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Is ChapStick® Lip Balm?

Posted by ChapStick® on Dec 10th 2020

Is ChapStick® Lip Balm?

It’s a question we get a lot: “Is ChapStick® lip balm?” The short answer is well…kinda. So if you’re confused, rest assured you are most certainly not alone. In order to determine if ChapStick® is indeed lip balm, first we need to take a closer look at what exactly lip balm is.

According to the  Cambridge Dictionary,i lip balm is “a type of cream that is used to keep the lips soft or to help sore lips feel better.” Clearly, that covers a lot of ground, and it covers a lot of ChapStick® products. ChapStick® lip balms come in a number of different varieties. ChapStick® tinted lip balms add a little extra kick of color to your look. ChapStick® flavored lip balms explore a wide range of tastes to appeal to just about every palate’s preferences. However, ChapStick® products go well beyond lip balms. For example, you can pamper yourself with some ChapStick® lip oils and serums or exfoliate and smooth your lips with a ChapStick® lip scrub.

So how did we get to this confusing point anyway?

What is ChapStick®?

The ChapStick® story begins in the early 1880s with the now iconic “ black stick” ChapStick® lip balm. For over 130 years, ChapStick® Classic has remained America’s Favorite Lip Balm. In fact, ChapStick® created the lip care product category! You’d be hard pressed to find any lip balms in the middle of the 19th century before ChapStick® came along. ChapStick® was so successful, so popular the now-iconic lip balm became a household name. You know how you don’t often find yourself asking for a “facial tissue” or a “photocopy?” It’s close to the same thing. The ChapStick® brand became nearly identical to lip balm in common, everyday speech.

Over the years, however, as consumer needs have changed, ChapStick® has changed, too. We pride ourselves on anticipating your lip needs. Our ever-expanding portfolio of products go beyond lip balms and explore innovative new ingredients, skincare benefits, flavors and different forms.

Lip Balm vs. ChapStick® vs. Lipstick vs. Lip Gloss

While we can safely say that ChapStick® is often used as a shorthand by the public in general to mean  lip balm, there are a number of other lip-focused products out there that aren’t as closely related.

Lipsticks are products that are specifically designed to change the appearance of the color of your lips. While a number of lip balms out there do include a tinting ingredient that can alter the color of your lips, lipsticks don’t necessarily treat sore lips or keep lips soft.

Lip gloss, similarly, is designed with the intention of changing the lips’ appearance. Lip glosses can range from solid to translucent, and most of them emphasize shine over coloring. They can be used over lipsticks or on bare lips. Lip gloss is widely used by people who are looking to add some color to their lips with less of an opaque look than most lipsticks. Similar to lipstick, lip gloss can be formulated to add help keep lips moist, but that isn’t usually their primary function.

As the cosmetics industry expands and evolves, we see more and more of these features from one line of products blended into others. Plus, this trend shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. When in doubt, try to figure out what the product’s main goal is and how it’s presented on the packaging.

We hope you now have a better understanding of what ChapStick® is and how it differs from  lip balm. But don’t let semantics stand in your way of the full line of ChapStick® products. No matter who you are or where you are, ChapStick® is there for you.


i. Lip Balm. Cambridge University