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Skin care

The cruelty-free lip balms we can’t stop praising

Photography by Tracey Creed
Words by Tracey Creed

Published September 28 2022

Creating a guide to the best lip balm, the ones that we and others cannot stop praising, has been on our agenda for some time. Since moving house a few months past, our current ventilation system has killed my skin, and I am constantly applying lip balm and eye drops. Now, if ever was the time to write this piece.

I have various lip balms on the go at any time. This list contains past purchases, current in-use balms, and others I want to try. Balms are designed to condition the lips first and foremost—foundational to achieving a perfect lip. Included here are pigmented lip balms—a personal favourite and one for those who want a wash of colour, sans lipstick.

Stick, tube or tub form remains a preference to which I am impartial, and in terms of ingredients, cruelty-free and clean—and most are vegan, sans Olio E Osso, which contains beeswax. My current rotation includes KNC Supa Balm OG Rose, NOTO Gold Glow Stick, Sans[ceuticals] Lip Aid, and OLIO E OSSO No. 6, all permanently taking up residence next to my computer. I hope you find this helpful, and if you have others that should be on this list, send us an email.

Doctor Rogers Restore Lip Balm

An ultra-moisturising and hypoallergenic lip balm that contains just three food-grade ingredients to moisturise, protect, and repair dry, chapped lips. Castor Oil and Wax hydrate and soothe, while Candelilla Wax prevents moisture loss. Doctor Rogers Restore Lip Balm is everything you need and nothing you don't. Vegan. Cruelty-free.


The wide stick glides on so easily. I have Balm No. 6, and there’s a hint of shimmer. You can also use this balm to add a sheen to eyelids and highlight cheekbones and brow bones. And one stick lasts an eternity. A unique botanical blend of Shea Nut Oil, Olive Oil and Natural Beeswax restores comfort and protects against dehydration. And for a balm that does even more, may I suggest No. 1 — Clear. It’s versatile, part balm, part treatment, tames stray eyebrows and beards, and conditions cuticles. Cruelty-free.

KNC Supa Balm OG Rose

Of cult brand KNC Beauty, Los Angeles-based Kristen Noel Crawley created arguably the most Instagrammable lip sheet masks—you'll know them, the oversized, pink, lip-shaped treatment with a jelly-like texture. And so the balm is an extension of that line. A blend of Moringa, Cotton and Kukui Oils, Kokum and Shea Butters, creates a super plump pout while counteracting the damaging effects of harsh weather, sun exposure, and air-conditioning. The environment in general. Vegan. Cruelty-free.

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

Though I have misplaced mine, part balm, part lip mask, the tube lasts an eternity and has incredibly clean ingredients. Formulated with a unique blend of nutrient-rich vegan waxes, Shea and Muriumuru Butters deliver a deeply moisturising treatment that leaves lips smooth and primed for colour. Honestly, this balm offers long-term hydration. Summer Fridays was the only tube I used when we first moved house, and my lips cracked. Vegan. Cruelty-free.

Kosasport LipFuel Hyaluronic Lip Balm

The weightless, gel-like formula is spiked with plumping Hyaluronic Acid and Konjac Root to maintain moisture levels, creating a barrier between the lip and the environment. Camellia Seed, Grape Seed, and Avocado Oils provide nourishment and ongoing hydration, while mint soothes and stimulates. LipFuel’s sheer, hydrating formula is excellent for every day. Vegan. Cruelty-free.

Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm™

The Internet is obsessed with this formula. With all things Drunk Elephant, I think. Avocado and Virgin Marula Oils—both super-absorbable oil, high in critical antioxidants and omegas 6 and 9 rejuvenate, providing long-lasting nourishment and protection for chapped lips. And Shea butter provides deep hydration, restoring and strengthening the natural moisture barrier to prevent further environmental damage. Also, Lippe Balm is minty fresh. Cruelty-free.

NOTO Hydra Highlighter Stick // Face + Body

My ‘going out’ lip balm. Over-concentrated in botanical actives, Organic Olive and Jojoba Oils deliver hydrating fatty acids and antioxidants, while Organic Shea Butter condition and replenish moisture. Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, Organic Coconut and Neem Seed Oils provide lipid-boosting and nourishing active ingredients. This multi-function and nutri-replenishing stick is designed to be used on the temples, eyelids, cupids bow, collar bones—anywhere your skin requires highlighting. And lips! Mica Pearl Glow (fair trade/child labour free) pigments deliver an intense colour payoff. This balm stick can also be used under makeup for a glowing foundation. Vegan. Cruelty-free.

Hurraw! Balm

The one and only. I’m quite certain, Hurraw! is the original vegan lip balm. I used to use Chapstick in high school—I think everybody did, but when I removed animal products from my diet, I moved on to Hurraw! Castor Oil and Candelilla Wax hydrate and soothe, while Safflower, Jojoba, Coconut and Olive Oils provide antioxidant protection and long-lasting hydration without feeling greasy. With nineteen original oil-infused tints to choose from, and tonnes of flavours, these tubes deliver an instant shot of moisture with a hint of pigment. Unless, like me, you opt for the Sun Balm—the SPF-15 or the Unscented Lip Balm. Vegan. Cruelty-free.

Sans[ceuticals] Lip Aid

With clean ingredients and handsome packaging, I’ve been using Lip Aid for years and have used countless tubes. This botanical formula contains papain proteolytic enzymes from Papaya Seed Oil to exfoliate gently, while Rich Carrot Seed Oil boosts hydration and helps strengthen the moisture barrier over time. Hyaluronic Acid attracts moisture to hydrate, smooth, and plump for fuller-looking lips. Skin-conditioning Vitamin E supports barrier function and defends against external stressors, while antioxidant-rich Squalene and Shea Butter lock in hydration. An intensely-hydrating balm that repairs and revitalises the driest and most chapped lips, Sans[ceuticals] is also made in New Zealand without unnecessary or harmful ingredients. Vegan. Cruelty-free.

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