Buying Guide: 10+ Best Organic Lip Balms 2021

July 6, 2021

There’s pretty much nothing I’m obsessed more with than lip balms…well let me clarify, ORGANIC lip balms. Why slather your lips with synthetics, parabens and health-compromising toxins when you can nourish your lips with organic butters and oils? I’m rounding them all up here—coupon codes too!

profile of me applying lip balm

IN THIS POST:

Lip balms = LIFE! Who’s with me!? I rarely leave my house without one not to mention I have them stashed in my car, bag, bathroom, kids backpacks…So I’m pretty much always within an arms reach of conditioned lips. Needless to say, there’s nothing I’m obsessed with more than organic lip balms.

And all the people said YESSSS! Why? Well the skin on our lips is actually composed differently than the skin on the rest of our body in two ways.

First, the stratum corneum (the most outer layer of skin), is thinner on our lips. And second, our lips have a lack of melanin (which gives lips a red hue).

The lack of melanin and thinner skin makes lips more susceptible to sunspots and skin cancer.  Also, our lips have no sweat glands, no hair follicles, and no sebaceous glands. And this is why we get chapped lips!

RELATED: The best natural face moisturizers.


Ingredients to celebrate in organic lip balm

So in my book, there are two types of lip balms. Balms made with nourishing organic oils and butters OR balms made from synthetics like petroleum, preservatives like parabens and health-compromising ingredients like chemical fragrances. The choice is ours!

Obvi, we’re over the moon if we can find organic ingredients. It’s not always the case, but we’re looking there to start. We’re also looking for emollient ingredients that attract water from the air, and help hold it in, hydrating your kisser from top to bottom (lip).

  • Butters, like cocoa seed butter, shea butter and more.
  • Oils, like coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, red raspberry seed oil can provide some additional antioxidants and other nutrients to support the thin skin of lips.
  • Waxes, like candelilla, jojoba and beeswax, can help that balm stay put! We’re looking for ingredients that help prevent evaporation of moisture from the skin and also protect skin from irritation. This type of skincare ingredient is categorized as an “occlusive” because of the way it functions. Some vegan ingredients that act like occlusives are vegetable waxes (candelilla and jojoba).

You’ll usually see a combo of these in a lip balm, with different varieties and formulations producing different consistencies and feels (from a drier balm in a twist-up tube to a more liquid version in a squeeze tube). A butter+wax+oil=a lip balm you can love!

Ingredients to consider in organic lip balm

  • Mineral oil, typically listed as petrolatum or paraffin. Fatty acids from petroleum are absorbed through the skin, stored in our adipose tissue, not metabolized, and not excreted. Mineral oil snuck into food and cosmetics has led to mineral oil being the largest contaminant in human tissue (1).
  • Synthetic fragrances or flavors listed as fragrance or perfume or flavor or aroma. Sooo common in lip balms.
  • Questionable preservatives like chlorphenesin (2), parabens (3), and unregulated Phenoxyethanol (4).
  • Carmine. If you’re out for vegan, you’ll want to avoid colorants that are derived from insects, like carmine, a common sub for synthetic colors. The insects used to make carmine are called cochineal. They’re native to Latin America but mainly farmed in Peru, where millions of tiny insects are harvested every year to produce the coloring (5).
  • Synthetic dyes: Specifically FD&C or D&C synthetic colorants. These colors, originally derived from coal tar and now petroleum (6), have been linked to cancer (6), neurotoxicity, genotoxicity (7), and concerns with long-term safety (8). Most dyes, including Yellow 5, have been banned in Europe (9). 
  • Chemical UV Absorbers like… Avobenzone, which is genotoxic (10) (Sevinc et al. 2017), phototoxic, photoallergenic (11), increases damaging free-radical production in the skin (12) and is highly photo-unstable (11). Oxybenzone, which is also genotoxic (13) and induces chromosomal aberrations (13), passes easily through human skin and accumulates in the bloodstream 339-419 times higher than the FDA limit (14) after a single use, and contains residual carcinogen benzophenone (15). Oxybenzone is also a phototoxicant (16) and America’s and Europe’s most common cause of phototoxicity and photoallergic contact dermatitis (PACD). Homosalate, which is genotoxic (17), induces oxidative stress in cells and damages mitochondrial membranes (18). Pregnant women are advised to practice caution while using homosalate because this UV absorber has been found to affect the survival of the placental cells that nourish the embryo. Octocrylene (OCR), which is a photoallergen (19) and it causes considerable DNA-damaging free-radical singlet oxygen production (20), enhancing UVA-induced cell damage (21).

RELATED: Looking for vegan lip balms? We’ve got you covered with our top vegan lip balm picks.


Maya Chia's Waterless Wonderbalm

My favorite organic lip balm

So while we are on the subject….let me just come out and say it, I’m kinda obsessed with Maya Chia’s Waterless Wonder Balm. It can be used to treat a myriad of body parts and issues. Hands, cuticles, feet, elbows…you can even use it as a heavy-hitting face balm. The texture is creamy, silky, smooth and rich. And it’s healing, soothing and protective. And the ingredients? To die for.

