One Small Thing: The Lip Balm to Rule Them All

One Small Thing: The Lip Balm to Rule Them All
Image:ROBERT VOS/AFP (Getty Images)

I have spent most of my life searching in vain for the perfect lip balm, a quest that is ongoing if only because it is enjoyable and not so fiscally irresponsible that I will bankrupt myself in the process. At any given moment, there are at least two lip balms within my grasp. My purse contains a handful of Glossier’s cutesy lip balms, another tube from Target, and a variety of tinted “lip oils” that promise to leave my lips soft and pillowy, but also slightly tinted, as if I have just made out with a stranger or a particularly messy popsicle. Lip balm is small, affordable luxury and that is why I gravitate towards it. But paying more than $12 (the cost of a Glossier lip balm, if I must be specific), has always felt like highway robbery, even though the beauty blogs and the YouTubers are always suggesting that a lip balm that costs more is often more effective.

Unfortunately, this time, they are right.


I do not remember where I first heard about Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, but it is now the gold standard of lip balms for me. According to the packaging, I’m supposed to use it only at night, so that it can act as a mask while I sleep, penetrating the delicate skin of my lips so that they are soft, supple, and kissable (I guess) when I awaken. It smells faintly of fruit and is so thick that it comes with a little spatula for application, so that one does not have to dip their grubby fingers into the pot. While I appreciate this attention to detail, I have ditched the spatula for its fussiness, and prefer to use my finger, which is gross, but also, I’m the only one using this in the first place, so really who cares?

Regardless of my questionable personal hygiene choices, this lip balm has never let me down. It is now a part of my sleepytime ritual, which consists of turning off all the lights, and staring at TikTok or browsing new couches until I fall asleep. Before tucking myself in for my night, I ice my lips with a healthy layer of this goop. It is so thick that it stays on through the night, when I slumber fitfully in a dry-ass apartment, mouth-breathing in an attempt to stop clenching my jaw. When I wake up in the morning, my lips aren’t as soft and as squishy as I might want them to be but I understand there are fillers for that. Remnants of the previous night’s glop still cling to my lips when I awaken! I have never encountered a lip balm that does this without feeling sticky, heavy, or otherwise “uncomfortable.” Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is a miracle.

One Small Thing only features products we paid for ourselves. We have not been sent samples or otherwise bribed.

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