The 9 best lip balms with SPF – because your lips need protection, too

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Best lip balms with SPF 4x3
  • We know that wearing sunscreen is crucial, but we often forget to apply it to our lips. 
  • A good lip balm with SPF will block harmful UV rays while moisturizing your lips.
  • We consulted two dermatologists and gathered our nine lip sunscreen mainstays.

You’ve probably heard numerous times from your doctor, dermatologist, or favorite beauty YouTuber that wearing sunscreen every single day is a must. And they’re definitely right. But one part of your body that can sometimes get overlooked when it comes to SPF is your lips, which need protection just as much as the rest of your body. 

A great way to deliver SPF to your lips on a daily basis is with SPF. But not all of these tubes are created equal. So we turned to Dr. Elizabeth K. Hale, a board-certified dermatologist and senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation, and Dr. Marie Hayag, board-certified dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics who advised us on working lip balms with SPF into our daily routines. You can read on to learn more from our experts and hear about our team’s nine tried-and-true lip balms with SPF. 

Here are the best lip balms with SPF you can buy:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Vanicream Lip Protectant Sunscreen SPF 30

skincare for runners_Lip balm Vanicream Lip Protectant

Lip Protectant/Sunscreen SPF 30 (small)

I’ve tried a few lip balms with SPF, but this one from Vanicream is my preferred pick. On top of a simple formula, the consistency is nice and creamy. It also lacks any sort of strong sunscreen smell or taste, which is a dealbreaker for me. However, without a mirror at hand, it’s hard to know if you’ve rubbed in all of the white cream and sometimes it takes a bit of lip-smacking to reduce the tint. Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow 

This lip balm contains both titanium oxide and zinc oxide for effective protection against damaging UV radiation. Additionally, it is water-resistant, free of fragrances, flavoring, and dyes, making it a great option for people with sensitive skin. Dr. Marie Hayag, board-certified dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics 

Aquaphor Lip Protectant and Sunscreen Ointment

Best lip balms with SPF_Aquaphor Lip Protectant and Sunscreen Ointment

Lip Protectant and Sunscreen Ointment (small)

I bought this lip sunscreen ointment because I’m never without Aquaphor’s ultra-nourishing Lip Repair. The two products have similar ingredient lists and consistencies. And though I’m not a huge fan of the sunscreen smell and taste, they’re minimal and do not override the efficacy of this balm. The formula specifically caters to those with sensitive skin, and I find this to be true, as well. Katie Decker-Jacoby, style & beauty reviews fellow

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm

Best lip balms with SPF_Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm

Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm (small)

As someone who is sensitive to the sun and prone for my fair skin to burn, I’m especially cautious with the products I’m using. That being said, I use SPF just about everywhere, even in the colder winter months. I absolutely swear by Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Balm. It has SPF 15 and also prevents my lips from being chapped. It applies buttery smooth, as its name suggests, and smells divine. Victoria Giardina, Buying Guides Fellow

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30

Best lip balms with SPF_Kiehl's Since 1851 Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30

Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30 (small)

I have a tube of this in the clear/untinted shade in every hiking backpack I own. It’s moisturizing without feeling sticky and goopy, and the balm doesn’t melt — even during multi-hour-long hikes in the sun. The SPF 30 is strong enough to keep my lips from burning, and the clear shade I use most often comes in handy when I need to reapply sunscreen on the bridge of my nose or the tops of my ears. The metal tube feels more substantial and luxurious than other balms, and the cap screws onto the tube so there’s no chance you’ll lose it at the bottom of your bag. It does, however, contain octocrylene so it’s not reef-safe and I don’t use this when I’m around the beach. Jada Wong, senior editor

Supergoop! PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai

Best lip balms with SPF_Supergoop! PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai

PLAY Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai (small)

The tube and formula remind me of old-school Vaseline, but much more protective and way less goopy. The SPF 30 is great for protecting my lips and the formula includes shea butter for lots of moisture. It doesn’t contain any oxybenzone, octinoxate, or octocrylene that would be harmful to coral reefs, so I always use this when I’m around the beach. Jada Wong, senior editor

Coola Classic Liplux Organic Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30

Best lip balms with SPF_Coola Classic Liplux Organic Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30

Classic Liplux Organic Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30 (small)

If you’re looking for a quality plant-based sunscreen lip balm, this one from Coola offers broad-spectrum protection, instant moisture, vitamins, and antioxidants. Plus, it’s water-resistant for 80 minutes and should be reapplied every two hours. Dr. Hayag says, “This is a good balm that provides broad-spectrum protection against UV rays while also providing hydration to the lips through ingredients like jojoba and avocado oil.” 

