Why Ingredients Matter More in Lip Balm

Why Ingredients Matter More in Lip Balm

Have you ever wondered whyyy your lips are so dry when the rest of your skin is totally fine? Or why you have to reapply lip balm 10,000 times a day yet the dry lip cycle never stops?

Well, two reasons. One, your lips are a lot more delicate and high maintenance than the rest of your body (more on that later). And two, not all lip balms are created equally. Many lip balms are packed with low-quality filler ingredients that actually make your lips drier and keep them in a never-ending cycle of desert dryness.

In today’s blog, we’re chatting about lip balm ingredients to avoid, which ones to embrace to finally stop the dryness madness, and also the full tea on why your lips are so much more HM than the rest of your skin.

Common lip balm ingredients that make your lips drier

Why so many lip balms don’t work: they’re full of ingredients which dry out and irritate your lips. Pretty counterintuitive right? I mean, isn’t fighting dryness the whole point of a lip balm? Avoid the following ingredients to stop the madness:

Phenol and menthol: While these artificial minty compounds give a momentary cooling sensation, they also dry out and irritate your lips. Instead, opt for organic nature-made peppermint and spearmint essential oils like in our Organic Pacific Mint Lip Balm for a natural cooling sensation that heals instead of harms.

blue heron botanicals organic mint pacific lip balm

Salicylic acid: used in many acne products, salicylic acid is very drying to normal skin so you can just image how drying it would be to the delicate skin on your lips.

Alcohol: most alcohols are very drying and irritating to your lips – the opposite of what you want from a lip balm!

Artificial pigments: often harbor toxic heavy metals that you wouldn’t want anywhere near your skin, let alone in a lip balm that you ingest all day! Artificial pigments can also be incredibly irritating and drying.

Petrolatum: This ingredient is like cling wrap for your lips - it blocks oxygen, worsening dryness.

Lip balm for dinner, anyone?

Fact: we end up eating about 4 tubes of lip balm a year (7lbs in our lifetime!) So, those questionable, toxic ingredients? You’re basically serving them to yourself for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

That’s why we want to be extra careful of the ingredients in our lip balms. Avoid all the above ingredients and anything you wouldn’t normally feel comfortable eating.

And the biggest red flag ingredient to avoid: fragrance. Since companies don’t have to disclose what’s in their fragrance (and many don’t even know), it can be hiding countless chemicals like parabens, phthalates, styrene, formaldehyde, and pretty much any other chemical on the planet. Steer clear of artificial fragrance at all costs – just as you wouldn’t eat an unlabeled stick of unknown chemicals, don’t apply and ingest any product full of unknown and potentially toxic ingredients.

Why our lips are so prone to dryness and sensitive to ingredients

Your lip skin is much thinner

While the rest of your skin has 16 layers of cells, your lips only have 3-6 layers. And that outer protective coating called the stratum corneum is much thinner on your lips than any other part of your body. Hence why they’re so much more delicate and prone to dryness and environmental damage.

woman applying blue heron botanicals lip balm

Your lips don’t sweat or produce oil

While the rest of your body can sweat and produce oil to regulate moisture, your lips have no sweat or sebaceous glands to hydrate themselves. So, if you’re a little low on H20 or in a too dry, too warm, or too cold climate (so basically always 🙄), dry lips ensue.

This is why we created our bestselling organic lip balms. We were tired of the never-ending lip balm application marathon and wanted to actually solve the problem. Enter our bestselling organic lip balms handcrafted with the highest quality nature-gifted ingredients known for their powerful healing properties. Whereas most lips balms are oily and rub off quickly, we formulated our award-winning formula with a higher wax and butter content to prevent slipping and keep your balm lasting all day long.   

Our Founder, Theora grew up skiing in Vermont and needed a serious lip balm that would protect and hydrate her lips in the harsh winter winds and freezing temps. If you’re a cold weather queen, you know what we’re talking about!

