ChapStick vs. Lip Balm: Which Is Best?

ChapStick vs. Lip Balm: Which Is Best?

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Everyone has suffered from dry lips at some point. Whether it’s caused by cold weather, spicy food, or sun damage, dry and cracked lips can get very uncomfortable and painful.

Smiling woman in bikini and wearing hat with lip balm on beach

Sometimes when your skin is too dry, it can even bleed. If you suffer from chapped lips, treat them immediately before they worsen.

There are many remedies for dry lips out there. The easiest is to turn to your favorite lip salve or moisturizer to soothe the discomfort and to condition your lips. 

But what’s the right choice: ChapStick vs. lip balm? Have you ever wondered what the difference was? Which one was right for you? And most importantly, is lip balm and ChapStick the same thing?

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between lip balm vs. ChapStick, find out how they are similar, and explore the best lip product for you.

What Is Lip Balm?

Understanding the difference between lip balm and ChapStick begins with understanding these products, how they are made, and how they are used.

Lip balm is a lip treatment that is often primarily made of wax and is used to help relieve the symptoms of dry and cracked lips. It can also help medicate lip problems like cold sores and lip eczema.

Most lip balm products are made with beeswax or similar emollient ingredients. They usually come in a twist tube or a plastic or glass jar.

You can glide the balm on to create a protective layer for the skin of your lips. This layer helps protect your lips, retain moisture, and keep your lips nourished.

It also protects your lips against cold and dry weather and harsh winds. Aside from that, many lip balms also contain SPF, doubling as protection against the sun.

Lip balms can be found everywhere, from cosmetics stores, drugstores and supermarkets to online shopping platforms.

Types of Lip Balm

Given how ubiquitous lip balm is, it’s only natural that there are several different forms of lip balm to suit different needs.

These are some of the different types of lip balm:


This basic lip balm combats lip dryness and keeps your lips moisturized without added colors or other unique ingredients.


Tinted lip balm is a favorite because it combines the benefits of lip balm with a touch of color. It’s an excellent way to add color to your lips while keeping them hydrated and healthy. Some tinted lip balms are also a good alternative to lipstick.

Sun Protection

Smiling woman in bikini with lip balm on beach

There are many lip balms with SPF to protect the skin on your lips. The best ones should have at least 15 SPF to protect lips against sun damage and signs of aging.


An organic lip balm is made with all-natural ingredients. Some of the most popular ingredients include beeswax, eucalyptus, cocoa butter, and several vitamins.


Plumping lip balms are similar to plumping gloss that makes lips look fuller. While these are enticing, many dermatologists urge users to be cautious with these products as they may contain irritants to cause the lips to swell temporarily.


A medicated lip balm isn’t reapplied regularly throughout the day. It’s usually applied in the morning and the evening and helps treat various lip conditions.


Flavored lip balm is usually a fun and cheeky option that is more about the unique flavor than the moisturizing components. It’ll still keep lips soft but can be more of a novelty too.

Common Lip Balm Ingredients

Most lip balms contain similar ingredients. Knowing and understanding these ingredients is important because lip balm may also cause skin irritation. These are usually the ones with tints, flavors, or other chemicals. 

Some of the most popular ingredients include the following:


Waxes thicken lip balms and help create a protective barrier on the skin. The most common wax in lip balm is beeswax, which is also anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Other types of wax sometimes used include carnauba wax, which is a vegetable wax.

Natural Butters

Natural butters help give lip balm a soft and velvety texture. The most popular butter in lip balm is cocoa butter from cocoa beans. It’s excellent for dry skin and can give lip balms a satin-like texture. Other butters often used include shea butter, olive, and avocado.


Oils are used in lip balms to give them a glossy texture and help prevent moisture loss. They are also rich in fatty acids. Commonly used oils include castor oil and coconut oil.


More commonly known as petroleum jelly, this is a mixture of hydrocarbons and is lip balm’s most occlusive ingredient that protects the skin and prevents any transepidermal water loss to combat dry lips.

NOTE: These are the main ingredients. Additional ingredients like honey, lanolin, and vitamins are often added too.

What Is ChapStick?

Now that you know what lip balm is, it’s time to learn more about ChapStick.

Simply put, ChapStick is a brand of lip balm. In fact, it was the first stick form of lip balm.

Young woman applying chapstick onto lips

This brand of lip balm was invented back in the 1890s by Charles Browne Fleet. The first one looked like a candle without a wick. It was wrapped in tin foil.

ChapStick was invented to soften, soothe, and heal chapped lips. It kept lips from dryness, cold weather, and harsh winds.

ChapStick brand lip balms were formulated to glide onto the lips smoothly and leave your lips nourished without making them feel greasy, waxy, or oily.

The brand has a patented formulation that has been tweaked and improved throughout the years but still revolves around the same primary ingredients.

Today, ChapStick offers a wide variety of products, from lip balm sticks to pot balms. You can even order several sticks and have them personalized as gifts.

The Difference Between Lip Balm and ChapStick

So what’s the difference between these two products?

The main difference between ChapStick and lip balm is that the former is one of the specific lip balm brand, while the latter is a generic term encompassing several brands and product iterations.

Lip balm may refer to lip salve, lip masks, or lip conditioners. Anything that falls under these types of products can be classified as a lip balm.

The only product that isn’t classified as lip balm is lip gloss because while lip gloss makes lips smooth and glossy, they don’t usually have the same hydrating and nourishing benefits as a lip balm. 

