Our Definitive Guide to Winter Lip Care From Balms to Oils

A couple of years ago, I was about to take off on a 15 hour flight from Toronto to Hong Kong. While sitting in the window seat, I tried (as usual) to ignore the fact that I’m a terrible flyer. As the plane doors closed, however, I suddenly realized I had another problem. You know the way you lurch towards your handbag or pocket when you think you’ve forgotten your phone at a restaurant? That was me. But instead of digging around for my cell, I was frantically searching for my tube of Burt’s Bees Coconut & Pear lip balm. And it wasn’t there. 

By the time we landed on the other side of the world, my lips were practically cracking and as I exited the aircraft through business class, I grumpily eyed the half-rummaged through pouches that included complimentary balms, moisturizers and tiny toothbrushes that didn’t make it to economy. No dice. 

It’s safe to say I learned the vital importance of always having a good lip product on-hand–both on and off the plane. In honor of this, we’ve compiled a definitive guide of lip salves that include everything from traditional sticks to newfangled oils. Whichever you prefer, any one of these will spare you from the panic and terror I had to endure on that 15 hour flight:

The Stick

As the go-to product for no-fuss lip care, we’re sure you’ve already got one of these in your purse, your car, your desk, your other purse. But if your haul doesn’t include one of these four options, then you’re definitely still missing out.

The Tube

You can find lip care in a plethora of textures these days, but if you prefer a gel finish that dispenses with the ease of a squeezy tube, look no further than these, which include classics like Carmex Original and the cult fave Lucas’ Pawpaw Remedies.

The Multi-Purpose

Winter brings with it the responsibility of keeping track of all your cold weather accessories, so keep what you’re carrying to a minimum with a hero product that can get multiple jobs done. These salves are multi-tasking miracles, saving your lips, nose and cheeks from the cruel, dry air. Pick one with a tint to brighten up your complexion, or use a clear version on the high points of your face for a healthy looking glow.

The Mask

It may seem extra to use a mask just for your lips, but when chapping and peeling reaches emergency status, these will be your saviours. More intense than your daily balm, these will speed the healing process until you have fully functional lips again.

The Oil

A newish addition to the lip balm category, oils penetrate deeper with their super moisturizing, potent formulas are. We’re also down with anything that gives us a glossy finish, so tinted versions are a great way to add instant colour. Lip balms may be your best friends, but lip oils deserve their own chance at recognition.