Lip Moisturizers 101

Types of Lip Moisturizers

So you need a lip product that will relieve your dry, chapped lips. However, once you're at the store, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the wide variety of products, such as moisturizing glosses, moisturizing lipsticks, medicated lip balms, natural and organic lip balms, balms with fruity flavors and essential oils, and so on.

The first thing you need to decide is whether you want a lip moisturizer that also contains a little color. If so, you will be looking for lip glosses and lipsticks that have moisturizing ingredients, such as glycerin. Steer clear of matte or long-lasting lipsticks, as these can be drying and make your lips look even worse [source: Begoun].

If you're not looking to add any color to your lips, you might turn your search to lip balms. Effective moisturizers contain emollients, which are ingredients that hydrate and soften skin. Some lip balms might also contain humectants -- ingredients that help skin hold more moisture. One of the most common emollients found in lip balms is petrolatum, a hydrocarbon mixture that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic use. Other emollients such as beeswax, cocoa butter and almond oil are popular ingredients in lip balms advertised as organic or natural [source: Duffill]. But if your skin tends to be oily or easily irritated, you might look for those that contain glycerin or water-based emollients.

In addition to deciding what kind of ingredients you want your lip moisturizer to contain, you also need to consider whether to use a product that contains a fragrance. So many lip balms and glosses are formulated with specific flavors or scents, but if you are concerned mainly with moisturizing your lips, then less fragrance is better. Many fragrances, including popular ones such as peppermint and camphor, can cause skin irritation or drying [source: Begoun].

With so much to consider in selecting a moisturizer, you might be wondering whether such a product is even necessary. Surely you could make it through a dry winter just by licking your lips to keep them hydrated? Keep reading to find out why this isn't such a good idea and why a proper lip moisturizer is important for your lip health.