Do You Think You Know Lip Balm? Think Again!
Last Updated: April 25th, 2017
Between lipsticks, lip glosses, lip stains, lip scrubs, and various other beauty products meant to improve the look, feel, and health of your lips, you might have overlooked the importance of having a good lip balm in your makeup kit. But, unless you are one of those naturally beautiful people whose lips are always perfect and well-hydrated, you would be mistaken!
Lip balm is an essential part of any beauty regimen because of the way it affects the health of your lips. This is especially true in dry climates, and during the winter when it is hardest for skin to retain its natural levels of moisture. Other lip products may promise that they can give you the conditioning power and soothing feel of a lip balm, but very few formulas can actually deliver on that promise. Below, we'll look into what makes a great balm, and even give you some helpful suggestions for homemade recipes!
What to Look for in a Good, Quality Lip Balm
Lip balm is all about three things: moisture, moisture, and more moisture. Unfortunately, your lip skin is naturally handicapped when it comes to regulating its own hydration levels and protecting itself from drying elements in the atmosphere. These problems can be made significantly worse if you live in an area which is mostly cold throughout the year, or an arid climate with extremely low humidity during the hot summer months.
Many different lip balm products start out with petroleum jelly for their base. Petroleum is great for sealing moisture in because, unlike water-based balms, it lasts longer and seals water molecules below the surface of your lips, keeping them well hydrated and helping you to avoid that chapped look. Alternatives to petroleum include almond oil, cocoa butter, and the especially popular beeswax. In fact, those latter ingredients are often advertised as being the active moisturizers in organic and environmentally friendly beauty products.
Some manufacturers prefer to create balms with water-based moisturizers, such as glycerin; however, unless you have serious allergies or are prone to developing acne right along the edge of your mouth, you'll be sacrificing quality and leaving your lips unprotected from the elements by going with a water-based lip balm. Additionally, you might want to keep the flavors and fragrances to a minimum if your main concern is avoiding that dreaded chapped lip feeling; popular mint flavors and camphor scents often contain ingredients which dry out your lips instead of hydrating them!
DIY: Lip Balm Edition
You might be surprised to discover that you can make your own lip balm within the comfort of your own home. This is a great alternative for anyone who is concerned about synthetic chemicals often used in most of the cheap drugstore balms. You can also invest in making your own lip balm at home if you happen to be particularly crafty, or prefer to use beauty products with simple, organic ingredients. To start, you can follow this simple recipe:
- 1 standard-sized capsule of vitamin E
- 1.5 teaspoons of melted beeswax
- Equal parts sweet almond oil and coconut oil (usually about 1 fl oz each)
- OPTIONAL: You can incorporate scented essential oils if you want your balm to have a nice flavor to it - no more than 4 drops per recipe
You'll want to melt all of the ingredients (except the vitamin E) together in a small sauce pan over medium heat, or in a microwave-safe dish (pop in the microwave for 5-second intervals, stirring each time; stop when the wax is mostly melted). Then remove your dish or saucepan from the heat source, add the vitamin E, and mix all of the ingredients together with a fork or a small whisk until they are blended completely. The final product will be about 2 ounces in volume, and is ideal for storing in small jars. It is not recommended to be stored in tubes, however, because the consistency of the final product may not be sturdy enough to hold together.
Lip Balm - A New Use for Argan Oil
Have you heard of argan oil yet? If not, it's basically a vegetable oil farmed in a very specific region of southern Morocco which has been discovered to yield all sorts of amazing health and beauty benefits. It contains a significant amount of vitamin E, as well as nourishing fatty acids which no other moisturizing oils possess. For this reason, argan oil is quickly becoming a favorite addition to many different balms, as well as products for hair and skin.