Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Slather'em On: LIP BALMS

Let me push the banal envelope and whine about the arctic temperature for a moment: JESUS CHRIST, IT IS COLD OUT THERE. And to me, that basically means abandon all lip colours and focus on proper balms that protect lips instead of drain them of moisture *glares at matte lipsticks*. I was reading through the comments section of a lip balm free-for-all post on IntoTheGloss and thought I could throw my two cents down (I'm giggling because we no longer have the penny)....! The temperature has been somewhere around the -40C mark more than a few times in the past week, so I thought it may be handy to go over some lip balms and products that may be worth your while if you're trying to nurse them back from a cracked or peeling state. Let's get right into it!

Okay, I admit this one is more luxurious than anything else, and it won't do too much for you in harsh weather, but I first bought this in the early 2000s and have repurchased it several times since. I've never been one to care about flavours of lip products because I don't lick my lips (yes, I'm superior to you like that - let's be real, it never was a habit for me and it just further dehydrates your lips due to the acidic nature of saliva, so...), but this one tastes pleasant for others, so I like to be considerate in that way, and it's pretty much the smoothest lip balm ever when applied on freshly exfoliated lips. It's known for containing the famous La Mer broth that is in the other La Mer skincare products. Famous broth aside, La Mer Lip Balm is pretty pricey ($60, at Holt Renfrew), but if you're in the mood for a small indulgence, let it be this one.
[Note: I exfoliate my lips every single night with a slightly dampened face towel and then apply lip balm. I started this ritual in high school and have stuck with it since and it helps immensely with both eliminating flakey, dead skin and lip balm absorption]

Finally, a suitable and petroleum-free alternative to Vaseline, Aquaphor and the like! This thick, emollient balm is meant to be a leave-on "mask" for your lips, but really it's a balm that you can wear any time you jolly well please (I'm sorry, I just finished rewatching Seasons 1 through 3 of Downton)! It contains jojoba oil, lanolin, and the antioxidant that Bite Beauty is most known for, resveratrol (commonly found in red wine). This stuff is so soothing and comfortable, it's just what's needed for this heinous weather we've all been trudging through. The price point is rather fair. One downer: it's in one of those classic metal tubes so getting every bit out might be an absolute nightmare, but enough people have ranted about it that I anticipate a repackaging situation at some point... I hope. A solid bet for your money ($30, at Sephora), packaging aside.  

I believe I grabbed one of these in a cutesie tube that had a cartoon drawing of the classic Elizabeth Arden Red Door on it at Duty Free in EWR on one of my various visits home a couple years ago and have been rather happy that I did. This lip balm ($23, at The Bay) is essentially a stick version of the heralded Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, known as such because it was alleged by a customer that the cream healed her son's scrapes in 8 hours. The formula contains petrolatum (wah!), vitamin E, salicylic acid and other emollients. The lip balm in particular also contains SPF, making it a fine option for any day there's a fresh snowfall (fun fact: snow reflects light like crazy SO WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY, even in the winter). If you know the smell of the 8 Hour Cream, then you can probably conclude what this balm smells like ... herbal, at best, but man, it does a damn good job of soothing irritated lips.

I have been a long-time user of Nivea lip products... probably more so when they were still Labello lip products and then bought out by Nivea, but whatever, I'm no stranger to the stick balms. You know, the light blue hydrating, the darker blue classic, all the wacky ones they've conjured up in the last couple years (chamomile? mint & minerals?)... I've tried them all! I've even gone as far as ordering weird fruity flavours from Asia via Amazon (it was one of those orders where I guess I kind of fell into an Amazon blackhole, but I'm pretty sure that's *all* Amazon orders, am I right?). When I saw a tin lip butter ($3.60, was emerging from Nivea, I was rather enthused. Naturally, the Canadian market somehow got the shaft and only received two of the 4 SKUs that launched in US and UK markets. Typical! Either way, I went for the original and I'm quite pleased with it. While I'm admittedly skeptical of any balm with a whitish hue since I have pigmented lips and well, simple math: pigmented lips + whitish balm = gross greyish cast of colour, but that wasn't the case with this balm. This buttery stuff absorbed, and the formula is rich with almond oil and shea butter, so actual hydration is a thing that occurs here! Huzzah!

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