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Like many Canadians, one of my favourite topics of conversation is the weather. And while there's no lack of meteorological drama to discuss at this time of year, the excitement is not without its drawbacks, as cold temperatures and the accompanying dry air can be harsh on the body – especially the lips.

"Lips lack sebaceous glands, which means they have no way to naturally provide moisture or minimize moisture loss," says Dr. Mike Wong, executive vice-president of research and development at skin and lip-care company EOS.

Applying lip balm helps create a barrier against external aggressors such as dry air and wind exposure, but not all balms are created equal. Wong advises looking for base ingredients such as waxes, oils and butters that can best build that barrier and help keep moisture within the lips' inner layers. "Since we ingest some of the ingredients we put on our lips, it is always good to have natural or organic ingredients," he adds, pointing to beeswax, botanical oils and butters such as shea or cocoa.

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When spending time in the great outdoors, lip balm should be applied even more frequently using a formula containing a broad spectrum SPF to protect lips from sun damage. "Lips have fewer melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin pigment, which makes them more susceptible to sunburn," Wong says.

It's hard to go overboard, but if you notice that after applying balm you're licking your lips, back off on the balm as this can worsen dryness and chapping.

What to try

EOS Medicated Pain Relieving Lip Balm in Cooling Chamomile, about $3.99 at drugstores.

The menthol in this balm ball temporarily soothes and relieves pain, while cocoa and shea butters hydrate and soften.

Kjaer Weis The Lip Balm, $68 through

A nourishing blend of Brazil-nut seed, sweet almond and jojoba oils, this lightweight balm will repair dry lips while reducing dryness and flaking due to dehydration.

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Chanel Poudre à Lèvres in 418 Rosa Tempera, $44 through

The balm in this duo can be worn on its own or layered under the accompanying lip powder for a just-kissed stain effect.

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