The Difference Between Lip Balm and ChapStick (and Why It’s Not Really a Big Deal)

When it comes to lip hydration, the words “lip balm” and “ChapStick” are often used interchangeably. While these two can be used with the same meaning in certain contexts, in most cases, the word “ChapStick” is being used incorrectly, but only on a literal sense. In a legal and technical sense, however, here’s why it’s also correct.

What does that mean? Here’s the difference between lip balm vs. ChapStick.

Lip Balm

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Lip balms (also known as lip salves) are waxy substances applied to the outer lip to relieve chapped, cracked, or dry lips. In worse cases, it can medicate or soothe lip conditions like cold sores, cheilitis, or stomatitis. Generally, most lip balms are made with waxy substances. Some of the most popular ingredients include beeswax, carnauba wax, and petroleum jelly. However, some lip balms have added dyes, flavors, fragrances, and other additional features to stand out among all the lip balms available in the market. You can buy lip balms at your local drugstore, supermarket, cosmetics store, women’s makeup store, or online.

Lipstick vs. Lip Tint vs. Lip Balm vs. Lip Gloss

When buying lip balms, don’t be confused between other lip products like lipstick, lip tint, and lip gloss. While some lip products offer to be a combination of these products, don’t get confused between products as they have very different purposes.

Lipsticks are made with wax and oils that change the color of your lips. These colors are opaque and cover up the natural color of your lips. They can come in various finishes to complement different looks like natural, matte, glossy, sheer, or metallic colors.

Lip tints are made with water and other emollients, giving it a much thinner consistency than lipstick. They also color your lips, but are more translucent and are meant to change the tint on your natural lip color, which means the final color of the pigment relies on the natural color of your lips. Because of their thin consistency, it feels like there is nothing on your lips when applied.

Lip gloss can be solid to translucent, giving your lips a glossy luster and a bit of color, though most lip glosses provide shine without the color. It can be used on top of lipstick or over bare lips. It’s used by people who want to add some color onto their lips without the solid effect lipstick does.

All these lip products can hide lip dryness, but lip balm is the only one that medically soothes lip dryness by keeping moisture intact. Lip balm can be used over bare lips before adding any other lip product to prevent the lip product’s formula from drying out the lips. While not all forms of makeup are inherently bad for your skin, some formulas can cause drying. Matte lipstick, for example, stays much longer than regular lipstick because it dries out your lips.

Types Of Lip Balms

Lip balms come in many forms. Solid lip balm sticks, liquid lip glosses, and tinted lip balms are the most common types of lip balms. Each type of lip balm is designed to target different skin care needs.

Petroleum-Based Lip Balm

This lip balm is made from petroleum jelly, which helps lock in moisture and protect the lips. It’s an affordable option and can be found in most drug stores. Many people use petroleum-based lip balm as an everyday option.

Beeswax-Based Lip Balm

Beeswax is often used as a base for lip balm and provides excellent hydration and moisture. It’s also an effective skin protectant and can help to soothe dry, cracked lips. It’s a great choice for those looking for something with natural ingredients. They can usually be found in health food stores.

Plant-Based Lip Balm

Plant-based organic lip balms are a great choice if you’re looking for something with all-natural ingredients. These products typically contain shea butter, coconut oil, and other natural oils that help to nourish the lips. Plant-based lip balms are often more expensive than other types, but they are an excellent choice for those looking for something with natural ingredients.

Medicated Lip Balm

Medicated lip balms are typically used for more severe cases of dryness and chapping. These products usually contain menthol, camphor, or other active ingredients that can help to soothe and heal the lips. Many medicated lip balms also contain SPF protection to avoid further damage.

SPF Lip Balm

If you want something with SPF protection, then SPF lip balm is a great option. These products are designed to protect your lips from the sun’s UV rays and can help to prevent sunburns. They typically contain higher SPF ratings than regular lip balms, so they’re a great choice for anyone who spends much time outdoors.

