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The best (and worst) lip balms to combat the harsh weather of winter

Three things you should know about your chapped lips
WATCH ABOVE: Three things you should know about your chapped lips

Harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin, especially your lips.

“In general, with the humidity in the air dropping, you have an increase in trans-epidermal water loss,” dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK Cosmetic Dermatology and Laser Clinic previously told Global News.

“Because of this, people will see flaky skin and are sometimes more irritated and sensitive.”

READ MORE: The best mascaras on the market, from drug store to luxury brands

Wind and snow — two elements of the season Canadians know very well — only exacerbate the problem.

A lot of people try to compensate by loading up on lip balm, but all balms are not made equal.

Meghan Collie joins The Shift with Drex to chat chapped lips. LISTEN:

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Reporters at Global News tried out some of the best and organized them by price: $10 and under, $20 and under and $20-plus.

$10 and under

Credit: Laura Whelan
Credit: Laura Whelan

Name of product: Burt’s Bees beeswax lip balm
Retail price: $5
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty: Made with vitamin E and peppermint oil, which is meant to protect and soothe dry lips.
First thoughts: This is the first lip balm I’ve used which doesn’t feel too wet or oily. It moisturized my lips perfectly while retaining the shape of the balm.
End of the day test: My lips felt like heaven after using this just a few times on my first day. I found myself feeling them and being shocked at how smooth they felt.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter?: Absolutely. It’s a very reliable brand and it’s a quick-action balm. It sets right in and makes a world of difference after only seconds of being applied. It’s not too oily and it tastes great. My only complaint is that it has no sun protection qualities. Other than that, it’s perfect for the winter season when lips are particularly dry.
Give it a score out of 5: — Adam Wallis

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Name of product: Vaseline Lip Therapy
Retail price: $3
Available at: A variety of retailers
First thoughts: This looks messy, and it’s unclear how it differs from a tub of Vaseline.
End of the day test: My lips felt better.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter?: Would NOT recommend. The tin is hard to open with your fingers (after taking off your gloves in the cold). Then your fingers get goopy from using the Vaseline, and you need to wipe off the excess and clean your hands somehow. Way too messy.
Give it a score out of 5:— Josh Elliott

Name of product: Nivea Essential Caring lip balm
Retail price: $3
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty: Intensive care and with made natural oils.
First thoughts: It goes on very smooth and you can feel it moisturizing instantly.
End of the day test: My lips felt moisturized all day and it didn’t leave them feeling sticky.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? I would recommend this product for the winter because one of the special ingredients is shea butter, which I really like. It doesn’t really have a scent so it’s a good choice for people who don’t like scented balms.
Give it a score out of 5: 4 — Katie Scott

Name of product: TO112 Honey, I’m Balm
Retail price: $8 each or a pack of 3 for $24
Available at: TO112.ca
Product specialty: It uses beeswax to create a moisture-locking barrier.
First thoughts: I love the minimal packaging, how few ingredients there are and the eucalyptus and lemon grass scent it has.
End of the day test: Between the few times I had to reapply, the balm kept my lips moisturized by creating a waxy barrier. I definitely felt like my lips were nourished while being protected, and they were super soft throughout the day.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? Why or why not?: Yes. It’s most useful for the dry winter months because the wax helps hold in moisture, rather than soaking into the skin or drying up too quickly.
Give it a score out of 5: 5 — Meaghan Wray

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Name of product: Blistex DCT (Daily Conditioning Treatment)
Retail price: $3
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty, if there is one: SPF
First thoughts: I love the fact this lip balm also includes SPF 20 because I often forget about protecting my lips. The DCT balm also has cocoa butter, aloe and vitamin E and it has a light scent as well. My one pet peeve? The application — I hate having to dig into the product with my fingers.
End of the day test: My lips were not only hydrated, but I found myself only reapplying once at the end of the night. I also used this balm overnight and found it super hydrating — my lips were not cracked or chapped in the morning.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? I think when it comes to lip balms, it’s better to stick with the classics. Even if you don’t like the idea of using your fingers for application during the day, I would use this overnight.
Give it a score out of 5:— Arti Patel 

