Balms are the cornerstone of lip care. Like I said above, I'm a serious lip balm user. My lips, like the rest of my skin, are naturally pretty dry. I also lick them a lot and often have to breathe through my mouth because of chronic sinus problems. My lip balm "addiction" started when I was in sixth grade. I had a long walk to school each morning and that winter my lips cracked and bled. That's when I got into the habit of absolutely always having something for my lips. I actually get a little panicky if I realize I'm without. My work pants and my jeans each have their tube, and there's always something at my computer desk and on my nightstand too. I probably apply it about every two hours while I'm awake, and I never go to sleep without a fresh coat.
Ironically, I'm out of my favorite balm right now. Alba Botanica's Hawaiian Lip Balms are all good, but Coconut Cream is my favorite. I lucked into so so so many of them (in all three varieties) for fifty cents each once, and it was a very sad day when they ran out. They're pretty much exactly what I want in an everyday balm; reasonably priced, all-natural, just waxy enough, "tasty" smelling, and very moisturizing. It only loses points for not having sunscreen, though that's not an issue for me 90% of the time. Working nights and spending most of the day asleep or otherwise indoors, I rarely need sun protection. Still, I try to make sure that the balm in my jeans is at least 15 SPF, if not higher.
Having said that...I really need to do some balm shopping. The one in my jeans right now is Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. No sun protection! It should really be at my desk and something else should be in my jeans.
This might seem a little nuts, but I think there are four basic types of balm that everyone with dry lip issues should have: Everyday, SPF, bedtime, and weatherproof.
- Should be moisturizing, all-natural, and have a feel and scent that you enjoy.
- Keep wherever you spend a lot of time, and/or in your pocket or bag.
- Use it whenever your lips feel dry.
- My favorites: Alba Botanica Coconut Cream, Burt's Bees Ultra Conditioning, Badger Balm Tangerine Breeze
- Should be everything your everyday balm is, plus at least 15 SPF.
- Keep in your pants or coat pockets, and/or in your bag.
- Use it 15 minutes before going out into daylight, even if it's overcast.
- My favorite: Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunscreen
- Should be moisturizing and heavy enough to last while you sleep.
- Keep at your bedside.
- Use it in bed, before you get too drowsy to remember.
- My favorites: Alba Botanica Coconut Cream, Lansinoh (technically cream, but whatever)
- This is when you want petroleum. 15 SPF or more for daytime use.
- Keep in your coat pocket in winter, bring to the pool/beach in summer.
- Use it in harsh weather or before swimming.
- My favorites: Mango Mend, Smith's Rosebud Salve
Liking the smell and feel of your everyday balm is crucial. If you don't like it, you're less likely to use it. Personal preference is everything for this one. I like mine on the oily side and with fruity scents. If you like a waxier, less oily feel, try EOS Smooth Spheres, Burt's Bees Beeswax, or another formula with beeswax at or near the top of the ingredients list.
I stress the use of natural, non-petroleum balms for everything except weatherproofing, especially if your lips are prone to dryness. Petroleum is great for protection from wind and water, but will just sit on the lips. Natural oils will sink in and soften them. If your lips aren't terribly dry, then you can probably use ChapStick, Lip Smackers, or pretty much anything without issues. Then again, if you don't have lip care issues...you're probably not reading this post.
Do you really need all four kinds? It depends. If your everyday balm has sunscreen and is heavy enough for bedtime, then you really only need that and a weatherproof. If you're a devoted indoorsman or live somewhere really mild and windless, then you probably don't need anything weatherproof. You can also just dab plain ol' *gag* petroleum jelly right over your everyday or SPF balm for quick weatherproofing.
As if this post wasn't long enough, there's a whole other part coming up tomorrow! Balms will help keep your lips smooth, but to get them smooth, you might need to do some scrubbing.
For now, what are your favorite balms?