Benefits Of Using Lip Balm


Lip balm helps hydrate and moisturize your lips, making them feel soft and smooth. This is especially important during winter when temperatures are lower, and your lips can become dry and cracked. Moisturizing your lips can help to prevent this.


Lip balm also helps to protect your lips from environmental damage. It acts as a barrier and can help to keep out dirt, dust, and other particles that can cause your lips to become dry. It also helps protect them from the sun’s UV rays, which can be damaging if left unprotected.

Soothing and Healing

Many lip balms also contain ingredients that can help to soothe and heal chapped lips. Dry lips can crack and become sore, but using the right lip balm can help to reduce these issues. Some products even contain ingredients that can help speed up healing. Aloe vera, honey, and shea butter are all ingredients that can provide extra care for your lips. Vitamin E is also a great ingredient when shopping for lip balm.

Enhances Appearance

Using lip balm can help to enhance the appearance of your lips. It gives them a natural, glossy sheen that looks great and helps to keep your lips looking healthy and hydrated. Some are also tinted to add color and can be used as an alternative to lipstick.

Convenient and Portable

Lip balm is also convenient and easy to use. It comes in small, portable packages that you can easily carry in your pocket or purse, so you can always have it on hand when needed. You don’t need to worry about carrying around a bottle of lip balm or having to reapply it throughout the day.

Things To Consider While Choosing Lip Balm


It’s essential to look for products with natural and nourishing ingredients. Shea butter, coconut oil, and other natural oils are all great choices. You should also avoid products with strong fragrances or artificial colors, as these can irritate the lips. You should also look for products with SPF protection if you plan on spending a lot of time in the sun.

SPF Protection

If you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors, look for products with higher levels of SPF protection. This will help to keep your lips safe from the sun’s UV rays and can help to prevent sunburns. A good rule of thumb is to look for products with an SPF rating of at least 15.


The texture of the lip balm is also important. It would be best to look for something thick and creamy, as this will provide more moisture and protection for your lips. Avoid products that feel too greasy, as this can leave your lips feeling sticky or uncomfortable. Some products with glitters or shimmer can also cause irritation, so avoid these if possible.

Scent and Flavor

Many lip balms come in various scents and flavors, so you can pick one you like best. If you’re looking for something with a natural scent, look for products that contain essential oils. Avoid products with artificial fragrances or flavors, as these can be irritating to the lips.

Allergies or Sensitivities

Check the ingredients list before you buy to ensure that there are no ingredients you may be allergic or sensitive to. Products with natural ingredients tend to be less irritating, so stick with these if possible.

Pros and Cons Of Lip Balms

Pros Of Using A Lip Balm

Hydration and Moisture

Lip balm helps to keep your lips hydrated and protected from environmental damage. It also helps to soothe and heal chapped lips.


Lip balm helps to protect your lips from the sun’s UV rays and other environmental factors. It also acts as a barrier, keeping out dirt and dust.


Many lip balms come in various scents and flavors, so you can pick one you like best. Some are even tinted for a bit of color. You can also use it before applying lipstick or lip gloss for an extra protective layer.

Various Formulations

There are many different types of lip balms to choose from, including petroleum-based, beeswax-based, plant-based, medicated, and SPF lip balms. So you can pick one that meets your needs.

Easy Application

Lip balm is easy to use and comes in small, portable packaging, so you can take it anywhere. With more precise applicators, you can get that perfect coverage every time.

Cons Of Using A Lip Balm


Using lip balm too often can create a dependency on it, so you’ll need to be careful not to overuse it. If you feel you need to constantly reapply, you may need to change your daily routine.

Potential for Wax Buildup

Some formulations can create a wax buildup on the lips, which can be uncomfortable and challenging to remove. Choosing the right product for your lips and not overusing it is essential.

Allergic Reactions

Some people may be allergic or sensitive to specific ingredients in lip balm. It’s important to check the ingredients list before you buy and avoid products with artificial fragrances or colors.

Limited Color Range

Lip balms may have a limited color range compared to other lip products like lipsticks or lip glosses. You may need to use other products if you want something with more color.

