• Top 38 Best Japanese Lip Balms to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True! 1
  • Top 38 Best Japanese Lip Balms to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True! 2
  • Top 38 Best Japanese Lip Balms to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True! 3
  • Top 38 Best Japanese Lip Balms to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True! 4
  • Top 38 Best Japanese Lip Balms to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True! 5

Top 38 Best Japanese Lip Balms to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!

If eyes are the windows to your soul, your lips are the shape to its voice. They’re worth taking good care of, especially because they’re tender and prone to aging, just like the rest of your skin. And in Japan, as in America, lip balm is cheap and plentiful, so you’ve plenty of choices–choices between brands, as well as between medicated, tinted, or organic balms.

So which balms are worth your money and which aren’t? To answer that question, we ordered the 38 most popular lip balms from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) and tested for the following:

1. Hydration
2. Application

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese lip balms.
  • Last updated: 10-24-2019
  • 2,603 views
Table of Contents

How to Choose Japanese Lip Balm – Buying Guide

We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the products, but before that, we want to introduce three things you should look out for when picking out a Japanese lip balm.

① Choose Only after You’ve Learned the Differences Between Drugs, OTC Drugs, and Cosmetics

In Japan, lip balm can be considered a drug, an OTC drug (also known as quasi-drug), or a cosmetic. They’re governed by rules that are quite similar to the ones laid out by the FDA and quite intuitive–let’s go over them.

Drugs: Repairs Heavily Irritated or Chapped Lips

Drugs: Repairs Heavily Irritated or Chapped Lips
Lip balms that are drugs※1 will have ingredients that repair severely chapped and irritated lips. Their main purpose is healing–that is, changing something about your body–so you should think of this kind of balm as medicine, rather than basic skincare. If your lips are really in poor condition, then consult with a specialist about what kind medication would be right for you.
※1 医薬品: drug

OTC Drugs: Prevents Chapping or Irritation

OTC Drugs: Prevents Chapping or Irritation
Many OTC drugs※2 are also labeled as “medicated※3,” and they’re meant to prevent irritation. That means you should be using medicated lip balm as a protective measure and not to repair cracked or bleeding lips.
※2 医薬部外品: translated here as OTC drug (also often known as a quasi- or semi-drug)
※3 薬用: medicated

Cosmetics: Hydrates and Acts as a Tint or as a Base for Lipstick

Cosmetics: Hydrates and Acts as a Tint or as a Base for Lipstick
Most cosmetic lip balms are packed with hydrating ingredients. You can also find cosmetic balms that have SPF, are tinted or scented, or are meant to be used as a base for lipstick. If you’re looking for a balm that can hydrate and double as makeup, then you’re looking for a cosmetic.

② Then Choose Something with Hydrating Ingredients

What’s a balm if it doesn’t hydrate? Below are some ingredients you should be searching for.

Naturally-Occurring Ingredients are Safe and Gentle

Naturally-Occurring Ingredients are Safe and Gentle
There is not one cosmetic ingredient that is supposed to be dangerous, but if you’re worried about the possibility of unknown side effects cropping up, then look for materials that are naturally occurring. Honey and hyaluronic acid draw in water from the air and are quite effective.
You also want oil, which acts as a lid and seals in moisture: squalane, as well as jojoba, castor, olive, and macadamia seed oil are good choices. Botanical extracts are generally non-irritating and can keep lips hydrated for hours. However, depending on the person, they can stir up allergic reactions. It’s best to use ingredients you’re familiar and comfortable with.

Petroleum Jelly Locks in Moisture

Petroleum Jelly Locks in Moisture
Petroleum jelly is often used in skincare. It forms a membrane over skin that not only keeps water from evaporating, but also shields against irritants. That means it doesn’t actually moisturize deep into the skin; it simply sits on top, making sure nothing escapes or enters.
While petroleum jelly does feel a bit greasy, it’s a must-have for those with dry, flaky lips.

③ Finally, Choose Something that’s Easy to Use

③ Finally, Choose Something that’s Easy to Use
Lip balm can come as a chapstick, or in a tube or jar. Chapsticks are easy to apply and carry around. They’re solid, though, and can tug on your lips. You want to stay away from chapsticks that are too hard as they rub against skin, and the friction can end up doing more harm than good.
Then there’s balms that come in a tube or jar. Most of these are slightly more liquid in form; they melt when exposed to body heat, spreading onto and absorbing into skin easily. These are best for when your lips are feeling a bit tender or irritated. The only thing is, most of the time, you have to apply with either your finger or a cotton swab, so they can get messy.

