I am a chapsticoholic. I guess I just have dry lips, but being trapped in a meeting without lip balm is torture. Yet for all my dependence on the stuff, I am extremely particular about formula.
I used to describe lip balms on a spectrum from waxy (or hard) to greasy (or squishy). Original Chapstick and Mint Chapstick are pretty waxy. Kiehls and potted Vaseline are pretty greasy. I would say I preferred the waxy end of the spectrum, because those tend to last longer. Greasy balms often disappear too fast, and I crave that soothing feeling. But research and development in cosmetics never stops, and there are more and more balms out there that are soft AND long-lasting.
But I have found a few others that I have to rave about. A fairly recent discovery for me is Jack Black lip balm ($7.50). I got a mini of their Natural Mint & Shea Butter in a recent Neiman Marcus gift-with-purchase, and it was love at first swipe. “Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner!” I demanded of my savvy sales associates. Their answer: We thought you already knew.
Jack Black is a mens skincare brand, and their balm comes in a squeeze tube with a slant tip. I don’t even particularly like mint flavoring, but Jack Black’s version is very much like an Andes after-dinner mint, and leaves me with the (possibly dangerous) sensation that I’ve just brushed my teeth.
The formula is incredibly soothing and moisturizing and long-lasting — so, emboldened and curious to try more flavors, I ordered the Grapefruit & Ginger and Black Tea & Blackberry two-pack from Sephora ($10). I don’t love them quite as much. The Grapefruit & Ginger has a sweet, grapefruit-peel scent (which doesn’t linger); Black Tea & Blackberry reminds me of blueberry muffin batter. More important than scent, however, these two seem to dry out a bit on the lips. The Grapefruit & Ginger, particularly, develops a slightly powdery quality. I noticed it most the first time I used it (perhaps I’ve been compensating by applying more thickly), but I’ll stick to Mint from now on.
Side note: I actually liked the Mint balm SO MUCH that I was inspired to search out other treasures from the line. I tried their hand lotion, and it didn’t win me over. I expected a “mens” hand lotion to really dry down completely, and Jack Black’s doesn’t. I guess it’s just the Mint balm for now.
Another great balm in a squeeze tube is VMV Hypoallergenics’ Armada Lip Balm (SPF 60). VMV Hypoallergenics is a +30-year-old company that works harder than anyone to be rigorously, demonstrably hypoallergenic. The North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies routinely publishes a list of known allergens — and VMV formulates their products without any of those ingredients. Everything is tested in vitro, in vivo, in double-blind studies — and never on animals. Their line ranges from shampoo and conditioner to color cosmetics to sunscreen to (unflavored) toothpaste.
Needless to say, their Armada lipbalm is unscented. It has a wonderfully comforting “heavy jelly” feeling. But it is $25, which is going to keep some folks away.
Another recent discovery for me (shameful!) is Korres Lip Butter. I actually swatched these ages ago, but hadn’t tried them on because the testers were icky.
Well I finally picked up Mango, and it feels wonderful. This is just about my ideal lip balm formula. Lip Butters come in several flavors, each with a unique color and scent. My next choice after Mango will be Pomegranate (you know me and warm lip colors). These are $12 each.
Oh how I hate pots, though! Using a lip brush with a balm feels too fussy. But using a finger means you need clean hands, and afterwards… you wipe your hands on your jeans? A friend of mine who went on a mission in Africa started applying balm from pot directly to lips, but it’s an imprecise method, and Mango is just tinted enough that I don’t want to color outside my lips.
Europe gets a stick version of these balms, and I’d like to try one at some point. I wonder whether the state change (from pot to stick) is going to significantly affect the formula and performance. Has anyone tried both and care to weigh in?
There are so many balms out there, I could go on and on. Did I miss one of your favorites? I’d love to hear what you can’t live without and why you love it.