Temporary Solution

While lip balm can help to keep your lips hydrated and protected, it’s only a temporary solution. If you have chronic dryness or chapping, you may want to look into other products for long-term relief.


ChapStick, on the other hand, is a type of lip balm. It is the brand name of lip balms created by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, and one of the most popular types of lip balm to exist, which is why most people think the word “chapstick” the general term for all forms of lip balm and is simply another term that can be used to talk about lip balms in general. To understand why, we have to first look at how lip balms came to be.

Prior to lip balms, people were looking for ways to treat chapped lips. By 1829, people already knew that wax was a possible solution to dry lips since women’s rights activist Lydia Maria Child claimed that placing earwax on your lips can be an effective treatment. This was the earliest recorded type of lip balm, though I think you can see why this wasn’t a very popular home remedy.

In her 1829 book, "The American Frugal Housewife," women's rights activist Lydia Maria Child recommended #earwax as a…

Posted by The Farmers' Museum on Friday, August 26, 2016

It’s unknown if someone else invented more hygienic lip balms between 1829 and 1880. Records imply that there was, but these were likely sold in metal cases and required people to apply lip balm using their fingers. Around the 1880’s, physician Charles Browne Fleet invented the first lip balm in the stick form we know today. He marketed it as ChapStick, and it resembled a “wickless candle wrapped in tin foil.” He tried to sell it locally around his home of Lynchburg, Virginia, but it was unsuccessful. He would go on to invent laxatives and later start his own company, C.B. Fleet, which sells laxatives and other rectal products to this day.

Back in 1912, however, Fleet sold the rights to ChapStick to John Morton, a Lynchburg resident, for $5 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, Morton bought the rights and formula for for around $135 today. Together with his wife, they improved the look of the ChapSticks, which proved to be a success. They became so successful that their sales allowed them to start the Morton Manufacturing Corporation. In 1935, they paid commercial artist Frank Wright Jr. $15 ($284 if adjusted for 2019 inflation) to create the ChapStick logo that’s still being used today.

In 1963, Morton Manufacturing Corporation sold ChapStick to The A.H. Robins Company. There, the company developed flavored ChapStick and other medically beneficial variants over the next three decades. The company itself was purchased by American Home Products in 1988. This company later became known as Wyeth, which would later be acquired by Pfizer. ChapStick would later be sold to Fareva Richmond, a manufacturing company that makes ChapStick for Pfizer.

Types Of ChapSticks

Traditional ChapStick

Traditional ChapStick is the classic original formula that helps protect and soothe your lips with its petrolatum base. The petrolatum helps to lock in moisture and provide long-lasting hydration.

Medicated ChapStick

Some people may experience frequent chapping or irritation from the elements. Medicated ChapStick contains special ingredients such as menthol and phenol to help soothe and protect your lips. Camphor is also used to help keep your lips feeling cool and refreshed.

Tinted ChapStick

If you don’t want to sacrifice color for protection, you may want to try a tinted ChapStick. These formulas provide hydration and protection while giving your lips a hint of color.

Flavored ChapStick

Classic ChapStick doesn’t have to be boring! Flavored ChapSticks come in various flavors, like mint, strawberry, and watermelon. They help to keep your lips hydrated and provide a yummy burst of flavor, helping to make your lips feel and taste good.

Organic or Natural ChapStick

Organic or natural ChapStick is a good choice for those seeking an alternative to traditional chapstick. These formulas typically contain organic ingredients such as natural waxes, oils, and butter to help nourish and protect your lips. They may also contain antioxidants to help defend against free radical damage.

Benefits Of Using ChapSticks


ChapStick, a lip balm brand, helps keep your lips moisturized and hydrated. The ingredients help to lock in moisture and provide long-lasting relief from dryness and chapping.


The stick form of ChapStick makes it easy to use, apply, and carry anywhere. It’s small enough to fit into any pocket or purse, making it a convenient choice to protect your lips on the go.


