The Truth About Lip Balms: How To Make An Educated Choice


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by Kanishka M

Hi everyone!

A few weeks back, I was hunting for some lip balms on IMBB. After spending a lot of time reading reviews, I concluded that the IMBB favorite were hands down — The Body Shop Lip Balms. So I looked them up online. A few clicks here and there and I was suddenly facing all the cons of lip balms. They’ve intrigued me, and literally left me speechless. So with today’s post, I’m hoping to help you make an educated and safe choice when it comes down to lips.

The Truth About Lip Balms

Let’s start with analyzing the need for lip balms:

I was looking for one since I needed something subtle to wear at college. Lip sticks and stains have too much color, and glosses need a lot of reapplication. So I thought I’d go with a simple tinted lip balm, which would be rather nourishing and a healthier choice than a gloss for regular use. Others may choose lip balms for their dry, chapped lips. Some for hydration. Some for plumping and skin lightning properties. And a few for SPF.

The Truth About Lip Balms

That brings us to the conclusion that lip balms have come a long way. They cater to so many needs, one stick for it all. And maybe whilst we’ve let them come so far, we’ve forgotten the amount of chemicals we’re projecting our bodies to.

It need not be explained how sensitive our lips are, and that whatever goes on our lips, goes in our tummies too. For ages, we’ve been using Vaseline as a do-it-all. But what is Vaseline? A by product of crude oil, just fancier and refined. So basically the kind of stuff that goes in greasing or probably in our cars, goes all the way in our systems.

Just about the thought of that makes my fingers tingle. What’s worse about standard petroleum jelly is that it creates a film on top of the skin it’s applied onto. For instance: If you apply it on the lips, it’s technically stops water, dust, heat penetrating in, or getting out too. On one hand that sounds great, because if nothing makes its way in or out, there’ll be no harm at all. But give it a thought: After coating your skin, you’re basically prohibiting your skin from breathing. Now does that sound so good after all?

The Truth About Lip Balms

There a quite a few more chemicals you want to avoid when it comes to your lips, not only because they could potentially harm your skin’s overall health, but they could harm your system on consumption. Here they are:

1. Mineral Oil: It works on similar terms as Petroleum Jelly i.e. it restricts your skin from breathing. We know that we need to avoid it in our hair oils, then how could we have had missed it in our lip care?

2. Phenol: It’s an ingredient used to kill bacteria. But reportedly, it causes skin irritation, kidney and liver damage, and even nervous system damage if used regularly. Can you believe how absolutely ridiculous subjecting our lips to that is?

3. The Sunscreen Ingredients: Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Cinnimate, Padimate O are the ingredients used in the balms claiming to provide sun protection. But these ingredients have been reported to bring about hormonal malfunctions.

4. BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene): BHT has been shown to mimic estrogen (endocrine disruptor). It is linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity, and a possible carcinogen.

5. Others: Parabens, Fragrances/Artificial Flavors/Perfumes, etc….

Another shocking revelation I came across was about the red color in our lip balms. When your balm has “carmine” listed as its color, you definitely want to avoid that too. Carmine is basically the byproduct of crushed beetles. Ewwww.

The Truth About Lip Balms

So what exactly do you look for in your lip balms/lip conditioners?

  • SPF lip balms active ingredients should contain only Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide. These are mineral and physical sunscreen ingredients.
  • Natural Ingredients like Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Olive Oil or Cocoa Butter. Not only do they hydrate your skin, but they also let it breathe!

Brands offering “safe lip balms”:

The Truth About Lip Balms

In India, the one’s which are organic, safe, and trusted along with being economical would be:

  • Himalaya Herbals, Lotus Lip Therapy, Khadi, etc.

Another foreign but much raved about brand would be:

  • Burt’s Bees

Homemade lip balms

The Truth About Lip Balms

And finally, there’s always a way to make your own lip balm. A few basic recipe’s are:

1. Malai Balm: Take half a bowl of malai (cream) and let it rest at room temperature. Add 3-4 drops of your favorite oil and mix thoroughly. Melt some beeswax (double boiler method) and mix everything together. Pour them in a lip balm container and let them set. Once set, they’re ready to use!

2. Luscious Chocolate Balm: Take two tablespoons of your favorite natural oil (olive, coconut or almond), melt some cocoa butter and beeswax in separate containers. Mix all ingredients and add your favorite essential oil (like mint- since mint, almond, choco are such a combination!) finally add some cocoa powder, and let them set in the lip balm container. You could also add some jaggery or honey if you wish.

3. Rosy Lip Balm: Take half a bowl of your favorite oil (almond, coconut, or olive). Add half a spoon of dried rose petals, and heat until you can smell the aroma of the rose petals. Strain the mixture, and add strawberry, or pomegranate puree for color, aroma and taste. Take one bowl of beeswax, add rose oil and melt it. Mix everything together and let them set in the container!

And you can create so many more lip balms if you follow these rules:

The Truth About Lip Balms

  • Beeswax, always in the highest quantity, since it has all the hydrating properties, and because it helps the balm set.
  • Half the quantity of beeswax, would be your base oil (coconut, almond or olive). You can divide these in two by substituting the other half for a natural butter like cocoa butter and shea butter, or even malai!
  • Add your favourite natural essential oils like rose, lavender, eucalyptus and natural flavoring essences like vanilla or strawberry if you wish.
  • Add pureed strawberries or any fruits that you like.

Following these simple steps, you can actually do your lips a favor.

Last but not the least, always make an educated choice.

Lots Of Love,
Ciao!

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

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13 thoughts on “The Truth About Lip Balms: How To Make An Educated Choice

  1. God! I feel like a fool now after reading this.. it all harsh chemicals what I have paid for.. but thnks for this post..now I knw what to buy…

    1. I reckon there is a balm in Himalaya which does have UV Protection. Or you could check out the Burt’s Bees range.

  2. My comment is not to scare anybody but few weeks back,I bought a branded lip balm and after its first application, I had sores on my lips.thought it wud be an insect bite or something.So I applied malai on it, but even after two days , the sore went from bad to worse and a clear liquid would also ooze as i would apply the gloss again when going out.Finally went to clinic and the first thing my doc told me was to stop using the balm, may be it was expired or due to some chemical causing reaction. I was carrying the balm with me and showed her the balm.She told me to apply malai and ice pack till the itching stopped.The doc advised me only to use vaseline as base whenever I apply lipstick and to avoid any chemical on my lips.
    So please think twice girls.Not scaring anybody but read the article and felt like sharing my bad bad experience..

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