Thursday, April 27, 2006

Holy Recycling, Chapman!

The end comes suddenly: one minute you're absently twisting off your chapstick cap and the next you're scraping cold, hard plastic across your lips. That sad little stick poking out of the middle of a once-proud chapstick is the end of the line. But before you toss out the empty tube, you should consider the numerous ways you can recycle these uniquely-shaped containers.

First and foremost, there's the EcoLips Recycle for Free program, in which the much lauded organic lip balm makers offer to send you a free EcoLips lip balm of your choice for every five empty tubes you send them. Considering that one EcoLips is basically worth five of any other brand, that's a pretty sweet deal. Plus you can feel good about yourself, you tree-hugger you.

Second and secondmost, you can simply refill them with lip balm you make yourself. There is a myriad of DIY chapstick recipes and kits online and in craft magazines, and you can be as creative or as decadent as you'd like. Personally, I'd skip the garlic chapstick, which promises to cost "about two bucks, plus the friendship of anyone you try it on", but then again I'm not a sadist.

Third is a totally rad suggestion from's 13bodies, who writes, "I've made sewing kits out of some of mine: I wrapped different colors of thread around a piece of drinking straw cut to fit in the tube, then stuck some pins and needles on a piece of pretty paper and put it inside; finally I added a couple of small safety pins. My mom claimed the original and travels with it to this day."

You can take this idea and run with it: why not turn your empty tube into a pocket-sized pill carrier or a rubber band case? You never know when you'll need to fend off bad guys with medicinal projectiles, a needle, and a rubber band.

Speaking of MacGyver, another intersting non-crafty use is hack that uses a chapstick tube to help you pump your gas. I can't promise that it's safe, so you know, don't try it at home. And it's probably better to use an empty one, right? Unless you like your Lipsmackers laced with gasoline.

Lastly (for this list, anyway) and most hippy-dippy, you can turn give your sad, empty tubes a new life as an aromatherapy inhaler. Just clean one out, remove the plastic stick and insert a cotton ball infused with your favorite essential oils. Lavendar for relaxation? Peppermint for a pick-me-up? It's up to you.

So, just like the elderly, don't toss out your tubes just because they've outlived their usefulness. Give them a new purpose so that their memory can live on.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chapstick In the Laundry: The Worst Day of Your Life

Forgetting to check pockets for chapstick before laundry day never turns out well. In fact, it's a bit of a double tragedy- Shakespearean, almost. As you pull out your melted chapstick-spotted favorite jeans or t-shirt, it's hard not to also grieve over the loss of your favorite tube. You can never get back the latter, unfortunately, but there are ways to restore your clothes to their former pre-petroleum glory.

Common sense might lead you to believe that if you simply wash the clothes again you'll get rid of the stains. But think about what you're contending with: chapstick is nothing more than a tube of pure oil. Even the ones without petroleum are made with sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, shea bitter and various other emollients, to say nothing of the added artificial colors and waxes. This ain't your fried chicken grease on your blouse stain, and most commercial detergents aren't strong enough to get them all out. Plus, it's really the dryer that melted the chapstick and caused the mess to set in the first place, and once stains have been set by heat there's usually no going back. So if you notice there are stains after the wash cycle- don't put them in the dryer!

But where there's a will there's a way. Only really strong de-greasers can do the job, and if you want to avoid a hundred cycles of washing, you'll go for the good stuff.

1. Dry Cleaning: I don't know what they use, but that crazy no water voodoo usually works. It also costs dinero, so you may choose to live with chapstick-stained socks. You can also buy a dry cleaning fluid or kit and try it yourself.

2. Dishwashing Liquid: Not too far-fetched. If Dawn can get the baked in oil off of my five year old brownie baking tray, I have faith.

3. A hard core de-greaser like DeSolveIt solvent. I haven't used it myself, but it's citrus-based and apparently it's "the safer way to remove adhesives, tar, asphalt, road and roofing tar, oil-based paint and more from nearly any surface, including skin and hair". I'm guessing it can get out chapstick.

3.5 If the color doesn't come off, bleach it out.

4. I found a strange suggestion here about using hairspray. The poster says, "put a dry cloth underneath the stain; spray hairspray directly on the stain (liberally); and take another dry cloth (white) and dab on the stain. Have to do it over and over, but it works if you have the patience." I have no patience, and adding another sticky, oily substance doesn't sound like the way to go. But if you're pressed for time, whip out the Aquanet.

5. If the splotches are the right consistency, you can try to remove them as you would a wax stain: freeze with an ice cube and chip off.

6. Accept your loss like this guy did.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

ChapNews Vol. 1: Don't Let a Good Tube Get You Down

- A heartbreaking tale from In Sheep's Clothing about the senseless loss of a good tube. 'Tis better to have loved and lost, my friend, than never to have loved at all.

- Chicken Soup for the Chapstick Soul.

- Chapstick and Fishnets (more fishnets than chapstick) has a D.I.Y. lip balm recipe cribbed from the Martha herself.

- You Tube + Napoleon Dynamite chapstick scene = GOLD.

- If you're into hooking.

Be Warned.