ChapStick provides a protective barrier against the elements. It helps to protect your lips from sun and wind exposure, which can cause irritation and damage.


ChapStick comes in various flavors, formulas, and tints to suit your needs. You can choose from classic original chapstick, tinted formulas, and even flavored chapsticks to give your lips a little extra love.

Things To Consider While Choosing ChapStick


When choosing a ChapStick formula, make sure to check the ingredients list. Avoid products that contain fragrances or artificial coloring agents, as these can irritate sensitive skin. It’s also important to ensure that the ChapStick you choose contains natural ingredients such as beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil.

SPF Protection

You want your lips to stay protected, so look for a ChapStick with an SPF rating of at least 15. This will ensure your lips are shielded from UVA and UVB rays.


The texture of your ChapStick is also important. Stick with a formula that glides on smoothly and isn’t too thick or greasy. Although, if you find that thicker formulas give you the most moisturization, then by all means, go for it!

Scent and Flavor

Not everyone likes vanilla or bubblegum-flavored ChapStick, so it’s essential to find a flavor or scent you enjoy. There are a variety of flavors and fragrances, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one you like.

Allergies or Sensitivities

If you have allergies or sensitivities, avoiding certain ingredients is best. For example, if you are allergic to coconut oil, it’s best to go with a ChapStick that does not contain this ingredient. Reading the ingredients list before purchasing is highly recommended.

Pros and Cons Of ChapStick

Pros Of Using A Chapstick

Effective Moisturization

ChapStick helps to lock in moisture and keep lips hydrated. Just like the skin, your lips must be moisturized to stay healthy.

Convenience and Portability

The stick form of ChapStick makes it easy to use, apply, and carry anywhere. It’s small enough to fit into any pocket or purse, making it a convenient choice to protect your lips on the go.

Protective Barrier

When you use ChapStick, you provide your lips with a protective barrier. This helps to shield your lips from the element and even food products that may cause irritation or damage your lips.

Versatile Use

Anyone can use ChapStick. No matter what your skin type, there is a ChapStick formula to suit everyone. Men, children, and even those with sensitive skin can benefit from ChapStick.


Chapsticks are often more affordable than lip care products like lip oils or lip treatments. You can find ChapStick for as little as a few dollars, making it an affordable and practical choice.

Cons Of Using A Chapstick

Limited Treatment Options

ChapStick is great for providing hydration and a protective barrier. However, it offers no long-term relief from lip issues such as peeling or cracking. You may need to use other treatments and products for more serious lip care.

Wax Buildup

Like anything else, too much of a good thing can be harmful. When you use too much ChapStick, it can cause a wax buildup on your lips. This can be difficult to remove, and it may leave your lips feeling dry and irritated.

Lack of Color Variety

You can find ChapStick in various flavors and formulas, but there may not be enough color options to suit everyone’s taste. The brand does offer some tinted formulas, but they may not be as vivid or pigmented as other brands.

Temporary Relief

Although ChapStick does provide adequate hydration and protection, it only offers temporary relief from dryness. You may need to invest in more intensive treatments or products for lasting relief from chapped lips.

Sensitivity Reactions

Individuals with sensitive skin or allergies may experience adverse reactions to certain chapstick ingredients. You want to read the ingredients list before purchasing and avoid any ingredients that could cause irritation.

Lip Balm vs. Chapstick: Which Is Better For You?

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“Lip balm” refers generally to waxy products used to treat dry lips. “Chapstick,” on the other hand, refers to the brand name of lip balm sold by Pfizer. While Fleet’s ChapStick is the first recorded marketed lip balm product, the fact that many other formulas and types of lip balms were sold at the time means that there were other types of lip balms as well. Aside from ChapStick, several other lip balm companies exist. To name a few, you have:

  • Burt’s Bees
  • Blistex
  • Carmex
  • Labello
  • Lip Smacker
  • Lypsyl
  • EOS

These brands have their own formulas and unique selling points. Because of their varying formulas, some physicians have recommended certain lip balm brands over than others rather than just telling their patients to use lip balm in general. Apparently, some lip balm brands have ingredients that can cause drying, making their chapped lips worse over time.

