Many lip balms serve one primary purpose—to moisturize and comfort your lips. But there are tons of formulas out there that protect your lips from ultraviolet rays, provide an instant plumping effect, help your lips get fuller over time, and more. These anti-aging lip products deserve a spot in your skin-care routine, explains Diedre Hooper, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New Orleans, Louisianna.
“As time goes by, you lose volume, so your lips become less tall and wide, and the fat that hides your muscle goes away,” says Dr. Hooper. “The muscles become a lot more apparent, and you can see every single contraction. The lips are completely encircled by muscles and connected to all sorts of muscles that contort them into facial shapes, which leads to lines.” There’s not much you can do about this volume loss, but you can do things to keep the skin around your lips nice and thick to make the muscles less visible. “Anything you can do to keep your skin thick will make you look more youthful,” adds Dr. Hooper.
The number one culprit of premature signs of aging is the sun, which is why using lip products with SPF is so important. “The reason your skin thins the outside of your lips thins is 99 percent due to the sun,” she says. “You can buy a million anti-aging products, but if you’re walking around outside without SPF on, you’re really kind of being foolish.”
Once you’ve got an SPF lip balm in your routine, you can layer on other restorative anti-aging lip products with ingredients like antioxidants to boost the efficacy of the SPF and peptides to promote collagen production and fullness over time. “You can do things like retinol, retinoids, growth factors, peptides—you’re really not treating the skin of the lips or around the lips conceptually differently than you should be treating your eyelid skin or your forehead skin or your hands or anything that’s exposed,” says Dr. Hooper.
You also want all of these lip products to contain great hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, as dry skin can exaggerate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “The skin is four layers thick, and the cells themselves can uptake water,” says Dr. Hooper. So when the skin cells aren’t hydrated, “it’s like a plant leaf that’s deflated. Water’s a great plumper—that’s why hyaluronic acid is such a great moisturizer,” because it attracts water to the skin.
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Hydrate, plump, and protect your lips with this gloss from City Beauty. It’s made with hyaluronic acid spheres to deliver deep hydration and visible plumping along with oligopeptide, a string of amino acids that enhance lip volume and smooth fine lines. Plus, it has a blend of jojoba oil Ylang Ylang flower oil to provide restorative and soothing moisture. In addition to this clear formula, it comes in 10 pretty shades.
This is Dr. Hooper’s all-time favorite lip balm. It’s from Revision Skincare, a brand for which she sits on the advisory board. “I put it on in the morning and I layer SPF on top of it,” says Dr. Hooper. “It’s an amazing hydrator—I really noticed during covid when I would wear a mask all day and I wasn’t sipping my water, my lips were still so moisturized all day. So I do love that product.” It’s packed with peptides, one of her favorite anti-aging ingredients.
If your lips are really crusty and irritated, Dr. Hooper says to keep it simple and reach for a plain balm like this one. “When your lips are chapped and flaky…don’t try to do a lot of active ingredients,” says Dr. Hooper. “Take one product and reapply it every hour on the hour lips.”
This lip balm from Perricone MD contains hyaluronic acid, peptides, omega fatty acids, coconut oil, beeswax, jojoba seed oil, castor seed oil, sunflower seed oil, murumuru seed butter, shea butter, and more to smooth vertical lip lines, plump, prevent lipstick feathering, restore natural lip color, and moisturize.
Hyperpigmentation can happen at any age, but it’s often seen as a sign of aging due to sun exposure. You can also get dark spots on your lips from areas where you went a bit too hard peeling off dead skin. This lip balm is made with ghee, a form of clarified butter, which can help reverse hyperpigmentation. Plus, its intensely moisturizing, stopping any and all dryness in its tracks.
Dr. Hooper loves this balm because it’s full of powerful antioxidants like silymarin and vitamin E to up the efficacy of your sunscreen. It also has hydroxyethyl urea and hyaluronic acid to bind water to your lips to restore moisture loss and provide a little plump along with soothing allantoin.
