Battle of the Balms: Drunk Elephant Lippie

Let’s clear the air real quick: Yes, this is a $22 stick of lip balm, and it catches a LOT of flak for that online. You know what else is an expensive stick of lip balm? Fresh Sugar lip balm ($24/.15oz), and the internet loves it. Why are you so fickle, The Internet?

ANYWAY. The Drunk Elephant Lippe ($22/.13oz) is a short, fat tube of lip balm. The package is adorable, and I appreciate that its weird shape and bright lid make it an easy find in my purse whether I’m searching with my eyeballs or just my hands.

But the best part is how RICH this balm is. It’s a gorgeous blend of oils (including marula!), shea butter, and beeswax. It not only hydrates my cracked and flaking lips, but smoothes ’em over so they don’t look as bad. (By contrast, many of the petrolatum-based ones tend to highlight flakes, even as they soften them.)

My only concern is how long this might last — I’ve worn it down a fair bit, but mostly because I’ve been reaching for this lip balm nonstop for the past two weeks. (That I’ve been reaching for THIS after upping my Accutane dose says a lot, btw).

Speed in relieving dryness: This feels fantastic from the moment I apply it, and my lips feel relieved (though not deeply hydrated, obvs) at five-ten minutes in.

Depth of hydration: This does a great job sinking in and hydrating to the deepest layers; unlike some balms (that take multiple days’ worth of application before they soften the top layer enough to start getting to the others), this penetrates all the way within first application (more than an hour in, but still — that’s pretty good).

Comfort: I like this lip feel. It’s neither too greasy nor too waxy, and when I mush my lips together there’s some squish to it but not too much slip. The flavor (subtly sweet) is mild but pleasant.

Longevity: I find that if I’m talking/eating/drinking/chewing my lips — normal life stuff — I can get about four hours out of this (and another hour before I feel like I NEED to reapply). Overnight, this stuff ALMOST makes it to the eight-hour mark; it’s still physically on my lips at seven hours, but by eight there’s just lingering hydration.

Ease of Use: My only complaint with this is the applicator tube; it’s so wide that applying the balm feels like I’m making out with it. I mean, I really love this lip balm, but not in THAT way, y’know? (Kind of how the round EOS balms are a little awkward to apply.) That said, I like the fact that it covers ALL my lip — even the edges — in one go. Extra points for the secure ‘click’ when you snap the lid back on, and for the fact that it can be applied with one hand (unlike most tube balms, the cap pulls off rather than twisting off — convenient if your other hand is occupied with, say, driving). Both of those more than make up for the makey-outey factor.

Smell/Flavor: Mildly sweet (but not ‘baked goods’ kind of sweet — just lightly sugary) with a hint of oil flavor (like really nice vegetable oil? Idk. It doesn’t bother me).

SPF: No — which kind of surprises me, since Drunk Elephant is primarily a skincare company. (They even include some antioxidant- and vitamin-rich oils in this.)

Tints: No.

Ingredients: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Beeswax, Ozokerite, Polyisobutene, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Dictyopteris Membranacea Extract, Magnolia Grandiflora Bark Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Schinziophyton Rautanenii (Mongongo) Kernel Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root Extract), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Tribehenin, Sorbitan Isostearate, Lauryl Alcohol, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid.


This is definitely one of my favorites so far — right up there with Bite Beauty and Elizabeth Arden, though slightly beating out the Bite in terms of comfort/ease and EA in terms of personal preference. Regular dry lips might not need a balm this heavy-duty (or $$$), but traumatized lips will probably LOVE it. (If your lips are normal levels of dry, I’d probably suggest Glossier or Smith’s, if only for the sake of your wallet.)


Drunk Elephant Lippe 5 5 4 4 4 Scent: 1 23
Glossier Balm Dotcom 4 4 4 3 3 Scent: 1; Tint: 1 20
TokyoMilk Dark 4 5 4 4 1 Scent: 2 20
Vaseline Rosy Lips 4 5 4 3 2 Scent: 1; Tint: 1 20
Nuxe Reve de Miel 4 4 4 2 2 Scent: 1 17
Elizabeth Arden 4 5 5 3 5 SPF: 1 23
Lancôme Juicy Shaker 2 1 2 1 3 Scent: 1; Tint: 1 11
Smith's Rosebud Smith’s Rosebud 5 4 5 2 5 Scent: 1 22
Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask Bite Agave 5 5 4 5 3 Scent: 1;  Tint: 1 24
Bag Balm Bag Balm 5 5 5 4 4 — — 22
Jack Black Jack Black 4 4 4 3 5 Scent: 1; SPF: 1 22


Drunk Elephant Lippe .12oz $22 fat bullet 23
Glossier Balm Dotcom .5oz $12 tube, no applicator 20
TokyoMilk Dark .7oz $7 tin 20
Vaseline Rosy Lips .6oz $3.50 tin 20
Nuxe Reve de Miel .5oz $15 jar 17
Elizabeth Arden .5oz $22 tube, slant tip 23
Lancome Juicy Shaker .22oz $22 tube,sponge applicator 11
Smith's Rosebud Smith’s Rosebud .5oz $6 tube, slant tip 22
Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask Bite Agave .5oz $26 tube, no applicator 24
Bag Balm Bag Balm 8oz $8 tin 22
Jack Black Jack Black .25oz $7.50 tube, slant tip 22
Ever tried this one? Do you agree with The Internet’s assessment of its price vs performance? Talk about it!