The One Place You’re Not Using SPF — But Should Be

The tops of the ears, the back of the neck, between the shoulder blades: What sounds like a G-rated version of that Khia song is also a list of the easy-to-miss spots derms always remind us to hit with SPF. But our lips? They're incredibly easy to neglect, which, according to the experts, could be dangerous.

"SPF on the lips is important," says board-certified dermatologist Michael Swann, MD. "Lips are actually a common place for skin cancers, and because the barrier function of the skin on the lips is less vigorous, these tumors can quickly behave more aggressively than the same tumors in other locations."

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That's a scary way of saying don't skip the lips, even if they don't tend to immediately burn or freckle. "While lips do have some extra color, which people often translate as protection from the sun, it's rarely melanin," says board-certified dermatologist Karyn Grossman, MD, referring to the protective pigment in skin. "Applying SPF to the lips is a crucial part of your SPF routine."

Luckily, taking a second to protect your pout is as easy as applying the right lip color — just heed Dr. Grossman's tips to be sure you're doing it right. Naturally, you know SPF 30 is best, but most lip SPFs ring in lower. "[Finding an SPF 30 or above] can be a bit tricky, as many are 15 to 20," Dr. Grossman says. Her tip? Do your best to pick something high in SPF, but know the most important factor is reapplying. "Find something that you are happy to put on frequently — like every hour or so."

Diligent application is a lot easier when you're smoothing on a killer color, not a chalky paste. So we've rounded up our favorite lip shades that also protect, from an everyday rosy gloss to vibrant, look-at-me hues that are just as pretty post-sunset.

Ahead, our favorite SPF-packed lip colors to carry you through summer and beyond.

There is a lot of product out there — some would say too much. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but if you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

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Solid & Striped Sun Lip Balm SPF 45


The brand behind some of the cutest swimwear around also makes skin-care products, including this SPF-infused lip balm.
Solid & Striped Sun Lip Balm SPF 45$14.00 Buy

Vanicream Lip Protectant SPF 30


Affordable? Check. Hydrating? Check. Sun-protective? Check. This gentle formula is a favorite of dermatologists and is free of fragrances, gluten, parabens, and preservatives.
Vanicream Lip Protectant SPF 30$5.60 Buy

Kiehl's Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30


This ultra-smooth hydrating balm is one you'll want to swipe on all summer long, thanks to SPF 30 protection and a rainbow of pretty tinted shades.
Kiehl's Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30$24.00 Buy

Revlon Kiss Balm Lip Balm


Revlon's SPF tinted chubby stick balm comes in five sheer shades and is infused with juicy fruit oils.
Revlon Kiss Balm Lip Balm$4.99 Buy

Supergoop! MintFusion Lip Balm SPF 30


Deep, instant hydration (and an optional tint) is just what we need before, during, and after a day in the sun.
Supergoop! Mintfusion Lip Balm SPF 30$9.50 Buy
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Sun Bum SPF 15 Tinted Lip Balm


Cruelty-free and oxybenzone-free, these tinted balms are the perfect accessory for a beach day.
Sun Bum Tinted Lip Balm SPF 15$5.99 Buy

eos Shea + SPF Sphere Lip Balm


Same adorable packaging, new SPF formulas. Eos' round lip balms are finally available in a sunscreen-infused formula, making them the ultimate on-the-go beauty item.
eos Shea + SPF Sphere Lip Balm$4.91 Buy

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15


Fresh's classic Sugar balm comes in a rainbow of colors — 12 and counting — all of which feel amazing, smell heavenly, and offer a hint of a Popsicle-stained tint.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15$24.00 Buy

Lip Smackers Kiss Therapy SPF 30 Lip Balm


The bright red tube of shimmery lip balm that would never leave your backpack has gotten a sunscreen makeover in the form of this SPF 30 balm.
Lip Smackers Kiss Therapy SPF 30 Lip Balm$4.00 Buy

Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm Stick SPF 20


Baby Lips' bright hues and smooth texture has made it a best seller. (Also, it doesn't hurt that the packaging is très cute.) The brand's bestselling clear formula, Quenched, hydrates and plumps lips while providing a veil of SPF 20 protection.
Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm, SPF 20$4.45 Buy
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Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm


Neutrogena's balm in Sunny Berry is an editor favorite for its hydrating, non-sticky finish and light wash of color. What feels like a quenching balm stays put like a powerful tint.
Neutrogena Revitalizing Tinted Lip Balm, SPF 20$6.97 Buy

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25


Don't just reserve your protective lip balm for PTO days spent in the sun. Consider keeping an emollient balm by your side for in-flight travel, too. Believe it or not, the potential for sun damage is high while on plane — especially if you scored the window seat.
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25$8.00 Buy

Moroccanoil Lip Balm SPF 20


Although this balm feels as hydrating as an overnight mask, the finish — and feel — still remains nearly undetectable on lips.
Moroccanoil Lip Balm SPF 20$17.00 Buy

Coola Mineral Liplux SPF 30 Organic Tinted Lip


Formulated with organic cupuaçu butter and mongongo oil, this rosy tinted balm offers up a creamy texture and tint that looks natural and wards off burns.
Coola Tinted Mineral Liplux SPF 30$18.00 Buy

SweatWELLth Lip Quench


Formulated with SPF 25, electrolytes, sunflower seed oil, and vitamin E, this tinted balm conditions while protecting like a pro.
SweatWELLth Lip Quench Electrolyte Balm w/SPF 25$12.50 Buy
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Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster SPF 15 Lip Gloss


Something that makes us look good, feel hydrated, and avoid sunburn? Sold.
Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster SPF 15 Lip Gloss$27.00 Buy

Jane Iredale LipDrink Lip Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 15


Following a strict vegan and cruelty-free beauty routine? This is the moisturizing lip balm for you.
Jane Iredale LipDrink® Lip Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 15$17.00 Buy
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