The best lip masks to banish dry lips all winter long

Laura Kennedy: It’s chilly season, and lip masks are much more effective than a lip balm

We’ve entered chilly season, and it brings many perils. Catching a cold in the tropical microclimate of a steamed-up 46a bus, Christian girl autumn, overpriced limited edition lattes that taste like a car air freshener, and dry lips. Incredibly dry lips. The shifting temperatures between moisture-sapped, heated rooms and damp, chilly streets can turn lips into a couple of pinched raisins. When your lips start to feel as though they’ve been shrunk in a hot wash, a slick of Vaseline won’t cut it. You need something that won’t just act as an occlusive but will actually nourish dry lips too.

I prefer a lip mask to a standard lip balm. They’re just better. Masks tend to have thicker textures and come in heftier quantities, though they’re still very much handbag friendly. The denser texture means that they last longer on the lips, will work hard when applied last thing before sleep, and can provide a protective cushion between your lips and the elements, but they also make a great base for a matt lipstick. The best of them are neither too waxy nor too oily, but the balance is always a matter of personal preference. All of the below tubs of goodness are pricier than the far less effective chapsticks of old but should carry you through to spring without any splitting or chapping in sight, so cost per wear will often work out less than buying countless cheaper lip balms over the winter months.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask in Vanilla (€24 at is a cult favourite among beauty editors and make-up artists. It comes in several sweet scent options, but vanilla is the most neutral and feels appropriate in cooler weather. It has a soft, buttery texture. You can feel it get to work right away to soothe and boost parched lips, but it’s thick enough to feel protective too. Wear it overnight for optimal comfort and softness by morning. It has a sheeny but not necessarily glossy finish, which makes it versatile.

Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Gloss Balm (€23 at has a slightly waxier texture than the Laneige offering, making it great for wearing as a barrier outdoors in colder weather. It does melt in comfortingly too and feels hydrating to wear. If you don’t like that slightly waxy texture, this won’t be for you, but worn overnight it too resets dry lips.


I’ve written often about Dr Sam’s Flawless Lip Tint (€17 at, which also comes in an untinted version. This sheer, warm red version contains just four ingredients, while the untinted has only two – lanolin, which is hyper-moisturising, and reparative ceramides. Ideal for everything from flights to bedtime, this is a lip mask I’ve bought again and again. The lanolin gives it a slight medicinal scent, which I quite like.

Finally, for a mask that applies and wears like a very thick gloss, try Tatcha The Kissu Lip Mask (€32 at Space NK). Ideal for those who dislike that waxy texture and enjoy a lip balm that looks like make-up, it is more of a rich oil-gel, but it doesn’t feel slippery like an oil, or disappear from the lips in the way a lip oil is often wont to do. The scent declares itself to be Japanese peach but is so incredibly subtle that this balm would work even for those who hate scented lip products.

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy is a contributor to The Irish Times