There are a few body parts that are especially vulnerable to sun damage. The shoulders, tip of the nose, and lips, because of their physical location, stand unguarded against the sun’s blistering UV rays. Baseball caps tend to cut off shade right around the mouth, and sunscreen’s sour taste and poison-adjacent ingredients mean the lips tend to get skipped over during daily application.
And yet, anybody who has slurped down spicey ramen after a day at the beach can attest that a sunburnt kisser is a uniquely irritating ache. Lip skin is sensitive, and while it heals quickly those hours between the exposure and the crisped layers sloughing off are not pleasant. Use lip balm with SPF instead.
The Best Lip Balms With SPF: At a Glance
What the Experts Say
SPY spoke to three skin care experts to find out the best stuff for keeping your smackers moisturized, and protected, in heavy sun. Jake Jaime, a skincare product designer, Bart Kaczanowicz, a skincare and beauty blogger, and Garrett Munce, a writer and grooming expert who’s worked at Esquire and GQ.
According to Kaczanowicz, a good SPF balm is best used as a daily preventative measure, rather than an attempt to retroactively soothe after the damage is done. He recommended stocking up on cheap, everyday balms for regular use and putting something heavier and more luxe in the nightstand for weekly replenishing. Both Jaime and Kaczanowicz, however, said that simple is often better and something at or above 30 SPF is what one should aim for.
Aquaphor Lip Repair SPF 30
Consistency Is Key: Jaime told SPY that he’s an Aquaphor fanatic. The basic Immediate Relief balm is his go-to for day-to-day use, but when he’s going to be in the sun, he opts for the SPF 30 version.
Texture Matters: “Lip balms that contain SPF can be grainy and feel horrible on the lips, but Aquaphor isn’t like that,” Jaime said. “I can’t tell the difference in terms of texture between the original and the SPF version, and that’s exactly what you want.”
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm
Smell Test: The Jack Black balm, according to Kaczanowicz, is “rich without feeling heavy and stays on the lips significantly longer than most.” It also comes in a variety of scents.
Price Point: At $10 for 0.25 ounces, it’s more expensive than a standard tube of chapstick, but the quality will keep you coming back. Kaczanowicz says he’s relied on it for years.
Supergoop! Lip Shield SPF 30, Mint Flavor
Clear Favorite: “No one makes sunscreen like Supergoop! and the lip balm is no exception,” Munce said. “Good protective factor, broad spectrum, it’s even water and sweat-resistant. It also, somehow, doesn’t feel heavy or sticky on your lips.”
Stock Up: It’s available in a 3-pack for $30, which puts it individually a bit higher than some of the alternatives, but worth it for how long the three tubes will last.
Vacation After Dinner Mint SPF 30 Lip Balm
Fun Factor: “This stuff tastes incredible – truly like one of those classic soft mints you get at like a family restaurant or something,” Munce said. “I love that this brand is really having fun with sunscreen and making it different and exciting to use, even when it comes to lip balm.” You’re going to taste trace amounts of anything you put on your lips, so it might as well be pleasant.
ROI: At just $5 for a tube, this is one of the cheaper options on the list. Sure, it’s a bit more than gas station chapstick, but it’ll be a big level up.
Frequently Asked Questions About SPF Lip Balm
How much SPF do you need in lip balm?
What does SPF lip balm look like on your lips?
What are SPF lip balms made of?
Do I need sunscreen in my lip balm?