Two of the most popular and long-lasting lip care brands in the world are Carmex and Blistex. They are so popular, in fact, that it’s nigh-on impossible for anyone who has used lip balm before to have not at least heard of them.
Whether it’s been in your purse or a friend’s pocket, or maybe even in your mom’s car, you’ve used a rogue lip balm before, and we'd wager it was probably one of these two brands.
But which one is better? They’ve both stood the test of time and have satisfied customers for years on end. We’re going to compare two of their classics, the Carmex Classic Lip Balm and the Blistex Lip Medex and decide once and for all which brand is superior.
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Carmex Classic Lip Balm vs Blistex Medicated Lip Balm
A good lip balm will relieve the dryness while giving your lips a soft and glossy look. In contrast, a bad one won’t relieve your symptoms and will make your lips look greasy. That’s why finding the right lip balm is essential to your year-round comfort.
Are the ingredients any good?
It's not uncommon for similar skincare products to share a very similar ingredients list, but few are quite as alike as these. Both products contain Petrolatum (lip protectant), Camphor (analgesic), Menthol (analgesic), Phenol (analgesic), Beeswax (anti-inflammatory), Lanolin (moisturizing), and Cocoa Seed Butter (moisturizing).
Where they begin to differ is Carmex's inclusion of Salicylic Acid (which helps to exfoliate dead skin cells) and the fact that Blistex's Lip Medex contains a much higher proportion of Petrolatum (59% versus Carmex's 45%) as well as additional wax. The upshot of this is that the Blistex Lip Medex boasts a much thicker consistency and slightly superior long-lasting moisturizing properties, whereas the Carmex Classic Lip Balm is arguably better for dealing with rough, chapped lips.
Using ingredients as a deciding factor, we prefer the Blistex Lip Medex because it strikes a comfortable balance between a regular and medicated lip balm, but if you need extra dryness-busting power, do not hesitate to give the Carmex Classic Lip Balm a shot.
What about the application and packaging?
Though their ingredients lists might be similar, their packaging certainly isn't. Carmex employs its signature yellow and red color scheme, whereas the Blistex Lip Medex is unapologetically dark blue.
When it comes to their application, they're the exact same, in that both are available in sticks, tubes, and pots. The only thing that might make you prefer one over the other in terms of application is if one of the sticks more naturally contours to your lip, and you like the feel of it - the only way to find that out for yourself, though, is to give them both a go!
The winner here - rather arbitrarily, we might add - is for the packaging, and that goes to the Carmex Classic Lip Balm. It's an awful lot easier to spot a bright yellow tub in the depths of your handbag than a dark blue one!
What are they designed for?
Both of these lip balms are safe to use as often as you like. While we wouldn’t suggest rubbing them around your lips all day long, you certainly could.
Both are medicated to help protect your lips from the elements - especially cold, windy weather. They help to restore a healthy moisture balance (by forming a protective, occlusive layer over your lips) while providing immediate relief from sore lips (thanks to their inclusion of external analgesics [pain relievers]).
The tub versions do not provide any sun protection, but both brands do offer alternatives in tubes and sticks containing SPF 15 if that's mainly what you're looking for (Carmex Classic Lip Balm SPF 15 and Blistex Medicated Lip Balm SPF 15).
It must be noted that since both of these lip balms are medicated, you do get that 'tingly' sensation when you apply them to your lips. While some of us find this to be really quite pleasant, we can totally see why this could be a deal-breaker. Some alternatives which won't make your lips tingle include the Carmex Colloidal Oatmeal Stick and Blistex Simple and Sensitive.
A note about pricing
It’s almost comical to compare the price of these two products, because both are incredibly affordable. The Blistex is a little bit cheaper, but not by much. If you are a long time fan of Carmex, its price is certainly not going to deter you from purchasing it.
One nice thing about Carmex and Blistex is that they offer their products in bundles, making it even more affordable. Bundles are wonderful because lip balm is a product that, for some reason, is easily lost. Although they tend to be cheap to buy, it's always nice to have a few backups on standby just in case one is inevitably lost to the void (where on earth do they go, by the way?).
Now that we have compared all of the major aspects of these two lip balms, you would have thought there would be a clear-cut winner. Truthfully, though, unless you're willing to split hairs, either of the two would make for an excellent choice for your lips.
This article was originally published on November 4th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on February 14th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.
Calum Torrington is the founder of FemmeNordic. He has worked as a beauty editor since 2020 and employs his analytical background in mathematics to thoroughly scrutinize complex INCI lists. Now, he helps over 1 million people per year to find the best beauty products.