(Beauty Report Card)

I Finally Kissed Dry, Cracked Lips Goodbye With These Hydrating Products

Dry lips are out this season (& forever).

Maggie Haddad in a green checked blouse after using her favorite hydrating lip products

Luscious, hydrated lips are a luxury I’ve only come to know recently. Admittedly, I haven’t always been the best about skin care. Searching for products that work for your skin, play well together, and don’t break the bank has always been daunting to me. I recently decided to try and tackle my skin care fears, one body part at a time. First up: lips, and a search for the best hydrating lip products.

Growing up, was a competitive swimmer for 12 years. While some hear that and applaud me for the endurance and commitment that sport requires, I only think about the havoc that the chlorine brought upon my skin and hair (well, I also think about jumping into a freezing cold pool at 5:30 am). It took what felt like years to rid the chlorine from my skin and hair. Chlorine is extremely drying, it sometimes felt like no amount of moisturizer was enough to re-hydrate my skin. The same could be said for my lips: no amount of lip balm could stop my lips from cracking and peeling. I wish I had gone on my lip hydration journey back then, but better late than never, right?

Fast forward to now — I had a few conditions when searching for lip care products to try. First, responsible ingredients. I tried to avoid products with crazy lists of chemicals or lots of added fragrance because they tend to dehydrate my lips. Second, an affordable price tag. I’m definitely down to splurge on the occasional beauty product, but I felt like I could find affordable products that still delivered great results (spoiler: I did!).

There are so many categories of products out there when it comes to lip care: lip balms, lip masks, lip creams, the list goes on. My final product list consisted of a lip balm, an exfoliator, a lip mask, and non-drying gloss. For the lip balm, I landed on Kiehls’ Lip Balm #1. My initial draw towards this product was the lack of fragrance and its focus on sensitive skin. Now, I have to have a tube of this balm on me at all times — it’s almost as important to me as my phone. For an exfoliator, I love how e.l.f.’s exfoliator comes in a lipstick tube, making application easy and mess-free. I use this product at least once a week; it exfoliates the dead skin off of my lips without being too harsh.. If I haven’t convinced you yet, the crazy affordable $4 price tag probably will.

While I don’t use lip masks very often, it was important for me to find one that was higher quality and actually nourished my lips. Insert KNC Beauty’s All-Natural, Collagen-Infused Lip Mask here. Unlike other masks, KNC Beauty’s actually keeps my lips hydrated long after I’ve removed the product. The collagen in this mask also plumps your lips for a juicy look and healthy feel. A 5-pack of these masks costs $25, which is a total steal considering the amazing results. The final can’t-live-without product I found in my search was Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Enamored Lip Hi-Shine Gloss Lip Lacquer. While lip gloss isn’t an everyday product, it’s a necessity for me since I’m not a big lipstick gal. This gloss comes in a ton of shades and finishes and tends to last an entire night.

While my journey to a full skin care routine is far from over, I’m thrilled to report that my lip care search is just about finished and the days of cracked, painful lips are long gone. Ahead, the lip products I can’t leave the house without, plus a few additional options to consider for your own lip care routine.

We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.