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The 2023 SELF Healthy Beauty Awards: 16 Lipsticks, Glosses, Balms, and Tints That Get Our Kiss of Approval

Mar 31, 2023

By Hannah Dylan Pasternak

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

A little something on your lips can go a long way. The right product can take them from dry and cracked to full and smooth; from pale and dull to rich and bright; from swollen and sunburnt to protected and healthy.

Needless to say, taking care of your lips is as much an aesthetic endeavor as it is one of wellness, which is why we dive deep into this category for our Healthy Beauty Awards year after year. This time around we had 47 testers try thousands of products—yes, literally thousands—to find the best new balms, glosses, masks, SPFs, and stains for all your needs.

Looking for an everyday lipstick but dealing with dryness and irritation? We’ve got a rec for that! Want an overnight mask you’ll swoon over? We’ve got that too. Not a makeup person, but looking for a little extra oomph? Keep reading! Below you’ll find options that look and feel good, and are full of dermatologist-approved ingredients to treat your lips with the care they deserve.

Want to see more from the 2023 Healthy Beauty Awards? Check out the best makeup, best face moisturizers, and the best hair care products.

Courtesy of eos

Lip balm doesn't need to be complicated to be great. This tangy duo from Eos combines early-aughts nostalgia with a simple yet effective formula. Oh, and did we mention it's $6?

Bonus points, per the experts: Nourishing oils, including sunflower seed, coconut, rosemary, and soybean, keep things hydrated.

One tester said: "First, let's just talk about how fun this product is: The packaging is brilliant in all of its childlike glory—it totally feels nostalgic. It's a nice size that comes with a lot of balm, and the flavors and smells are divine. It also left my lips feeling moist for a long time, which is hard to find in a product. I would buy it over and over again."

Courtesy of SUNNIE

Mineral SPF creates a physical barrier that stops harmful UV rays in their tracks. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, protect skin by absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat. Sensitive skin and heat are not always the best match, so if you’re the type whose lips are easily irritated, dry, or prone to sunburn at their baseline, reach for a balm with mineral filters like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. This one from Sunnie is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so it's perfect for the beach, pool, or any other outdoor adventure.

Bonus points, per the experts: You’re getting more than just sun protection here: Olive oil, castor seed oil, avocado oil, petrolatum, and vitamin E all moisturize too.

One tester said: "Lip protection is incredibly important to me; I wear a mask for long periods of time while working, and have had lip issues since the pandemic began. This balm comes in a small tube that's convenient to carry in a pocket or waist pack, which is great for when I’m at the hospital or outside and on the go. The best part is that I can feel the moisture settling into my lips—after 15 minutes, they feel as smooth as a baby's bottom. Even if I’m not in the sun, I want to be wearing this balm."

Courtesy of Tower 28

Bright, fun, and easy to use, Tower28's JuiceBalm gave testers dewy, luscious lips for hours on end. The perfect solution for maximalists, it doesn't skimp on moisture or pigment.

Bonus points, per the experts: Shea butter is a rich moisturizer, while vitamin C brightens and protects against environmental damage.

One tester said: "These are phenomenal, and have found their way into each of my makeup bags, work bags, and purses. The color range spans four pink-red options, from really sheer and subtle to bold like a glossy lipstick. They’re very hydrating and easy to use in that you don't have to worry about harsh or imperfect lines—you can swipe it on without looking, smack your lips together, and trust that it looks great. It's perfect for anyone who loves lip color but needs something functional. I’ll rebuy this—which I’ve never said about a balm, let alone a tinted one."

Courtesy of LAWLESS Beauty

Yes, its name is a mouthful, but it's hard to describe a product that does so much in just a few words. You’ll see a noticeable difference after using this balm from Lawless—it doesn't just moisturize, but has a filling, smoothing effect to reduce the look of fine lines. (And it adds a pop of color!)

