Pretty P.O.V.: It’s a Balm, Balm World Sunday 04 March, 2012
My mouth gives three new lip balms a spin: Bite Beauty Superfruit Butter, GloMinerals The Cherry Balm SPF 15 and FixMySkin Healing Body Balm.
When I was a kid, I had a Cherry Chapstick surgically glued to my mouth. It felt like I was slathering my lips with melted candle wax—and somehow, that felt good. During the holiday season, I’d switch out my Chapstick with whatever great Bonnie Bell Lipsmacker flavors I found in my stocking. (Remember those large plastic candy canes they came in during Christmas? Pure heaven!) Martian Mallow was a favorite (I found out much later in life it was the favored flavor of my best friend, too); it had more slip than my Chapstick, plus a little kick of silvery shimmer—and the scent and taste! Marshmallow-y goodness. I can still smell it in my memory…
And it is just a memory: I kicked my Martian Mallow to the curb right after college—it just didn’t seem very grown up. (This, coming from an adult who collects Hello Kitty, Tokidoki and pretty much anything made in Japan that a six-year-old would like.) Since then, I really haven’t taken to using lip balms. So when a rash of new ones came to market, I started feeling a little left out. I decided to test a few, and see if their balmy touch was as addictive as my beloved Bonnie Bell Martian Mallow.
Bite Beauty Superfruit Butter in Pomegranate ($18, sephora.com): This little beaut isn’t so much a balm as it is a butter. It doesn’t leave a thick film on your lips, but rather a lightweight, fragrance-free, ultra-moisturizing layer of two ingredients: shea butter and ultra-concentrated pomegranate. (In fact, each little granule of color you see in the balm is a whole piece of pomegranate!) In case you didn’t know, pomegranate is considered a “super fruit” in that it is one of those antioxidant-rich fruits that kicks free radicals’ butts, thereby protecting your lips from all those toxins that surround us. Superfruit Butter comes in a little pot, so you’ll have to use your finger to apply the product. What I found: You need to “warm up” the butter by pressing and quickly circling your finger on its surface; the more you circle, the more product you’ll pick up. The one downside: I did find it can wear off rather quickly, so multiple applications throughout the day are necessary. I dabbed it on my elbows now and then for a little added hydration, and also rubbed it into my craggy cuticles to amazing effect. (Now the pot is stationed at my office desk for quick cuticle pick-me-ups throughout the day.) If you’re one of those peeps who have a laundry list of ingredients you don’t like, this little butter is formulated without parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs and triclosan.
GloMinerals The Cherry Balm SPF 15 Lip Moisture Treatment ($12.50, gloprofessionals.com): At first glance, this balm is HUGE. Almost comically so. Since I’ve been out of the balm game for so long, I am not used to this newfangled mammoth size. But, let me say: Size does matter. First, when I draw it over my lips, it covers everything on first swipe. Second—and this is the no-brainer part—it lasts a lot longer. Think about it: This guy is 0.65 ounces, as compared to the typical 0.15 ounces, which means it’s (calculating…one second) four times the size. You’ve got four lip balms in this single tube! Beyond that, the scent, a sweet-and-sour cherry delight, is sort of intoxicating—especially for someone who dies for sour cherry sweets. There isn’t, however, any taste—which is actually quite nice. The formula, packed with nourishing and soothing mango seed butter and hemp seed and meadow foam oils, glides on smoothly and has just the right amount of slip and shine. The bonus: SPF 15 provides UV protection, because lips need this too!
FixMySkin Healing Body Balm Unscented with 1% Hydrocortisone ($12, lovelyskin.com): Again, a mammoth stick, but by now, I’m used to it. And this one is the “body balm” size, though it’s the same formula as the “lip balm” size ($8). Let me tell you about FixMySkin Healing Body Balm: I have become its advocate. After giving my husband the big speech about why it’s the “balm,” I made him coat his lips in it—and then report back to me. I tell everyone I come into contact with about it. Why? Because it works and it lasts. When FixMySkin Healing Body Balm first entered my life, my lips were in a bad way. I live in a Pre-War building that’s heated by old-timey radiators; this literally saps my lips of all moisture, causing them to crack, flake and form blisters. I put this balm on (which is steeped in moisturizing shea and cocoa seed butters, as well as meadow foam and castor seed oils), went to sleep, woke up and my lips didn’t feel like my lips anymore—they felt better. I hadn’t expected such immediate results—results that can only be explained by the 1% hydrocortisone included in the balm’s formula, which actually works to repair severe skin issues, like those aforementioned cracks and flakes, but also rashes, eczema and psoriasis. I smarted at the fact that the recommended application is 2-3 times a day, tops—but after slicking it on, I quickly realized that the balm is long-lasting. It literally stays put for hours on end. And, as it is a body balm, it can conveniently tackle any skin itches and crevices you have going on elsewhere. Like I said, it’s the “balm.”