Nothing against a classic lipstick or a super shiny gloss, but tinted lip balms are easily our favorite type of lippie. Let us explain. First and foremost, you're getting all of the hydration and moisture you'd get with a basic balm, always a good thing, but with a few extra cherries on top. "Tinted lip balms feature the ease of application of a lipstick, but they're much more forgiving as the color wears off, requiring less maintenance when it comes to touch-ups," says celebrity makeup artist Bryan Cantor.
And while yes, the color payoff you get is much more sheer—ideal for those who love the no-makeup makeup vibe and/or don't want to sport a ton of lip color on a daily basis—they can easily be layered to up the intensity. All you have to do is swipe on a few extra coats until you achieve your desired amount of coverage, says Cantor. (Top tip: Don't rub your lips together when doing so, as this can push most of the product to the outside of your lips and result in an uneven finish, he says. Instead, simply press them together gently, once.) The best part? There are more amazing options out there than ever before, available in all kinds of colors and with all kinds of good-for-your lips benefits. Ahead, 10 of our favorites.
Armani Beauty Neo Nude Ecstasy Balm
A favorite of Cantor’s, he lauds this for delivering long-lasting hydration, up to eight hours worth, thanks to the use of antioxidant-rich caper oil. It comes in three sheer shades—a light pink, deep pink, and rich plum—all of which he says work beautifully to subtly enhance your natural lip color, ideal for makeup minimalists.
Fresh Sugar Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15
Arguably the most classic tinted lip balm of all time, there’s good reason why this product has amassed legions of devoted fans. Those who like to have plenty of colors to pick from will appreciate the varied array of 14 shades, across both satin and shimmer finishes. The namesake ingredient helps to lock in natural moisture, and the addition of the built-in SPF is a nice added bonus. Not to mention that one tube lasts forever.
Charlotte Tilbury Hyaluronic Happikiss Lipstick Balm
Great if you also want your pout to look slightly fuller, Cantor says the combination of hydrating hyaluronic acid and an anti-aging peptide helps to add a subtle plumpness, while also reducing the appearance of fine lines. Per the name, the color payoff is almost akin to that of a lipstick. There are 10 gorgeous shades available, but if you have to pick just one, we suggest the universally flattering, nude-y pink ‘Pillow Talk.’
ChapStick Total Hydration Moisture + Tint
Nothing against the OG ChapStick, but this really gives the classic a run for its money. You get a similar, deeply hydrating formula (credit rosehip and jojoba oils), but now with the perfect amount of pigment added. You can’t go wrong with any of the seven, wearable hues—and at this affordable price, you can afford to try them all.
W3LL People Nudist Lip Butter
Clean beauty queens will appreciate this natural, plant-based formula, free of a litany of chemicals and instead chock-full of organic oils and butters. It comes in a clear option, as well as a nude and wine shade; both are pretty, but the nude is one of our perennial purse staples. One coat packs the perfect amount of color, though you can also apply it with a lip brush to further amp up the pigment payoff and shine factor.
Lilah B. Tinted Lip Balm
“This comes in a swivel-lidded pot that’s perfect for your purse,” says Cantor. “The hydrating, sheer tints combine soothing lavender essential oil with refreshing mint to create a unique sensory experience,” he adds. There’s a unique plum tone that has a subtle shimmer, plus pink and red shades with a satin finish. The latter are great multi-taskers, pulling double duty as a cream blush, thanks to their sheer wash of color and creamy, beeswax base.
Clé de Peau Beauté Lip Glorifier
Yes, this is a pricey pick, but the absolutely luxurious, divine, ridiculously silky (have we made our point?) texture in and of itself is worth every penny. A trio of shea butter, safflower oil, and argan oil work to instantly moisturize lips and help minimize the look of lip lines over time, and the formula also leaves your pout looking naturally fuller. Plus, while the three colors look gorgeous worn solo, they also work beautifully as a prep step pre-lipstick to help smooth and hydrate the lips.
Sun Bum Tinted Lip Balm SPF 15
In case you missed the memo, your lips need sunscreen just like the rest of your face. (As anyone who’s ever experienced a painful lip sunburn will quickly tell you.) One of our favorites to wear during the summer, this offers that oh-so important SPF plus a tint of beautiful color, and tons of hydration to combat the drying effects of the sun, too.
Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Lip Cream
The namesake ingredient, murumuru butter, is a deeply nourishing butter packed with fatty acids that comes from the Amazon. In this wallet-friendly pick, it’s combined with two other Amazonian plant-based butters that make it extra hydrating and ensure it glides onto lips smoothly. We also like that each of the four colors packs a pretty serious punch; in fact, we sometimes blot a little bit off with a tissue if we want to go for a super sheer effect.