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SPF Protection for Lips – Mega Battle: Carmex VS Maybelline VS Nivea VS Blistex – In depth Reviews and Ingredient Analyses

The summer months are here, the sun is lower and hotter and the days are longer. Hurray! Sadly though, all of that also means that we need to up our SPF protection to limit the sun damage on our Skin and slow down the process of ageing.

If you don’t know what SPF is, why we need it all year round or how much we need check out: Everything you need to know about sunscreens and SPF

Although some of us take sun protection seriously, a lot of us forget that our lips are skin too. Our lip skin can also benefit from SPF protection however, sadly, it is fairly uncommon to find lipsticks that contain SPF. As a result, at the very least in the summer months, I recommend wearing an SPF containing product of minimum SPF 15 under your lipstick.

This needs to be a product that will minimize any disruption to your lipstick in any way (formulation, texture, longevity, even colour etc) but also provide the SPF protection without feeling heavy or uncomfortable. For this delicate task I’ve picked up the four most common, easy to find and relatively cheap, drugstore lip balms: the Nivea Sun Protect Caring Lip Balm, the Maybelline Baby Lips Hydrate Quenched lip balm, the Carmex Vanilla Moisturising lip balm and last but not least the Blistex Ultra Sun Protection lip balm.

I’ve chosen these because they are colourless, so they will disrupt your lipstick the least, but also because they are affordable, popular and easy to find. Note that these brands also have coloured or tinted options that contain SPF too, so there are a few options as well if you don’t want to wear a lipstick but you would like a bit of colour.

This is going to be a long battle, so let’s just get to it! It’s worth to note that I myself have no preference when I start these battles. I personally like doing these battles so that I can decide myself as to which one I will stick to!

Which one is best? How do they all compare? Is higher SPF better? Is the most expensive one better? Which one feels nicer and works best under a lipstick?

Here’s my chemist’s verdict:

Colour

I have on purpose chosen the colourless options from these brands as they disrupt your lipstick’s colour the least. However, as I mentioned above, these brands also offer tinted options if you don’t want to wear a lipstick at all or if somehow you like to mix colours!

The Nivea lip bullet is pale yellow or off-white, the Maybelline is almost transparent white-yellow, the Carmex is yellow and the Blistex is transparent white but less than the Maybelline one.  However, all four lip balms appear transparent on the lips, with the real difference being in their texture and smell.

Texture

All balms have a very light and soft texture typical of a lip balm.

The Nivea lip balm is nicely balanced, it doesn’t feel neither waxy or oily or creamy. It’s more like a soft type of texture and it feels minimally intruding, lightweight and non-sticky. Perfect texture to have under a lipstick.

The Maybelline one has a very similar texture to the Nivea lip balm however, it feels slightly more waxy whereas the Nivea is slightly more oily than the Maybelline. It’s all super picky details though, they are very similar. The Maybelline texture also works perfectly under a lipstick, it is lightweight and feels very hydrating too without being sticky.

The Carmex texture is slightly thicker and a bit more waxy and feels the most oily of them all. It feels heavy on the lips initially but it spreads more thinly and evenly after you apply a lipstick. It is the heaviest but still very wearable under a lipstick.

Last but not least, the Blistex texture is similar to the Nivea and Maybelline ones but it is slightly thinner even. It is the most lightweight of them all and works really well under a lipstick.

Winner: All three, Nivea, Maybelline and Blistex are lightweight and work very well under a lipstick. The Carmex works well too but feels a little more heavy and a tiny bit more sticky.

Nivea 1 vs Maybelline 1 vs Carmex 0 vs Blistex 1

Smell and Flavour

All lip balms smell differently and if you buy the coloured versions, they tend to come with scents and flavours according to their colour.

They are all fairly pleasant scents that are not overpowering.

The Nivea one has a very interesting smell. It’s is like Nivea cream mixed with sunscreen mixed with lip balm. It’s very light and you might not even smell it at all, but it is actually a pleasant smell that reminds me of summer. It doesn’t really taste of anything.

The Maybelline balm smells like a lip balm with something else very lightly added. If you read the ingredients it contains menthol so I’ll assume that’s it. Menthol is usually a very strong smell so there must only be a tiny amount in this balm as overall, the smell of this balm is very light. It is a nice smell. It doesn’t really taste of anything.

The Carmex one smells like vanilla meets lip balm which is expected as it is vanilla scented. It also doesn’t taste of anything.

Finally, the Blistex balm has a very, very faint scent of creamy lip balm and it is overall, the least “smelly” of them all. It also doesn’t taste of anything.

Winner: This is a personal taste type of thing but I personally liked the Nivea smell the most. They are all very light scents so don’t worry if you are not a fan of smells. If you are looking for unscented or very low scented then Blistex is your best option here.