ChapStick, on the other hand, only refers to the specific ChapStick brand and products, including their many different variants. 

ChapStick vs Lip Balm for Dry and Chapped Lips

Since ChapStick is technically a lip balm, it’s not really a fair question to ask which one is better for dry and chapped lips.

The best for dry lips is lip balm. Whether that particular lip balm is ChapStick or another brand depends on the user and their preferences.

The best way to answer this question is often through trial and error. Try to choose a balm with ingredients that work with your skin type and lip care needs.

A lip balm with SPF is your best bet if you are out a lot during the day. A medicated lip balm might be a better option if you have painful and cracked lips.

Best Lip Balms for Dry Lips

Now that you understand the difference between ChapStick and lip balm, what are some of the best lip balms on the market?

Here are some of our favorite lip balms and ChapStick variants.

Best Go-To

ChapStick Classic: The classic ChapStick lip balm is still one of the most popular variants. It makes your lips supple and soft while preventing dryness and chapping. Plus, it has a camphor flavor and provides long-lasting relief.

Best Overall

Burt’s Bees: Burt’s Bees is one of the best lip balm products. If you love to use lip balm, odds are you’ve used this product already. It has all the characteristics of a good lip conditioner, including deeply hydrating ingredients like beeswax and fresh fruit extracts.

Best for Intensive Moisture

Aquaphor Lip Repair: This lip balm comes highly recommended by dermatologists, and like the moisturizer from the same brand, it provides long-lasting nourishment to the lips. 

This highly effective lip formula is infused with vitamins and moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil. It’s also paraben and fragrance-free.

Best Multipurpose

Lucas Papaw Ointment: This ointment from Australia is not just applied to the lips but can also be used for a wide variety of skin issues, from dry skin patches to mosquito bites to wounds. 

It was formulated by dermatologist Dr. T. P. Lucas and combines pharmaceutical-grade petroleum jelly with fermented papaw or papaya. It’s perfect for when your lips feel dry or cracked.

Best Fun and Functional

EOS Natural Shea Smooth Lip Balm: EOS is a popular brand for providing lip moisture and being a fun and unique product. Who doesn’t remember having their signature egg-shaped balm in their beauty arsenal? 

Plus, they come in various delicious flavors like “Coconut and Sugarcane” and “Mango Dragonfruit.”

Best Flavored:

ChapStick Cherry:  Everyone remembers the iconic Katy Perry’s lyrics “the taste of her cherry ChapStick.” She was referring to this product in her song. 

Cherry ChapStick is one of the most iconic ChapStick variants, and for good reason. It has all the benefits of ChapStick with the bonus of a sweet but subtle cherry flavor.

Best Medicated:

Carmex: Carmex is famous for soothing chapped lips and even addressing cold sores. Its iconic yellow jar is a beauty staple. 

When you need to choose a lip balm product, this is the one people turn to for skin soothing, with moisturizing cocoa butter and the cooling effect of camphor and menthol.

Best for Sensitive Skin:

First Aid Beauty Ultra-Repair Therapy: This gentle lip treatment is great for sensitive skin because it moisturizes the lips without harsh chemicals, colorants, or flavors. 

It also contains colloidal oatmeal, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and squalane. Plus, it has a non-matte finish, so you can use it under lipstick.

Best Old-School Lip Balm:

Vaseline Lip Therapy: Vaseline is another traditional lip moisturizer option that can do everything from nourishing dry lips to softening flaky skin or adding shine to your eyelids. 

This product’s main ingredient is petroleum jelly, a powerful occlusive that provides immediate relief for dry and chapped lips and helps lock in lip moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better — lip balm or ChapStick? 

Chapstick is a brand name of lip balm. This means that they are technically the same type of product. That means there is no one answer to this question. The best way to answer this is to see which brand of lip balm works best for your skin and its needs.

Other than dry lips, what else do people use ChapStick to help with? 

Beautiful young woman applying chapstick while looking at herself in the mirror

Many people use lip balm for other dry skin issues. Although it may not be as popular as other multipurpose lip balms, ChapStick can also be used to hydrate dry skin, tame frizz, or even for application on nicks and cuts.

Is lip balm good for your lips?

Yes, in moderation. Lip balm helps rehydrate your lips and ensure they are moisturized. Using a lip balm regularly keeps lips naturally moisturized, supple, and soft. But be sure to use a product with ingredients you’re not allergic to.

How do I choose the best lip balm? 

You may need to try more than one to find the best lip balm for you, but generally, it’s good to look for products with humectants and plant-based fatty acids. 

When buying lip balms, see if they contain hyaluronic acid, cocoa butter, or sunflower oil.

Lip Balm vs Chapstick for Lip Care: The Bottom Line

Lip balms are a great way to keep your lips nourished and healthy. And both ChapStick and other lip balm brands can help you keep cracked and dry lips at bay while giving you a smooth finish. 

Depending on which one you use, you can also enjoy the health benefits of lip balm with added tint, gloss, or shine.

At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a lip balm to help combat dryness and chapped lips and protect your lips against the weather and other environmental triggers, you have a lot of choices. 

The best way to find the right fit for you is to understand your needs, look at the ingredients, and try different products to see which works best.

Are you obsessed with lip balm like we are? Which are your favorites?

Love all things lip balm, lipgloss, and lipstick? 

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