Monday, July 31, 2006

Juice Beauty Delightful

This weekend I decided to take a chance on a new stick.

While packing for a weekend camping and hiking trip, I reached for my favorite chapstick, which is (shockingly) regular old Chapstick, but since adventure was in the air I gulped and grabbed a pretty purple stick called Juice Beauty Delightful.

Delightful is right, vamos:

Price: $15.00 for the three tubes. Ouch.

Glide: After 8 hours hiking in the rain this waterlogged stick glided like a champ. My only worry was it's tint. I didn't want to look like a whore on the trail, but Juice's tint wasn't noticeable - at least not to my sherpas.

Flavor/ Smell: Every once in awhile, while hiking, I would pull this stick out and sniff it. In the middle of the woods the stick smells good: strong and fruity - like a can of Goya juice, but better. But in "real life" the smell of the stick reminds me of this one time (cue flashback music): an ex and I were sleeping in an airport after going to a weekend's worth of punk shows, he fell asleep in a puddle of red gatorade. When we woke up to board the plane his shirt was soaked and the smell made me ill. I've only been able to start enjoying red gatorade again after at least 6 years.

Lasting Power: Excellent lasting power. Delightful, even.

Appearance: The grapey purple stick will make you happy.

Product Plusses: SPF 15, tinted (if that's your thing, whore), and organic.

The only thing holding back this stick's rating is it's price: $5 a tube is outrageous.

4.75 out of 5 tubes

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ferdinand Home Store Peppermint

I found this stick at a display table for Ferdinand Home Store when Chaptastic visited the Renegade Craft Fair a month ago (yes, I'm that slow). I was first drawn in by their creative stationery, but of course as soon as I saw a bowl of these babies it was all over.

Price: I can't remember exactly, but I think it was something in the neighborhood of three dollars. It's DIY, it's a craft fair...I thought I would splurge. I can't find it on the Ferdinand site, though, so it may have been limited edition.

Appearance: This might be the best part of this stick (there are other good things). It's gorgeous! I don't think the pictures do it justice, and perhaps I should not have used cactii as a background. I love the clear casing and the contrast of the simple navy blue text (awesome font- look at the placement of that 'f') against the pink of the lip balm inside. I sometimes leave it out on my desk just so I can gawk at it.

Glide: This is an okay glider. It slides decently but it's a little bit gummy. It works well now, but I worry that perhaps in winter it might get a little hard. That said, it's pretty light on the lips and spreads evenly.

Flavor/Smell: No flavor to speak of but there is a not unpleasant light, waxy (almost crayon-y) peppermint smell. It's pretty weak, and you can barely smell it when it's actually on your lips. Since we don't have a category for color, I must mention here that it does add a subtle, natural, pink flush to the lips, much more subtle than the color of the actual stick suggests.

Lasting Power: Not too shabby, but could be a little more chic. Again, it's very light, so while it feels nice on un-chapped lips, I don't know how it would feel on really chapped, dry lips (read: winter weather). In other words, it'll keep your lips smooth, but I don't know if it'll get them there on its own.

Product Plusses: It contains no petroleum products and about four different types of natural oils (avocado, caster, palm kernel and coconut), which is always great, but there's no SPF (a common DIY quality). Aside from being a marvellous case study in design there aren't many more remarkable things about this stick.

A pretty, functional and perfect-for-summer lip balm.

3.25 out of 5.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

DIY Supplies

If you, like us, have not yet found that perfect stick, that five out of five, that lip balm so sinfully good it makes you want to go to confession, then one option is to make it yourself. We've written about a couple of great DIY balm recipes and we've certainly reviewed some great ones, so finding chapstick perfection is well within you reach.

You can find plenty of recipes yourself via Google, but one thing that might be a little harder to find is the actual hardware- tubes and tins and such. We highly advocate recycling what you've already used, but websites like SKS and Rachel's Supply offer affordable and adorable containers for all your crafty balm-making needs. Not only is DIY a great way to cater to your own likes and dislikes, but you it's also a great way to make custom, personalized gifts and party favors.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Mission for Our Reader(s?)

Hook me up with some of this chapstick!

That third guy, who rubs the stick down his cheek, really sells me on this.

"Space Travel on a Chapstick Budget"

You may be wondering how the realms of lip balm and space travel can possibly intersect. Well for one, they're both awesome (you may have trouble figuring out which is more awesome- that's a good party ice breaker). Secondly, I'm almost positive that in some epic science fiction story or other one of the main characters pulls out a tube of chapstick at a crucial moment, and in doing so discovers that the alien invaders have a fatal allergy to shea butter and mint, thereby saving the galaxy and ridding the universe of the oppressive Korglon overlords. Oh, crap. I just gave away the twist ending to my first novel, The Chip Chapman Odysseys Vol 1: Danger in the Petroleum Galaxy. Del Rey is publishing it this fall.

Where was I? Oh yes, space travel and chapstick. It turns out that such a connection can only be forged by a great mind, and one such mind is that of Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist extraordinaire and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. He recalls below how in an an interview with a very smug Matt Lauer he was able to justify the need to keep funding NASA missions:
So they call me in to the studio, and first they talk to the Cassini mission team — you know, the engineers — and they’re jumping up and down and celebrating. Then they turn the cameras on me, offer congratulations, and ask what it all will mean. I replied that we’re going to study Saturn, and execute large and targeted loops to study several of Saturn’s many moons. But then Matt Lauer wanted to be hard-hitting, and he said something like, “But Dr. Tyson, this is a $3.2 billion mission. Given all the problems we have in the world today, how can you justify that expenditure?”

