This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which Elf lip balm is best?

You don’t need to settle for just any drugstore lip balm when you can get Elf’s hydrating, clean ingredients and still spend less than $8. Elf lip balms are widely available, and they offer comfy hydration plus a wash of flattering color. If you’re looking for a tinted lip balm with details that’ll make you smile when you apply it, Elf Cosmetics Hydrating Core Lip Shine delivers nourishing skin care ingredients in a heart-shaped core.

What to know before you buy an Elf lip balm

Elf Cosmetics is cruelty-free and vegan

Elf Cosmetics was founded to provide high-quality cosmetics at affordable prices, and that quality extends to how the company treats this planet and everything that lives on it. Elf Beauty does not test on animals, nor are Elf products sold in countries that require animal testing. The company is partnered with the Humane Society and is Leaping Bunny-certified, meaning it adheres to stringent guidelines regarding animal testing and the use of animal-derived ingredients.

Clean lip balm ingredients

Clean beauty is a catch-all term for makeup formulated without common ingredients that can be harmful or irritating to either the user or the environment. Many shoppers are increasingly concerned about the effects of these kinds of ingredients, particularly in lip makeup. Elf is committed to innovating clean formulas while maintaining its affordable pricing.

Tinted vs. untinted lip balm

A simple swipe of tinted lip balm may be the perfect finishing touch for your look, but sometimes all you need is a little pure hydration. Elf offers both tinted and untinted options so you can express yourself however you like and have lips that look and feel great. Color choices range from pale pink to deep berry, and each shade has its own fragrance.

What to look for in a quality Elf lip balm

Hydrating ingredients

Elf lip balms contain emollients that help lips heal, hydrate and retain moisture. Castor oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, vitamin E and even hemp seed oil can all be found in Elf lip balms. What you won’t find are animal byproducts, such as lanolin or beeswax, since these ingredients may not be considered vegan. Elf makes its full ingredient lists available online for transparency.

Lip balm formulation

Many of Elf’s lip balms come in traditional solid bullet shapes, but some are formulated into creamy gels. Both formulations contain similar effective nourishing ingredients, and both are available with or without tint.

Elf’s company values

Elf Beauty’s transparency about ingredients and its efforts to reduce excess packaging make it a popular company. Elf is also well-known for its charitable donations and activism. Elf has made donations to charities supporting LGBTQ+ rights, racial equity, animals, women’s empowerment and more. The brand also frequently features product collaborations with proceeds going to charity or scholarship funds.

How much you can expect to spend on Elf lip balm

Most Elf lip balms cost $4-$7, with the exception of some hemp-oil-infused products, which cost $13.

Elf lip balm FAQ

What does Elf stand for?

A. Elf stands for “EyesLipsFace,” representing the brand’s goal to provide inclusive, empowering products for all beauty lovers. Elf Cosmetics also makes cult-favorite face primers, brow gel, lipstick, makeup brushes and more. Plus, Elf goes more than skin-deep with several comprehensive and always-growing lines of clean skin care for all skin types.

Are Elf cosmetics nontoxic?

A. Even despite their affordable prices, Elf Cosmetics are formulated to high standards for clean ingredients. Products meet FDA and European cosmetics regulations, omitting over 1,600 potentially harmful or irritating ingredients. Elf Cosmetics are free from parabens, phthalates, coal tar, formaldehyde and more. Plus, Elf does not use palm oil, and any palm derivatives must be certified for sustainability.

What’s the best Elf lip balm to buy?

Top Elf lip balm

Elf Cosmetics Hydrating Core Lip Shine

Elf Cosmetics Hydrating Core Lip Shine

What you need to know: Formulated with a heart-shaped core filled with skin care benefits, this tinted lip balm gives lips a wash of color and soft shine.

What you’ll love: Vitamin E offers lips a dose of hydration. The heart-shaped core adds shine but doesn’t make lips too glossy or sticky. It comes in eight shades, and you can build it up for richer color.

What you should consider: The formula is quite sheer, so it’s better suited to natural looks as opposed to dramatic color. Not everyone is a fan of the product’s scent.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon

Top Elf lip balm for the money

Elf Cosmetics Ride or Die Lip Balm

Elf Cosmetics Ride or Die Lip Balm

What you need to know: This moisturizing balm is formulated with jojoba oil and vegan collagen for lasting hydration and plumped lips.

What you’ll love: A little goes a long way with this formula, which can be applied with your finger or a lip brush. It can even be used on cheeks as a blush. Choose from seven shades and scents, such as Boss Berry (a sheer berry tint with a berry scent) or the untinted Mighty Mint.

What you should consider: The thick formula can be hard to squeeze out of the tube. Some users prefer using it just as a lip mask.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon

Worth checking out

Elf Cosmetics Lip Exfoliator

Elf Cosmetics Lip Exfoliator

What you need to know: For smoother lips, try this moisturizing lip scrub, which gently exfoliates lips with sugar.

What you’ll love: Along with an exfoliating sugar texture, the formula includes jojoba oil, shea butter and avocado oil to hydrate lips. The stick format makes exfoliation easy and convenient, especially for prepping lips for lipstick on the go. It comes in four scents.

What you should consider: While this contains nourishing ingredients, it should be followed with a true lip balm to help lock in moisture and protect your lips after exfoliating.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.