Colorescience Lip Shine SPF 35

Best lip balms with SPF_Colorescience Lip Shine SPF 35

Lip Shine SPF 35 (small)

For days where you want more color and luster, this lip gloss checks off those boxes — plus, it has broad-spectrum SPF 35 sun protection. You can reapply every two hours, but every 40 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating a lot. According to Dr. Hayag, “This is a great gloss that contains zinc oxide and Vitamin E to aid in photoprotection. It also contains hyaluronic acid, helping the lips stay well moisturized. Additionally, it has peptides that give the lips a more plump appearance.” The shade selection includes rose, pink, champagne, coral, and clear. 

CoTZ Lip Balm Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45

Best lip balms with SPF_CoTZ Lip Balm Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45

Lip Balm Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45 (small)

With a zesty kiwi-lime-ginger tang, this product is ever so slightly tinted to avoid that white cast other sunscreens oftentimes leave behind. It’s also cruelty-free, reef-friendly, and free of chemical sunscreens, oil, lanolin, and gluten. Dr. Hayag says, “This contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide to cover UVA/UVB rays and blue light. It is moisturizing, yet water-resistant and has antioxidant protection.”

MDSolarSciences Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm SPF 30

Best lip balms with SPF_MDSolarSciences Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm SPF 30

Hydrating Sheer Lip Balm SPF 30 (small)

This tinted lip balm has a gentle, cruelty-free, and reef-safe formula that does all of that, but of course fends off ultraviolet rays, too. The broad-spectrum SPF 30 sheer tinted balm comes in red, pink, and nude. According to Dr. Hayag, “It also has multiple ingredients in it to help keep your lips moisturized, like avocado oil and olive butter. The balm also contains shea butter, which is rich in antioxidants and soothes and softens the lips.”

FAQs

Best lip balms with SPF 4x3

What is SPF and what SPF should I wear on my lips?  

SPF stands for sun protection factor, which is the measure of how well a certain formula will protect you from the sun’s rays. “For example, if you use an SPF 30 product properly, it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you used no sunscreen,” Dr. Hale explains. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends SPF 15 for daily wear and SPF 30 for prolonged outdoor activity. 

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

There’s ultraviolet A (UVA), which is connected with skin aging, and ultraviolet B (UVB), which is linked to burning. Instead of worrying about whether your lip balm protects against UVA or UVB rays, Dr. Hale says to pick broad-spectrum sunscreen products, as they shield your skin from both rays. 

What can sun damage do to your lips? 

The skin on your lips is thinner and missing a layer that the rest of your body uses for UV protection, so it’s more susceptible to burning. Too much sun exposure without any protective lip balm can lead to dryness and flakiness, and even skin cancer. Dr. Hale says, “About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.” 

Are there certain ingredients I should look out for?

According to Dr. Hale, there are two groups of UV-blocking ingredients: physical and chemical. The former are ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, while the latter includes components like avobenzone and octisalate. “Look for products with antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C,” Dr. Hayag says. “They neutralize and boost protection from free radicals produced by UV radiation and visible light.”

As for ingredients to avoid, Dr. Hayag explains that products with menthol — the thing that gives cough drops and pain relief creams its cooling effect — can irritate the lips. You should also stay away from phenol and fragrance for the same reason. 

When should I wear it and how often should I apply?

Our experts urge you to wear lip balm with SPF both outdoors and indoors, as the sun can penetrate through glass windows. And they suggest reapplying every two hours, but more frequently if you’re eating, drinking, or swimming. 

What should I do if my lips get sunburnt? 

Dr. Hale recommends the following steps: move into a shady spot, stay hydrated, take Advil or Motrin to reduce inflammation, and apply a water-based, moisturizing lip product. For the very last step, she advises steering clear of petroleum and oil-based balms that could possibly aggravate the burn.

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The 5 best places to buy UPF sun protection clothing for hiking, fishing, boating & other outdoor adventurers

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couple kayaking2
  • UPF clothing protects your covered skin from UV radiation while outside fishing, hiking, boating, and traveling.
  • Brands make everything from long sleeves to skirts to hats with UPF protection now.
  • L.L.Bean is our top pick for brands that sell sun protection clothing for its wide selection of well-made, attractive UPF clothing.

