on January 31, 2023
We’re told time and time again to wear sunscreen to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but there’s one area on our bodies we often forget: our lips.
Whether it’s rain or shine, sunscreen is an essential part of your daily skincare regimen. It protects you from harmful UV rays. These include UVA rays, which are responsible for the sun damage that causes premature wrinkles, photoaging, and skin cancer; and UVB rays, which are responsible for burning your skin.
SPF (sun protection factor) measurements refer to UVB rays but in the US, a sunscreen labeled broad-spectrum will also protect you from UVA rays (these often contain zinc or titanium dioxide), although it’s hard to say exactly how much UVA protection you are getting with broad-spectrum sunscreen.
There are three types of sunscreens on the market: physical, which has mineral-based ingredients (like zinc and titanium dioxide) that stay on the skin to block and deflect UV rays; chemical sunscreen, which uses one or more active ingredients (such as avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, or oxybenzone) to absorb the sun’s rays to protect your skin without leaving a white cast; and combination, which uses both physical and chemical filters.
The higher the SPF, the more harmful rays are blocked. For example, SPF 15 blocks around 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%. Most dermatologists recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a minimum of SPF 30, but many lip balms only go up to SPF 15% (which is still better than nothing, but SPF 30 is the adequate amount of protection).
The skin on your lips is thinner than the rest of your body and it’s often overlooked when applying sunscreen, but it needs to be protected too, and you need to be sure you reapply every two hours or whenever the sunscreen is rubbed off.
Below, we look at the best lip balms with SPF that will protect you from sun damage and keep your lips hydrated for hours (and maybe even have a hint of tint!).
Fresh Sugar lip balm with SPF 15 is a lip balm that will protect and hydrate your lips with moisturizers like meadowfoam and black currant seed oils, humectants like sugar, and antioxidants such as grapeseed oil. A chemical filter (octinoxate) protects your lips from harmful UVB rays.
Fresh Sugar lip balm comes in a variety of tints (13!) such as clear to rosy and two finishes (satin and shimmer). If you choose a balm with a tint, you can swipe it again for buildable color.
Supergoop! Lipscreen SPF 40 is an excellent choice if you are more a fan of lip glosses than lip balms. This tube delivers sun protection through its chemical sunscreen formulation (with active ingredients such as avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene), a clear sheen, and hydration and protection with ingredients such as sunflower seed oil, kelp extract, and grape seed extract.
You can use the Lipscreen on its own or use it over your lip color to give it some shine -- without the stickiness.
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 is an extremely hydrating lip balm that is packed with moisturizing ingredients (like grapefruit, ginger, shea butter, and avocado oil) to soften dry lips and antioxidants (like vitamin E and green tea extract) to protect you from damage caused by free radicals.
Jack Black offers multiple flavors and formulations, including the original, grapefruit and ginger, black tea and blackberry, lemon and shea butter, and shea butter and vitamin E. They are also vegan, free of artificial colors, paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, alcohol-free, and gluten-free.
These lip balms use avobenzone, octinoxate, and petrolatum to protect your lips from the sun (be sure to apply it 30 minutes before stepping outdoors). You can also wear it under lipstick for extra moisture.
Sun Bum sunscreen lip balm is a creamy formula that hydrates and protects your lips from UV rays and wind damage. Ingredients like aloe, cocoa butter, and vitamin E deliver moisture and active ingredients such as avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, and octisalate provide broad-spectrum protection to keep you safe from the sun.
The balm is vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, and oxybenzone-free (reef safe!).
Bonus: it comes in seven delicious flavors, including banana, coconut, key lime, mango, pineapple, and pomegranate.
Coola Liplux has an extremely moisturizing formula (thanks to ingredients such as aloe vera, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, raspberry butter, avocado fruit butter, cupuaçua butter, and shea butter) that soothes your lips and leaves them conditioned, all while giving you broad-spectrum protection with ingredients such as avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene.
Coola’s Liplux SPF 30 comes in multiple tints -- coral reef, firecracker, summer crush, nude beach, and skinny dip -- so you can choose your perfect color.
Liplux is cruelty-free, Hawaii reef compliant, water-resistant, and hypoallergenic.
