Looking for the best natural and eco-friendly lip balm to nourish your dry lips sustainably? Read on for my top recommendations – from vegan-friendly brands to plastic-free and zero-waste lip balm brands.
I’m sure we all know someone who has five lip balms on the go at all times – with one in every bag or coat pocket. Personally? I just tend to turn to lip balm in winter when the combination of cold weather and central heating dries out my lips.
Whatever your lip balm preferences, in the UK alone, we collectively spend around £60,000 a year on lip balms and salves alone.
The problem is that plastic lip balm tubes are quite complicated to recycle. Unless they are recycled in specialist TerraCycle facilities, then the vast majority of these plastic tubes will end up in landfill.
What’s the Problem With Petroleum Jelly?
Waste aside, many lip balms have quite a problematic ingredient. That being petroleum jelly.
What is the problem with petroleum jelly, exactly? Well, petroleum jelly is, as the name suggests, a product of the oil industry. It’s a byproduct of petroleum, which is a form of crude oil.
This means petroleum jelly isn’t sustainable or renewable and its use encourages further extraction of fossil fuels that contribute to our climate crisis.
It certainly sounds horrific to use petroleum jelly on our lips – or anywhere else on our body for that matter. However, brands use it because it’s a really cheap ingredient, compared to other natural ingredients.
Petroleum jelly is also a popular choice when it comes to lip products because it repels water. This means it’s not easily washed off your lips, so it cheaply and easily creates a long-lasting barrier to the elements.
The Best Eco-Friendly Lip Balm Brands To Sustainably Nourish Dry Lips
Thankfully there are lots of eco-friendly brands out there that steer clear of petroleum jelly. Instead, they use sustainable and natural ingredients that are just as effective, if not more effective, than their fossil fuel-based equivalents.
Don’t know where to start? Here are my top eco-friendly lip balm recommendations, so you can pucker up sustainably!
If you are looking for truly plastic-free and zero-waste lip balm, then Ethique is definitely one brand to look into.
Packaged in a home compostable cardboard tube, when it’s done, simply pop the tube and box into your compost bin. Alternatively, you can bury it in your garden, where it will break down in the soil.
Just because the tube is made of cardboard, doesn’t make it fragile. The tube is surprisingly robust and can handle being tossed around in your bag or pocket.
As well as caring for the planet, Ethique’s eco-friendly lip balms do good for people. Its palm oil-free balms are made with fairly traded sustainable ingredients from Rwanda, Ghana and Samoa. Ethique says this helps to support predominantly women-owned farming cooperatives.
Ethique also says that direct trade ensures that local growers receive stable prices and, reliable income.
But do their balms do good for your lips?
I tried out the So Cocoa lip balm. It was a nice chunky size – about twice the size of a standard chapstick – and so richly moisturising. It’s packed full of organic, fair-trade cocoa butter – hence the delicious chocolatey smell. Moringa, jojoba and castor and Vitamin E oils are also added for extra moisture.
If the taste of chocolate isn’t your thing, then try out the other varieties. These include an unscented variety, cooling peppermint, or pink grapefruit and vanilla.
A tinted eco-friendly lip balm is also available. I personally haven’t tried it. However, from what I have read it’s not as moisturising as the other eco-varieties. If your lips are particularly dry, then you might want to give the tinted one a miss.
Buy from Sephora UK for £6.50 for 9 g.
We Love The Planet
We Love the Planet’s range of eco-friendly lip balms again comes in a compostable cardboard tube. Pop these in your compost bin or soil when you are done, and they will break down, leaving no trace behind.
We Love the Planet’s range of vegetarian-friendly (but not vegan-friendly) balms are made using the highest quality, natural and organic oils and butters. This includes beeswax, coconut oil and vitamins E and C to help nourish, hydrate, soften and protect your lips.
Whilst the balms are free from synthetic substances, such as SLS, this lip balm does contain palm oil. We Love The Planet says that this is sustainably sourced. However, there are doubts if palm oil can ever be sustainably sourced.
On the other side of the coin, palm oil alternatives could be worse for the environment. It’s certainly an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum.
Palm oil aside, this soft stick has an easily spreadable consistency. This means it glides onto your lips with ease, without any drag, for easy moisturisation.
Fair Squared Fair Trade Lip Balm
Fair Squared’s Shea lip balm is handmade with Fairtrade ingredients. However, that’s not the only reason that you’ll fall in love with this eco-friendly lip balm. It’s got a whole heap of other positive attributes.
As well as being suitable for both vegans and vegetarians, the balm is free from animal testing. It’s also free from petroleum, palm oil, perfume, parabens, phthalates, triclosan and SLS. In short, Fair Squared have left out all of the bad stuff, and just kept the good stuff in!
The richly moisturising shea butter protects and nourishes dry, chapped lips, whilst being kind to the most sensitive of skin. Simply swipe on to leave your lips soft and supple with a subtle sheen.
This eco-friendly lip balm is also plastic-free. It comes in a recyclable glass jar, with a recyclable metal lid. Alternatively, reuse the jar for making your own balms.
What’s more, Fair Squared have been part of the Fair Trade movement for many years. The brand believes that all people involved in the supply chain – be it the farmers, producers, suppliers or manufacturers – should benefit from their Fair Trade philosophies.
Fair Squared also distributes free condoms to assist in preventative work in the fight against AIDS.
Buy from Ethical Superstore for £8.50 for 20 g.
MOA The Green Fairy Hand & Lip Balm
MOA’s The Green Fairy dual-purpose hand and lip balm is a non-greasy vegan and cruelty-free formula. As well as softening dry cuticles, and hands, its richly moisturising formula works wonders on your lips.
Described as a little tin of salvation, it’s the perfect size to carry in your bag or pocket. Simply apply sparingly to thirsty hands and lips in need of a little extra care and protection.
Packed full of castor oil, shea and cocoa butter, this helps to soothe and condition your skin. Candelilla wax provides a nourishing, protective coating.
Meanwhile, the blend of essential oils including, brightening grapefruit and lemon peel and aromatic peppermint, fennel and aniseed ensure this eco-friendly lip balm smells and tastes delicious.
This Soil Association-certified organic balm is made in the UK without the use of petrochemicals, such as mineral oil. It’s also free from drying alcohol, palm oil, parabens, SLS, phthalates, fillers or artificial fragrances.
The packaging is completely free from plastic. Once done, simply wash out the tin and place it in your metal recycling. Alternatively, find a way to reuse the pretty fairy-embossed tin.
The Beauty Kitchen Natruline
The Beauty Kitchen’s eco-friendly Natruline lip balm offers a petroleum-free alternative to Vaseline. Containing only natural ingredients, this vegan-friendly palm oil-free blend is scientifically proven to moisturise and protect lips for up to 8 hours.
The three simple yet effective natural and cruelty-free ingredients – castor seed oil, castor oil and carnauba wax – creates a natural moisture barrier.
The Beauty Kitchen says this allows the skin to breathe much better than petroleum jelly, whilst keeping your lips soft, beautiful and healthy, whatever the weather.
Because of the super simple ingredients, this fragrance-free salve is suitable for even the driest and most sensitive of lips.
Here’s to super-soft sustainable lips!
Check out my guide to plastic-free makeup for more skincare recommendations.