Bonus points, per the experts: Rosehip oil, shea butter, and jojoba seed oil reinforce your skin's moisture barrier.

One tester said: "This has become my new go-to. My lips feel plump and look airbrushed after use—you can see a subtle difference in their size right away. The product glides on smoothly, hydrates without skimping on color potency, and doesn't rub off easily, which is a great plus."

Courtesy of Fenty Skin

Spoiler alert: The best way to keep lips looking full and plump is by keeping them hydrated. This Fenty Skin mask is wonderful as a nourishing, overnight treatment or for targeted use on your driest days.

Bonus points, per the experts: A combination of coconut, castor, and jojoba oils traps in moisture and provides deep conditioning.

One tester said: "This is the only thing besides my favorite cocoa butter stick that legitimately moisturizes my lips. I’ve been hella chapped after starting a prescription retinoid, and using this mask every day, multiple times a day, has kept flaking and cracking at bay. It gives a glossy shine, too, so it's nice for daytime wear—except the sticky texture might be annoying if you’re eating or drinking. Truly, though, Rihanna put her whole Rihannussy into this and I would like to personally thank her for it."

Courtesy of Merit

Merit expanded—if not reinvented—its Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil with the new Gelée line. It's made with pigments that react to skin's pH—which means each shade looks slightly different on everyone—and has a glossy, sheer finish for a more subtle look. Plus, testers say it feels more cushioned and smoother than the original version.

Bonus points, per the experts: This product contains squalane, a derm-loved skin care ingredient that helps lips stay moisturized.

By Kayla Blanton

By Amy Marturana Winderl, C.P.T.

By Malia Griggs

One tester said: "This is my new holy grail, and I can't believe how quickly I’m already going through it. The Gelées are a surefire way to look a little more alive in a natural, glowy way. Even when I’m wearing makeup, I now feel like I don't look my most vibrant unless I put a few swipes of this on. It's hydrating and not sticky or goopy—just buttery and smooth."

Courtesy of Makeup by Mario

Formulated more like a balm than a gloss, this Makeup by Mario viral hit keeps lips feeling healthy while adding a bit of flair. One tester assures: It didn't get stuck to her teeth even once.

Bonus points, per the experts: Shea butter, avocado oil, and argan oil plump, nourish, and hydrate.

One tester said: "My Moistureglow Plumping Lip Serum has stuck with me through all of my ups and downs. Dry lips? Solved. No lipstick? No worries. Need a confidence boost? Fixed. The serum is a balm, gloss, and plumper in one. The formula is silky smooth with no stickiness. It doesn't burn my lips like other plumpers, but does leave a short-lasting minty, tingling sensation. I’ve received so many compliments while wearing it."

Courtesy of Kylie Cosmetics

Like honey on your lips, Kylie's mirror-shine Gloss Drip (the shiniest version Kylie Cosmetics makes, might we add) gives that wet, lustrous look that celebs seem to sport so often. Wear it alone for a transparent glow or on top of lipstick for something a little more dimensional.

One tester said: "What I really love is that you don't need to apply much of the gloss to get the effect—it's pretty thick, and once it's on, it also feels like it's keeping your lips moisturized. The flavor is nice as well, like some type of treat. It really went the distance, and lasted for quite a while before I had to reapply."

Courtesy of Ami Colé

Is it an oil? A gloss? A…mask? Our testers would say yes to all three. Ami Colé's thick and juicy lip treatment provides a ’90s-style hint of shine and color.

Bonus points, per the experts: Baobab seed oil and camellia seed oil plump and add moisture.

One tester said: "I really enjoyed wearing all three shades. As a lifelong clear gloss devotee, I thought Reflection might be my favorite, but I honestly ended up loving Bliss, which had a pinkish, nearly neutral look for my skin tone. The packaging is straightforward—a gloss tube with a little doe foot applicator—but the exception worth noting is that the applicator is significantly larger than others I’ve used. I LOVED that. It made putting on the gloss even easier and quicker, and meant that a single dip into the bottle was enough to apply all over. It feels a bit sticky, but overall I really enjoyed wearing it and felt like it kept my lips hydrated throughout the day as well."