Nivea 2 vs Maybelline 1 vs Carmex 0 vs Blistex 1

Price

The Nivea Sun Protection lip balm retails for £4.00 and contains 4.8g (£0.83 per 1g).

One Maybelline Baby Lips Balm retails for £3.99 and strangely it does not specify anywhere on the product or the brand’s website as to how much product it actually contains. However, visually it contains more than the Carmex and Blistex and somewhere around how much the Nivea does (roughly £0.83 per 1g).

The Carmex Vanilla lip balm retails for £3.25 and contains 4.25g of product (£0.76 per 1g).

Lastly, the Blistex Ultra lip balm retails for £2.99 and contains 4.25g (£0.70 per 1g).

Winner: The Blistex Ultra lip balm is the cheapest per gram of product.

Nivea 2 vs Maybelline 1 vs Carmex 0 vs Blistex 2

Packaging

All lip balm options come in a typical drugstore type, cardboard with transparent plastic packaging. All look nice in different ways.

However, when it came to opening up the outer packaging to get into the lip balm, I have to say I found the Nivea, Carmex and Blistex packaging much better. They ripped open quickly and easily, in one go, with no fuss. The Maybelline packaging on the other hand, definitely falls into the “frustrating packaging” category. I battled with it for a while until I decided to get scissors involved. As you can imagine, it didn’t look very good after I was done with it.

All lip balm bullet packaging is made of plastic, so they don’t feel or look particularly expensive. However, neither feel really cheap either, just mainstream. If I had to rank them I’d say that the Nivea bullet packaging looks and feels more expensive, followed by the Maybelline, followed by the Blistex and last the Carmex which looks and feels the cheapest by far, especially due to the clicky sounds you get when you twist to get the chapstick out.

Winner: The Nivea outer and actual balm packaging looks and feels the most well put together but neither are bad.

Nivea 3 vs Maybelline 1 vs Carmex 0 vs Blistex 2

Hydration

This category is just based on how hydrating they feel on the lips and under a lipstick. To find out if they are truly hydrating or not, have a look at the ingredient analysis at the end of this post.

All lip balms felt hydrating on the lips. However, some where nicely hydrating and other thicker and more chuncky, “sticky” (none where actually sticky though) hydrating. I’ve tested them all out under the same lipstick to avoid any dryness or hydration feeling from the lipstick itself. And just in case you are curious I used my daily favourite Urban Decay Backtalk. If you missed this post check out: Let’s Backtalk. Urban Decay Backtalk Palette and Lipstick. In depth review, functionality and ingredients

The most moisturised feeling, without feeling thick or heavy and lasting the longest, was definitely from the Nivea one. Second in place was the Maybelline which was very similar, almost on par with the Blistex and last the Carmex. The reason why I’d rate the Carmex least is because it feels the heaviest and the most “sticky” and so perhaps because you start with such a thick moisturised feeling you end up not feeling as moisturised after a few minutes of wear.

Again this is all based on feeling which can also be personal. Refer to the ingredients section to truly find out which one is the moist moisturising.

Winner: The Nivea felt the most moisturising with the least heavyness and for longer.

Nivea 4 vs Maybelline 1 vs Carmex 0 vs Blistex 2

Practicality of use – user experience

The Maybelline and Nivea balms were easier to use. All you need to do with these is pull off the lid, raise the lip bullet up, by twisting the bottom, and apply on the lips. Easy, fast, done.

The Blistex and Carmex have a much thinner twisting bottom to get the lip balm out and the Carmex one even does clicky-twisting sounds when you turn it. It feels cheaper and a little old fashioned. Additionally, both the Blistex and Carmex are thinner lip balm bullets which makes them a little more fragile than the Nivea and Maybelline and therefore, easier to break off if you expose too much up of the bullet.

Winner: Both Nivea and Maybelline were equally easy to use (after getting passed the Maybelling frustrating packaging).

Nivea 5 vs Maybelline 2 vs Carmex 0 vs Blistex 2

Skin compatibility

Lip skin compatibility is not as detailed or researched as much as our face skin, so one can only assume that these are suitable for all. Avoid using any cosmetics if your skin is broken or has open wounds.

Winner: Equal.

Nivea 5 vs Maybelline 2 vs Carmex 0 vs Blistex 2

Other

Here’s some extra information.

The Nivea one claims to have a 4h water resistance.

The Maybelline one claims to have an 8h hydration.

I couldn’t even find the exact Blistex product on the Blistex website. The Ultra products they seem to have are the Ultra moisturisers not the Ultra SPF.

Similarly, the Carmex website only displays the original Carmex stick which also has SPF15 but not the very popular Vanilla one.