Why do People still use “ChapStick”?

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Calling Burt’s Bee’s lip balm “Burt’s Bees ChapStick” is like calling L’Oreal corrector concealers “L’Oreal CoverGirl.” It’s a brand name, so literally speaking, it wouldn’t make sense to use a brand name to refer to a product in general.

Legally and technically speaking, however, here’s why people continue to use “ChapStick” as a general term – and why they’re correct.

Generic Trademarks

In the world of trademarks, there’s a term that’s known as “generic trademarks.” These are trademarked brand names that, due to their popularity, the public has began using to refer to the product or service in general, despite what the original manufacturer wanted when they trademarked the brand name.

For example, look at these words: cellophane, escalator, flip phone, mace, onesies, popsicle, realtor. They might seem like generic words to you, but these words actually were once or still are trademarked by companies as their own product or service. However, these were “genericized” because these got so popular as everyday items that people accepted them as the generic term of the item. Eventually, companies just either gave up the trademark or continue to hold the trademark and let the term be genericized (which means their competitors can also use the term) but hold certain intellectual property rights.

ChapStick was not the only lip balm that was available, but the fact that it was the first recorded instance of sold lip balm means that it was pretty popular when the Mortons successfully marketed it outside of their hometown. So, it’s no surprise that, to this day, people refer to lip balm simply as “chapstick” because it’s what was popular during its time.

For a similar example, it’s like when people ask photocopier technicians, “Hey, can you Xerox this for me?” Literally speaking, this shouldn’t make sense because Xerox is the name of the company that made the photocopier. There are plenty of non-Xerox brand photocopiers in the market, but somehow, Xerox’s copiers became popular and so many refer to the act of copying documents as “xerox.”

Another one is when you cut your skin and ask, “Does anyone have a band-aid?” Literally speaking, unless someone specifically has Johnson & Johnson’s Band-Aids, then no one should give you one, even if they do have adhesive bandages – the generic term for Band-Aid. But since the name became so popular, the public just accepted it as the generic name for adhesive bandages.

There are plenty of examples like this. In the ’70s and ’80s, Lego Company practically begged children and adults to call their toys “Lego blocks” and “Lego toys” and not generalize all their products to simply be known as “Legos.” But they became so popular that when other companies also produced toy building blocks, they were called “Legos.” Companies couldn’t stop the public from calling their products “Legos,” but because of Lego’s popularity, they did nothing to change it.

Natural Pink Lips: How To Get?

Undoubtedly, It is essential to ensure that the products you use, such as lip balm, chapstick, or lip tint, help you achieve the objective of preserving the natural beauty of your lips. However, some lip balms or chapsticks may not suit everyone and may result in pigmentation or other undesirable side effects. Exploring natural lip care techniques is therefore crucial.

Indeed, here are some all-natural tips for maintaining healthy and beautiful lips:

  • Keeping properly hydrated is essential. Drink a lot of water to keep your lips internally moisturized.
  • To eliminate dead skin cells, gently exfoliate your lips using a DIY scrub consisting of sugar and honey.
  • Apply natural lip masks to your lips, such as those made of honey or aloe vera gel, to hydrate and soothe them.
  • Use lip balms with SPF to protect your lips from the sun’s harmful UV radiation.

You won’t need to rely on possibly dangerous products if you use the suggestions mentioned above to acquire naturally pink, soft, and healthy lips.

Final Thoughts

Lip balm and ChapStick can be great options for protecting the lips from the sun, wind, and other environmental factors. Both products usually contain natural, nourishing ingredients to help soothe and moisturize your lips. They come in various formulas, scents, and flavors, so you can find the right product.

Before choosing a lip balm or ChapStick, you must check the ingredients list and ensure they have what you need. It’s also important to consider your product’s texture, scent flavor, and SPF protection. With the right lip balm or ChapStick, you can keep your lips hydrated and protected from the elements!

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