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them
Now to introduce the 38 most popular Japanese lip balms that we ordered and the process by which we tested them.
{The Products We Tested}
1. DHC Medicated Lip Cream (DHC 薬用リップクリーム)
2. Mentholatum Melty Cream Lip (メンソレータム メルティクリームリップ)※
3. NIVEA Deep Moisture Lip (ニベア ディープモイスチャーリップ)※
4. Mentholatum Lip Baby Natural (メンソレータム リップベビーナチュラル)
5. PAX NATURON Lip Cream (パックスナチュロン リップクリーム)
6. Curél Moisture Lip Care Cream (キュレル リップケアスティック)
7. CareCera Hydrating Lip Cream (ケアセラ 高保湿リップクリーム)
8. Mommy! Lip Cream (マミー リップクリーム)
9. yuskin Lip Care (ユースキンリップケア)
10. ettusais lip essence (エテュセリップエッセンス)
11. recipist moist lip cream (レシピスト うるおいとどめるリップクリーム)
12. yuskin Lip Cream Perilla Essence (ユースキン ブルーナ スキンケア リップクリーム)
13. Mentholatum Deep Moist (メンソレータム ディープモイスト)
14. freeplus medicated lip treatment (フリープラス 薬用 リップトリートメント)
15. Manuka Honey Lip (マヌカハニー リップ)
16. AQUA・AQUA Organic Sweets Lip ~Apple Red~ (アクア・アクアオーガニックスイーツリップ)
17. Lip the Color ~Foggy Rose~ (リップザカラー フォギーローズ)
18. Nivea Rich Care & Color Lip ~Bordeaux~ (ニベア リッチケア&カラーリップ ボルドー)
19. recipist color lip cream ~pure red~ (レシピスト ほんのり色づくリップクリーム ピュアレッド )
20. Atorrege AD+ Medicated Lip Cream (アトレージュAD+ 薬用リップエリア)
21. 24h cosme Natural Lip Cream (24h cosme ナチュラルリップクリーム)
22. Naiad Beeswax Lip Cream (ナイアードビーワックスリップクリーム)
23. DHC Color Lip Cream ~Red~ (DHC 濃密うるみカラーリップ レッド)
24. DHC Extra Moisture Lip Cream (DHC エクストラモイスチュア リップクリーム)
25. Mentholatum Lip fondue ~Aurora 3D Pearl~ (メンソレータム リップフォンデュ オーロラ3Dパール)
26. kate CC lip cream ~01 Blood Red~ (ケイトCCリップクリーム 01 くっきり血色 レッド)
27. Shiseido Water in Lip (資生堂ウォーターインリップ )
28. Menturm Petroleum Jelly (メンターム ワセリン)
29. Country & Stream Natural Honey Lip (カントリー&ストリーム ハニーフルリップ)
30. Mama Butter Natural Shea Butter Lip Treatment (ママバターナチュラル シアバター リップトリートメント)
31. Metholatum Medicated Lip Stick (メンソレータム 薬用リップスティック)
32. Kenei Pharmaceutical Co. Baby Vaseline (健栄製薬ベビーワセリン)
33. Nivea Moisture Lip Unscented (ニベア モイスチャーリップ 無香料 )
34. Nivea Moisture Lip Water Type Unscented (ニベア モイスチャーリップ ウォータータイプ 無香料)
35. ADDICTION Stolen Kiss Enhancer ~001 Bitten Rose~ (アディクション ストールンキス エンハンサー 001)
36. Wonder Honey Juicy Honey Lip ~Plum~ (ワンダーハニー色づくジューシー蜜リップ)
37. Arouge Total Moist Veil Lip Essence (アルージェトータルモイストベール リップエッセンス)
38. Argelan Oil Lip Stick (アルジェラン オイルリップS)
We then tested for each of the following things:
Test ①: Hydration
Test ②: Application
※Mentholatum was bought out by the Japanese company Rohto Pharmaceutical Co. in 1988 and is thus included on this list. Likewise, Nivea is a joint venture between the Japanese corporation Kao and Beiersdorf AG.