Ingredients: Shea Butter, Supercritical Chia Oil, organic Apricot Kernel Oil, organic Sunflower Oil, Beeswax, Non-GMO Vitamin E, 2% essential oils or botanical extracts. 

Maya Chia holds the US patent on supercritical chia seed extraction which is the cleanest extraction method on the block. This ensures we are getting all the benefits chia has to offer in its most natural state and you will only find it here with Maya Chia. Read my full Maya Chia review here.

Chia seed oil is a superfood for your skin. It’s stacked with saturated fatty acids which keeps skin cell membranes healthy and fights against free radical damage. Check out this 2010 study on the efficacy of topical n-3 fatty acid products containing just 4% chia oil on patients suffering from severe cases of dry, problematic, itchy skin. It “improved skin hydration, skin barrier function and reduced trans-epidermal water loss” in just two weeks – which sounds like the perfect recipe for a lip balm to me! (Scroll through the study to see the results).

I love the Waterless Wonder Balm for days but it’s especially great as a night lip treatment too. I wake up with lips feeling so smooth and soft. Like, I just can’t get enough. And of course it’s formulated without the use of parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, PEGs and SLSs.

The Waterless Wonder Balm makes for a spendy lip balm but I’ve had mine for over a year and I still have some left— it’s super concentrated and a little goes a long way.

RELATED: HENNÉ Organics Review


Buying guide: Best organic lip balms 2021

Keep scrolling for more AND while you’re at it, check out this video that details my favorite organic lip balms here!

RELATED: Top 10 Clean Beauty Products At Target

RELATED: Our roundup of all the best vegan lip balms.

Which one of these organic lip balms is your favorite?

Xo, lisa

TOG Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TOG uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TOG stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.

REFERENCES:

1. Concin, Nicole; Hofstetter, Gerda; Plattner, Barbara; Tomovski, Caroline; Fiselier, Katell; Gerritzen, Kerstin; Fessler, Siegfried; Windbichler, Gudrun; Zeimet, Alain; Ulmer, Hanno; Siegl, Harald; Rieger, Karl; Concin, Hans; Grob, Koni; Mineral oil paraffins in human body fat and milk, August 2007; https://www.dr-jetskeultee.nl/jetskeultee/download/common/6112014.pdf

2. Wang, Jingyi; Liu, Yang; Kam, Wendy; Li, Ying; Sullivan, David A.; Toxicity of the cosmetic preservatives parabens, phenoxyethanol and chlorphenesin on human meibomian gland epithelial cells; 25 September 2019; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S001448352030316X

3. Pan, Shawn; Yuan, Chaoshen; Tagmount, Abderrahmane; Rudel, Ruthann A.; Ackerman, Janet M.; Yaswen, Paul; Vulpe, Chris D.; Leitman, Dale C.L; Parabens and Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Ligand Cross-Talk
in Breast Cancer Cells; May 2016; https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/pdf/10.1289/ehp.1409200

4. D’Souza, Ryan S.; Warner, Nafisseh; Phenol Nerve Block; Mayo Clinic, updated in September 2020; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525978/

5. Cameo Chemicals; MeSH; National Library of Medicine, updated on February 20th, 2021; https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Carmine

6. Kobylewski, Sarah; Jacobson, Michael F; Toxicology of food dyes; International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health July 2012; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23026007/#:~:text=Three%20dyes%20(Red%2040%2C%20Yellow,5%20were%20positive%20for%20genotoxicity

7. Taylor, S.L.; Baumert, J.L.; Encyclopedia of Agriculture and Food Systems, 2014; https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/tartrazine

8. Nomination background D &C red no. 27 [CASRN 13473-26-2], D&C Red No. 28 [CASRN 18472-87-2]; National Institutes of Health, October 2000; https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/chem_background/exsumpdf/reddyes_508.pdf

9. Nomination background D &C red no. 27 [CASRN 13473-26-2], D&C Red No. 28 [CASRN 18472-87-2]; National Institutes of Health, October 2000; https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/chem_background/exsumpdf/reddyes_508.pdf

10. Yazar, Selma; GÖKÇEK, Yaman; Yeni Yüzyil Üniversitesi; Marmara Pharmaceutical Journal, February 2018; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322887211_Assessment_of_in_vitro_genotoxic_effect_of_homosalate_in_cosmetics

11. Paris, Cecilia; Lhiaubet-Vallet, Virginie; Jimenez, Oscar; Trullas, Carles; Miranda, Angel, Miguel; Instituto de Tecnologıa Quımica UPV-CSIC; Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain; ISDIN S.A., Dermopharmaceutical Discovery Unit, Barcelona, Spain; April 25th, 2008; A Blocked Diketo Form of Avobenzone: Photostability, Photosensitizing
Properties and Triplet Quenching by a Triazine-derived UVB-filter; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2008.00414.x

