I’ve hinted in the past about my addiction to lip balm. And I feel that it’s time to come completely clean. I can’t do without the stuff for more than an hour. I keep a tube in my purse, in my desk drawer at work, in the bathroom cabinet, and next to my bed. I’ve been known to make people I’m riding with pull over so I can buy a new one if I somehow manage to leave home without it. And it’s always at the top of the list whenever someone trots out the old “what would you take to a deserted island” question. So you can imagine my dismay when it turned against me.
You’d assume the problem would have started with my once beloved Lipsmackers. I used it for years before deciding that A) at 30 years old it might be time to transition to grown-up lip gloss, and B) if I was going to smear something on my mouth roughly 20 times a day for the rest of my life, perhaps it should be something a little less…chemical. So out went the ‘smackers, and in came the higher end products. And, coincidentally, this is when my problem began.
I don’t remember what brand I was using when I first noticed the itchy, dry, tingly feeling. Being the junkie that I am, I was always trying something new. Whichever one it was, I chalked the problem up to there being something weird in that particular kind, so I tossed it and bought another. Which was great for a couple of days…and then I had the same reaction. Same with the next brand. And the next. It was hard pinpointing which ingredient was the culprit. Though they were all high-quality, some of the balms I was using weren’t necessarily “all-natural”, while some were as pure as it gets. A friend suggested that maybe lanolin was the problem…so I stopped buying stuff with lanolin in it. That didn’t work. Then I decided I needed products with as few ingredients as possible – maybe it was a combination of things annoying my sensitive skin. They all caused the same reaction.
Finally I went crawling back to my reliable old first love, Lipsmackers, and as a final blow, even they betrayed me. Bastards. Afraid to waste any more money on stuff I’d end up either throwing away or giving to a friend (and, frankly, tired of experimenting) I resigned myself to a bleak lifetime of using nothing but nasty old Vaseline – which, oddly enough, was the only thing that seemed not to cause an allergic reaction. Well, that and Smith’s Rosebud Salve, but still, that’s basically just scented petroleum jelly in a pretty tin.
That was probably six months ago. I caved recently and ordered an irresistible lip balm I saw online that had no more than five ingredients in it, all of them natural. Does everyone think this way?…“Maybe it won’t bother me anymore! Maybe my allergy went away! Surely this one will work!” And for a few days it did! It was creamy and smooth and moisturizing…then itchy, then red, a little swollen, and… Another strike. Until I thought to Google each of the ingredients.
Guess what sort of reaction you have if you’re allergic to beeswax? Yeah. Guess how many lip balms out there have beeswax in them? Pretty much…all of them. Do you know what lip balms DON’T contain beeswax? Vegan ones. After visiting two different Whole Foods, I finally found a couple to try that didn’t look completely blech – ECO LIPS Bee Free, and Herban Shea Lip Butter. So far, so good, but it’s only been two days. I could wake up tomorrow with what appear to be collagen injections gone horribly wrong.
My husband suggested that I just put bacon grease on my lips (kidding! he’s only kidding, folks… I think…) but I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that my lips are apparently vegan. As a voracious meat eater, I can’t help but feel that they’ve somehow let me down. Just don’t expect to see me throwin’ a tofu steak on the grill anytime soon…