Carmex vs Blistex

Blistex vs. Carmex [Which One Better Suits Your Routine]



14 MIN READ | March 02, 2024

Chapped, dry lips are a pain, literally and figuratively. They are uncomfortable and unattractive and not to mention, more vulnerable to infection as well. Therefore, it’s crucial to take proper care of your lips.

And when it comes to taking care of your lips, lip balms can provide the nourishment no other can. Blistex and Carmex are two popular lip balm giants that aim to heal irritated lips and provide protection, but with different approaches.

While Blistex leans into dermatological ingredients, Carmex is more about packing a punch with menthol. But which lip balm is for you? In this comparison piece, you will learn about their ingredients, products, and treatment focus to find out which lip balm should be in your lip care regime for this winter.

Brand Histories of Carmex and Blistex


Carmex medicated lip balm was first created in 1937 by Alfred Woelbing as a treatment for cold sores. Woelbing started selling Carmex to local pharmacies in jars. The formula contained a blend of pain-relieving ingredients like menthol and camphor to soothe cold sores.

Today, Carmex continues to specialize in medicated lip balms but has expanded its products to include flavored balms, tinted balms, and lip scrubs.


Blistex was founded in 1947 by Charles E. Arch, who aimed to develop innovative, high-quality lip care products. Blistex pioneered the development of SPF lip balms in the 1970s to protect lips from sun damage.

The company also introduced new lip moisturizers, medicated cold sore treatments, and lip revitalizers to treat a wider range of lip issues.

Difference Between Carmex and Blistex






Lanolin, petrolatum, menthol

Dimethicone, petrolatum, menthol

Product Range

Classic medicated, flavored balms, lip butters

Medicated balms, daily hydrators, lip scrubs


Instant relief, long-lasting moisture seal

Soothing relief, barrier protection, variety


Menthol irritation, tingling

Medicinal scent, menthol irritation

Price Range

$2-$6 per balm

$2-$6 per balm

Best For

Severely dry, chapped lips

Daily moisture, sun protection

Let’s now talk about their key ingredients and product lineup to better understand what sets these brands apart.

Key Ingredients

Blistex Lip Balms

Blistex offers a diverse range of lip balms, ointments, and scrubs to provide customized solutions for dry, chapped lips. Some notable ingredients are:

  • Beeswax, dimethicone, and petrolatum to create a moisture barrier.
  • Menthol and camphor provide a cooling sensation and soothe pain and irritation.
  • Vitamin E, shea butter, and aloe vera to nourish lips and improve texture.
  • SPF 15 in some balms to protect lips from sun damage.

Carmex Lip Balms

Carmex focuses on super-hydrating lip balms with soothing ingredients to heal dry, irritated lips. Their notable ingredients include:

  • Beeswax, lanolin, and petrolatum lock in moisture to prevent and treat chapping.
  • Menthol and camphor provide antibacterial protection and a cooling sensation.
  • Aloe, coconut oil, and shea butter to deeply condition lips.
  • SPF 15 in some balms to shield from sun damage.
  • Salicylic acid exfoliates flaky skin.

Product Lineups


Some of the best-selling Blistex products include Lip Medex for instant pain relief and Medicated Lip Balm for sun protection and outdoor activities. They also have Medicated Ointment to heal cracked lips overnight with ultra-thick petroleum formula.

Other noteworthy products include affordable Classic Lip Balms and Shines as well as Scrubs to tint and buff for smoother and shiny lips.

Pros and Cons of Blistex Lip Balms:



Effective relief for severe chapping and cold sores

Menthol can irritate sensitive lips

Long-lasting hydration and barrier protection

Frequent use can increase lip dryness

Variety suits different needs and budgets

Lack of SPF in many balms


Among the Carmex flagship products, the most noteworthy is Classic Medicated Balm with signature menthol formula to heal severe chapping overnight. They also offer Cherry and other flavored balms to hydrate lips with fruity scents.

