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The best lip masks to heal dry lips, according to dermatologists

Lip masks can help protect you from painful cracking and bleeding by locking in moisture.
Lip skin is both thin and delicate, which gives it a tendency to dry out. To combat this, experts recommend using a lip mask, which helps create a barrier and seal in moisture.
Lip skin is both thin and delicate, which gives it a tendency to dry out. To combat this, experts recommend using a lip mask, which helps create a barrier and seal in moisture.Kara Birnbaum / NBC

If you’re not careful, the dry winter air can do a number on your lips. Lack of moisture can lead to painful cracking and bleeding, but if you prepare ahead of time, a lip mask can help prevent dryness. They’re designed to retain moisture by creating a barrier between your lips and harsh wind or environmental pollutants.

We spoke to dermatologists to learn more about how lip masks work, what ingredients to look for when shopping and the major differences between a lip mask and a lip balm. Plus, we compiled a list of their top lip mask recommendations, along with some of NBC Select staffers’ own go-to products.

SKIP AHEAD The best lip masks | How to shop for lip masks

Selected.Our top picks

How we picked the best lip masks

When deciding which lip mask is best for you, our experts recommend keeping the following factors in mind:

  • Ingredients: Lip masks with moisturizing ingredients, including coconut oil and jojoba oil, are common. You’ll also see formulas that focus on retaining and locking in moisture — petrolatum and beeswax are key ingredients that do so. Some masks will have aspects of both, like honey and shea butter. 
  • Formula: Lip masks typically come in tubs, tubes or sheet masks. Tubs tend to be the most common and are easy to apply; tubes offer a more sanitary approach, while sheet masks are great for a quick fix, according to Dr. Erum Ilyas, a board-certified dermatologist in Philadelphia. 
  • Price: Lip products are generally more affordable compared to other skin care products like eye creams or serums. Masks on our list vary in price, but most cap at $30.

Best lip masks of 2024

We asked dermatologists for their favorite lip masks and lip treatments, including overnight lip masks and sheet masks. We also rounded up some highly rated options and NBC Select staff favorites that align with expert guidance.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Both Chiu and Ilyas recommend Laneige’s antioxidant- and hyaluronic acid-rich Lip Sleeping Mask.  It comes in various scents, including vanilla and berry, and packaged with a tiny applicator so your hands never have to touch your lips. “I never want to use another lip product after using this,” says NBC Select commerce editor Lindsay Schneider. “I love that I still wake up in the morning with it on my lips — it actually has staying power and I don’t need to reapply it every hour. I also like to wear it during the day. It’s a little thicker than your standard balm, but looks glossy and light on my lips.”

Tatcha Kissu Lip Mask

Chiu recommends this fragrance-free mask for people with sensitive lips. It has squalene, which is a natural occlusive that your body produces, and peach extract that often heals the lips without any stickiness, says Chiu. NBC Select editorial operations manager Shari Uyehara uses it and says it has a softening and smoothing effect on her lips that’s noticeable the following morning. 

Jouer Cosmetics Overnight Conditioning & Repairing Lip Mask

This lip mask will leave your lips soft thanks to the jojoba oil, shea butter, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid in its formula, according to Weitz. It’s specifically designed for overnight use and should be wiped off in the morning. Although the mask has a thick consistency, reviewers say it still has a lightweight feel.

Farmacy Beauty Apple Peptide Lip Smoothie

You can use this lip balm during the day or as an overnight mask since the consistency isn’t too thin and isn’t uncomfortably thick, according to NBC Select associate reporter Bianca Alvarez. It has apple extract to moisturize, vitamin C to smoothen lip lines and shea butter to soften lips, according to the brand. “After I apply it, I wake up and can feel a noticeable difference and actually see the cracked areas return to their normal moisturized state,” says Alvarez.

Ilia Lip Wrap Treatment Mask

Ilia’s treatment mask “pretty much hits all the ingredients,” according to Chiu. It has papaya enzymes to exfoliate the skin on your lips, hyaluronic acid for hydration and shea butter to lock in moisture and create a barrier without being overly sticky, according to Chiu. It also has a lavender-chamomile scent, and like other masks on our list, you can wear it overnight as a soothing treatment.

Fenty Skin Plush Puddin’ Intensive Recovery Lip Mask

The brand’s lip mask, formulated with coconut, pomegranate and jojoba oils, leaves your lips smooth and gives you a “firmer and plumper-looking pout in one week,” according to the brand. The entire pot and outer box are recyclable, according to Fenty, and the product is vegan and cruelty-free. It’s also infused with a light vanilla scent and can be applied to lips as needed.

Nooni Applebutter Lip Mask

This mask is a relatively affordable and effective option, according to Chiu. It has lactic acid to help exfoliate the top layer of skin, and shea butter and jojoba oil to moisturize your lips, says Chiu. The mask also has microcrystalline wax, which is an occlusive that seals all that moisture in, according to Chiu.

Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lip Mask

If you’re not fond of the idea of dipping an applicator (or your finger) into a jar over and over again, you might prefer these single-use lip masks from Burt’s Bees. They’re made with natural ingredients like almond oil and sunflower seed oil that “deeply moisturize and penetrate the lip quickly,” according to Chiu.

Henne Organics Lip Mask

For those who prefer a thicker consistency, Chiu recommends this USDA certified-organic mask from Henne. It has beeswax, avocado and jojoba seed oil for moisture and essential oils like peppermint oil (which may cause a tingling sensation) to help blood circulation in the lips, according to the brand. For best results, the brand recommends applying a thick layer and leaving it on for 15-30 minutes, then gently wipe off the excess using a tissue. If you are using it as an overnight mask, the sea buckthorn in its formula may stain your pillowcase, according to the brand.

