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What is Lip Conditioner?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 21, 2024
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Lip conditioner, which may also be referred to as lip balm, is a type of cosmetic product designed to protect, soften, and smooth the lips. Lip conditioners may have different features depending on their intended use. Compared to lip gloss or lipstick, which are most commonly worn by women, lip conditioner is a popular product for both men and women.

At its most basic, lip conditioner is designed to add a protective layer to the lips. It may give the lips a glossy, shiny finish, though some lip conditioners are designed to be matte and invisible. The lip conditioner coats the lips, protecting them from elements such as the wind or cold, while helping to heal cracked, dry, chapped lips.

The ingredients in most lip balms are fairly similar, and may include a base of petrolatum or beeswax, along with softening ingredients such as conditioning oils, like almond oil, or shea butter. Lip conditioners may also include essential oils to add scent, or extra moisturizing or antioxidant ingredients such as vitamins A, C, and E. Some lip conditioners are made with all-natural, organic ingredients. In addition, extra ingredients may be added to serve a specific purpose.

Some types of lip conditioner add sunscreen to protect lips from sun damage. Sun damage to the lips can cause wrinkles, burns, and can lead to skin cancer. In addition, some lip conditioners may be designed to plump the lips and make them appear fuller.

Other types of lip conditioners may be designed to make the lips peel, for the purpose of removing dry, dead skin and healing cold sores; however, some people are sensitive to these types of balms and may wish to avoid them. Some of these ingredients include camphor and menthol, and are best used by people who have cold sores, rather than those who simply want to soften and condition lips. Lip balms that contain these ingredients are often labeled as "medicated" lip balms.

Tinted lip balms are popular as well. These add a hint of color to the lips, while giving lips the benefit of softening and conditioning ingredients. Lip conditioner may be worn alone, or it may be worn underneath lipstick. Be aware that wearing lip balms under lipstick may make the lipstick wear off sooner. Lip conditioners may be found in a twist-up tube form, in a squeeze tube, or in a small pot where the conditioner must be applied with the fingers or a lip brush. They are typically quite inexpensive.

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Discussion Comments
By bagley79 — On Aug 28, 2011

Lip conditioner is something I don't like to be without. I am so glad they have these hanging at the front of most registers because I always count on them being there when I need to buy new tube.

Since I like to try different things all the time, I bought a tube of Blistex lip conditioner last winter. My lips were really chapped, and whatever was in this tube of lip balm felt very good on my lips.

As soon as I put it on, my lips felt cool and refreshed. For some reason I use it more in the winter than the summer, but love how it feels on my lips.

By honeybees — On Aug 27, 2011

I got a free sample of some soft lips lip conditioner when I bought a package of razors. This comes in a long, slender tube and has a slight pink tint to it.

There are several things I like about this. I often carry a tube of lip balm with me in the pocket of my jeans, and I the skinny tube doesn't look or feel as bulky.

I also really like the light color as it doubles as a lip conditioner and gloss all in one. It feels very smooth on my lips and when I was getting low on the free sample, I went and bought a package of them. It has now become my favorite lip conditioner.

By Mykol — On Aug 26, 2011

I love almost any kind of lip balm and always have some on my lips. The best lip conditioner I have used is the one I make myself.

All that is in this lip conditioner is beeswax, almond oil and a few drop of Vitamin E. I have added honey before, but actually prefer it without.

I like to add my own essential oils for flavoring. There are a lot of flavors that work well with this, but my favorite is peppermint. This adds a nice flavor and smell to the lip balm.

My daughter likes to flavor hers with strawberry and a combination of grapefruit/lemon.

The beeswax really does a good job of conditioning my lips and I find that I don't have to apply it as often. You can buy these supplies from many online stores that sell supplies to make soap and candles.

By Mae82 — On Aug 26, 2011

If you are looking for a decent lip conditioner a good idea is to head to a large department store and try out a few of the higher end lip conditioners. While these products can be more expensive I find that being able to sample the lip conditioners makes the entire cost worth while.

When I first started using lip conditioners I bought cheap versions at the store and found them to be either too sticky or they tasted bad. I usually ended up throwing the products out which was a huge waste of money. I figure, if a store won't let you sample before buying they must have something to hide.

By manykitties2 — On Aug 25, 2011

There are entire beauty kits you can buy just for the purpose of conditioning your lips. Most of them come with a massaging exfoliant, some sort of mask and of course the lip conditioner.

I really recommend finding a good exfoliating lip cream before you add your lip conditioner because getting rid of the build up of dead skin on your lips can really help to achieve a more perfect smile. This is especially important in winter when you may start to get chapped lips.

For those that are hardcore about beauty, the lip masks supposedly add more moisture to your lips, making the lip conditioner more effective.

By Perdido — On Aug 24, 2011

I have had a lot of problems with my lipstick drying out and lumping up on my lips. So, I started using a lip conditioner underneath my lipstick.

I chose one that came in stick form rather than a goo in a pot. I have found that gooey balms won’t let lipstick adhere to them at all.

My lip conditioner is a silky solid. I glide it on, and then I apply my lipstick. It seems to keep both the makeup and my lips moisturized for much longer. It is okay to apply a touch of gooey balm on top of the lipstick to give it more shine.

By cloudel — On Aug 24, 2011

I use a lip conditioner with SPF 15. I bought it for the summer months at the beach, but I liked it so much, I continued using it throughout the year.

The lip balm keeps my lips from getting parched or feeling dry for hours. I reapply it after lunch and whenever the effect eventually wears off, which is usually after I eat or drink.

I haven’t had any problems with my lips burning or peeling while I’m out in the sun. I stay in the pool a lot, and I go to the ocean on vacation. This lip conditioner is strong enough to keep the sun from damaging my lips even in the tropics during July.

By kylee07drg — On Aug 23, 2011

My male coworker’s mom works at a pharmacy, and she brings home a beeswax lip conditioner for him. He uses it all the time, but you can’t see it on his lips at all.

One time, she accidentally got the tinted lip conditioner instead of the regular kind. He opened it and starting laughing. He asked me if I wanted it.

I looked at it, and it had an obvious purple shimmer to it. I put it on, and my lips appeared shiny, as though I were wearing a frosty lipstick. I gladly took it from him.

The lip conditioner had a slightly minty flavor. I don’t think it was medicated, but it definitely was refreshing and moisturizing.

By orangey03 — On Aug 22, 2011

So that’s why my lips peel when I wear medicated lip balm! I didn’t see anything on the tube about this, so I wondered why it happened.

I frequently get fever blisters, so I use the medicated balm to ease the burning and swelling they cause. It works right away, and I reapply it whenever I feel a tingling or burning sensation again.

The balm keeps the blisters from getting any bigger. Usually, it cures them completely within a couple of days. However, I do have to keep scraping the dead skin off my lips. At least now I know why.

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