By popular request I’ve put together a round up of all the lip balms you’ve been asking about. I’ve included thoughts on tinted options, clear ones and a few lip plumper formulas. I know it’s not officially spring yet, but I’m calling this a spring lip balm roundup because seasonal beauty collections launch ahead of the actual season. I put around a dozen formulas to the test. Most of the tinted color options are newer for the season but I also mixed in some clear options that are new to me for those who just want a treatment without color. Formulas covered today:
The Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil in the new tinted shades are ones I’ve been getting the most questions about. I have used both the clear and red ones in past years, used them up and didn’t repurchase. The formula is one of the most beautiful luxurious lip oils I’ve tried. It feels like a spa treatment on the lips but doesn’t have a bad taste. I ordered the neutrals sight unseen. I think they’re amazing for the beautiful neutral soft pink tints but on my lips all three look pretty much the same. Bare is a soft beige pink, Cameo is a rose, Adorn is a soft pink. Coverage is on the sheer side and like any oil color won’t be long lasting even if you can still feel the product. I think they’re insanely expensive. I was prepared to be thoroughly disappointed just because of the price but after playing with these I think they’re a really nice splurge. I don’t think you need all the neutrals that I bought, to me they’re really similar, if I had to pick one it would be Bare. (Scroll down for swatches, after the Givenchy bit.)
The Givenchy Le Rose Perfecto is a hydrating lip balm that comes in tinted colors now. The original ones are supposed to be color shifting according to your lip/body chemistry but it didn’t do anything for my lips. I tried it once, wasn’t impressed but kept it for future testing. I swatched some new colors on my hand in store and they looked so pretty I had high hopes. I bought two of the new tinted colors 101 Glazed Beige and 201 Timeless Pink which looked promising but I hate them. It’s rare that I’ll full on hate a product, although there have been plenty of products I’ve given a negative review on the blog. I try to be fair in the sense that my personal preferences don’t always make a product bad (ie sheer isn’t always bad, frosty isn’t bad as some like extra shimmer, super matte also isn’t bad as some want that extra matte look). Sometimes I’ll give something a bad review because I think the color is boring or unflattering, or sometimes I think a product is simply not worth the price tag. I actually hate this formula. It has horrible patchy application, not hydrating and sinks into my fine lines. Even blending doesn’t work to smooth out the color. The only nice thing is the pink packaging and slim style of the tube. All that being said the online reviews are overwhelmingly positive for this formula.
Swatches of the Hourglass and Givenchy shades:
Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tints are probably the next best option to the classic Dior Addict Lip Glows. Over the years I’ve received a lot of messages from readers who like the concept of the Dior Addict Lip Glows but their body chemistry causes the colors to turn almost fluorescent on their lips which they think is unflattering. I think the Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tints provide a more subtle tint, but this of course is going to be different on everyone. You can read my review of last year’s options here. These are nice hydrating balmy tints that feel moisturizing without being thick. This year I tried Bare Pink (subtle pink on my lips), Bare Nude (sheer subtle beige flush) and Bare Blackberry (perfect soft berry color, think Clinique Black Honey toned down a few notches).
YSL launched a new addition to their Volupte line with the Volupte Plump in Color. I’ve been sitting on these for months and finally put them to the test. I bought the neutrals which barely show up. I normally don’t mind sheer balms but the two I picked 01 Mad Nude (soft pink) and 07 Furious Gold (shimmery pale gold) aren’t flattering on me. These have a super sharp tingle with the plumping factor. It stung my lips so much so that I could not feel my upper lip after 2 minutes which made me panic. When this happens I usually get an allergic reaction and my face looks like I’ve been stung by a bee. I removed it immediately with makeup remover, washed my face and lip again and then used a cleansing water to make sure it was 100% off. I really loved their Volupte Tint in Balm and prefer the color and formula 100%.
NARS launched another version of the Afterglow Lip Balm in a clear option with SPF 10 called Clean Cut. This is a nice non-irritating lip balm. Since Clean Cut is clear I feel like the Afterglow Lip Balm Orgasm version is more special. It’s a really nice smooth balm. Lips are noticably softer and smoother. I really love the way it feels. I’m not sure I feel it’s worth the price for clear. Formula gets a solid A+ though.