12. Sayre, Robert M.; Dowdy, John C.; Gerwig, Andre J.; Shlelds, William J.; Lioyd, Roger V.; Unexpected Photolysis of the Sunscreen Octinoxate in the Presence of the Sunscreen Avobenzone, 30th April 2007; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2005.tb00207.x

13. Santovito, Alfredo; Ruberto, Stefano; Galli, Gabriella; Menghi, Constanza; Girotti, Marilena; Cervella, Piero; Drug and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 4, 2019; Induction of chromosomal aberrations and micronuclei by 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone (oxybenzone) in human lymphocytes; https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01480545.2018.1455206

14. Matta, Murali K. Matta, PhD; Florian, Jeffry, PhD; Zusterzeel, Robbert MD, PhD, MPH; JAMA Network, January 21st, 2020; Effect of Sunscreen Application on Plasma Concentration of Sunscreen Active Ingredients; https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2759002

15. National Toxicology Program Tech Rep Services, February 2006; Toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of benzophenone (CAS No. 119-61-9) in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice (feed studies); https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16741556/

16. Photobiology Unit, Department of Dermatology, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee; The European Multicentre Photopatch Test Study (EMCPPTS) Taskforce; A European multicentre photopatch test study; http://rihuc.huc.min-saude.pt/bitstream/10400.4/1453/1/2012-Brit%20J%20Dermatol-EMCPPTS.pdf

17. Yazar, Selma PhD; Ertekin, Simge, Kara; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology; Assessment of the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of homosalate in MCF‐7, April 25th, 2019; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jocd.12973

18. Yang, Changwon; Lim, Whasun; Bazer, Fuller W.; Song, Gwonhwa; Environmental Pollution, Volume 243, Part B; December, 2018; Homosalate aggravates the invasion of human trophoblast cells as well as regulates intracellular signaling pathways including PI3K/AKT and MAPK pathways; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0269749118309990

19. Avenel-Audran, MD; Dutartre, Hervé, MD; Gossens, An, PhD; Arch Dermatol., July,  2010;146(7):753-757. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.132; Octocrylene, an Emerging Photoallergen; https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/421621

20. Allen, John M.; Gossett, Cynthia J.; Allen, Sandra; Chemical Research in Toxicology; Photochemical Formation of Singlet Molecular Oxygen in Illuminated Aqueous Solutions of Several Commercially Available Sunscreen Active Ingredients, April, 1996; https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx950197m

21. Hansona, Kerry M.; Gratton, Enrico; Bardeena, Christopher J.; Free Radical Biology, Volume 4, Issue8; 15th, October 2006; Sunscreen enhancement of UV-induced reactive oxygen species in the skin; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0891584906004138

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of This Organic Girl. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

111 Comments

  1. Reply

    Lisa

    Would love to try this! Sounds like a perfect in the car balm…some for the lips, the cuticles, etc. love the multipurpose and great ingredients!

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      Red light central right here Lisa!

  2. Reply

    Angie

    Thanks for suggesting a lip balm with SPF – need a staple for my family while we’re at the beach (and everyday!).

  3. Reply

    Anne

    I’m so glad I found this post! My lips are in dire need of some good lip balm!

  4. Reply

    Steph H.

    I’ve never tried any of these! Super excited to start going down this list. Thanks for another great post to fill us in on all the best!

  5. Reply

    Stefanie

    Great post! I love Vapour Beauty’s balm. Maya Chia is on my list.

  6. Reply

    Andrea

    You are so in incredibly generous! I’m glad I found your feed and have been reading up!

  7. Reply

    Shana Miller

    Oh Wow! Maya Chia is on my bucket list of brands I NEED to try before I die! This giveaway is everything!!!

  8. Reply

    Leanna H

    How fascinating! I appreciate the time you take to better inform us as we make important skincare decisions – i am excited to share this resource with my friends. Thank you! Xoxo

  9. Reply

    Robin

    LOVE Maya Chia. My go to product. I have been getting tons of compliments on my skin…at age 65 no less. Now I need to add the waterless lip balm!

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      Oh absolutely Robin!!!

  10. Reply

    Barbie

    I love everything lip balm!!!! Would love to try this one❤️

  11. Reply

    thisorganicgirl

    Thanks to everyone who entered and a big CONGRATS to Michelle M. and Alicia D! You guys are each taking on a Maya Chia Waterless Wonder Balm! I emailed you both! xo!

  12. Reply

    Mila

    Such a helpful and comprehensive post!!! Thank you! I tried your meow meow tweet code, but it’s not working 🤷🏻‍♀️

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      I’m so sorry! That is supposed to be an evergreen code for my readers – I’ve already emailed them to check in. I’ll have this fixed ASAP! Thanks for reading! xo

  13. Reply

    Ki

    Do any of these have spf? I’m looking for a budget friendly, preferably vegan, lip balm with spf, would be very grateful for a suggestion.

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Hi Ki! Check out Solara, All Good or Hurrah – they all have SPF options ; ) xo, Lisa

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