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Nothing ruins an otherwise on-point makeup look quite like dry, chapped lips, which is why a reliably hard-working balm (or five) isn’t just a boring basic need; it is the foundation upon which your lip color game must be built. This is very serious stuff.
We asked six cream-of-the-crop celebrity makeup artists, who’ve worked with stars like Beyoncé, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Katy Perry, which formulas they use to keep their clients’ lips soft and hydrated under any and all circumstances. From $5 to $75, these are the nine balms you should definitely keep on hand.
“I love the Dr. Hauschka Lip Care Stick ($15). It has great natural plant oils and it’s organic. It feels like a treat for the lips, and it’s not overly shiny.” —Quinn Murphy, whose clients include Karlie Kloss, Diane Kruger, and Hailee Steinfeld
“I love L’Oréal Paris Glossy Balm ($7.99). They’re super fun to play with because they come in a cool chubby crayon design. The formula is really moisturizing and gives a sheer pop of color.” —L’Oréal Paris Celebrity Makeup Artist Sir John, whose clients include Beyoncé, Joan Smalls, and Khloé Kardashian
“Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Lip Repair Balm ($23) works fast—it’s like magic. I use it before my clients go into hair to let it start the repairing process, especially when it’s cold and I need my client’s lips to be perfectly conditioned. By the time I’m ready to put on the lipstick, the lips look perfect for their close-up.” —Matin, whose clients include Claire Danes, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie
“I love the Clark’s Botanicals Ultra Rich Lip Balm ($19). I keep it on hand because not only does it address the issue of dry lips but in a pinch can be used as a brow fix and a highlighter.” —Giorgio Armani Celebrity Makeup Artist Tim Quinn, whose clients include Amber Heard, Victoria Beckham, and Kerry Washington
“I have two must-have lip balms in my life—the super affordable Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Taupe with Me ($4.49), which keeps lips hydrated for up to four hours and has a slight tint so you can pair it with a smoky eye for a “done but undone” look. My splurge lip balm is Sisley Nutritive Lip Balm ($74)—it’s clear and works on all skin tones, plus it stays on while it hydrates so there’s no need to continuously reapply. I always have this in my carry-on bag when flying so I can apply it before taking a nap, and my lips stay soft and smooth.” —Amber Dreadon, whose clients include Lorde, Katy Perry, and Rita Ora
“Since I’m always at the Smashbox studio, I sometimes make my own lip balm from our lipsticks. I take a little bit of our Photo Finish Primer Oil ($42) and mix it with a Smashbox lipstick. Just by dabbing the products together, I get my favorite color along with hydration. If I don’t do that, I love a really good rose salve. Mario Badescu makes a beautiful hydrating stick lip balm as well—and La Mer lip balm is pretty amazing, too.” —Lori Taylor-Davis, Smashbox Pro lead makeup artist