dec 08

Editors Victoria Chu
and Laura Jacobs
December 16, 2005
Variety for Lip Smackers to get rid of chapped lips
Victoria Chu and Laura Jacobs
Features Editors
December marks the territory of mall Santas, paper snowflakes, bad wrapping paper and, yes, chapped lips. When dry
winter air sucks the moisture out of every cell in your body, your lips are the first to go because they lack the sebaceous
glands that protect the rest of your skin from turning to paper. Staying hydrated can prevent this, but doing so won’t fix
already chapped lips.
Lip balms generally contain oils and waxes to provide a barrier against the elements. Most people use lip balms sold
in drugstores, like ChapStick, Blistex or Carmex, which contain synthetic ingredients. The main protective ingredient in
these lip balms is a form of petroleum, a cheap byproduct of oil refining—like the kind in your cars, and harsh additives
are used to mask chemical odors and flavors. They might be effective, but a little investigation can lead you to alternatives that work as well or better. Because lip balm is a cheap indulgence, it would make a sweet stocking stuffer, too.
Shea Butter - Natural
Containing the most moisturizing properties of
any natural substance, it moisturizes the skin by
smoothing the skin cells and helping the lips to
absorb moisture from the air. Shea butter is one
of the only natural ingredients that has a natural
sunscreen. It has a smooth texture and a matte
feel and look.
Beeswax - Natural
Burt’s Bees
Male friendly
Male friendly
All natural
ChapStick is such a popular lip balm because it’s
sold in all major drug stores. Besides its availability,
ChapStick has a smooth texture and comes in many
different flavors and scents. The main moisturizing
ingredient is white petrolatum, which works by creating a barrier around the lips and keeps them protected from wind and cold. Chapstick also makes an
unscented version that is matte enough to be used by
even the most self-conscious of boys.
Burt’s Bees offers an all-natural alternative to popular lip balms. The addition of peppermint oil gives
it a pleasant tingling and cooling sensation on the
lips, and it can also freshen your breath lightly. Burt’s
Bees has a smooth texture and a thin, matte finish. It
has a thicker, slightly waxier texture than many lip
balms. Burt’s Bees is sold at a lot of places, including
Walgreens and Bath and Body Works stores. Tinted
verions of the original balm are also sold.
It’s become a popular lip balm ingredient in recent
years because of its conjunction with Burt’s Bees
lip balm. Beeswax is a natural hardener and makes
a waxy border around the lips. It protects lips well
against the elements and is a good thing to have
around in this cold, dry weather. Beeswax-based
moisturizers have a harder texture than most lip
balms and have a matte finish.
Natural Butters (Cocoa,
Mango, Aloe, Avocado,
Almond) - Natural
These plant-based butters hold incredibly high
moisturizing properties. They are a staple in
many vegan and animal-friendly lip balms that
are opposed to animal-based moisturizers, such
as beeswax. They work in a similar way to olive
oil, although they have a more matte finish and a
thicker texture.
Peppermint Oil - Natural
Ganache for Lips
yummy flavor
All natural
Male friendly
Made from crushed peppermint leaves, the oil
gives a tingling and cooling sensation to the lips.
A favorite ingredient in Burt’s Bees lip balm,
peppermint is a natural alternative to the cooling
sensation associated with synthetic products such
as menthol.
Petrolatum - Synthetic
Ganache for Lips is an all-natural lip balm brand that
translates dessert foods into lip balms. Using allnatural chocolate products, Ganache for Lips lets you
indulge in a guilty pleasure without the calories and
fat. The main moisturizing ingredients are shea butter, sweet almond oil, and beeswax, and it’s balm is
scented with natural chocolate and comes in a variety
of flavors, such as Chocolate Raspberry and Chocolate Orange. The balm is sold in specialty beauty
stores and online at
This balm uses a mixture of camphor, menthol and
salicylic in a base of petroleum and is considered to
be among the best for extremely chapped lips in wintertime. Carmex gives a cooling, soothing sensation
to the lips and helps create a heavy shield around the
lips that protects from the elements. The salicylic acid
helps to dry out cold sores and fixes mild skin ailments. Carmex is sold at most drug stores and comes
in a variety of packaging: tins, tubes, and stick.