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Most of us know that when we’re headed out for a beach day, backyard BBQs, home pool parties, or outdoor adventures, we need to slather on sunscreen to prevent a sunburn and minimize our risk for skin cancer. But skin protection goes beyond just lotion you rub on your exposed parts. The skin under your clothing while you’re out hiking or building sandcastles with your kids can still be exposed to harmful UV radiation.

That’s why sun-protective clothing and accessories should be a staple of your summer wardrobe. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that sun-protective long sleeves, shorts and pants, hats, neck gaiters, even gloves, are the most effective form of sun protection. These specially designed items feature tighter weaves than normal clothing which reduces the number of UVB and UVA rays that can penetrate through to your skin. Some brands, like Columbia Sportswear, also use proprietary tech for added features, like reflecting any lingering rays away from your skin.

How protective an item is is defined by its Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). While Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, is measured by how long it will take for UV-exposed skin to redden, UPF indicates how much UVB and UVA can reach your skin through the fabric at hand, the Skin Cancer Foundation explains. The average cotton tee has a UPF of 5, which means the garment allows 95% of incoming UV rays to penetrate it, while an item with UPF 50+ only allows 2% of the sun’s rays to pass.

If you are an avid adventurer, chances are you already have some lightweight long sleeves or hiking pants with UPF features. But if you usually cover-up at the beach with a cotton long sleeve from the local gift shop, or you’re hiking in a generic workout top, you might need to up your UPF protection. Luckily, as outdoor adventures become more popular and more people are taking their fitness under the sun, a wide range of brands are designing clothing and accessories with built-in sun protection. To help you find the most stylish sun-smart offerings on the market, we’ve rounded up five fashionable brands that sell clothing with a minimum of UPF 50.

Here are the best sun protection clothing brands:

Best UPF clothing brand overall

L.L. Bean UPF shirt

L.L.Bean is a one-stop-shop for summer basics for both men and women, including button-up tops, trousers, shorts, tees, and even dresses that feature built-in UPF 50 at a moderate price point.

Pros: Great basics with sun protection of UPF 50, mostly reasonably priced, lots of options and variety in products, offerings for both men and women, seal of recommendation from Skin Cancer Foundation

Cons: Fancier items can get pricey

Size range: XXS-3X for women’s; S-XXL in regular and tall for men

There’s a reason why L.L.Bean is a go-to source for stylish yet durable outerwear and accessories. The American brand has been making high-quality functional goods for more than 100 years. While you probably own a pair of L.L. Bean’s winter boots or cozy thermals, the company’s summery UPF clothing is just as good.

The iconic company has more than 150 items with built-in sun protection for all genders, including separates, dresses, outerwear, and accessories. Trousers and tops mostly retail for $60 or less, while higher-end pieces like hiking jackets and polarized sunglasses range from $100 to $250.

The brand recently earned The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation on dozens of styles in its collection, including the popular Cropped Comfort Trail Pants. The foundation’s Seal of Recommendation is given to sun conscious products that meet the strict criteria of an independent Photobiology Committee.

Best sporty brand

Athleta UPF

If you like to be active while outdoors, Athleta’s on-trend activewear with UPF 50+ is just what you need.

Pros: Stylish activewear with UPF 50+, many versatile pieces that can be worn multiple ways, high-quality

Cons: Expensive

Size range: XXS-3X for women in petite, regular, and tall

If you love to exercise in the sunshine, check out the UPF workout wear at Athleta. The activewear brand is known for its fashionable yet functional pieces and the company also has a large variety of sun-conscious items.

While Athleta offers plenty of basic tanks, leggings, jackets, and swim that have built-in protection, many of the brand’s most popular UPF items can pull double duty in your summertime wardrobe. Like the Stinson Back Zip Tank, which can be also used as a rashguard or the Makaha High Neck Reversible Bikini Top and Makaha Reversible Bottoms, which can be mixed and matched into four different swimsuit combinations.

Insider Reviews writer Kylie Joyner is a huge fan of the brand’s Sunlover UPF Tank saying, “it provides excellent protection from the sun’s rays.” She added that it is great for hot runs because it  “wicks sweat away easily, and dries quickly.”

Kylie also mentioned that the Athleta UPF top is on the more expensive end but “its performance, quality, and the features it offers make the price justifiable.”

