The Best Balms for 6 of the Most Annoying Beauty Problems

If you're not Papaw-ing a crusty zit before concealing it, then you're just not living!

I love learning through osmosis. Any beauty professional who is working on you will be happy to answer questions about what they are doing, and it’s the second best way to learn from them other than watching.

When you sit down at a pro makeup artist’s station, very often you'll see two tubes side by side: Lucas' Papaw Ointment and Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentré. This is how I learned how to use a beauty balm for more than just chapstick, and there is a formula out there for everyone and every problem.

The awesome wealth of knowledge that is a makeup artist spans every skin type, age group, and aesthetic direction. Whether you are acne-prone, have dry or scaly skin, or have the best skin evar, a balm can be a means to an end for many different situations.

Here’s six ways to perfect any look, bare or fully painted!

Eyebrow Grooming

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant is living up to its reputation every day! I like to make my eyebrows super-bold, and the amount of sketching I do with things like Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow can render them a bit fake-looking. I put sheen back into the hairs and use a spoolie brush to help set them in place as a final step in my makeup routine.

A tiny dab will do ya! This balm is mineral-oil-based with lots of lanolin, which can help lipsticks and other pigments adhere to skin better.

Scabby Zits

Lucas’ Papaw Ointment is a MUA favorite. I’d say 75% of kits I've seen use this balm. It's also mineral-oil-based, but the difference here is the inclusion of fermented papaya, which is an excellent debriding agent. A debrider is similar to an exfoliant; it helps the skin shed any damaged cells quicker than by itself. For this reason, a scabby zit with a smidge of Papaw better covers bumpy parts and keeps it covered longer.

The balm not only helps with the way the zit looks, it actually helps the dead skin exit the premises. Simply dab on and leave for a few minutes, and gently take off the excess before putting on makeup.

Chapped Lips

I bought this tube of goodness that is Balm Dot Com at the fun IRL pop-up shop that Glossier had last summer. I prefer this one for lips as it doesn’t over-gloss and make your chosen lipstick translucent. It moisturizes lips with a matte finish—pretty rare for anything gooey like an ointment.

Castor oil is the base of this balm and that seals the deal for me! Putting it on over or under lipstick keeps things hydrated without looking like an early 2000s gloss.

Putting Back Shine

The concept of adding shine where you would normally highlight (or even over a highlight!) was introduced to me by my go-to makeup artist, Laramie. When you mattify the entire face, it can look heavy and not as natural, especially on the cheekbones.

Just like a Kardashian, I love using By Terry’s cult fav, Baume De Rose to fine tune my shine levels. Castor oil and rose wax make up the base, and it smells like pure luxury and never harms the skin. I wouldn’t smear just any old balm all over my face!

Press it onto your cheeks to make blush pop even more, or just use as a luxurious lip balm.

Crappy Cuticles

I lurve me some cuticle oil, but at night, I don’t want to have a bunch of goo running down my fingers. I like cuticle balms for nighttime use because they stay put.

Trilogy’s Everything Balm is a geranium- and lavender-scented relaxation agent. The scent signals chill time for me, and it’s extra-fancy exotic oil content of evening primrose, marula, and rosehip seed oil help balance out fatty acids in those dry little nail beds.

Rashes and Boo-Boos

Broken skin and rashes can occur everywhere, and it’s not always safe to use any old thing on these places. I came across VMV Hypoallergenics Grandma Minnie’s The Big Brave Boo-Boo Balm when checking out alternative ointments.

This stuff is a simple three-ingredient balm that is certified-hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and safe to use on even newborns. Petrolatum, coconut oil, and a coconut-oil-derived antibacterial substance are all ready to banish germs and help prevent infections and skin damage. I love this one when I get razor burn or an eczema breakout.

Now you have everything you need to find the balm for you! Most, if not all, of these can be used for all of the above ailments and issues. Some are better at one thing or another, but I do love a good multitasker. I keep one in my bag, one in the makeup kit, and one by my bedside.

  • Are you a balm devotee?
  • Have you ever sealed in your nighttime routine with an oinment like these?

Photos: Darnell Scott