of your straight-cut jeans (although not skinnies probably) so those should work. Alternately, bootcut and trouser-cut jeans are back in style, so you could go that route.

      But NO, OTK boots are not ok for work, and REALLY not with jaggings. I really hope you’re being sarcastic.

      • Denim Casual Footwear HELP! :

        Thanks! It’s like I haven’t ever gotten the tucked-in-to-boots look right for weekends yet. And now with the the pressure of doing it at work . . . learning curve is too steep.

        I miss the 80s: you could just peg your pants and tuck them into western boots. Or throw on stirrup jeans.

      • I would like to buy some UGGS slippers for the family. Does any one know if I can get a QUANTITY Discount if I buy 9-11 pair’s? HELP!!!!

        • Dear Ellen, if you are buying the UGGS in sufficient quantity your may be able to buy a minimum wholesale order directly from the manufacturer. Their minimum order may be over the 9-11 pairs you want, so your family – plus everybody you know – may become the lucky recipient of UGGS from you or Christmas!
          I manufacture and sell shoe inserts to retail stores wholesale and have a minimum orders of 10-15 pairs and I know this is the way most wholesale orders work because wholesale shoe accessories and shoes is usually around 50% off retail price so there is usually a minimum amount. However instead of directly going to UGGS in Australia you could also contact your closest UGGS retailer, they may be able to put in a special order for you if you want get many pairs and pay for them up front. The timeline may be getting tight for getting them delivered from Australia (for Christmas in USA) and a retailer will already have the shipping details arranged so it may be quicker than doing it directly yourself. Hope this helps. And what a lovely idea for gifts !

    • Black Flag Fan :

      Doc Martins?

    • My go-tos are:

      Tom’s Wedges (with short socks) – My feet are usually the first thing to get cold, but not with these. I know they say suede, but I’ve worn them in the rain and gotten them wet and they’ve been fine:

      Sorel Tornoto wedges – waterproof, insulated. I wear these all winter long.

    • I tend to wear wedges or low-heeled loafers with jeans. Both look nice with a slightly wider leg, and they’re both well suited to the jeans and a jacket look.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m late to reply but somewhere here a long time ago suggested a foot rest that goes under your desk and is heated. It’s not majorly warm but really helps me with cold feet. Several options on amazon.

  4. Anonymous :

    Can I vent for a minute? I work in a male dominated industry and am a senior manager. I work with another, more senior, senior manager. I feel as though I’m constantly getting bulldozed by this guy and then he has the nerve to corner me and ask me what he needs to do so we can get along (which I then discusss with him). Today I stood up for myself on a relatively minor issue and asked that he at least hear me out on my views before dismissing them out of hand. He proceeds to yell at me that he is “done with me” “that he is more senior than me” “and that I have to respect him” with a few f-bombs thrown in for good measure. I’m irate but don’t know if this is worth it for me to fight back on as there is a relatively good chance that he will be a partner in the next few years and that I will have to report to him. Does anyone have any advice to offer?

    And apologies for the rambling post. I’m shaking as I type this.

    • Wildkitten :

      Take a walk. Get a glass of water. Talk this through with a colleague. Report him to HR.

      • Anonymous :

        + 1

        Work on a few neutral one liners to response because there will likely be a next time. “Mutual respect is necessary.” and “My contributions are nonetheless important.” (don’t love the second one, wish I had something better to suggest).

        Other readers may have better suggestions for canned neutral responses. Reacting calmly but assertively is preferable because it highlights the inappropriateness of his actions. If you preplan a few responses, it will be easier to react in the moment.

      • Original anon :

        Thanks. I know the “right” thing to do is to go to hr. But has anyone done that? I’m in my job for the long haul and am terrified of being labeled as “difficult”.

        • I’ve done it in a similar situation.

          It helps if you’ve documented. It also helps if you’re able to point to times he blew up at you and other people were in earshot.

          I wish it were not that way, but at least in my experience, it was a lot easier because I had contemporaneous documentation, as well as someone overhearing.

        • Tech Comm Geek :

          Document, document, document. I had a similar problem at my last contract and I talked it out with a friend who works in HR. Her advice was to have at least 3 incidents which I’d documented the gist of what was said and that it was inappropriate. I wrote them as brief (1-2 paragraph) summaries of the interactions. She said one thing that was key was to document that I’d indicated that the behavior was inappropriate and the behavior continued. And yes, witnesses are very helpful.

          It sucks that you have to do this.

  5. Afternoon Headaches :

    I get them almost daily around 2:30/3pm lately. What gives? Is it my diet? It could totally be improved, but I’m not sure it’s any worse than typical. Sigh.

    • Wildkitten :

      Probably dehydration.

    • Anonymous :

      Do you drink caffeine? That can lead to headaches if you’re not getting enough.

