I used to have a Burt’s Bees lip balm-shaped mark on the right front pocket of every pair of my jeans. It was the one lip balm I always used from the fourth grade onward—or for as long as I can remember anyway—and carried with me everywhere. Convinced it was the best lip balm in existence, because nothing else ever lasted as long or as well for me, I told everyone else to buy it. Anyone still using Lip Smackers was missing out. Everyone deserved to know.
For years this remained true. Until I began using Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment. For, say, a year. Then I became obsessed with Dior’s Lip Glow Pomade—for a few months. And then in 2016, I converted to Glossier’s Original Balm Dotcom. (This conversion has lasted; only now I exclusively use Rose.) So which one of these is actually the best lip balm? Good question. Ask anyone else and they’ll probably tell you it’s the one they’re currently using. This is because, according to a couple studies, lip balm usage is often just a bad habit—you become accustomed to (and at times, dependent on) the way your lip balm makes you look and feel. Which makes stopping or switching almost impossible. Or at least difficult, because it means weaning yourself off one altogether, or onto another.
Yes, some lip balms are better than others. I'd still pick Burt's Bees over any other drugstore lip product in a pinch. Unlike lots of other bad habits, however, I’m probably never going to stop using lip balm. It’s too much fun! It feels too good! So just let me keep on with my rose-flavored Balm Dotcom. And tell me now: Which lip balm is your best lip balm?
Photographed by Tom Newton.