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Lip Balm vs Chapstick: What’s The Difference For Men?

In a lip balm vs chapstick world, it’s best to be the guy that knows there’s actually no difference between the two. More importantly, you should be reading the labels on your lip products to make sure you’re choosing the right one for your skin type.

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What Is Lip Balm?

Lip balm is any moisturizer that you put on your lips to soften them up (for kissing?). That includes the brand ChapStick.

Lots of lip balms contain waxes, oils, scents, and flavoring. Really, your lips only need the waxes and oils to stay hydrated. Guys with sensitive skin are better off using unscented, unflavored lip balms.

For best results, I like to use a great facial moisturizer on my lips, then put the lip balm on top. The moisturizer absorbs into your skin, while the waxes and oils act as a protective layer that keep you from losing moisture throughout the day.

Don’t confuse a lip balm with lip gloss or lipstick. Those are makeup products, and they don’t hydrate your lips. They just color them. Lip balms are skin care products.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Lip Balm?

Remember, lip balm refers to any moisturizer made for your lips. So the pros and cons here apply to any lip balm that you could pick up off the grocery store aisle:


• Lip balms keep your lips from getting flaky and dry – that’s their bare basic purpose. And most do a great job!

• Lip balms come in lots of all-natural options that are safer for your lips and skin.

• Non-ChapStick lip balms often come in more than stick form. You can get them in larger bottles, containers, and more. They’re more versatile to suit your lip-moisturizer needs.

• Lip balms are versatile. You can use them on your cuticles, nose, and more to prevent chafing.


• Some lip balm ingredients like salicylic acid and alcohol are actually drying. Read the ingredient label to avoid lip balms that use those ingredients. (Those ingredients are both good in other circumstances, but they don’t really belong in your lip balm.)

• Lip balms DO expire. Use them in 2-3 years. 

What Is Chapstick?

ChapStick is a popular brand of lip balm. Lots of people refer to lip balms in general as “chapsticks.” The words have become interchangeable over time.

It’s like when people say they’re going to “google” something, or “photoshop” an image. Google and Photoshop are both brands, not verbs. You’re actually going to “look something up using an internet search tool, a.k.a. Google,” and “digitally edit an image using the software Photoshop.”

ChapStick has the same problem. It’s gotten so big that it has lost its branding and become a household name for a whole breed of products.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Chapstick?

Chapstick has all the same pros and cons as other lip balms, but some specific things to keep in mind about the brand:


• ChapStick has that big name brand reliability that a lot of people look for in their skin care products. It’s no gamble – 9/10 men get soft, hydrated lips with ChapStick.

• ChapStick comes with medicated, moisturizing, sun-protection, and flavored options. There’s a stick to appease everyone.

• ChapStick is about as cheap as it gets when it comes to lip balms. And you can find it in any store.


• ChapStick uses scents, flavors, and other chemicals that can act as skin irritants for guys with sensitive skin.

• Your dermatologist might recommend a specific type of lip balm to you instead of ChapStick, especially if your skin is prone to breakouts.

Lip Balm vs Chapstick For Men: Final Verdict

When it comes to lip balm vs ChapStick, either option is better than not using a lip balm. For best results, I recommend choosing an all-natural lip balm with just a few key waxes and oils to keep you hydrated (ChapStick doesn’t fit the bill there).

Lots of guys write off lip balms as a “women’s product,” but using a lip balm is essential if you’re trying to even out peely skin. And really, lip balms are gender neutral. Everyone should want smooth, kissable lips…. so make sure to apply lip balm often!

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.