The best lip sunscreen
When you're picking out sunscreen for your lips, there are several things to consider that aren't as important when you're shopping around for an option for your body. One of those is the taste. If it's going on — and, let's face it, in — your mouth, you don't want it to taste bad, which is why the best lip sunscreens will usually have either a neutral or mild flavor. Taste preferences aside, the first factor to consider is what type of sunscreen to want to use.
Mineral versus chemical sunscreens
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of sunscreens — those that use chemicals such as avobenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and oxybenzone to absorb UV rays before they can penetrate your skin and those that use minerals like zinc or titanium dioxide as a physical barrier to shield your skin.
Some folks prefer sunscreen with chemicals because it's often more lightweight and easy to rub into your skin — mineral sunscreen, in contrast, tends to be thicker and sometimes leaves a white cast. That said, some people choose to avoid the chemicals in traditional sunscreen, either for environmental or personal reasons. It's really a matter of personal preference.
Another thing to consider is texture. You want lip sunscreen to be light enough that it doesn't feel sticky or goopy on your mouth yet thick enough to stay on. If it's water-resistant, even better.
Now that you have a better idea of how to shop for the best lip sunscreen, check out the top options below.
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1. The basic mineral sunscreen
If you prefer a natural sunscreen, this Sun Bum SPF 30 lip balm is a fantastic choice. The mineral-based sunscreen stick, which is formulated with zinc-oxide, feels smooth and lightweight on your lips and doesn't have any sort of unpleasant taste (although reviewers noted that it does leave a slightly white tint). The formula also features sweet almond oil, beeswax, jojoba seed oil, shea butter, and argan oil. The only drawback is that this option isn't water-resistant.
One reviewer says: "Perfect lip balm for summer time. [...] It smells absolutely amazing and it's not too waxy feeling, but not too smooth either. It glides on very nicely and doesn't cake up at all. [...] I would definitely recommend it!"
2. The basic chemical sunscreen
This COOLA lip balm is a rare find, with a formula that's chemical-based but free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, two common ingredients that have been found to harm the coral reef. The paraben-free SPF 30 balm instead relies on avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene. Infused with raspberry, vanilla, peppermint, and avocado butter, this stick features 70% organic ingredients. Even better: The formula is non-GMO, hypoallergenic, and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
One reviewer says: "The number of SPF Lip Balms on the market which have true UVA and UVB protection are few and far between. Those that are available often lose stars for waxy texture, unpleasant fragrance, skin irritating ingredients like menthol and eucalyptus, are overpriced or tested on animals and provide no true lip moisturizing. Coola's SPF Lip Balm is perfect in every regard, especially for its smooth application and texture, its ability to moisturize and true UVA/UVB protection."
3. The tinted sunscreen
For those who want a multitasker, this Sun Bum Tinted Lip Balm gives your pucker a subtle pink glow while still offering SPF 15. The chemical-based SPF stick is formulated with a combination of avobenzone, octinoxate, and octisalate that's both sweat- and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. On top of that, it also boasts hydrating coconut oil to help keep your lips smooth and supple, even in the blazing heat. The hypoallergenic, oxybenzone- and paraben-free formula comes in five shades.
One reviewer says: "I’ve had this for two days, and I love it! The color is a perfect 'sunkissed' color without going too orange or pink. It smells lovely, and is very moisturizing. Highly recommended and will buy in other shades."
4. The multi-pack
This high-quality lip sunscreen comes in a handy variety pack with three different scents: spearmint, coconut, and original. The SPF 15 mineral formula relies on zinc-oxide to block UV rays, while a blend of beeswax, vitamin E, and olive oil make it soothing for your skin. Fans noted that the lightweight formula glides on easily, lasts long, and doesn't get sticky or greasy.
One reviewer says: "My son and I can get peely, dry lips for no apparent reason. Besides staying hydrated with water, we use this lip balm with great results. Within a few days, his peeling, dry lips were soft and healed after applying this liberally several times daily."
5. The one that's also for your face
This mineral-based lip sunscreen uses a combination of zinc-oxide and titanium dioxide to protect skin. In addition to your lips, the SPF 40 balm can be used on your cheeks, forehead, chin, and other sensitive areas — plus it's water-resistant for roughly 30 minutes at a time. This balm also features hydrating shea butter, aloe vera, mango seed butter, beeswax, and safflower seed oil, along with vitamins C and E. Reviewers did note that this one takes some extra rubbing in to avoid a white cast.
One reviewer says: "This stuff makes my skin feel like velvet, and doesn't make me look like a ghost. It also does not make me break out, and somehow when I wear it my skin gets less oily."