Woman in nature
Small Steps

Today’s Small Step: Kiss the Earth

Like Fleetwood Mac songs and baby goats in pajamas, lip balm is one of life’s pure pleasures. It’s also one of the most popular, with about 500k tubes of lip balm sold every day. But lip balm is usually packaged in non-recyclable plastic, and many formulas include fossil fuels, or ingredients harvested through deforestation. And until we invest in better beauty rituals, eco-friendly talk is really just lip service.

The good news: there are more plastic-free, ethically-made lip balms than ever before. We’ve tested dozens of them to find the absolute best, and today’s small step is to discover a new favorite.

The Basic Best: Leaves Bar Lip Balm ($4.90)

Made with sunflower wax and coconut oil, this basic balm comes in 4 varieties, including mint and watermelon, as well as unscented.

The Lipstick Dupe: Axiology Lip-to-Lid Balmie ($15)

Deep pigment isn’t always a given in the “clean” beauty world, but these 10 shades really deliver, without compromising on their zero-waste ethos.

The Goth-Adjacent Color: Ethique Sugarplum Nourishing Lip Balm ($8.50)

Take Wednesday Addams’ deep plum lipstick and turn it into a soft watercolor. That’s the hint of goth girl that you’ll get from Ethique’s gently tinted option.

The Lip Smackers Homage: Poppy Marshmallow Creme Lip Balm ($9.95)

A sugary scent for grownups? Poppy nails it with this fair-trade beeswax balm. (No glitter though, which might be a relief.)

The Multitasker: Blue Heron Lavender Lemon Balm ($9)

Made in the Pacific Northwest with entirely compostable and recycled packaging, this balm can also be used on rough skin like super-dry hands.

Small Steps