Vegan lip balm is a big category to navigate, whether you’re choosing to avoid animal by-products or you have a sensitivity (not uncommon!). Plus, what ingredients should you look for if you’re avoiding beeswax. We’ve got the scoop—and our favorite vegan lip balm below.
By: Nicolle Mackinnon
This one is too thin. This one is too thick. This one actually seems to dry out my lips. This one is messy. This one tastes like synthetic bubblegum. This one makes my lips too shiny. This one is too dry to actually get any balm on. This one doesn’t stay around long enough to make a difference.
Any of that sound familiar? Please raise your hand if you’ve been on that finding-the-perfect-lip-balm journey with me. And raise it higher if you’ve been searching for a vegan lip balm that can do it all.
I have. Since I discovered that my much-loved Burts Bees was actually causing my dry, flaky, swollen (not in a cute way), red, irritated, itchy lips—I’ve been on the hunt for a vegan lip balm I can rely on.
Because, as Lisa says, I’m OBSESSED.
In high school, my flare-legged, low-rise jeans developed a worn discoloration in the corner of my rear (decidedly NOT bedazzled, mind you) pocket from toting around a tube of lip balm everywhere I went. Like, everywhere. I would not leave my house without my balm and a ponytail holder around my wrist.
I still don’t like to head out the door without a balm in my clutches, though now it’s a vegan variety due to a beeswax allergy. But it took me AGES to find a vegan lip balm I could rely on. So we’re rounding them up today.
Whether you’re choosing to go vegan or whether you have a sensitivity or an allergy, you’ll be sure to find something to love on this list. But, let’s start with the ingredients we’re looking for when we say “vegan” (because it doesn’t have to be confusing).
Ingredients to look for in vegan lip balm
For vegan lip balms, we’re looking for similar ingredients to non-vegan, organic lip balms. But what we’re especially keeping our eyes peeled for are all animal by-products, which could include:
- glycerine (can be vegan but not always is—look for vegetable glycerine)
To ensure the balm is actually vegan, it won’t include these ingredients. Many brands include a vegan label if the product doesn’t include animal by-products, but now you can check out the ingredients list for yourself to be sure.
RELATED: Read more about all the ingredients to celebrate and consider in organic lip balm.
The Best Vegan Lip Balms
Best Overall: Meow Meow Tweet Vegan Lip Balm | $14
If you want a standard balm to replace it all, this is the one. Meow Meow Tweet’s version has been my top pick for years, and I still recommend it to anyone wanting a better beauty alternative to regular Chapstick (vegan requirements or not).
Meow Meow Tweet Vegan Lip Balm Pros:
- Super creamy—the Coconut Cacao “flavor” is the best, IMO.
- Ingredients are clearly listed as organic or fair trade, which is our ideal.
- It applies easily, even when it’s cold, and it holds its shape the best.
- It comes in a chunky tube, which is great for applying a thick layer.
- It stays on. It doesn’t melt onto your lips into a thin, shiny layer of oil. I use it overnight and my lips still feel plump in the morning.
- It lasts ages. Even using it a couple of times a day, it’ll get you through a couple of months, thanks to the higher volume.
- Vegan + cruelty-free.
- The cardboard tube is compostable or recyclable.
- The scents aren’t overwhelming.
Meow Meow Tweet Vegan Lip Balm Cons (Considerations):
- Product can bleed through the packaging, especially on hot days, or as the product gets used.
- If the balm is pushed up too much, it’s difficult to get it to return back in. And it’s really easy to push it up too far.
- The price feels high for a lip balm.
Full ingredient list: *+cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, *+theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, *rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract. *certified organic / + fair trade
Best Twist-Up Tube: DEDCOOL Coconut Milk Chazstick | $14
Another simple replacement for traditional lip balm, this DEDCOOL Chazstick is cheeky, easy to use, and easy to throw in your bag.
DEDCOOL Coconut Milk Chazstick Pros:
- The closest you’ll come to a one-to-one better beauty, vegan swap for conventional lip balm.
- Vegan + cruelty-free.
- Easy to use—the twist-up tube is what most people are used to.
- Gives you the traditional lip balm feeling, and keeps lips cozy and hydrated.
DEDCOOL Coconut Milk Chazstick Cons (Considerations):
- It’s drier, so you do need a few more swipes.
- The price…and the tube is smaller than the MMT balm.
- The coconut flavor tastes a bit artificial, and the full components of it aren’t easily accessible (we had to reach out to the brand to get the breakdown).
- The design isn’t super chic.
- The tube is plastic.
Full ingredient list: euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, organic cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), sesamum indicum (sesame seed) oil, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) oil, borago officinalis (borage oil), macadamia ternifolia (macadamia nut) seed oil, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, tocopherol (vitamin e), food-grade natural coconut flavor.
RELATED: Read more about why you should swap your Aquaphor for these natural alternatives.