Test ①: Hydration

Test ①: Hydration
The first thing we tested for was hydration.
We used a moisture analyzer, the SKICON-200 EX, for this test. We applied all of the lip creams on to our arms and compared the state of our skin before application to its state eight hours after application. We then graded the results using a five step scale (D to A+).
We had our eight test participants stay cooped up in a room where temperature and humidity were kept constant and where they moved as little as possible.

The Big Takeaway: Products Featuring Petroleum Jelly were Great at Retaining Moisture

The Big Takeaway: Products Featuring Petroleum Jelly were Great at Retaining Moisture
Most products that came out on top for hydration featured petroleum jelly in their formulas. Because petroleum jelly seals in moisture, our lips stayed hydrated for the whole of eight hours.
We can’t point out any other definitively moisturizing ingredients, as hydration depends on the overall makeup of the formula–how ingredients play off of each other and how much of each specific ingredient is included–but products that contained squalane and castor oil also tended to work well.

Test ②: Application

Test ②: Application
Next, we tested for how sticky the balms were, whether the packaging was convenient, and how it felt as we were putting them on.
To check for stickiness, first we applied the balms. We then held a bunch of Frisk breath mints against our lips and looked at how many stuck. We rated each product on a scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: If You Prize Convenience over All, Get a Chapstick; If You Want Smooth Application, Get a Tube

The Big Takeaway: If You Prize Convenience over All, Get a Chapstick; If You Want Smooth Application, Get a Tube
Most chapsticks tugged on our lips. They did go on thin and weren’t sticky for the most part, but many also didn’t spread well. A few better performing chapsticks melted into oil when they were exposed to body heat, but they still didn’t feel as gentle as balm in a tube.
Tube balms usually had a lot of oil and were more liquid, meaning they spread easily and didn’t tug on chapped lips. However, they also felt sticky, were messier to apply, and we had to worry about squeezing out too much or too little. Once you do get tube balm on your lips, though, it won’t fade easily, so save it for overnight use.

The Final Verdict: Top 38 Best Japanese Lip Balms to Buy Online

Now to introduce the 38 best Japanese lip balms available online. They were ranked by how well they did on our tests (hydration, how sticky the formula was, how it felt to apply–whether it was too hard or soft and how it spread–and how easy it was to apply–that is, how convenient the packaging was).
Each product was then given an overall grade ranging from D to A+.
FormulaGlossy
HydrationC
StickinessC
Application (Feel)D
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreD
37. Wonder Honey Juicy Honey Lip ~Plum~ 1

37. Wonder Honey Juicy Honey Lip ~Plum~

$16.00

FormulaTinted (Plum); Scented (Honey)
HydrationD
StickinessC
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreD
FormulaTinted (Red)
HydrationD
StickinessD
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)A
Overall ScoreD
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationC
StickinessD
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreD
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationD
StickinessA
Application (Feel)C
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreC
33. Argelan Oil Lip Stick 1

33. Argelan Oil Lip Stick

$9.65

FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationD
StickinessB
Application (Feel)A
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreC
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationC
StickinessC
Application (Feel)C
Application (Ease)D
Overall ScoreC
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationD
StickinessB
Application (Feel)D
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreC
FormulaScented (Olive & Lemon)
HydrationD
StickinessB
Application (Feel)A
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreC
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationD
StickinessC
Application (Feel)A
Application (Ease)A
Overall ScoreC
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationA+
StickinessD
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreC
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationC
StickinessC
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreC
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationD
StickinessA
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreC
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationD
StickinessB
Application (Feel)A+
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreC
FormulaTinted (Foggy Rose)
HydrationB
StickinessC
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreC
23. Metholatum Medicated Lip Stick 1

23. Metholatum Medicated Lip Stick

$2.42

FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationD
StickinessA
Application (Feel)C
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreC

22. Atorrege AD+ Medicated Lip Cream

$9.18

FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationC
StickinessD
Application (Feel)A+
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreC
FormulaTinted (Red)
HydrationD
StickinessA
Application (Feel)A
Application (Ease)A
Overall ScoreC
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationA
StickinessC
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreC

19. Kenei Pharmaceutical Co. Baby Vaseline

$4.58

FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationD
StickinessA+
Application (Feel)A+
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreC

18. Nivea Moisture Lip Water Type Unscented

$3.17

FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationB
StickinessB
Application (Feel)C
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreC
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationA
StickinessB
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreB

16. AQUA・AQUA Organic Sweets Lip ~Apple Red~

$14.47

FormulaTinted (Red)
HydrationA
StickinessB
Application (Feel)D
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreB
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationD
StickinessA
Application (Feel)A
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreB
14. Country & Stream Natural Honey Lip 1

14. Country & Stream Natural Honey Lip

$7.42

FormulaScented (Honey)
HydrationC
StickinessA
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreB
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationB
StickinessB
Application (Feel)A
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreB
FormulaTinted (Red)
HydrationB
StickinessB
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)A
Overall ScoreB
FormulaScented (Menthol)
HydrationA
StickinessA
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)C
Overall ScoreB
FormulaTinted (Bordeaux)
HydrationC
StickinessA
Application (Feel)A
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreA
FormulaScented (Essential Oils)
HydrationB
StickinessB
Application (Feel)A
Application (Ease)D
Overall ScoreA
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationC
StickinessA
Application (Feel)A
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreA

7. 24h cosme Natural Lip Cream

$22.71

FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationA
StickinessA
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreA
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationC
StickinessA+
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)A
Overall ScoreA
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationA
StickinessB
Application (Feel)A
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreA
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationA
StickinessA
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)A
Overall ScoreA+
FormulaTinted (Baby Pink); Scented (Juniper Berry Essential Oil & Geranium Rose)
HydrationA+
StickinessA
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreA+
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationA
StickinessA+
Application (Feel)B
Application (Ease)A
Overall ScoreA+
FormulaDye and Fragrance Free
HydrationA+
StickinessB
Application (Feel)A+
Application (Ease)B
Overall ScoreA+

How to Get the Most Out of Your Lip Balm

Putting on lip balm isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

Apply Balm from Top to Bottom, Following the Creases in Your Lips

Apply Balm from Top to Bottom, Following the Creases in Your Lips
It’s important that you apply balm at the first signs of drying, but it’s just as important that you don’t overapply. The skin on your lips is incredibly thin, and it stresses your lips every time you put a spoon, fork, cup, or water bottle to them. The less time you give your lips to rest, the faster they dull in color.
However, your lips also heal quickly. As long as you keep them hydrated with a gentle balm, you should be able to prevent a lot of dulling and wrinkling.
When you apply lip balm, swipe vertically. You want to follow the creases in your lips during application, making sure product reaches the depths of those wrinkles. If you’re using a chapstick, you may also end up tugging on your lips when you swipe from left to right–and you want to be as gentle as possible.

Retire Lip Balms after about Half a Year of Use

Retire Lip Balms after about Half a Year of Use
We wish that lip balms lasted forever and that we never had to throw them away, but they too have an expiration date. Most balms will last about three years from the manufacture date, unopened. Once opened, though, they last only about half a year.
Lips are often buried under lipstick or lip gloss, so they’re already prone to hyperpigmentation. On top of that, lip balms–and specifically, natural lip balms–oxidize easily, so over time, they too could lend themselves to the dulling of your lips.
Also be aware that every time you touch your chapstick to your lips, you’re exposing it to saliva and bacteria. We know it’s annoying, but the best way to apply balm, whether in stick or tube form, is with your finger or a brush.

Here’s Some Other Japanese Products to Keep You Hydrated

Here’s Some Other Japanese Products to Keep You Hydrated
Doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been, or what you do–if you have skin (and we’re pretty sure you have skin), it’s going to dry out. So here’s a bunch of articles on Japanese moisturizers. No need to thank us.

Summary

We rounded up members of our editing department, purchased the 38 most popular Japanese lip balms, and tested them all.
Remember that skin and lip care is all about consistency. Don’t give your lips a chance to dry out–keeping them hydrated is the same thing as keeping them young. And apply lip balm not only during the dry months of winter, but during the sunny days of summer as well.
Original by Haruka Toda; Translation by Jasmine Li

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