READ MORE: Can these dry shampoos fix oily, greasy hair? We tested them out

Name of product: Eos Visibly Soft vanilla mint lip balm
Retail price: $4
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty: Formulated with shea butter and vitamins C and E. It’s also hypoallergenic.
First thoughts: I associate this lip balm with Miley Cyrus promoting it in music videos circa 2013, when the egg-like packaging was considered new and innovative. It’s been a few years and these colourful lip balms are everywhere. The twist-off top on the ball-shaped balm is easy to use and I appreciate the amount of product in each package.
End of the day test: The formula is just not hydrating enough, so I found myself applying it multiple times throughout the day. I feel like I would have been so much better off sticking with any other product than this one. It’s better than using nothing, but that’s not saying much.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? No, buy any other lip balm. The packaging is fun, but that’s it.
Give it a score out of 5: 2 (and that’s being generous) — Olivia Bowden

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Name of product: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Organic Lip Balm Naked
Retail price: $3
Available at: well.ca
Product specialty, if there is one: Organic and non-GMO
First thoughts: It seems practical.
End of the day test: My lips felt better.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? Would definitely recommend. This product is clean, easy to use, virtually tasteless and moisturizes your lips. It’s also organic, which is a nice plus.
Give it a score out of 5: 5 — Josh Elliott

Name of product: Hurraw! unscented lip balm
Retail price: $4.99
Available at: The Detox Market
Product specialty, if there is one: Bee-free, shea-free, soy-free and palm-free
First thoughts: It has a smooth application but it being unscented makes it kind of boring. It’s very plain.
End of the day test: My lips felt soft and moisturized.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? I would recommend this lip balm for the winter because it kept my lips moisturized and there was no dryness. I would recommend it to someone who doesn’t like a flavoured balm and just wants it for the moisturizer.
Give it a score out of 5:— Katie Scott

Name of product: Chapstick Classic Original
Retail price: $3
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty, if there is one: None
First thoughts: “Ah, old faithful.” This was the lip balm back before there were a zillion kinds available. Putting it on (and tasting it) is a trip down sensory memory lane.
End of the day test: My lips didn’t feel better, but they weren’t chapped. Chapstick does the job.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? It’s a satisfactory lip balm that’s been on the market for years, and it’s kept lips moisturized for decades. It wouldn’t be around if it didn’t work. That said, there are plenty of other options available now, so if you’d like to go for something a little more high-end, it might give better results.
Give it a score out of 5: 4 (minus one point because it’s just OK) — Chris Jancelewicz

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Name of product: Scentuals 100% Natural Lip Conditioner Vanilla Tangerine
Retail price: $4
Available at: well.ca
Product specialty: All natural and made with organic shea butter
First thoughts: The smell — a mix of fresh citrus and soothing vanilla — is totally refreshing, but the shape of the tube threw me off. I think it’s supposed to mimic the shape of human lips (like a long oval), but it requires a few swipes before you hit all the spots on your mouth.
End of the day test: I was pleasantly surprised by this organic balm. It really locked in moisture, despite my constant nervous lip-biting. At the end of the day, they were still soft!
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? Yes! It withstood the walk-to-work-in-zero-degree-weather test, so I’m impressed.
Give it a score out of 5: 4 — Meghan Collie

Name of product: Carmex classic lip balm
Retail price: $3 for one, $8 for a three-pack
Available at: A variety of retailers
Product specialty: A squeezable medicated balm that promises long-lasting protection. Made with cocoa butter and menthol.
First thoughts: This goes on very easily and I like the squeezable tube. The texture is easy to spread on lips and makes them feel instantly hydrated.
End of day test: Carmex’s classic lip balm actually kept my lips feeling good for hours. Unlike other products, I didn’t feel the need to reapply within an hour of first use. I also like the smell.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter?: Yes! For the price point and quality, I would highly recommend this lip balm. It’s small and easy to throw in jacket pockets or purses.
Give it a score out of 5: 4.5 — Laura Hensley

$10 to $20

Credit: Laura Whelan
Credit: Laura Whelan

Name of product: L’Occitane Ultra Rich lip balm
Retail price: $12
Available at: Hudson’s Bay
Product specialty: The ultra-moisturizing formula repairs and protects dry and chapped lips.
First thoughts: The consistency is so luxurious and thick, and isn’t sticky, but I knew I wouldn’t like the kind of plastic tube applicator right off the bat.
End of the day test: I had to continuously reapply to my lips to keep the moisture and didn’t find it helped heal my chapped lips. It kept soaking into my lips too quickly without seemingly doing any moisturizing.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter?: No, because I think there are more affordable lip balms that do a better job and are easier to apply if you’re out and about. This didn’t have a lasting healing effect I was hoping for.
Give it a score out of 5: 2 — Meaghan Wray