Dior makes some of the best lip plumpers and color transforming balms. No matter how many other brands come out with their own version I think Dior still does it best.
The Lip Maximizers aren’t really lip balms but they had new shades that were launched with new balms so I’ve put them in this roundup. In the past I’ve felt the color lineup of the Lip Maximizers were pretty basic. Not a bad thing necessarily but even the tinted ones didn’t do much except add a lush plumpness to the lips. The new ones are sheer but show up better on my lips. I’m LIVING for the Pink Holographic and Purple Holographic ones. They have noticeable shimmer chunks but it’s 100% smooth and not overly frosted. I also bought Rosewood which is new to me (I’m not entirely sure if it’s new) and it’s a sheer effortless beige pink which I love.
As a Lip Glow Addict Lover I was really interested in trying the new Lip Glow to the Max shimmer/tint swirls. I have such mixed feelings about these. If I have a choice between matte and shimmer, I almost will always want the shimmer. The shimmer in these is a little much for me. It’s not frosty but it has a very metallic look which I don’t think is flattering on me. It’s almost a little too glowy. Lips look super lush and full with the shimmer + tint and I like that they are very pigmented. I prefer the Holo Rose Gold and Holo Pink options or even the classic non-shimmer ones instead.
You can see my previous reviews of the Dior Addict Lip Glow here.
Clear Balm Options from Drunk Elephant, Lipstick Queen, Sol Janeiro, Laneige and Fresh
Last but not least I have a roundup of some of the clear Lip Balms options I’ve tried over the past few months. Thoughts on how each one performed:
I bought the Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm in a holiday set and was pleasantly pleased. It’s a nice basic hydrating lip balm I think makes for a great unisex option. It’s lightweight and hydrating but does the job at fixing dry patches. It’s a clean formula with avocado, mongongo, cranberry, and marula oils. It’s non-scented and doesn’t have a taste. Finish is semi-matte.
Lipstick Queen came out with a new Lip Restore Balm which is a really nice thick clear option. It has a twist up applicator with a plastic end. I’ve kinda fallen out of love with Lipstick Queen lipsticks over the years as I feel other brands have better colors/formulas, but this was a really nice one. I used it during the day and also over night and think it’s a solid option to try.
The Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Kiss has the cutest fun bright packaging I decided to give it a try and am throughly impressed. It’s on the thick side but very moisturizing with a natural glow. It’s heavily scented but not too overpowering for me. I can’t use their body products because I find the scent too strong for me to handle but the lip balm is better. If you’re sensitive to scents this may be too strong for you. It has cupuacu, açaí, and coconut oils.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask came out in a Vanilla option. I asked for thoughts on stories because I feel it’s so heavily hyped. Thoughts and opinions were either extreme love or hate. I can’t use the original berry version, the scent is so strong it nearly knocked me on the floor in the store. I think the Vanilla one is much better in scent. It’s a smooth hydrating lip balm, but I don’t think it’s the best and for me it doesn’t live up to the hype. Bite’s Agave Lip Mask is much much better and more hydrating.
Fresh Sugar Mint Rush is their latest for the lip balm line. It has a nice fresh minty sweet finish that isn’t too strong or sharp. It has a pleasant soothing cooling feel. I left it on overnight and lips were nice and soft in the morning. I feel the Bite is more hydrating and effective for super dry lips.
Best: Best tinted ones are Bobbi Brown and Hourglass and favorite clear options are Drunk Elephant and Sol de Janeiro
Worst: Givenchy, YSL Volupte Plumping (because it’s painful) and I think Laneige is just ok
I still think the By Terry Baume de Rose, Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask and regular Dior Addict Lip Glows are among the best formulas I’ve tried. I love trying new formulas though, especially tinted ones! There are a few formulas and colors that I probably would not have bought to try but so many of you were asking for reviews I did. I hope you found this roundup helpful!
Press samples include NARS Afterglow, Lipstick Queen Restore, Bobbi Brown Extra Pink, Fresh Sugar Mint Rush. All others purchased by me.