Julianne Stein is managing editor for Drug Topics magazine.
A peek into a very special world.
Late-stage middle-agers can hearken back to a time when the only lip-care options around were ChapStick (cherry-flavored or original) and petroleum jelly. Folks weren’t thinking about other alternatives, because they hadn’t been invented yet. No one felt deprived.
That was then.
Flash forward to 2013 and prepare to explore the brave new world of lip products, courtesy of your favorite search engine and the internet.
You will quickly learn that its public takes lip balm very seriously, as evidenced by the cascade of opinions, interest groups, and dedicated blogs that pours forth from your screen. And that’s not counting the manufacturers’ product sites.
What is everyone getting so excited about? For starters, there are liquid lip balms, solid lip balms, roll-on lip balms, and stick lip balms. If you look, you’ll find a Cheetos-flavored lip balm, vegan lip balm, diet lip balm, and lip balms pegged to every imaginable color, flavor, fruit, flower, season, weather event, emotional state, and flirtation behavior. (Lip balm is writ in a poetic language all its own. Examples below.)
There are lip treatments, lip therapies, lip soothers, lip moisturizers, lip repairs, lip butters, lip conditioners, and lip jellies.
There are lip balm bloggers (so many bloggers!), lip balm chat rooms, and posting sites, through which flows a seemingly endless exchange of lip balm lore, product feedback, and shopping tips.
Oh, and let us not forget Lip Balm Anonymous. That’s right. There is a site for the addicted.
Well, we know now. A word to the retailers among us:
If you stock it, they will come.
Lip Vibrance. Lip Vibrance provides a touch of lasting color and shimmer, plus moisturization and protection for dull, lackluster lips. “Your lips' complexion will have an even tone that radiates health,” says the product literature.
Nurture and Nourish. This balm goes beyond effective protection and hydration to feed lips with exceptional nutrients and antioxidants, in an effective, comfortable formula that is a unique blend of olive and grapeseed oils, goji extract, vitamin E, and essential minerals that protects lips and maintains a healthy moisture balance, “for exceptionally healthy lips inside and out.”
Among other lip care offerings from Blistex are Herbal Answer, Daily Conditioning Treatment, Medicated Lip Ointment, Five Star Lip Protection, Cold & Allergy Lip Soother, Moisture Melt, Deep Renewal, Silk & Shine, Complete Moisture, Lip Medex, and Medicated Lip Balm.
Revitalizing Lip Balm with Blueberry and Dark Chocolate. “A dessert combo to delight your lips,” this 100% natural revitalizing lip balm is infused with the antioxidant properties of blueberry seed oil and cocoa powder, and blended with natural butters and oils to renew and reveal beautiful, healthy-looking lipsâ¨. 100% natural.
4-Pack Lip Balm – Superfruit. “Fresh fruit balms that are always in season” combine beeswax to naturally help condition lips with beneficial nutrients and "amazing flavors" for lips that "feel soft and taste great." The 4-pack contains R
eplenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil, Refreshing Lip Balm with Pink Grapefruit, Rejuvenating Lip Balm with Acai Berry, and Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter.
Burt’s also offers Ultra Moisturzing Lip Treatment, Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm with Kokum Butter, Beeswax Lip Balm with Vitamin E and Peppermint, Honey Lip Balm with Vitamin E, Island Lip Balm with Passion Fruit, Soothing Lip Balm with Eucalyptus and Menthol, and nine shades of Tinted Lip Balm.
Carmex Moisture Pluslimited edition designs. An eight-product “slim-stick lip balm line” ... presents a fashion-forward exterior” in eight separate package designs, each named to evoke a different style, such as Chic (houndstooth), Fab ("a groovy retro look"), Adventurous (leopard print), and Whimsical (art deco).
“Lip care is an important component of a daily beauty regimen and consumers need a product they can rely on that protects and serves as an important foundation,” said Paul Woelbing, president of Carma Laboratories, Inc., in a prepared statement. “The goal of the new Carmex Moisture Plus line is to offer our consumers a hard-working lip balm line that represents and reflects their unique style.”
The balm itself is formulated with an ultra-hydrating proprietary technology and features aloe, vitamin E, and broad spectrum SPF 15 sunscreen.
At its website, Carmex offers “The Little Lip Book” (mycarmex.com/assets/pdf/LipBook.pdf), written by an independent group of clinicians dsescribed as uninvolved with product creation or marketing. It’s a highly informative 35-page guide to lip health and lip care that is likely to come in handy when patients turn up with arcane lip-related questions.
MoistureShine Gloss. Its silky, sheer color and a conditioning formula containing a triple-berry antioxidant complex of acai, goji, and aronia actually improves the healthy look, softness, and smoothness of lips over time, says the product literature. Available in 14 alliteratively named shades that range from neutral through pink, mauve,and plum.
MoistureShine Lip Soother SPF 20. It provides hydsration, instant, soothing relief and a high-gloss shine. A unique hydragel formula contains cucumber, chamomile, and glycerin for intense moisturization. Available in nine tightly themed shades: Shimmer, Glimmer, Glisten, Shine, Gleam, Sparkle, Sheen, Glaze, and Glow.
Revitalizing Lip Balm SPF 20. This product helps make lips softer, rosier, and healthier-looking, even after it is removed, says the literature. Its sheer tinted balm, formulated with Neutrogena’s exclusive ion2complex, instantly moisturizes lips, improving their texture and leaving them looking fuller and more defined. Available in six sheer tints: Sheer Shimmer, Healthy Blush, Sunny Berry, Petal Glow, Soft Caramel, and Fresh Plum.
Color and Care Liquid Lip Balm. A newly launched hybrid formula with the pigment and shine of a gloss but the texture and moisturizing properties of a lip balm. According to Almay, “Shiny color drenches lips with 2x hydration as lip-loving conditioners provide 194% more moisture for softer, smoother lips over time.” The 10 available shades are: just plum good, nudetrients (sic), apple a day, lilac love, pink pout, blooming balm, cantaloupe cream, rosy lipped, apricot pucker, and truffle kiss, all noted in refreshing lower case. Almay manufactures cosmetics for sensitive skin; its formulas are hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested
Last but not least, a racy new product line with a '70s theme. According to the website, all its balms are 100% natural and made with organic extra virgin olive oil, organic palm oil, organic hemp seed oil, beeswax, rosemary extract, and vitamin E, with mineral tints derived from mica, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide. But It’s the product names (not to mention the illustrations: http://www.balmchicky.com/) that will really grab a certain passionate lip-balm demographic: Sweet Baby Ginger, Wild Mountain Honey, Juicy Melons, Huge Cucumber, and Hot Chocolate Love.
Balm Chicky products are packaged in a tube capped at both ends, so that a user can balm a pal with “The Friend End,” leaving the other end sanitary and germ-free (once per tube, anyway).
A few randomly selected websites giving it up for lip balm
EDIBLE LIP BALMS
Three camphor-free user-friendly flavors
CRUELTY FREE LIPS
A guide to vegan lip balms
THE BEST VEGAN LIP BALMS
A purist green-lights the vegan best
THE 50 BEST LIP BALM BRANDS
Consumers vote their faves up and their hates down
TOP 10 LIP BALMS FOR MEN
Yep, men balm out too
THE MOST EXPENSIVE LIP BALMS
Love Lip Balms, Addicted to Lip Balms
Tips on what to look for and what to avoid
LIP BALM WRANGLER
Blog of a self-confessed addict who is totally about the lip balm
LIP BALM EXPRESS
Design your own company logo giveaway item; 100 tubes with custom-printed label, $49.
LIP BALM ANONYMOUS
“The original site about lip balm addiction”