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Carmex vs Vaseline 2024 (The Definitive Guide)

Two of the most popular and long-lasting lip care brands in the world are Carmex and Vaseline. 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 Vaseline Lip Therapy and decide once and for all which brand is superior.

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Carmex Classic Lip Balm vs Vaseline Lip Therapy

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. Two of the best balms that you can find for your lips are Carmex Classic Lip Balm and Vaseline Lip Therapy. But how do they differ?

Are the ingredients any good?

It's not uncommon for similar skincare products to share a very similar ingredients list, but Carmex and Vaseline actually differ a lot in theirs. While Vaseline Lip Therapy is comprised of just three ingredients—Petrolatum (protectant), Shea Butter (moisturizer), and Tocopheryl Acetate (moisturizer)—Carmex's Lip Balm contains four times as many, including additional analgesics (painkillers) and moisturizing agents, as well as Salicylic Acid which works to actively slough away dead skin cells.

Where they overlap is the inclusion of Petrolatum, otherwise known as Petroleum Jelly, which is an occlusive ingredient that forms a seal over the surface of your lips to lock in moisture. Its role is fairly passive in each formula, which more or less sums up Vaseline as a lip balm actually (given that Vaseline Lip Therapy is >90% Petrolatum). Contrastingly, Carmex's lip balm is far more 'active', which makes sense given its designation as a medicated lip balm and the fact that it consists of only 45% Petrolatum.

Using ingredients as a deciding factor, we prefer the Carmex Classic Lip Balm on the basis that it just does *more*. That's not to say that Vaseline isn't effective, though, and if you're seeking a more run-of-the-mill lip balm, do not hesitate to give Vaseline Lip Therapy a shot.

What about the application and packaging?

Though their ingredients lists might have at least one similarity, their packaging certainly doesn't. Carmex employs an unmistakable yellow and red color scheme, whereas the Vaseline Lip Therapy wears the company's signature dark blue branding.

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 plain 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 designed 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) and the Carmex Classic Lip Balm goes one step further by providing additional 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 Vaseline Lip Therapy Original Stick SPF 15).

One big reason you might actually prefer the Vaseline Lip Therapy over Carmex's is because Carmex sometimes gives your lips a tingly feeling after application (because it is medicated and contains an exfoliant). Although some people are fans of this sensation, we can see why it would be a turn-off for others.

A note about pricing

It’s almost comical to compare the price of these two products, because both are incredibly affordable. Carmex is a little bit cheaper, but not by much. If you are a long time fan of Vaseline, its price is certainly not going to deter you from purchasing it.

One nice thing about Carmex and Vaseline 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?).

Final Verdict

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, they're equally as good for their intended purposes.

If you're looking for a medicated lip balm, look no further than Carmex. Find the best Carmex prices on Amazon

Likewise, if you're looking for a regular lip balm, Vaseline is the way to go. Find the best Vaseline prices on Amazon

This article was originally published on November 6th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on February 14th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.

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