I know I’m not the only one with an extreme passion for lip balm. Many of us hoard them as if we were squirrels storing nuts for the winter – every coat pocket and section of my car seems to hold a different one. Somehow there’s something about a new lip balm that is one of life’s small pleasures, and as we come cautiously out of lockdown, we could do with some. There’s currently the added issue of wearing face masks, which people are finding can make their lips drier than ever. So it’s a practical kind of treat.
I still remember discovering Carmex for the first time and being amazed that something so good was so available and inexpensive. And while there are lots of pricey lip care kits on the market, you don’t need to spend much: to make a lip scrub, for example, just mix a bit of honey and sugar together, or else coconut oil (or even olive oil) mixed with sugar, will do the job. We all have our favourites – these are mine.
Yes, Carmex is an old faithful – did you know they do a strawberry one, as well as cherry? And I have a soft spot for all the flavours of Vaseline, especially the cocoa butter, and rose tinted. Glossier has built an entire brand around its photogenic tubes of Balmdotcom; somehow the little tubes are just the perfect size. The main ingredient of Glossier balms is, like Vaseline, petrolatum, but with added seed oils and extracts. So it’s pricier than a pharmacy basic, but admittedly prettier and with lovely flavours like mango and rose. I’d love to see one with added SPF.
L’Occitane is particularly good at lip balm, and the Delicious Multi-Balm lip butter is my favourite (plain or tinted) in terms of texture and quality, while best value is the Petit Remede multi-use balm, a blend of sunflower seed oil, shea butter, sweet almond and fruit oils. I’m also partial to a lip oil, something that has been big this year. My pick is Votary’s natural one with applicator, like a lip gloss – it’s expensive, but the ingredients are appealingly natural and it gives lips a moisturising and hydrating finish.
There are surprisingly few lip balms with sun protection, although Carmex do one (vanilla-flavoured) and Boots Soltan Lip Suncare Stick has the highest factor, with an SPF30. For protective balms, I’d go for Elizabeth Arden 8Hr Lip Protectant Stick SPF15 (€23) in sheer or with a tint. I also spotted a rhubarb version of Lanolips with SPF, which seems a bit of an odd flavour, but the original is beautifully creamy.
Finally, a few of the top-range lip balms are just lovely to use – Chanel’s round pot is beautifully chic, and La Mer’s luxuriously minty balm (best value is €51 at www.theloop.ie), which I would regularly sample as I passed through airports, longing to own a pot. I’m adding to that Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Color Replenish Lip Balm, an elegant one to pull from your bag. Though we’re not entirely blinded by looks: even though I admire the lovely compact of La Prairie’s Eye & Lip Perfection Porter, I could not advocate spending more than €160 on 15ml of product. Finally, if it’s tinted lip balm you’re after, the Healthy Glow Lip Balm from Chanel’s Les Beiges Collection (€36) is the prettiest, most flattering shade.
Which ones have we missed? Please tell us the ones you swear by…
Somehow there’s something about a new lip balm that is one of life’s small pleasures
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