    • anon associate :

      Maybe the angle of the sun hitting your window? Also possibly dehydration. If your lunches are carb-heavy and you’re crashing, cut carbs. I didn’t really get headaches when I ate lots of carbs at lunch, but I got weak/tired/hungry/cranky/generally intolerable and useless around 2:30/3:00. My lunches are largely based on lentils, barely, beans, chickpeas, and/or quinoa now and it’s made an enormous difference.

    • What’s your eye glasses situation? When that starts happening to me, I need to get my prescription adjusted (and how I discovered I needed reading glasses in the first place!)

  6. I hate lip glosses and never wear them. Ever. Gloopy, no staying power, wimpy, etc etc etc.

    I do have lip balm but that is entirely different.

  7. Marc Jacobs Gloss in “Boom.” It looks dark in the bottle, but its the Sisterhood of Traveling pants gloss. It looks great on everyone. Not too dark, and not sticky or slippery. Its just right. And leaves behind a little bit of color as it wears off. Always gives me a boost of confidence before I got into the courtroom!

  8. VA lawyer :

    Carmex original formula. Pot and/or tube – it’s stashed in my desk, purse, jacket pocket, nightstand, and probably a few other places I don’t even remember. I have plenty of other balms/glosses that I cycle through, but the Carmex has been a constant since I was old enough to have a choice.

  9. I like the fresh sugar lip treatment balms, which also come in tinted colors. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula lip moisturizer is also another one of my go-tos. I recently went to genbeauty and got some lip balm from Jouer (lip enhancer stick) which I find too liquidy and hard to put on, and one from skinfix, which I like but the dispenser cutout where the balm comes out of was poorly cut so it feels like I’m scraping a piece of plastic across my lips so I just use my finger instead.

  10. Lip balm has been a difficult find. I’ve experimented with most common brands e.g. ChapStick, Burt’s Bee’s, Blistex, and Carmex, and they all cause an allergic reaction. My lips tingle, become swollen, and shed a layer or two of skin. It may look like a temporary botox job but it’s not fun.
    So, when I finally found a natural lip balm that worked, I bought about 10. It’s a jar, flavored with green tea and lemongrass. It’s made by Desert Blends of Taos. It’s my daily lip balm as well as my need-to-heal-overnight lip balm. I carry it everywhere.
    For outdoor adventures where a SPF is needed, after the above trial-and-torture experiment of brands, I lucked upon the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company SPF 15 Hops-N-Mint Lip Balm at a promotional table at a festival. I don’t travel without it. It’s a stick, and, yes, it really does smell like hops and mint, mmm.

  11. Anonymous :

    I love Burt’s Bees, Honest Company and Kiss My Face (for sunscreen). I have tubes of all three brands all over the place: on my desk, in my purse, on my dresser…

  12. natural lip balm :

    Egyptian Magic or Sweet Bee Magic. I hope this helps someone. I also get distracted if my lips feel dry so I tried many products before settling on these as my go to balms. Most health food stores will carry at least one of these options, or you can always go to the big A online (@[email protected] dot com). I’ve seen smaller sizes of Egyptian Magic in store at Tar-jay as well. Neither has a smell, both are moisturizing, and they are great for other purposes. The containers are huge so I usually transfer a smaller amount into a travel size jar. Petroleum based products do not work for me. I used to be a die hard lip gloss addict but I have gotten lazier about it. I really loved the Bite honey lip gloss which of course was discontinued. :( The Bite Lush Fruit gloss just is not equivalent.

  13. I always seem to get a split lip in winter from chapping though I’ve gotten more conscientious over time on the lip coverage, which has helped. I like Burt’s Bees for staying power and Nuxe (French drugstore, can be found on Amazon) for when I need something harder core softening. And when that fails, I use CA Baby calendula cream. Tastes nasty but works fast, at least, and then I can wipe off.

  14. Pixi Shea Butter lip balms from Target. Red Raspberry is the perfect lip stain. It’s always out of stock.

  15. I prefer the Burts Bees pomegranate lip balm, and my kitten who constantly licks her lips, and they get extremely dry, and has tried every balm under the sun, swears by the MAC lip conditioner ( comes in a white tube with a black cap).

  16. I use Vaseline lip therapy rosy lips. I have tried dozens of lip balms/glosses and either they are too goopy, smell funny, or aren’t moisturizing enough. I have very full lips and I feel like certain glosses just overpower my face.

  17. I love the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments for daytime (tinted and untinted). They’re SO moisturizing and they last so long on your lips. Noya chapstick is basic but delicious and pretty natural. For bedtime, I love Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask – I wake up in the morning and it’s still on!

  18. Burts Bees is a good balm for chapped lips, but I find it too sticky to use daily. However I have used Burts’ Bees Beeswax lipbalm with vitamin E and peppermint for winter chapped heels (with the stick set aside only for that use) My heels are soft and as a bonus they are peppermint scented !

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