I love reminiscing about the sun-drenched days of homemade juice pops and Slip ‘n Slide. But one summer afternoon of my youth stands out, and not in a particularly charming way. After lolling by the pool for hours slathered in vanilla lip gloss (because there were boys there, after all), my lips reddened and throbbed with pain. Turns out, a shiny lip gloss can absorb sunlight and increase your risk of a burn. In fact, the cosmetics you apply to your lips can have other unintended consequences in summer, says dermatologist Jeannette Graf. “Lip balms with SPF are waxier than glosses and adhere better. They also tend to be less reflective,” she says. But balms with menthol can dry out lips and make them more sensitive. Here’s a roundup of choices that will keep your lips hydrated and burn-free all season.
Nivea A Kiss of Protection Sun Protection Lip Care SPF 30. With SPF 30 and protection from both UVA and UVB rays, this balm has you covered in the sun. It glides on easily, feels smooth, and doesn’t leave a cakey layer on lips. And while it has the slightest taste of sunscreen, it’s also surprisingly silky.
Chapstick Active Ultra 30 Skin Protectant/Sunscreen. Again, the SPF 30 is clutch, and the waxy texture gives this balm serious staying power. It does leave a whitish finish, however, so save it for intense outdoor activity, not photo ops.
Fresh Sugar Plum Lip Tint SPF 15. It’s got most everything you want in a summer lip balm: a lemony scent, a subtle berry tint, antioxidants, and SPF 15 (the absolute minimum to look for in lip protection). This has the same creamy formula as the original Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15, plus a wash of color.
Supergoop! AcaiFusion Lip Balm SPF 30. Our gold-star winner for summer’s best lip balm. With UV-blocking SPF 30, this is a ridiculously hydrating, creamy balm with no weird film or strange taste. Plus, the acai leaves a barely visible rose tint. And the best part? A shiny finish without a trace of stickiness.
• How to Protect Your Pout
• Makeup Ideas: Our Favorite Lipsticks for Summer 2013
• The Best-Tasting Lip Products