If you're in the USA and heading into fall, there's no doubt that you'll be stocking up on your Lip Balms. I've long been a lip balm collector. I can't live without it and if I was to ever leave home without my precious balm, I'll turn the car right round just to get it or buy a new one when I reach my destination.

There's nothing worse than going out to dinner with dry cracking lips. It makes for a very unpleasant outing when you're constantly licking your lips to compensate for the moisture! I've now resorted to carrying a lip balm in EVERY bag as well as on my desk at home, in my drawers at work and in the pockets of my pants, coats and jackets. I use so much of this stuff that I started pondering one day... are all lip balms the same? Should I be 'investing' in a good lip balm seeing as I use it so often?

Well essentially, the simple answer to both questions is NO! Not all lip balms were created equally and good lip balms all do the same thing – so a $3 chapstick will do the same thing as a $25 lip balm – they might just smell different and look different on the lips.

What makes a good lip balm? Look for natural or paraben free ones and a simple ingredients list. Most balms will contain a base of some oil such as caster seed oil, coconut oil or grape seed oil, beeswax, lanolin, cocoa butter or Petrolatum. The other mandatory ingredient, SPF!

Should we 'invest' in a good lip balm? Well, that's up to the individual. I know the sensible answer is No - seeing as I can get a good one for $3 such as the Burt's Bees Refreshing Lip Balm, but there's something so luxurious about Fresh Sugar Lip Therapy that sells for about $25. I think it must be the smell and the packaging – I'm a sucker for packaging!

Another thing to note, is the finish of the lip balms. Some balms have a glossier finish which is indicative of a petrolatum base and others have a matte, velvety finish. I own a range of petrolatum based products such as Vaseline – I keep a big tub in the bathroom for after shower lip care, I have Smith's Rosebud Salve in my handbag – I like the feel of this one over my lipstick, Lucas' Papaw Ointment on my desk – great product but the tube is a little big to be carrying in my handbag and some non-petrolatum based products such as Yu-Be on my bedside table, an array of Burt's Bees/Chapstick/Carmex/Aquaphor in my pockets and of course, my Fresh Sugar Lip Therapy – the Mercedes of Lip Balm – for when I'm getting ready for a big night out or traveling.

On a last note, the other thing I take into considering when I choose my lip balms is whether it's in a pot or in a stick. Stick packaging is a much better option because I hate the image of spreading germs from my hands into my pot and then all over my lips!