Vaseline Blueseal Original Pure Petroleum Jelly

Vaseline is a hydration favorite of many NBC Select staffers, including NBC Select updates editor Mili Godio.  While this product is technically an ointment, many people use it as they would a lip mask, like NBC Select editorial projects manager Rebecca Rodriguez, who says she applies it to her lips every night before bed and throughout the day. This product is creamy and non-drying, according to the brand, and people often use it to help treat chapped lips and add extra moisture. Petroleum jelly is a staple product that can also be used to treat minor wounds, like cuts and scrapes, relieve dry skin elsewhere, rehydrate nails and more, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Ranger Balm

You can use this sensitive and eczema-prone skin multipurpose balm as a moisturizer, beard balm, lip mask and even hair mask, according to the brand. “It makes an ideal lip mask because it’s rich in fatty acids, restorative ceramides, vitamins and antioxidants,” says Weitz. “This is one of my favorite masks to hydrate, nourish and soothe dry or cracked lips.” The solid balm, which turns into an oil on contact, has ingredients like coconut oil and sunflower seed wax that will hydrate your lips and help them retain moisture, according to the brand.

Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Gloss Balm

You can use this gloss balm throughout the day as well as overnight treatment. “When my lips are extremely chapped, I scoop a tiny amount of this thick mask from its tub — a little goes a long way, and my dry lips immediately feel a sense of relief that lasts throughout the night and into the following day,” says Alvarez. The mask has ingredients like hyaluronic acid to moisturize and hydrate, a plum blend  to protect the lips from environmental aggressors and raspberry extract to hydrate and retain moisture, according to the brand.

Kaplan MD Perfect Pout Lip Mask

Chiu recommends this lip mask for daytime use since it has antioxidants in its formula. (Antioxidants protect the skin from environmental aggressors, like UV light and pollution, according to Ilyas.) This mask also has papaya extract to exfoliate, while hyaluronic acid attracts moisture, says Chiu. If you want to target fine lines around and on your lips, leave it on for 10 minutes (as compared to five) before using a damp cloth to wipe any excess. If you have extremely dry lips, you can also use this mask as an overnight treatment, according to the brand.

Then I Met You Honey Dew Lip Mask

This lip mask, which comes in tube form, helps hydrate, moisturize and gently exfoliate your lips during the day and at night. It has squalane and honey to help your skin maintain moisture, melon to protect lips from free radicals, lactic acid to remove dead skin and avocado oil to moisturize, according to the brand. With a 4.4-average star rating from over 250 reviews at Then I Met You, reviewers say it’s great to leave on during the day because of its shiny and glossy appearance.

NCLA Beauty Overnight Lip Mask

This vegan, clean and cruelty-free mask from NCLA Beauty is formulated with shea and mango seed butters, castor seed oil and vitamin E, according to the brand. Plus, it’s available in four different flavors: birthday cake, watermelon, pink champagne and cucumber mint. “It feels like it sets into my lips a little before bed so it won’t smear away, and it smells delicious,” according to Rodriguez.

How to shop for lip masks

Our experts say lip masks should have ingredients that moisturize, soften and soothe dry lips;sunflower oil, sesame oil, vitamin E, omega fatty acids, linoleum acids and coconut oil are just some examples.

Additionally, here are five other key ingredients that will ensure your lips are properly cared for:

  • Humectants: These attract water from deeper layers of your skin and the environment, according to Weitz. Popular humectants include hyaluronic acid, glycerin and honey.
  • Occlusives: These seal in moisture to help other ingredients penetrate deeper, according to Chiu. Popular occlusives include petroleum, shea butter and other plant-based oils and waxes.
  • Exfoliators: An exfoliator will get rid of dry, dead cells so other ingredients can better penetrate the lip skin, according to Chiu. Examples include pumpkin extract and sugar molecules. You may also find exfoliating ingredients in lip scrubs, which help remove dead skin.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants, commonly found in the form of vitamins C and E, are known to protect the skin against damage from free radicals, according to Ilyas. (Free radical damage can cause fine lines and wrinkles, according to experts in our guide to the best vitamin E skin care products.) They are especially great to have in a lip mask formula because the skin of the lips is especially thin and constantly exposed to environmental aggressors, says Ilyas. Antioxidants can help fight those and also protect your lips against premature aging, fine lines and UV damage, according to experts. 
  • Collagen: Collagen is a protein that provides structure in the skin, bones, joints and muscles, according to Ilyas. Though not a necessity in a lip mask, Weitz says that collagen can be a good ingredient to look for since it can help to plump the lips and add hydration.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Dr. Jeriel Weitz is a board-certified dermatologist at Diane Walder Dermatology in Miami, Florida.
  • Dr. Annie Chiu is a board-certified cosmetic and general dermatologist and founder of The Derm Institute in California.
  • Dr. Erum Ilyas is a board-certified dermatologist with the Schweiger Dermatology group in Pennsylvania. Her expertise includes pediatric and medical dermatology and skin cancer treatment. 

Why trust NBC Select?

Bianca Alvarez is an NBC Select associate reporter covering skin care and hair care, who recently wrote stories on the best blackhead treatments and eye creams. For this piece, she interviewed dermatologists and researched highly rated lip masks on the market that met the guidance of our experts.

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