Courtesy of Saie

Minimalist makeup girlies, this one's for you. Saie's new lipstick provides the softest bit of color, perfect for adding some life back to your face when you need it. If you prefer, you can also build up to a full-blown, solid matte finish. The best part? No matter how little or how much you use, your lips will feel quite natural—almost as if you’re wearing nothing at all.

By Kayla Blanton

By Amy Marturana Winderl, C.P.T.

By Malia Griggs

Bonus points, per the experts: Hyaluronic acid hydrates, olive oil prevents moisture loss, and jojoba esters keep lips feeling nourished.

One tester said: "I’m extremely picky about lip products. Pretty much every lipstick, lip stain, lip color, lip gloss—you name it—feels drying and uncomfortable after about 15 minutes of wear. This is especially true for non-shine products. I also don't usually wear makeup, and if I do, it's a very ‘natural’ vibe—so finding a lip product that feels and looks good can seem nearly impossible. This is now one of the few products that I’ll keep in my bag and actually use. I lean toward the lighter shades (the deep purple can get rather pigmented pretty quickly), and just a swipe is enough for me!"

Courtesy of Estée Lauder

There's nothing like a classic, buildable, satin-finish lipstick. And while they’re seemingly everywhere—with all sorts of textures, colors, and formulas available—it can be surprisingly difficult to find a good one. This option from Estée Lauder is the definition of an oldie-but-a-goodie: It's neither glossy nor matte, it lasts a long time, and it comes in a huge range of colors.

Bonus points, per the experts: Glycerin is a light, hydrating ingredient, and a mix of fruit seed oils help seal all that moisture in.

One tester said: "Lip luxury at its best—that's the feel of this rich lipstick by Estée Lauder. It reminds me of makeup from my mother's generation: glamorous. The tube is very high quality and allows for easy application with a twist. The cap has a sleek, magnetic pull. It's smooth and velvety. The color lasts all day long, yet won't dry out your lips. It's moisturizing and still has a very attractive, subtle look."

Courtesy of Chanel

For the second year in a row, Chanel's lipstick makes it onto our Healthy Beauty Award–winning list. It's a classic for a reason: According to testers, it has a matte-ish finish but never once felt drying, even after all-day wear. It's also versatile—customize your look by wearing a little…or a lot.

Bonus points, per the experts: Castor oil is a humectant, which helps keep lips hydrated. Dimethicone is a form of silicone that creates a protective barrier on top of skin.

One tester said: "What can I say—Chanel makes a phenomenal lipstick. It goes on a little bit lighter than you might expect, which means it's great for building color. A few times, I blended it with a drop of Aquaphor for an almost balm-like look. I also used it as a true lipstick—with a few swipes and nothing else—and really embraced its rich, velvety color. My lips were moisturized for several hours and the color didn't fade or smudge, even though I didn't use a liner. If you love lipsticks, splurge on this."

Courtesy of Fenty Beauty

Remember when Rihanna performed at the 2023 Super Bowl? Well, this is the lipstick she was wearing. But that's not why it won—it's just simply that good. (And if you were wondering what shade, it was The MVP. You’re welcome.)

By Kayla Blanton

By Amy Marturana Winderl, C.P.T.

By Malia Griggs

Bonus points, per the experts: Dimethicone does the heavy lifting here, keeping lips looking supple.

One tester said: "I was blessed enough to receive the full collection of these lipsticks and I promise, they’re unlike any other. They apply like velvet, and the matte formula is nondrying. While all lipsticks wipe off eventually, I appreciate that these naturally fade over time as opposed to cracking and making you look...unhinged. Instead, this blurs, giving you grace to reapply as needed."