They also offer their own flavor of ultra-thick balm called Lip Butter and Medicated Sticks for sun protection, while also offering scrubs to buff those dry flakes.

Pros and Cons of Carmex Lip Balms:



Lightweight, non-greasy feel

Medicinal scent unappealing to some

Menthol cools and soothes pain

Frequent reapplication is required for some 

Variety of formulas for different needs

Flavors can be too sweet

Soothing Balms

If you prefer a richer, thicker texture, Carmex Classic is the winner. The creamy cocoa butter formula provides more intense moisturization for extremely chapped lips.

For those wanting a lighter feel, Blistex Medicated is best. It glides on smoothly and absorbs quickly without heaviness.

SPF Protection

For chemical sunscreen fans, the Carmex Medicated Stick with octinoxate and oxybenzone is a top choice. 

If you like mineral formulas, go for the Blistex Medicated Stick with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Blistex also wins for those wanting an unscented balm.

Cold Sore Soothers

When it comes to numbing power, Carmex Cold Sore treatment wins. The 10% benzocaine instantly reduces pain and irritation. 

Blistex Lip Ointment is better for exfoliating away flakiness while soothing. It also doubles as a lip prep for makeup.

Pricing Comparison

When it comes to price, Carmex and Blistex lip balms are very similar. Both offer lip balms that range from $2 to $6 per unit. Both Carmex and Blistex also sell multi-packs of lip balms at a discounted bulk rate. This allows you to stock up on your preferred balm at an even lower per-unit price.

Overall, Carmex and Blistex are very competitive and similarly priced. There is no clear advantage of one brand over the other when it comes to affordability.

Choosing Between Blistex or Carmex

When it comes to Carmex vs. Blistex, both brands offer quality medicated lip balms to heal and protect chapped lips.

Blistex takes a more customized approach with a diverse range of medicated and daily lip balms. Ingredients like dimethicone and natural oils seal in moisture and give a lighter feel. Blistex also pioneered SPF lip balms. But some dislike the medicinal scent and tingling.

Carmex’s intensely hydrating formula with beeswax, lanolin, and petrolatum provides long-lasting relief for severely dry, cracked lips. The signature menthol cooling is refreshing but may irritate sensitive skin.

Ultimately, the best option depends on your specific needs and preferences:

  • Carmex if you want a reliable, heavy-duty balm to repair extremely chapped lips.
  • Blistex if you desire a daily balm with sun protection for your sensitive lips.
  • Avoid strong menthol if you have sensitive skin.

Either brand can effectively treat chapped lips with regular and proper use. Pick the formula your lips respond to best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Blistex good for your lips?

Yes, Blistex provides effective medicated relief for severely chapped and painful lips. The moisturizing ingredients promote healing while the SPF options provide protection.

Does Carmex heal dry lips?

Yes, Carmex contains highly emollient ingredients like petrolatum to deeply hydrate dry, flaky lips, providing healing and moisture. The menthol cools and soothes irritation.

Why is Carmex so popular?

Carmex is popular for its signature medicated formula that provides instant cooling relief for dry, chapped lips. The affordability, portability, and cult classic status add to the popularity.

Is Carmex the same as Chapstick?

No. While both make lip balms, Carmex and Chapstick are different brands with distinct formulas and ingredients. Chapstick focuses more on flavors while Carmex is known for its menthol-medicated formula.

Can you use Blistex lip balm every day?

Yes, most Blistex lip balms are safe for daily use. Avoid overuse of medicated formulas. Discontinue use if any irritation develops.

What are the side effects of Carmex?

Some potential side effects of Carmex include irritation or allergic reactions, especially from overuse and strong menthol. Discontinue use if this happens. Use only externally on lips.

Final Thoughts

Both Blistex and Carmex offer quality medicated lip balms and many of them share the same formula. Consider your specific need and lip care routine to decide which one better suits your routine. With both of them being affordable and similarly priced, we recommend you experiment with both to find your perfect lip care buddy.


Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.

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