So I replied: “Pause. First of all, it’s $3.2 billion divided by 12. It’s a 12-year mission. So now we’ve got the real number, which is what? Less than $300 million per year.”

Then I said, “Three hundred million dollars. Americans spend more than that each year on lip balm.”
Ho, snap! Matt Lauer gets bitchslapped by People Magazine's Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive 2000 (look at those bedroom eyes). Dr. Tyson goes on to say:
When I uttered those words, the cameras shook and the lights flickered, and Matt had no reply. He practically stuttered and said, “Uh, over to you, Katie.” And I realized in that instant that people just don’t understand how inexpensive this space exploration really is, when you place it within the context of what we, as a nation, spend money on.
Touché, sir. But I think the take real home message is that now you can use chapstick, or at least the amount spent on chapstick by the American public per year, to justify any expenditure. Should your company buy everyone new computer speakers? Why shouldn't they? Do you realize how much Americans spend on chapstick a year?!

The best part of this story is that the studio audience outside had heard the interview, and when Dr. Tyson exited the studio they were all cheering and holding up their tubes of chapstick, rock-concert style. Brings a tear to my eye.


The Only PG-13 Lip Balm Joke

A duck walks into a 7-11 and asks for a tube of ChapStick.

The clerk asks, "Will that be cash or charge?"

The duck replies, "Put it on my bill!"

Aha! Ahahahahahaahaaa!!


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cococare Cocoa Butter, Take Two

To follow up on my esteemed colleague's review of Cococare Cocoa Butter, I'd like to share my experience with the stick.

Cococare Cocoa Butter (um, could that name be any more of a pain in the ass to type? no.) lives in my snowboarding jacket. For the past three winters I have kept this stick in my pocket year round, just to use on the slopes.

Each year, pretty much every session on the snow goes something like this:
  • get on chairlift
  • freak out that I forgot chapstick
  • search pockets frantically, while whomever I'm with panics that I'm going to tip us off the chairlift
  • find Cococare Cocoa Butter in one of the 8,000 pockets my jacket has
  • take mittens off, almost drop them
  • open stick
  • become disgusted by the smell and think about dropping it
  • realize that I couldn't make it through the day without chapstick
  • apply
  • wipe most off
  • complain
It works in a crisis situation, but it just plain old sucks. I will agree with the verdict of 2 out of 5 tubes.

P.S. That's my white Never Summer Infinity board up there. Isn't it beautiful?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cococare Cocoa Butter

This was another Bed Bath & Beyond impulse buy, although I like to refer to my last-minute decision purchases as instinct, not impulse, purchases. I have about a million other tubes I got way before this one that I could be writing about, but my opinion about this one perplexes me so much that I felt the need to work it out psychologically by writing about it. Here's the thing: it came recommended to me by my friend Alicia and surficially it has a lot of things going for it, but I kind of hate it. Like wipe-it-off-immediately-with-a-tissue hate it. I'll explain.

Price: $0.99. Divine.

Appearance: Kind of an old school 70's feel to the tube, which is plain bright yellow with modest brown print on it, not unlike a fancy banana.

Glide: Holy crap. This is where everything falls apart. This stuff is like Astroglide. Melty, melty Astroglide. Except with none of the benefits. You go to slide some on your lips and suddenly your arm shoots across your lips and four feet away from your head. Very greasy, not in a pleasant way, and it goes on thickly. My friend claims this does not happen as much in the winter, but the tube has been sitting in a very air conditioned room for hours and it's still as slick as french fry residue. If you do the pat method then it's better, but still very slippery on the lip. A dab'll do ya.

Flavor/Smell: Smells like coconuts. Coconuts that have been dipped in baby lotion and then coated in sugar. It's a non-offensive yet very cloying odor (reminds me of Banana Boat sunscreen). Its saving grace is that any flavor is non-existent. Kudos for that. This tube would fail if it actually tried to taste like coconuts. Or anything, for that matter. If you like the smell of artificial coconut products, then you'll like this. I, clearly, do not.

Lasting Power: If you can get past the horrific glide and baby wipe coconut scent, then you will have won the prize of a surprisingly light, effective and long-lasting moisturizer (lots of cocoa butter and aloe vera). Again, my friend swears by it in winter. Then again, she's friends with me, so I have to assume she has bad judgment.

Product Plusses: Super cheap. Made in New Jersey. Unfortunately, there's also no SPF and there are about three different petroleum ingredients.

And that's my dilemma. A tube that comes highly recommended (watch: those are the two words that'll come up on a Google search for Cocoa Care) and yet fails to impress me on almost all fronts. I don't want to have to cringe while using a tube or to manually adjust the amount of product that ends up on my lips.

Verdict: 2 out of 5 tubes.

Been a Long Time...Shouldn't Have Left You

Without a dope beat to step to (step to, step to, step to).

Chaptastic is back! We took a bit of an unannounced summer haitus (apologies to our one loyal reader). For part of it, Chaptastic spent a few days on a farm in Maine, where we kayaked, ran and befriended two pigs named Inky and Binky. But in all that time never once did we forget our duty to use, abuse and make snarky comments about as many lip balms as possible.