Intensive Lip Masks: Review and Ratings
In Stuff I Recommend You Buy and Use (2023 Edition), I recommended some adorable little Vaseline cocoa butter lip balms. I still highly recommend these; they are cheap, smell delicious, and do a good job of softening my chronically chapped lips. But recently I went down a skincare rabbit hole and decided I wanted to try a lip mask for even more intense moisturization. I ended up buying an excessive number so I could try a variety of different price points, so in an attempt to justify this to myself, I’ve written up my findings below.
(Note: some of these are Amazon affiliate links)
Best luxury: Auric Plush Ritual Ceramide Lip Treatment
$33 for 0.11 oz ($300 / Ounce)
I think a good heuristic for gifts is "higher-end versions of items you know the person likes and uses, that they wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves because it seems too extravagant," and at $300 per ounce I would definitely consider this extravagant! However, it is a delight to use, and it's so hydrating a little goes a long way. It feels incredibly luxurious, both in terms of the packaging and the formula. It comes in a little two layer pot, the top layer contains a teeny mirror and a hand-carved spatula so you can apply it without getting your fingers messy, it's adorable. The formula is smooth and creamy, and leaves my lips feeling buttery soft. The scent verges on slightly sickly sweet for me, but it's still pleasant. It comes in three shades: ~nude, ~red, ~berry. The nude doesn't really add any pigment to my lips but it gives a nice shine, it's good to wear over lip liner for a subtle “my lips but better” look. I was pleasantly surprised at how pigmented the others were!
Best budget: CeraVe Healing Ointment
$14.99 for 12 oz ($1.25 / Ounce)
This is a bit of an outlier in the products I tested: it's not specifically for lips, and it comes in a massive 12 oz tub - i.e. unlike the others, it's not one for carrying around in your purse. Like Auric, it contains ceramides, but also hyaluronic acid, two key moisurizing ingredients. Honestly, the formula felt pretty similar to the higher-end products I tried - I really liked it. It certainly doesn't feel like a luxury experience: it doesn't have any discernible scent (though this could be a good thing if you're sensitive to that), and the packaging is very utilitarian. But I think it's pretty handy to keep on your nightstand for emergency moisture, and it is orders of magnitude cheaper than the other options on this list!
Best all-rounder: Burt's Bees Overnight Intensive Lip Treatment (Natural Ceramides)
$8.99 for 0.25 oz ($35.96 / Ounce)
The packaging is simple but it feels sleek and classy; it's small and convenient to carry around. I love the minty scent - it feels fresh and not overly sweet. The formula is smooth and silky but not too heavy, and leaves my lips feeling super hydrated and soft. It doesn't come with an applicator, and in general it doesn't quite have the "luxury gift" factor of Auric, but it's one I anticipate buying for myself over and over again.
Others I tried
$18.01 for 0.7 oz ($26.88 / Ounce)
I don't know if I got a bad batch or a fake, but I didn't like this one at all. The texture was extremely gritty, it didn't apply smoothly, and generally felt unpleasant. I only used it a couple of times before giving up so I'm not sure how effective it is if you keep at it.
$19.20 for 0.7 oz ($27.43 / Ounce)
This one is fine. The vanilla scent is fine. The silky texture is fine. The packaging is fine. The price is fine. If it wasn't for how much I liked the Burt's Bees option, this one could have been my recommendation for a decent all-rounder. It has a lot of good reviews, but it just didn't blow me away for some reason. It doesn't contain ceramides, which is a shame.
$20.00 for 0.35 oz ($57.14 / Ounce)
This one is also fine - it feels like a slightly higher end version of the other LANEIGE one. I like the packaging a lot, it comes with a pleasing stick applicator that pops into a hole in the lid, and looks like a cute little button. It has the "luxury gift" factor, but I think there are other formulas I prefer in terms of texture and scent. Like the other LANEIGE option, it also doesn't contain ceramides.