If you prefer a glossy finish and the texture of a lip oil, then Coola’s Liplux Organic Hydrating Lip Oil offers sun protection and shine with a universally-flattering natural golden shade that works with all skin tones.
Ingredients like camellia, jojoba oil, and vitamin E hydrate and plump your lips while an antioxidant-rich plant complex protects them from free radicals.
This lip oil is made with 70% certified organic ingredients and it’s also vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, synthetic fragrance-free, and Hawaii reef compliant.
This lip balm from Burt's Bees is blended with plenty of oils and butters to moisture and protect your lips while receiving broad-spectrum protection from ingredients like zinc oxide. It also has a peppermint flavor and remains water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
ChapStick Skin Protectant Sunscreen Moisturizer is a hydrating formula due to 11 moisturizing ingredients (like aloe and vitamin E) that softens and smoothes your lips for up to 8 hours while protecting you from the sun.
Aquaphor is known for thoroughly moisturizing and protecting your lips but now it offers that same hydration (thanks to ingredients like shea butter, castor seed oil, glycerin, vitamin E, and beeswax) with broad-spectrum sun protection.
This lip protectant is formulated for sensitive lips -- it’s fragrance-free, preservative-free, dye-free, and paraben-free.
W3ll People Nudist Lip Butter is a moisturizing balm due to the presence of organic omega oils, jojoba oil, red raspberry seed oil, and aloe, while sun protection is provided with non-micronized mineral zinc.
The Nudist Lip Butter comes in four colors: natural (which is clear) and three tints that include nude, wine, and afterglow.
Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Color Balm gives you a high amount of sun protection -- SPF 50 -- while providing a moisturizing lip and cheek tint in three beautiful and buildable shades: berry, bronze, and blush.
It provides 100% mineral protection from UVA and UVB rays (with zinc and titanium dioxide), blue light (through iron oxides), infrared radiation (with Physavie), and other environmental irritants (with Lipochroman).
Antioxidant-rich ingredients (like zinc oxide and vitamin E) protect your lips from free radicals while hydrating ingredients like jojoba esters and squalene soften and smooth your skin and provide you with long-lasting moisture.
The formula is reef-safe, hypoallergenic, paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, oil-free, non-comedogenic, gluten-free, and sweat/water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
Runner up: Colorescience Sunforgettable Lip Shine SPF 35
This lip gloss provides hydration, broad-spectrum sunscreen, and environmental stressor protection. Zinc oxide protects against UVA and UVB rays, peptides help boost collagen, and hyaluronic acid hydrates lips. It’s available in five universally flattering shades that give lips a sheer and natural hint of color.
Banana Boat aloe vera lip balm has cooling ingredients (aloe vera), antioxidants (vitamin C and E), moisturizers (cocoa butter), and ingredients to seal in moisture (dimethicone and petrolatum). It provides broad-spectrum protection (with ingredients like avobenzone) and it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Additionally, it’s recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
The Nivea Smoothness Lip Care balm gives you all-day nourishing moisture with ingredients like avocado oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter and provides broad-spectrum protection with ingredients such as avobenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene.
Coppertone SPORT lip sunscreen is perfect for when you need long-lasting sun protection while at the beach or pool -- it’s a broad-spectrum protectant (with ingredients like avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and oxybenzone) and it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Additionally, it softens your lips with ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin E, while using petrolatum as a skin protectant.
The Neutrogena Revitalizing lip balm provides sun protection and moisture with ingredients like shea butter and petrolatum. It also comes in 6 different sheer and beautiful tints: sheer shimmer, soft caramel, healthy blush, petal glow, sunny berry, and fresh plum.
MDSolarSciences Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm is exactly that -- hydrating, thanks to the presence of avocado oil and avocado, shea, and olive butters. It’s a creamy formula that is 100% vegan and gluten-free. Additionally, it gives you broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection and comes in three beautiful, sheer, and universally flattering shades: bare, blush, shimmer, ruby, and spice.
EltaMD’s face sunscreens have positive reviews from dermatologists and skin care enthusiasts, and its lip balm is no different. It’s hydrating formula has glycerin for moisture,zinc oxide and octinoxate for broad-spectrum protection, and antioxidants like vitamin E, ascorbyl palmitate, thioctic acid, and quercetin to protect from free-radical damage.