CONTEST ALERT! How do you protect your lips? Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to Shopper’s Drugmart! See details below.
By iRun Gear Test Team member, Sarah Macfadyen
Runners these days have all sorts of high tech gadgets. But sometimes, it’s the simplest things that get forgotten when you head out for a run—like lip balm.
Training outdoors in the sun and wind can wreak havoc on lips. Because they don’t have oil glands to keep them nourished, lips dry easily and can become chapped. They also don’t produce much melanin, the pigment in our skin that protects us from the sun, which means they can burn. Lip balm with SPF helps seal in moisture and prevents lips from burning. The next time you lace up your running shoes and dash out the door, grab some lip balm. Your lips deserve the attention.
Choosing a lip balm can be as difficult as picking out the perfect pair of running shoes. You can spend anywhere from a couple of dollars to as much as $30. To help wade through the plethora of products on the market, we put seven lip balms to the test. Here’s how they stacked up.
Nivea Sun SPF 30, $2.99
If you like to actually feel that you are wearing lip balm, this is the one for you. It goes on very thick and has a slightly waxy texture. Wearing this lip balm will give you an idea of how a car feels after a wax job—water just beads off your lips (wax is one of its ingredients, so it’s no surprise). Once the waxy texture disappears, lips are left smooth, but a little tight. It has an SPF of 30, which is a selling point. But be warned, if you have long hair, you might find your ponytail sticking to your lips on a windy day.
RoC Soleil Protexion, $11
★ ★ ★ ★ .5
Leave it to the French to make a lip moisturizer that feels more like an expensive lipstick than a
lip balm. It goes on silky, with almost no smell, and finishes semi-matte. After a few minutes it is almost like it’s not there at all. Lips felt moist after a tough workout on a hot and humid day. It also has SPF 30, but it protects lips from the sun’s harmful rays without feeling like you are smearing sunscreen all over them.
Arbonne Lipsaver Sunscreen SPF 30, $10
★ ★ ★ .5
This lip balm goes on silky and is very light, but it has a definite menthol smell to it and makes your lips tingle a few seconds after it is applied. The tingling sensation disappears fairly quickly, but if you’re not a fan of feeling like you have Rub A535 on your lips, this may not be the lip balm for you. It does contain SPF 30, which is a definite plus. It also contains safflower seed oil, chamomile extract and vitamin E, which leave lips smooth and moisturized for a long time. It doesn’t hold up to heat well, though, so make sure you don’t leave the tube in the sun on a hot day.
Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Moisturizing Stick, $9.00
★ ★ ★
Nuxe has ditched the traditional cylinder shape lip balm and made this one actually look like a tube of clear lipstick. It glides on light and creamy, leaving lips feeling soft and moist. It contains natural products such as sunflower and macadamia nut oils, argan oil, Shea
butter, honey, and a Vitamin E-derivative. The company claims to have tested this lip balm in “extremely cold conditions in Canada,” and found that it protects “against external aggression (88%*).” The major drawback is that it has no sun protection.
Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm, $5.79
This lip balm is like butter on you lips and despite its name, it doesn’t have the waxy feel of some other lip balms. It contains kokum, shea and cocoa butters to hydrate lips and it claims to offer four hours of long-lasting moisturization. Maybe it should say 40 minutes? Instead of making lips moist, it leaves lips feeling quite dry. It also seems necessary to keep reapplying. After a day of using this product, lips felt more chapped than they did before. It also loses points because it doesn’t contain sunscreen.
Blistex Five Star, $4.99
★ ★ ★ ★
Blistex claims that its main five ingredients are the perfect combination for dry lips. It contains glycerin to hold in moisture, candelilla (wax) to protect lips from the wind, wheat germ to moisturize, calendula oil to soothe chapped lips, and SPF 30 to protect them from the sun. Blistex might have come up with the perfect combination. This lip balm goes on a little thicker than some of the others tested, but it is barely noticeable after a few minutes. It also has a pleasant cocoa butter scent. Dry lips felt much smoother after wearing this lip balm. And even after a long run, it didn’t feel like it was necessary to reapply it. Who says something has to be expensive to be good? But be warned, I wouldn’t forget it in the car on a hot day. Even after a few minutes in the heat, this lip balm was a gooey mess.
Chapstick Active SPF 30, $2.99
Made specifically for athletes, this lip balm goes on smooth, albeit a little waxy. It has a slight odour, which you can actually taste in your mouth. So unless you want the aftertaste of lip balm lingering in your mouth, best to leave this one on the rack. It also contains parabens, a preservative used in cosmetics that has raised some health concerns. This lip balm does have SPF 30, so in a pinch, slathering a little of this on before your run might be a better option than having nothing at all.
The Final Word on Dry Lips
If your lips are constantly chapped, drink more water. While it won’t heal dry lips, it will help keep them from getting worse. When all else fails, you might want to turn to a product many long distance runners often have on hand: Vaseline. Slathering on petroleum jelly at night, and throughout the day, will lock the moisture in your lips. But you will still want to have a lip balm with sunscreen on hand for running outdoors to give your lips the protection they deserve.
CONTEST ALERT! How do you protect your lips? Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to Shopper’s Drugmart! Contest closes at midnight on Monday, August 4th, 2014. Winner will be contacted by email, and will be announced on Facebook on Tuesday, August 5th. Contest open to Canadian residents only.