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Name of product: Glossier balm dotcom universal skin salve
Retail price: $15 USD
Available at: Glossier.com
Product specialty: This is a cult favourite that claims to be hydrating and “do-everything.”
First thoughts: This was my second attempt at using this cult favourite, and once again, I am not 100 per cent convinced. The tube is easy to use and the product itself isn’t overly-scented. It is hydrating, but I found myself reapplying this product at least three to four times a day. Sometimes, my lips would just chap.
End of the day test: I get very dry lips in the winter and I would say this product is hydrating. However, it is not enough to last all day.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter?: I understand the appeal and to be honest, I think this lip balm is more of a beauty favourite (they have great flavours) versus finding a product that works for very dry, chapped lips.
Give it a score out of 5: 3 — Arti Patel

Best travel destinations for winter season lovers
Best travel destinations for winter season lovers

Name of product: Nutritic Lips by La Roche-Posay
Retail price: $14
Available at: Shoppers Drug Mart
Product specialty: Meant for very dry lips, formulated with biolipids and ceramide.
First thoughts: As tubed lip balms go, this one contains a thicker stick, which I prefer so it doesn’t get lost in the abyss of my bag. After applying the balm my lips felt smooth and hydrated. However, I felt that I needed to apply it a couple of times to get the full effects. It’s unscented and light, which works best if you’re wearing it under lipstick.
End of the day test: Honestly, I had to apply this several times throughout the day for it to continue to work. If your lips are very dry, you might be annoyed at how often you have to apply it. I would say it works best if you’re trying to get an extra boost of hydration while wearing it under lipstick, as opposed to fixing super dry winter lips.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? It’s not the worst balm and it will certainly help if you’re looking for winter relief.
Give it a score out of 5: 3 — Olivia Bowden

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Name of product: lululemon basic balm
Retail price: $16
Available at: lululemon
Product specialty: Designed to combat dryness, this lip balm is made with shea butter and natural oils that “lock in moisture” before, during and after a workout.
First thoughts: Not a fan of the smell as I find it a bit plastic-y. To test the product’s specialty, I used this lip balm before heading to the gym. It goes on easily but is a bit thick. It’s clear, but creates a light gloss aesthetic.
End of the day test: This product is not long-lasting. After my gym class, I needed to re-apply the balm. Even during non-workout use, I found this product to only last less than an hour before needing to reapply.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? No. I’m not a fan of the smell, texture and don’t feel like it offers enough hydration.
Give it a score out of 5: 3 — Laura Hensley

$20 or more

Credit: Laura Whelan
Credit: Laura Whelan

Name of product: Kosasport Lipfuel Hyaluronic Lip Balm
Retail price: $24
Available at: Sephora
Product specialty, if there is one: This is “ultra-hydrating.”
First thoughts: Looks expensive, is expensive. Cool packaging.
End of the day test: My lips felt moisturized, almost ridiculously so — so they deliver what they promise.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? Why or why not?: Yes, if you’ve got the cash to spend on it, this lip balm will keep you moisturized even in the coldest weather. It felt like I had armour on my lips!
Give it a score out of 5: 4/5 (-1 point for the cost, which is astronomical). — Chris Jancelewicz

Name of product: Agave+ Intensive Vegan Lip Mask
Retail price: $34
Available at: Sephora
Product specialty: A vegan lip mask that’s lanolin free and made with agave nectar, mangosteen extract and açaí.
First thoughts: I was excited to try this product knowing it’s a cult favourite. I love the sleek matte black packaging, and I was impressed by the heaviness of the product as I put it on my lips.
End of the day test: If I’m being honest, this mask didn’t have the long-lasting affect I thought it would. It definitely goes on thicker than a normal balm, but I needed to reapply a few times after waking up to ensure consistent moisture.
Would you recommend this lip balm for winter? Probably not, given the price point.
Give it a score out of 5: 3 — Meghan Collie

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