Ever since I was a wee one, I’ve had a thing for lip balm. I can remember being in Montessori (I was 4) and a girl named Carla with poofy hair owned a cherry chapstick. She let me use it one day, and every day from there on in, I begged her to let me use her “chaaaapstick” (she would make me say it exactly like her before she would let me have at the cherry goodness). That’s where it all started.
I can’t remember what my first lip balm was (there’s just been too many!), though in seventh grade I bought my first Maybelline Dream Whip lipstick in a light peachy shade. My parents told me that the color made my lips look like a chicken’s behind. I was slightly offended but brushed it off to them not really understanding makeup and being unfashionable.
It was around that time (when I started receiving allowance) that my collection started growing. Back then it was Lip Smackers, endless flavours of Lip Smackers in Kiwi, Strawberry, Dr. Pepper, and my favorite, Vanilla. I was also equally obsessed with Bonne Bell’s collection of cafe-inspired lip tints. Not to mention, my collection of Revlon Lipsticks, they were growing as well. In the 8th grade, I would check the flyer of my local drugstore for Revlon sales and get off the bus to make a special stop on the way home in order to scope out the latest and greatest in makeup and take home a new shade of Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick. Mmmmm…I even loved the name. They had me at “Super Lustrous”. Classics included Toast of New York, Coffee Bean, Sandalwood Beige and Blackberry.
Carmex came into my life shortly thereafter as I entered into my ‘medicated lip balm’ phase. Carmex, Blistex (Lip Medex, DCT, Lip Conditioner – I’ve had ’em all) and a few other stick variations that never made it very far. Pots of lip balm was where it was at. Little pots of mentholated goodness. In high school, all of my girlfriends and I were addicted to this stuff. We even had a ‘code’ for when we were bored and ready to leave a party. We would ask one of us if they had “any medicated lip balm?” And with the whisper of those few little words, we were outta there.
Kiehls (lip balm #1!) sashayed into the scene through the pages of Allure and the now defunct Mademoiselle. Not only was it called #1, it was also constantly rated number one in the magazines. So nautrally, I had to have it and of course, in the pot! At that time, I was living in Victoria, BC where we didn’t have access to Kiehls so being the dedicated beauty junkie I was, I made the trip to Vancouver and specifically went to Holt Renfrew to pick some up. I had wild expectations of this miraculous lip balm (as I tend to with most lip balms), and well, like most, it was nice.
I’m not sure why I still expect life changing miracles from lip balms but I don’t think that will ever change. Over the last few years, I’ve done Jack Black, EOS, Dior Lip Glow, Chanel Coco Baume, C.O. Bigelow, Aquaphor, Lucas Papaw, ROC Enydrial, Aveeno, Fresh Sugar, and of course Smith’s Rosebud Salve.
I have not conquered all and there are still many I’d like to try including Nuxe Rev de Miel, but there are a few that have stood the test of time, or at least ones that haven’t been tossed aside or thrown in a random drawer. Burt’s Bees is what I always have in my makeup bag. When all else fails or when I am having an allergic reaction to some other lip product I’ve tried, I reach for the Burt’s Bees (in Pomegranate, Mint, or my new favorite, Ultra Conditioning), even when I have some fancy schmancy high-end-quadruple-the-price lip balm in the same bag. And in the evenings, I like to dip my finger in Smith’s Minted Rosebud Salve and smooth some on my lips before bed. There’s something about that added bit of minty tingle that I find to be just perfect.
There will always be a place in my heart for the extremely medicated lip balms of my youth, but there isn’t a place on my nightstand for it anymore. I don’t think I will ever stop collecting, though in defense, my purpose is not one of collection, but rather, an earnest search to to find the best. But I have learned to streamline somewhat. As much as I end up collecting beauty products, there is something to be said for simplicity; having just a few things that really work.
But how will you know what will really work until you try it right? 😉