Best Sustainable Option: Blue Heron Botanicals Lip Therapy Coastal Berry | $8
A great, sustainable option is the Blue Heron Botanicals Lip Therapy balm. With a smaller tube, you get 20% more lip balm than the traditional plastic delivery method. I love the smooth application and the ethos behind the company.
Blue Heron Botanicals Lip Therapy Coastal Berry Pros:
- More organic ingredients (yay!).
- The red raspberry seed oil and the cranberry seed oil provide some additional antioxidants and UV protection to the thinner, more sensitive skin of your lips.
- Home compostable packaging made from 100% PCW recycled paper.
- The Blue Heron Botanicals site makes it easy to see where each ingredient is sourced from, and how it’s extracted—we love the transparency!
- So sustainable: The brand is off-grid, powered only by solar energy, and only uses sustainably sourced ingredients. Plus, they give back to sea turtle conservation.
- Smaller size makes it easy to slip into your pocket.
Blue Heron Botanicals Lip Therapy Coastal Berry Cons (Considerations):
- It’s on the drier side—requires more swipes to get a thick layer.
- When it’s cold, the packaging is really hard to squeeze the lip balm out of.
- Its design isn’t as chic.
Full Ingredient list: Rubus idaeus (red raspberry) seed oil, Euphorbia antisyphillitica (candellila) wax, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) butter*, Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil,Vitellaria paradoxa (shea) nut butter*, Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*, tocopherols (vitamin E). *organic
Best Squeeze Tube: WLDKAT Cupuacu Mango Butter Lip Balm | $16
This balm is another go-to of mine, for the everyday/when I need a little more shine. It provides that moisturized feel while also giving your lips a little something extra with the peppermint tingle and the gloss finish. I haven’t tried the tinted one, but it’s next on my list.
WLDKAT Cupuacu Mango Butter Lip Balm Pros:
- Easy to use squeeze tube—never hard to get out, even in the depths of the Minnesota winter.
- Vegan, gluten-free and soy free.
- Has a bit of a shine for additional oomph.
- Peppermint oil gives it a minty fresh finish.
- Fun, unique design—on-trend and has a 90s vibe.
- Leaves my lips feeling moisturized and plump.
- Sticks around—the glossy shine doesn’t wear off immediately, or transfer entirely to your water bottle.
WLDKAT Cupuacu Mango Butter Lip Balm Cons (Considerations):
We’ve got a few ingredient yellow flags to raise here… They aren’t major, but they’re worth mentioning.
- The price. But if you think of it as more of a lip gloss/treatment, that might justify the cost.
- We don’t see any organic ingredients. Not the only thing we’re looking for, but we do notice sourcing and care about where a company is getting its ingredients/if the farming is utilizing safer practices.
- Mango butter is often comprised of mango seed oil + castor or vegetable oil… not the highest quality oils, and not at the top of our list. More info here on reading skincare and makeup labels.
- We see a few other ingredients (polyhydroxystearic acid, bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, behenyl behenate, polyglycerin-3) that are esters or extracted components of ingredients that are meant to be emollient and water-binding. While they haven’t been shown to be unsafe for humans or the environment, there’s also not a lot of published info about them. That means there could be data holes. Translation: It’s up to you if these fit into your personal guidelines. When it comes to something like vegan lip balm, there might be some compromises you make, depending on your desired outcome (i.e. do you want the shiny, glossy balm or do you want the organic one?).
Full ingredient list: punica granatum sterols, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, polyhydroxystearic acid, bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, behenyl behenate, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, jojoba esters, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed wax, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, cannabidiol, acacia decurrens flower wax, irvingia gabonensis kernel butter, mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, theobroma grandiflorum seed butter, panax ginseng root extract, mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, hydrogenated coco-glycerides, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax (candelilla cera), glycerin, tocopherol, polyglycerin-3, octyldodecanol, citric acid, caprylic/capric triglyceride.
Best Tinted: ellovi Lip Butter Tinted Rose | $6
Remember that cherry-cola flavored Lip Smackers that gave you a cherry-stained smile on top of making you feel cool because you’d selected not the strawberry flavor? This lip butter from ellovi is the grown-up version of that.
ellovi Lip Butter Tinted Rose Pros:
- Vegan + cruelty-free.
- Price is comparable to a conventional balm.
- Handmade by women.
- Simple, easy to understand ingredient list.
- Ethically sourced.
- Super smooth, with a rosy tint.
- Chic, sleek design, including the oval tube.
ellovi Lip Butter Tinted Rose Cons (Considerations):
- Plastic tube.
- Ingredients aren’t organic.
- Can get hard to apply in very cold weather.
- A little thin on application.
Full ingredient list: Macadamia Nut Oil, Sunflower Wax, Coconut Oil, Marula Oil, Shea Butter, Alkanet flower.
Looking for other great swaps? Start HERE.