Best bright-colors brand

Lilly Pulitzer UPF

If your warm-weather wardrobe is full o bright prints, Lilly Pulitzer‘s UPF clothing will be right up your alley.

Pros: Fashionable feminine items with UPF 50+, variety of items and prints, great for vacations

Cons: Very bright colors and prints might not be for everyone

Size range: XXS-XL

Resortwear brand Lilly Pulitzer is known for making colorfully printed clothing that screams summer. Knowing that a lot of the brand’s customers pack its cheerful designs for tropical holidays, Lilly Pulitzer expanded its collection to include pieces made with sun protective fabrics.

The vacation-ready UPF 50+ line includes everything from preppy pullovers and sporty leggings to flirty frocks and ruffled skirts, all in the same vivid and happy prints as the regular collection.

The UPF 50+ Sophie Dress was the brand’s first foray into sun-protected clothing and remains one of the most popular pieces to date with a 4.7-star rating on Lilly Pulitzer’s website. The feminine frock comes in six different prints and can be customized with your initials.

It’s just one of the pieces from the stylish line that can offer protection when worn as a cover-up to the beach but is sleek enough to take you from the sand to dinner in a snap.

Best swimsuit brand

land's end swimsuit UPF

If you spend your summers outside laying by the pool or hanging out on the beach, Lands’ End‘s stylish UPF 50 swim and cover-up options will ensure your skin stays protected.

Pros: High-quality swimwear and cover-ups with UPF 50, The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, large variety of options

Cons: Pieces with technical functions can get expensive

Size range: XS-3X in regular, petite, and long

While Lands’ End has a huge offering of clothing with UPF 50, its swim and cover-up collection is the largest we’ve ever seen. The swim line includes one-pieces, bikinis, swim skirts, rashguards, and even dresskini styles.

Land’s End also offers plenty of cover-ups with built-in sun protection, including dresses, tees, shorts, and skirts in a variety of colors, prints, and sizes. Much of the brand’s clothing also has The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation including the Women’s Perfect Suit One Piece and the Women’s Swim Fabric Skirts.

While most of the line is at a moderate price point, some of the pieces with technical features like tummy control and Slendertex fabric can be pricier.

Best technical plus-size brand

columbia sportswear luke combs fishing
Luke Combs fishing in Columbia Sportswear

Columbia Sportwear uses its proprietary technology to make high-quality UPF clothing for fishing, hiking, trail running, and traveling and is one of the few brands to offer sizes up to 5X and 3X for men and women, respectively.

Pros: Range of sizes; durable, technical gear; sport-specific which includes fishing gear at a larger size; widely available, affordable

Cons: Women’s sizes max out at 3X

It’s no surprise that one of the leading technical outdoor apparel brands would make great sun-protectant clothing. Columbia Sportswear’s UPF items feature Omni-Shade™ Sun Deflector tech, which utilizes reflective dots to deflect sunlight away from your body, while the Omni-Shade™ fabric itself is tightly constructed with UV absorbers to keep any rays that do make it through off your skin. Its sun-protectant clothing is also sweat-wicking to keep you cool and dry on hot days.

The brand offers a huge range of UPF clothing — including tops, bottoms, jackets, hats, gaiters, gloves, even cute jumpsuits and dresses — for most every outdoor activity that has you baking under the sun (namely fishing, trail running, hiking, and traveling). What’s more, Columbia offers these protective items to fit a range of sizes, up to a 5X for men and a 3X for women. While quite a few brands on this list make UPF clothing up to a 3X for women as week, Columbia’s gear overall is some of the most popular with plus-size adventurers for durable, technical, and functional needs.

Popular options include super functional picks like the PFG Tamiami™ II Long Sleeve Shirt, PFG Tidal Deflector™ Hoodie, and the Anytime Outdoor™ Long Shorts, as well as clothing that’ll keep you looking cute but also protected like the Anytime Casual™ Skort and the PFG Freezer™ III Dress (ideal for vacations!). — Rachael Schultz

Brands for UPF hats, gloves, and other accessories

black girls beach sun hat

Coolibar has an extensive collection of UPF 50+ clothing and accessories — everything from scarfs and hats, to beach shawls and even gardening gloves— that look good and offer solid protection.

Seirus Innovation is a partially black-owned business and one of the leading brands for sun-protectant accessories. It makes UPF gloves, neck gaiters, and a wide variety of sun hats that have the helpful ability to physically connect to the neck gaiters for serious skin protection.

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