An interview with the enigmatic Mr. Chap Stick
Steve Florian and Colin O’Keefe
Features Reporters
Lip balms. We’ve all seen them. Many of us have used
them. But how well does anyone really know lip balm?
What is lip balm? Why is lip balm? Where, and how is
lip balm? Most importantly, who is lip balm, not just as a
cheap affordable lip product, but who is it under the cap?
In an attempt to truly understand lip balm, we sat down
for an exclusive interview with one reclusive product, Mr.
Chap Stick. When we first met Stick, we were impressed
with his commanding presence. As we spoke at length
with him, we learned that there is far more to Chap Stick
than meets the lips. He told us of his southern farm upbringing growing up with his sisters Lip Gloss and Lip
Stick. Stick spoke of the happy days when the three of
them would play kick the can.
Academically, Stick held promise like no other student the teachers had witnessed. One teacher remembers,
“He was always a diligent student, applying himself fully,
working himself down to a mere nub.” He was also the
founder of the school’s peer mediation program, where
Chap Stick soothed rough and cracked relationships.
However, before going to college, tragedy struck. With
the Vietnam War heating up, Mr. Stick was drafted two
weeks after graduation.
Chap Stick entered the 16th Sharpshooters Division,
was shipped to Vietnam, notched 67,439.4 sniper kills
during his tour of duty, and won several awards. But the
glories of war brought many tragedies as well. A land
mine blew off all Stick’s appendages, and its close friend,
Sunless Tanning Lotion, was killed. At this point in the
interview, Mr. Stick became quite emotional and couldn’t
continue for quite some time.
“The war hardened me. I realized that if I was going
to amount to anything, I had to take that wheel attached at
the bottom of society and crank it, again and again until
the results we wanted rose to the top.” Chap Stick was different after the war. Gone was the lighthearted extrovert
who delighted in being the center of attention. In its place
was a cold, calloused, power hungry individual bent on
conquering the lip balm world.
A driven product, Chap Stick destroyed competing
brands. “Some say what I did was cold hearted; I call it
necessity,” he said.
A rivaling brand, Carmex, states “People are fooled
by the wholesome image Chap Stick has built for himself.
It’s just not true. I know from experience, I’ve blown a
red light to find my brakes cut, lit one or two explosive
cigars, and even had a few narrow misses with an anvil
or piano. Who’s responsible? I can’t say, but it’s damn
Burt’s Bee’s Wax was unwilling to comment, and
when asked for a reason, he stated quietly, “I’ve learned
not to speak out against Chap Stick.”
So, Chap Stick’s story ends with as many questions as
it began. Who is the real Chap Stick? Is Stick a successful entrepreneur, or a ruthless conqueror? How different
would things be today if Stick had never gone to war? As
Chap Stick continues to be America’s top selling lip balm,
these questions will surely be answered in the future.
A byproduct of petrol refining, the moisturizing
effect of petrolatum lies in its ability to coat the
lips. A barrier is formed and keeps the water
inside of the skin. Petrolatum keeps the skin’s cell
structure in tact and smooth. Keeping the cell’s
structure tightly knit and protected disallows
chapping and flaking, which is no fun.
Dimethicone - Synthetic
A synthetic product derived from silica (sand),
it’s considered an occlusive emollient, one that
seals the skin like plastic wrap, which may not
be harmful to your lip skin but can clog the
surrounding skin. Since it’s a humectant, it has
water retaining properties, which helps keep your
skin moisturized.
Lanolin - Synthetic
This is a chemical ingredient derived from wool.
It can cause stinging where the skin is cracked or
open. Its usefulness lies in giving lip balm a soft
texture, but since it’s a comodogenic, it can clog
pores around your mouth.
Find It
While you can find popular brands like ChapStick
and Carmex in drug and discount stores like Walgreens, Target, and Wal-Mart, specialty lip balms can
be harder to find.
Bath and Body Works
C.O. Bigelow
Whole Foods
Fruitful Yield
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