Courtesy of Pound Cake

A lip stain is all about pigment. While the formula and feel of Pound Cake's Cake Batter won big points from our testers, it's worth emphasizing that the colors are what truly blew them away. Cake Batter comes in six shades of red so that you can find the one that looks best with your skin tone. And if you’re not sure how to do that, fret not: The brand has an online quiz to help you figure out your perfect match.

Bonus points, per the experts: Dimethicone and avocado oil both prevent moisture loss, giving lips a fuller look.

One tester said: "The color stands out among all others! I have to say, it brings a whole new meaning to a red lip: It's bright and sexy, designed to complement your complexion and give a little extra glow. I also love how strong and long-lasting it is—you might only have to apply it a few times on a long night out. It feels ultra rich, yet light upon application, so I felt neither sticky nor dry. This now goes to the top of my makeup bag—highly recommend!"

Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

Testers said that MAC's Locked Kiss Ink lipstick creates a bold, glam look in seconds—and it stays that way for hours. It's a great, foolproof option for anyone who's trepidatious about highly pigmented lip looks or long-lasting matte finishes.

Bonus points, per the experts: Dimethicone, petrolatum, coconut oil, and shea butter all provide moisture and lock in hydration.

One tester said: "This has become a holy grail of mine. A curved, doe-foot applicator makes it easy to line your lips, and it has a rich color payoff that looks exactly as it does in the bottle. While the formula applies as a liquid, it quickly transforms to a matte finish that's transfer-proof and isn't drying. I snack a lot during the day, and I found that on average, with snacking, it lasts about five to six hours. When it does wear off, it leaves a nice, subtle tint that enhances your natural lip color."

Courtesy of Nudestix

Nudestix is known for its multitasking makeup, and the brand's new pencil is no exception. Line your lips for a neutral, matte finish, and then doodle a little on your cheeks for a bright, rosy glow. The formula is also waterproof—excellent for all-day wear.

Bonus points, per the experts: Here, you’ll find dimethicone, which seals in moisture and contributes to that smooth, blendable texture.

One tester said: "I’ve heard so much about Nudestix, so I was really excited to try these out. I loved the texture; it was super creamy and hydrating, but also stayed put. So often with other lipsticks and lip pencils, the color slides around or comes off easily. This one lasted way longer than I thought it was going to—I even remember taking a shower later in the day and realizing it was still on! That said, it was a tad hard to take off, but I’d rather that than a pencil that smudges easily. Overall, it's a great product."

The Best Classic Lip Balm: Eos Watermelon Frosé & Lychee Martini 2-Pack Lip Balm Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best SPF Lip Balm: Sunnie The Protector SPF 36 Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Tinted Lip Balm: Tower 28 JuiceBalm Tinted Lip Balm Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Lip Balm for Mature Skin: Lawless Beauty Forget The Filler Lip Plumping Line Smoothing Lip Tinted Balm Stick Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Lip Mask: Fenty Skin Plush Puddin’ Intensive Recovery Lip Mask Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Everyday Lip Gloss: Merit Shade Slick Gelée Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Lip Gloss for Dry Lips: Makeup by Mario Moistureglow Plumping Lip Serum Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best High-Shine Lip Gloss: Kylie Cosmetics Gloss Drip One tester said: The Best Lip Oil: Ami Colé Lip Treatment Oil Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: Best Lightweight Lip Color: Saie Lip Blur Soft-Matte Hydrating Lipstick Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Lipstick: Estée Lauder Pure Color Creme Lipstick Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Lipstick (Splurge): Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: Best Matte Lipstick: Fenty Beauty Fenty Icon Velvet Liquid Lipstick Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Lip Stain: Pound Cake Cake Batter Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Lip Stain: MAC Cosmetics Locked Kiss Ink Liquid Lipstick Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: The Best Lip Crayon: Nudestix Intense Matte Lip and Cheek Pencils Bonus points, per the experts: One tester said: