Achieving soft, hydrated lips is essential as the skin in this area is thinner and more sensitive compared to the rest of the body. Unlike other areas, lips lack oil glands, making them unable to self-hydrate. Therefore, it’s crucial to provide them with proper care and protection through the use of lip balms or lip masks. But which product is best for you? In this article, we will explore the differences between lip balms and lip masks and how frequently to apply each for optimal lip health.

What is a Lip Balm?

A lip balm is a product that contains waxes to provide hydration and restore dry skin. These waxes, such as beeswax, work by sealing in moisture and preventing evaporation, effectively protecting the lips from dryness.

What is a Lip Mask?

Similar to a face mask, a lip mask is a concentrated treatment that deeply replenishes hydration, softens the lips, and can even give them a plump, juicy appearance. Lip masks often consist of rich butters like cocoa butter, healing oils, and additional ingredients such as hyaluronic acid that aid in healing and moisturizing the lips.

Benefits of Lip Mask over Lip Balm

Lip masks offer several advantages over lip balms, including:

More Powerful Ingredients: Lip mask formulas are supercharged versions of lip balms. They typically contain emollients, antioxidants, and occlusives that provide a trio of benefits. Emollients like plant oils work to smooth and soften the skin, while super-hydrating ingredients like Vitamin E, squalane, and hyaluronic acid deliver deeper moisturization for more effective healing. Occlusives, such as petroleum or beeswax, create a protective barrier that seals in moisture.

Longer-Lasting Effects: While a lip balm delivers moisture until it absorbs into the skin, which usually lasts for an hour or two or until you eat or drink, a lip mask is designed to provide long-lasting hydration. Lip masks can remain on the lips overnight or throughout the day, softening the skin for up to eight to nine hours.

Richer Texture: Lip masks have a thicker consistency compared to lip balms, allowing the emollient ingredients to penetrate the skin more effectively. The prolonged contact of the mask with the lips enables it to work more efficiently in comparison to a standard lip balm.

Overnight Repairing: Our skin undergoes a repairing process at night, and the lips are no exception. By applying a nurturing lip mask before bed, you can support the lips’ natural healing and boost their repair process. This is why it’s essential to go to bed with clean, well-hydrated skin to enhance the repairing benefits.

How to Use Lip Balm and Lip Mask

Applying lip balm or lip mask is a simple process, but prepping the lips beforehand can enhance the effectiveness of these products. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Exfoliate

Gentle exfoliation helps the lip product penetrate deeper into the skin. Use a lip scrub suitable for sensitive skin and apply it to the lip area. Massage it onto dry lips in small circular motions. Afterward, dampen your fingers and continue massaging for an additional 15 to 30 seconds before rinsing off and patting dry. Alternatively, you can use a soft washcloth, like the Kinu Pure Silk Polishing Face Cloth, to manually exfoliate the lips. Dampen the cloth and gently rub it in soft circles on the lips for about 30 seconds.

Step 2: Hydrate

Now it’s time to apply your chosen lip product. If you prefer a lighter feel, opt for a lip balm and apply it to your lips for a healing experience. Choose a lip balm that suits your preferences and apply it as needed throughout the day to keep your lips moisturized and protected.

If you’re using an overnight lip mask, apply a thick coating before bedtime. Allow the mask to soak into your lips overnight, providing deep hydration and repair while you sleep. Alternatively, some makeup artists and dermatologists recommend using a lip mask prior to applying makeup. Apply a layer of the lip mask and let it sit for as long as possible. Then, remove any excess product with a washcloth or cotton pad. Applying lipstick on well-hydrated lips creates a smoother base and enhances the overall look.

Lip Balm and Lip Mask Recommendations

When it comes to choosing the best lip balm or lip mask, it’s important to find a formula that you consistently use and enjoy applying. Here are a couple of recommendations:

Best Lip Balm: Camellia Goldspun Lip Balm

This hydrating lip balm is enriched with camellia oil and features a luxurious touch with 23-karat gold flakes. It provides a comfortable and decadent experience while nourishing and protecting your lips.

Best Overnight Lip Mask: The Kissu Lip Mask

The Kissu Lip Mask has gained a large following due to its unique jelly texture. This lush mask contains Japanese camellia oil, Japanese peach extract for extra repair, and olive-based squalane to provide weightless moisture. It melts into the lips, locking in moisture and repairing dry lips overnight.

Remember, the choice between a lip balm and a lip mask depends on your personal preference. Some may prefer the lighter feel of a lip balm, while others enjoy the richer and more luxurious texture of a lip mask that provides deeper healing and hydration.


How often should I use a lip balm?

The frequency of lip balm usage depends on your individual needs and the condition of your lips. It is generally recommended to apply lip balm as needed throughout the day, especially when your lips feel dry or chapped. You can also incorporate it into your morning and evening skincare routine for consistent hydration.

Can I use a lip mask during the day?

While lip masks are primarily designed for overnight use, you can certainly use them during the day if desired. However, keep in mind that lip masks often have a thicker consistency and may leave a slightly glossy or sticky finish. If you plan to wear makeup, you may prefer to use a lip mask as an intensive treatment before applying lipstick or opt for a lighter lip balm during the day.

How often should I exfoliate my lips?

Lip exfoliation should be done gently and sparingly to avoid irritation. Depending on your lips’ sensitivity, aim to exfoliate them once or twice a week. However, if your lips are excessively dry or flaky, you may need to exfoliate more often. Pay attention to how your lips react to exfoliation and adjust the frequency accordingly.

Can I use a lip balm or lip mask on cracked lips?

Both lip balms and lip masks can be beneficial for cracked lips. Look for products that contain hydrating and repairing ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, or lanolin. These ingredients can help soothe and heal cracked lips by providing intense hydration and creating a protective barrier.

Can I wear lipstick over a lip balm or lip mask?

Absolutely! Applying a lip balm or lip mask as a base before applying lipstick can help create a smoother and more even application. Allow the lip balm or lip mask to absorb fully before applying lipstick to ensure optimal results. This will not only enhance the longevity of your lipstick but also provide additional hydration to prevent your lips from drying out.

Can I use a lip mask and a lip balm together?

Yes, you can use a lip mask and a lip balm together for a comprehensive lip care routine. Apply the lip mask as an intensive treatment, allowing it to work its magic for an extended period, such as overnight. During the day, follow up with a lip balm to maintain hydration and protect your lips throughout the day.


Both lip balms and lip masks play important roles in maintaining soft and hydrated lips. Whether you choose a lip balm or a lip mask, consistency in usage is key. Lip masks offer more powerful ingredients, longer-lasting effects, richer texture, and support the lips’ overnight repairing process. On the other hand, lip balms provide a lighter feel and can be used throughout the day for continuous hydration and protection.

Consider your preferences and find a lip balm or lip mask that suits your needs. Remember to exfoliate your lips gently before applying the product to enhance its absorption. Embrace the healing powers of your chosen lip product and give your lips the care they deserve for a healthy and nourished appearance.