On the nerves

With over a million nerve endings and no protective membrane, your lips are one of the most sensitive areas on your body. Why though? All these extra nerve endings are the first line of defense against extreme temperatures.

They’re like the extremely needy, high-maintenance friend who always forgets their sweater and will only accept Pellegrino when thirsty.  

Our lip-loving ingredients

Our lip balms are handcrafted in California with the highest quality, deeply nourishing organic medicinal herbs and botanicals, waxes, butters, and essential oils each chosen specifically for its ability to heal, hydrate, protect, and repair your lips. Not to mention the delicious essential oils that smell amazing and help create calm in a world full of chaos!

We have 8 distinctive lip balm formulas each with unique botanicals and essentials oil, but let’s talk about a few of our favorite ingredients found in many of our formulas (read our detailed ingredients descriptions included on every product page for more!):

blue heron botanicals lip balms

Organic Beeswax

Mother Nature's moisturizer, beeswax helps attract and retain moisture to protect and repair dry, chapped lips.

Organic Shea Nut Butter

Our favorite skin softener, shea butter is rich in fatty acids which nourish and hydrate deeply. Rich in vitamins A, E, and F, shea butter acts as barrier, protecting your lips from sun, wind, and dry air to keep lips healthy and hydrated even in the harshest of conditions.

Organic Cocoa Butter

Packed with antioxidants and vitamin E, cocoa butter is the holy grail of hydration – softening, smoothing, and nourishing deeply. It creates a protective barrier against the elements, blocking damaging free radicals and retaining moisture even in the harshest of conditions.  

Organic Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil has not been given the hype it deserves. Packed with vitamins A, D, and E, and rich in oleic acids, lecithin and unsaturated fats, sunflower oil tops the moisturizer throne. It’s especially impactful for super dry, weathered, or damaged skin.

Organic Castor Oil

You’ve probably heard of the magic of castor oil for your hair and lashes, and it’s just as fortifying for your lips. Deeply soothing, castor oil acts as a protective barrier between you and the environment – preventing the dryness, cracking, and irritation that can come with sun, wind, and extreme temps.

Kukui Nut Oil

Straight from the Hawaiian islands, this exotic oil quickly absorbs into the skin, moisturizing and nourishing dry, chapped lips.

Red Raspberry Seed Oil

Packed with antioxidants and fatty acids, this fruity oil fights inflammation and protects your lips from free radicals, plus it naturally blocks UV rays!

Organic Lemon Balm Essential Oil and Organic Infused Lemon Balm Oil

The magic cure for cold sores, lemon balm reduces cold sore healing time and prevents breakouts altogether. Not to mention, it smells delectable. Learn more about the mind and body benefits of lemon balm in our blog.

Organic Comfrey Leaf and Root

Known for its wound healing power, comfrey prevents scars from developing and increases cell turnover to heal dry, cracked lips and cold sores faster.

theora making blue heron botanicals lip balm

What our community says

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The only lip balm that actually works

“This is a fantastic formula. it's the only lip balm that has actually worked for my extremely chapped lips. not only that, it's healing and soothing for my eczema, too. I love the fact it comes in paper packaging.”


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I absolutely love this lip balm

“I absolutely love this lip balm. It has lasted so long, it nourishes my lips, And I’m thrilled to not be using any plastic. What a brilliant product. I’ve just made my second purchase. Thank you.”


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It’s my absolute favorite!!

This is the ONLY balm (lavender lemon) that brings my lips back to a healthy state (in one day!!) after I abuse them with gross lip stains. :) It’s my absolute favorite!!


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Great product!

“Bought the Cali Orange lip balm at a small shop in Joshua Tree CA. Love it!! Squeezed everything I could out of the tube and even scraped out the excess on the sides after. I live at high altitude so my lips are always dry but the tube lasted me over two months. Plastic-free packaging held up great in my bag despite me taking it out and putting it back in often. Great product!”


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I am a forever customer

I’ve used many effective lip balms but this one has become my favorite. I don’t need to keep reapplying because it works a long time. Love love the paper tube too. I’m a forever customer!