The Nivea one lasts for 12M, the Maybelline for 24M, the Blistex for 12M and lastly the Carmex for 12M. The Maybelline then is superior for lasting twice as long as the others. However, practically, I’m not sure if it is a good idea to keep a lip balm around for two years, even just for sanitary reasons. These type of products are cheap and very disposable. Just get a new one every year or when needed.

Winner: Equal between Nivea and Maybelline. The water resistance is great especially since you will likely be drinking something. However,  the long lastingness of the Maybelline can be a money and waste saver.

Nivea 6 vs Maybelline 3 vs Carmex 0 vs Blistex 2

Results

All lip balms worked really well under a lipstick. However, as mentioned above, the Nivea one felt the most hydrating and for longer, without feeling thick, heavy or sticky. Additionally, the Nivea one was the one that held the most pigmentation of the lipstick intact without “diluting” the colour. The lipstick could easily slide on the lips but at the same time it could “grip” the most lipstick colour. Note that this might be lipstick formulation dependant though.

Winner: They are all good options but the best overall, for wear under a lipstick, is the Nivea lip balm.

Nivea 7 vs Maybelline 3 vs Carmex 0 vs Blistex 2

Ingredients

Overall, these lip balms contain a lot of similar ingredients which is not surprising. Neither of them is especially impressive and therefore an absolute lip skincare must have, but at the same time they are cheap lip balms with SPF. They are not designed to do miracles.

Here’s how the lip balms rank, from best to worst, by taking the ingredient positives to negatives ratio:

Best –  Carmex (77%) > Nivea (65%) > Blistex (60%) > Maybelline (54%) – Worst.

If we filter the ingredient positives to only contain skin nourishing ingredients (as some of them are sunscreens and they all contain SPF anyways) then the lip balms rank in the following order:

Best – Nivea (16) > Maybelline (15) > Carmex (14) > Blistex (11) – Worst.

The Nivea Sun Protect Caring lip balm has 31 ingredients in which there are 20 positives and 5 negatives. The pale yellow colour of the lip balm comes from two yellow colourants which is really unnecessary. I get that a slightly yellow product might appeal more as a sunscreen and in the summer etc, but the two dyes do not offer anything nutritious to the skin and they can sometimes be irritating to some.

The Maybelline Baby Lips Hydrate Quenched lip balm contains 35 ingredients of which 19 are positive and 4 are negatives. It contains the most amount of possible irritants but that’s expected as it also overall contains the most ingredients. Bear in mind though that just because it has the most amount of possible irritants it doesn’t mean that it has the highest chance to cause you irritation, as one of the other lip balms might have a specific compound at a higher concentration that will irritate your skin more. Sensitisation and irritation can be very personal and it is hard to predict. 

The Carmex Vanilla Moisturising lip balm contains 22 ingredients of which 17 are positives and 3 are negatives. This lip balm has the least amount of irritants but also the least amount of ingredients. Interestingly though, it doesn’t have the least amount of ingredient positives.

Last but not least, the Blistex Ultra Sun Protection lip balm contains 24 ingredients of which 16 are positives and 5 are negatives. It has the least amount of positives and (together with the Nivea one) the highest amount of negatives. It contains 13 possible irritants.

This category is very complicated so I am awarding 1 point to Carmex for coming first once, two to Nivea since it came first and second in the above rankings and 1 to Maybelline for coming second.

Nivea 9 vs Maybelline 1 vs Carmex 1 vs Blistex 2 

Here’s a quick overall view: 

Nivea ingredients: 31 of which 20 positives and 5 negatives – 15 irritants

Maybelline ingredients: 35 of which 19 positives and 4 negatives – 17 irritants

Carmex ingredients: 22 of which 17 positives and 3 negatives – 7 irritants

Blistex ingredients: 24 of which 16 positives and 5 negatives – 13 irritants

To make this long post shorter, I am only mentioning the “skin nourishing” or somehow beneficial ingredients as positives and also ignoring their formulation roles.

Ingredient positives:

Ingredient positives for the Nivea Sun Protect Caring lip balm:

  1. Hydrogenated Polydecene – Skin conditioner and softener.
  2. Cetyl Palmitate – Conditions, softens and smooths the skin.
  3. Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate – Skin conditioner.
  4. Ricinus Communis Seed Oil – Moisturiser, skin conditioner and smoother.
  5. Titanium Dioxide – A powerful sunscreen.
  6. Ethylhexyl Triazone – UV light absorber.
  7. Myristyl Myristate – Skin conditioner.
  8. Octyldodecanol – Fragrance and skin conditioner.
  9. Synthetic Wax – Moisturiser and humectant (=locks water in).
  10. Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane – UV-A absorber.
  11. Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate- 2 – High water binding properties and glossy finish.
  12. C20-40 Alkyl Stearate – Skin conditioner.
  13. Diethylhexyl Butamido Triazone – UV absorber.
  14. Butyrospermumparkii Butter – Skin conditioner. Helps retain moisture by forming a barrier and reduces the appearance of rough patches and dry flakes. Anti-flammatory, soothes itchy, irritated or sunburnt skin. Absorbs UVB, anti-oxidant, emollient, skin replenishing.
  15. Simmondsia Chinensis Oil – Skin conditioner.
  16. Tocopheryl Acetate – A more stable form of vitamin E. A hero anti-oxidant molecule. A skin conditioner that also enhances the ability of sunscreens. Can help with inflammation. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
  17. Helianthus Annuus Seed Extract – A skin conditioner high in vitamin E. It can improve skin hydration and provide anti-oxidant protection. It can also reinforce the skin’s protective barrier, reducing moisture loss. It is also rich in other nutrients  (calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and vitamins A, K and E etc) and can be used against inflammation and skin irritations.
  18. Cera Alba – Skin conditioner and fragrance. It is said to help heal inflammation, bruises and burns and can also help temporarily with itching. It is particularly beneficial for dry skin as it can help moisturise and create a waterproof barrier on the skin. It can also be a source of Vitamin A.
  19. Propylene Glycol – A humectant and skin conditioner.
  20. Polyglyceryl- 2 Dipolyhydroxystearate – Skin conditioner.

Ingredient positives for the Maybelline Baby Lips Hydrate Quenched lip balm:

  1. Polybutene – Can act as a lubricant.
  2. Octyldodecanol – Fragrance and skin conditioner.
  3. Isopropyl Myristate – A skin conditioner and fragrance.
  4. Petrolatum – A moisturiser, skin conditioner, skin protector and soother. Despite the large negative publicity, there isn’t as much scientific evidence to support that this ingredient is negative for the skin.
  5. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate – A UV absorber.
  6. Diisostearyl Malate – A skin conditioner.
  7. Butyrospermum Parkii Butter / Shea Butter – Skin conditioner. Helps retain moisture by forming a barrier and reduces the appearance of rough patches and dry flakes. Anti-flammatory, soothes itchy, irritated or sunburnt skin. Absorbs UVB, anti-oxidant, emollient, skin replenishing.
  8. Candelilla Cera / Candelilla Wax – A skin conditioner and astringent.
  9. Ethylhexyl Salicylate – UV-B absorber.
  10. Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate – An anti-oxidant.
  11. Tocopherol – Refers to a class of compounds with similar activities to vitamin E. A skin conditioner, anti-oxidant and fragrance agent. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
  12. Tocopheryl Acetate – A more stable form of vitamin E. A hero anti-oxidant molecule. A skin conditioner that also enhances the ability of sunscreens. Can help with inflammation. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
  13. Isopropyl Palmitate – A skin conditioner.
  14. Centella Asiatica Extract – A skin conditioner, anti-oxidant, rich in amino acids and skin soother. Can improve the skin’s moisture content.
  15.  BHT – An anti-oxidant.
  16. Aluminum Hydroxide – Can act as a skin protector.
  17. Aloe Barbadensis Extract / Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract – A humectant and skin conditioner. It is considered an anti-inflammatory mixture that can also protect from UV-damage (but it is not a sunscreen!). Some have reported that it can stimulate the production of collagen and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
  18. Calcium Pantothenate – A skin conditioner, moisturiser, softener and humectant.
  19. Ascorbic Acid – Also known as vitamin C.  A potent anti-oxidant and skin soother  that can improve the appearance of signs of ageing. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?

Ingredient positives for the Carmex Vanilla Moisturising lip balm:

  1. Petrolatum – A moisturiser, skin conditioner, skin protector and soother. Despite the large negative publicity, there isn’t as much scientific evidence to support that this ingredient is negative for the skin.
  2. Lanolin – A skin conditioner and replenisher.
  3. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate – A UV absorber.
  4. Benzophenone-3 – UV-B and short UV-A absorber.
  5. Cera Alba – Skin conditioner and fragrance. It is said to help heal inflammation, bruises and burns and can also help temporarily with itching. It is particularly beneficial for dry skin as it can help moisturise and create a waterproof barrier on the skin. It can also be a source of Vitamin A.
  6. Cetyl Esters – A skin conditioner.
  7. Paraffin – A skin conditioner.
  8. Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter – A skin conditioner and protector.
  9. Limnanthes Alba Seed Oil – An anti-oxidant mixture with skin softening properties.
  10. Ricinus Communis Seed Oil – A skin conditioner, moisturiser and smoother.
  11. Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – A skin conditioner and skin replenishing agent. Can enhance the delivery of vitamins and other ingredients and provides a ligh


This post first appeared on Bonds Of Beauty, please read the originial post: here

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SPF Protection for Lips – Mega Battle: Carmex VS Maybelline VS Nivea VS Blistex – In depth Reviews and Ingredient Analyses

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