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The Best Lip Glosses For Dry Lips

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By Marissa DeSantis
Elite Daily/Amazon

Lip glosses and balms seem to account for nearly half of my beauty product stash. You can find multiple glosses in every bag I own and across every table surface in my apartment, which may seem excessive, until you find yourself dealing with dry lips. Because lips naturally have a low water-retaining capacity, they're especially prone to becoming dry and chapped due to environmental factors like the wind and sun, or even something as simple as taking certain medications. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s time to swap out your matte lipstick for one of the best lip glosses for dry lips. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the most effective formulas will include ingredients like shea butter, castor seed oil, ceramides, and dimethicone.

In addition to looking for ingredients that can help heal and nourish dry lips, it's also helpful to know which ingredients can further exacerbate dryness. Commonly, phenol, menthol, and salicylic acid can cause dryness and irritation, as can fragrance or flavoring if you're already sensitive to these ingredients. Applying your moisturizing lip gloss several times throughout the day can help eliminate dry lips faster, as can drinking enough water, wearing a lip mask at night, investing in a humidifier, and avoiding licking, biting, or picking at your lips. When you’re outdoors, using a lip gloss with non-irritating SPF ingredients, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, can also protect your lips from the drying effects of the sun.

To keep your lips moisturized and smooth, grab one (or several, we won't judge) of the hydrating lip glosses from the list ahead.

01
Writer’s Pick

One of my go-to glosses when my lips are feeling drier than usual, Kopari's Lip Glossy goes on clear (though it does come in two tinted shades, as well) without feeling sticky or tacky, making it comfortable to wear on its own or layered over a lipstick. The fragrance-free formula contains smoothing shea butter and plant-derived squalane to help lock in moisture, while coconut oil — which the brand sources from small family farms in the Philippines — offers further nourishing benefits.

  • Available shades: 3
02
Best Prestige Tinted Gloss

If you prefer to wear a gloss with a tint of color or a soft shimmer, you can still keep your dry lips moisturized with the right product. Smith & Cult Lip Gloss is a long-wearing formula that feels cushiony on lips, thanks to coconut-derived sucrose cocoate, a skin-softening emollient, and portulaca pilosa extract, another moisturizing and conditioning botanical. The eight available shades range from nude-pinks and mauve neutrals to more colorful peach and plum options, with four of the shades offering a micro-shimmer finish. It's worth noting that these tinted glosses contain fragrance, so if that's an ingredient to which you know you're sensitive, these probably aren’t the best option for you.

  • Available shades: 8
03
Best Drugstore Tinted Gloss

For a drugstore pick that's less than $10, Maybelline Lifter Gloss comes in both clear and tinted versions. Though the 13-shade range includes a mix of sheer colors and shimmery finishes, every option delivers a lustrous, high-shine effect. Coconut oil and hyaluronic acid are included in the formula to impart long-lasting moisture to dry lips, and since HA is known for its ability to promote plumper skin, it may temporarily make your lips look fuller, too. Note that this gloss also contains fragrance, so steer clear if you have a known sensitivity.

  • Available shades: 13
04
Best Gloss With SPF

When you'll be spending time outdoors, a lip gloss with SPF is crucial to preventing your lips from becoming burned and chapped. Unfortunately, some common sunscreen ingredients, like octinoxate and oxybenzone, can interfere with the healing of dry lips, which is why a gloss that contains SPF in the form of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, like this Colorescience Lip Shine SPF 35, is preferable. Available in three colors and one clear option, this fragrance-free gloss is formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid, antioxidant-rich vitamin E, and the brand's own Maxi-Lip Peptide to condition and plump up your lips. Just like the sunscreen you apply to your face or body, you'll want to put this lip gloss on 15 minutes before you head outside and reapply every two hours (or 40 minutes after swimming or sweating).

  • Available shades: 4
05
Best Gloss/Treatment Hybrid

Since its launch this past summer, Paula's Choice Lip Booster has become the last step in my nightly routine and a regular in my daily lip gloss rotation. The clear formula feels and looks like a traditional gloss, and it comes with a cooling applicator tip that helps the product glide across lips more evenly. But because it also contains a mix of moisturizing heavy hitters like hyaluronic acid, squalane, castor seed oil, and shea butter, as well as firming peptides, it works as a plumping and moisturizing treatment, too.

Studies referenced:

Clinical assessment of a combination lip treatment to restore moisturization and fullness, by Nathan S. Trookman, MD, Ronald L. Rizer, PhD, Rosanne Ford, BA, Rahul Mehta, PhD, Vincent Gotz, MS Pharm; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2923945/