Dr. Hooper also loves this treatment from Hourglass. “It’s an oil, that’s what I like about it,” she says. “It’s sort of sexy and it feels glamorous. The most important thing is you want to want to use these products. Cause if you don’t, if you find them gross, they’re distasteful, you’re not gonna use them.” The formula contains a trio of moisturizing, softening, and smoothing ingredients.
When Kendra Kolb Butler created Alpyn Beauty, it was to make skin-care products moisturizing enough to withstand the wicked cold, dry temps in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. So if you’re managing cracked lips, they’re no match for this mask. It uses sweet blue agave leaf to hydrate, hyaluronic acid to plump, and Jackson Hole willow bark to exfoliate, smooth, and soften.
Peptides are the star of this treatment balm from Paula’s Choice. They restore youthful fullness to thinning lips over time. They’re helped out by hyaluronic acid-filling spheres to provide instant plum and moisture and squalane to prevent moisture loss.
Peptides in this formula visibly plump skin and decrease the appearance of fine lines while shea butter moisturizes, cupuacu helps maintain skin elasticity and suppleness, and babassu supports the skin’s microbiome and replenishes moisture.
Retinol isn’t just for your skin—your lips can benefit from it, too. Thie balm pairs retinol, which promotes skin-cell turnover to reduce the appearance of fine lines, with boosting peptides and plumping hyaluronic acid. Slather it on before bed you’ll have a renewed pout by morning.
Repair your lip’s moisture barrier with this lip oil so your lips can hold onto as much skin-smoothing moisture as possible. It’s made with nourishing sweet cherry seed oil, conditioning Barbados cherry and wild cherry extracts, and moisturizing jojoba seed and rosehip fruit oils.
Wake up with plump lips by applying this always-sold-out mask before bed. It’s got a super-moisturizing trio of shea butter, squalane, and sweet almond oil to drench your lips in goodness while you sleep. But you can wear it during the day too, and get a nice flush of color because it comes in four shades: Sweet Dreams (pale pink), Cherry Vanilla (sheer cherry), Birthday Cake (sheer), and Juicy Watermelon (sheer watermelon).
This nourishing daily balm is made with plumping peptides, moisturizing upcycled apple extract and mango seed butter, and protective, skin-smoothing vitamin C. It’s got a clear, glossy finish, leaving your lips with a high-shine juiciness.
Add color and moisture to your lips with this tinted balm from Bobbi Brown. It’s made with jojoba oil to condition, rebalance, and revitalize; avocado oil to nourish and comfort; and olive oil to condition and soften. It comes in seven stunning shades
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“My favorite SPF lip balm is the Supergoop! one,” says Dr. Hooper. “I love it. I think it’s fun, I like the packaging, I like the way it goes on.” In addition to chemical SPF filters, this balm is made with antioxidant-rich acai fruit oil to protect against free radicals and a moisturizing blend of emollients and colza flower extract.
Dr. Hooper loves tinted SPF products because the pigment adds protection against visible light, the kind of light responsible for hyperpigmentation. “Coola has a bunch of tinted SPF lip balms and they look really nice,” says Dr. Hooper. This one comes in four shades: Firecracker (deep hibiscus pink), Nude Beach (pale pink), Skinny Dip (sheer beige), and Summer Crush (coral-y pink).
This gloss-balm hybrid from Cay Skin provides SPF 30 protection with a blend of chemical UV blockers. It comes in clear, Irie Rose (a soft pink) and Bad Gyal Berry (a deep raspberry). Plus, it has hydrating and protective sea moss, soothing aloe stem cells, and antioxidant-rich vitamin E.
Dr. Hoopeer also says there are lots of great drugstore SPF lip balms. “You can get them at any price point,” she says. This $4 pick from Sun Bum provides mineral protection along with moisturizing ingredients like sweet almond oil, shea butter, and jojoba.
Another great tinted option, this glossfrom Cocokind blends mineral and chemical UV blockers to protect your lips from the sun. It comes in a gorgeous sheer peachy hue.