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You know how sometimes, when you smear on a lip balm, it seems like the problem just gets worse? There's a reason for that, and it falls on the shoulders of the ingredient list.
"Lip balms that contain humectant ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, can actually make lips dryer because they pull moisture out of the skin, particularly when the environment is dry, and then the moisture evaporates away," explained Dr. Hadley King, a New York City dermatologist. "Humectant ingredients need to be combined with occlusive ingredients to be effective. Occlusive ingredients, such as petrolatum, beeswax, and shea butter, create a physical barrier to prevent moisture loss." In short: Humectants attract moisture and occlusives keep it from evaporating, and you should avoid lip products that only contain humectants.
The lip balms we're showcasing here range from drugstore faves to organic treasures to splurgy luxury options, but they all have one thing in common: they actually work.