Today I'm keeping Burt's Bees Lifeguard's Choice in my pocket. I applied at my desk, headed off to the bathroom, looked in the mirror. Lo and behold, I looked like Tyrone Biggums - Dave Chappelle's crack addict character.
If left in a desk for months this stick will leave a chalky whiteness on your lips that could possibly make you look like you're on crack.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Lizzie Sweet Smooching Stick - Sweet

Lizzie Sweet was at the Bust Magazine Craftacular in Brooklyn back in December. I met her. I know. Sometimes I can't believe it.

So on her table she had all different flavors of this Smooching Stick:
  • Flan
  • Tingle
  • Superfudge
  • Sweet
I chose Sweet because that's the flavor I most related too. Well, maybe tingle. Naw, sweet.

The Smooching Stick is the cutest named chapstick I've come across. Once applied, I begin smooching anyone who will accept. That homeless dude on 5th Ave. - with the boombox that blares C & C's Music Factory's Sweat- declined. I still was able to smooch maybe 3 people. All of whom I know. But I'd like to think that this stick will not only give me smoochable lips but smooch courage.

Glide: This stick gives great glide. Did you know that is a "cutting-edge church"? Oh, you did. Do you know these people? ----------------------------------------------------->>>>>
They will give you unconditional love and support, in a multi-cultural environment. But they won't give you the kind of glide that this smooching stick does.

Flavor/ Smell: Another citrus-y smelling stick that I want to eat. I always think of pink lemonade while applying. Which makes me think about sitting on someone's porch in the south, barefoot, bike thrown on the dirt driveway, wiping sweat from my head, and drinking a huge icy glass of pink lemonade. Anyone have a porch like this? Can I come hang out?

Lasting: Unfortunately, this sticks lasting power is short. Constant application required.

Appearance: Long and thin. And it has a sexxxy lady on it.

Plusses: All natural and bought directly from the creator. Of the chapstick. Not god, if you're into that glide stuff.

2.75 out of 5 tubes

Friday, April 07, 2006

Behold, the Power of Chapstick

Speaking of Katie Holmes (you know you just were). There's this episode of Dawson's Creek right before the time when she and Dawson were about to start knockin' boots. Katie's character, Joey, was hiding on the stairs (for reasons I cannot remember...I can't really remember anything from that show; so many wasted Wednesday nights) while Dawson was reaching out to his father for some sage first-kiss advice. Dawson asked his dad how we got his first kiss, and his dad, not weirded out at all by his son's facial features, told him. I think he said that he was on a rowboat with either a random girl or the woman who would become his wife (probably the latter just for WB gag effect) and one of them put on some chapstick. Then she (or he) asked if he could borrow her stick, and she/he coyly replied, "You want some chapstick?" and then leaned in and gave it to him/her right off his/her lips. Now that is a playa/play-ess.

The point of this convoluted, ill-remembered story is that chapstick will help you mack, my friend. Ever been caught in an impending kiss situation with your lips all gnarly? Not a pretty scene.

Although, the downside to pre-kiss chapstick application is:

Let's say you're on a date with someone you loathe. You're polite through dinner and you can tell that the other person likes you but you're not picking up on what he/she is putting down. At the end of the night, you casually reach into your pocket and apply some chapstick like you always do, only to realize that your date took said application to be a sign that you want to suck a little face, when in fact you so do not.

I'm guessing that's what got Katie Holmes into all that trouble in the first place.

Chapstick can be the ultimate mack tool or invite unwanted attention, so be careful. Use your powers wisely.

Might As Well Face It...

The discovery and enjoyment of chapstick is a pursuit we take seriously here at Chaptastic, but we would be remiss if we did not address the darker side of such a wonderful product. I'm talking about...chapstick addiction.

You know what I mean. Every time you go to the drugstore you can't help but buy whatever impulse chapstick is near the register, because you might be running out at home. But you're not running out at home. You've got tubes everywhere, probably even next to the magazines in the bathroom. You find them in your food after you cook dinner, in your sock drawers, in old boxes. You can't leave the house without your favorite tube, and when you do so accidentally, you climb right back up those five flights of stairs to get it. You apply even when you don't need to, sometimes just because you're bored, or nervous in a social situation, or feeling sad.

These are just some of the signs.

I managed to throw the monkey mostly off my back during college, but I'm often tempted to re-collect the rainbow of tubes I owned, and I know that there are legions of innocents out there who suffer at the cruel hands of the chapstick gods, slathering and smacking their lips in a vain attempt to release themselves from the grasp of this crippling dependency. The sweet smell of beeswax and the reward of a smooth glide is all they can think about during meetings and class and lovemaking with the wife.

We feel that it's our duty to help those of you out there who need some assistance. To ascertain if you are addicted, you can take the Chapstick Addiction Quiz. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

If you conclude that you are, in fact, a slave to the salve, then you should consider joining Lip Balm Anonymous. If you don't get help, you won't get better, and you might find yourself surprised by a room of your closest friends who "really need to talk to you".

Whatever the resources you choose, you should also consider that:

a) It's not the chapstick you're addicted to, it's the feeling that you get when you put on the chapstick you can't get enough of. You can easily get that feeling from other things, like food or shopping or sex.

b) You don't have to quit altogether- try cutting down. Maybe go ten minutes without reapplying, then fifteen, then thirty. With enough willpower, you might even be able to make it a whole hour. In WINTER.

c) You're not alone. There are countless people with the same problem, and you don't have to suffer in silence.