Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bliss Superbalm

I like Bliss for its simple, colorful aesthetic, whimsical philosophy, and ubiquitous use of the greater than (>) symbol. I've never been to the Bliss spa, which is apparently the "hottest" of the NY spas, but occasionally I see women carrying around those light blue Bliss satchels and looking refreshed.

Price: $10. I think it be laced with gold. Yarrgh.

Glide: Goes on nice and smooth and but coats a bit too thickly. One swipe is all you need.

Appearance: On of the most unusual shapes I've seen for a stick: think of a squished cylinder, or what an elongated 3-D ellipse would look like. The tube is slightly taller than a standard Chapstick but it's also thinner and wider- it's like the Razr of lip balms. It has a small circular advancer centered cleverly at its bottom that makes accidental in-pocket turning more difficult.

The result of the unusual shape of the stick is that putting it on is a slightly strange affair. I'm used to not having to decide which direction to hold my lip balm in while applying. With this stick, I've got to choose if I want it narrow or if I want it wide, and neither is particularly more comfortable or more effective than normal sticks are. In fact, it's a bit awkward.

Flavor/Smell: No flavor. The scent is a mix somewhere between coconut and a Jordan almond. Subtle in the stick and unnoticeable when it's on the lips.

Lasting Power: Ages and ages. A wonderful hydrator and soother. My favorite part of the packaging is this "blisstip>":

Contrary to 'popu-lip' belief, licking dry lips doesn't create soothing or smoothing, it increases the suffering by removing skin's natural moisturizing factor. So don't lick, and regularly slick.

Such poets.

Product Plusses: SPF 15, Vitamin E.

It's a really good lip balm, but the useless "innovative" design doesn't make the it worth $10, nor do the ingredients, which aren't all natural. Maybe the name makes it worth the money if you're a spa snob or something. There are plenty of other equally effective balms that cost less.

4 out of 5 tubes.

ChapNews Vol.5: Terrorist Edition UPDATE!

Chaptastic considers those who have had to fly without lip balm truly brave. With a flight in the near future, this half of Chaptastic has spent hours worrying and scheming on how to smuggle my chapstick. I've come up with various (unhygenic) solutions that I was not too psyched to try. Luckily, in today's New York Times style section there's an article defining what type of balm is allowed on a plane.

Phew! Chaptastic's preferred balm format is always the stick. Now we just need to worry about snakes?

Site We've Been Digging: CLC

Hey guys, have you checked out Church of the Living Chapstick? If you're addicted to chapstick and you're not worshipping here, you've got to check it out.

This church, much like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, offers those confused about their faith a new system of belief to base their lives around. Their mission statement gets the point across:

Chapstick is the one and only true, actual, real, literal, living, all knowing and omni present GOD! Those who deny it will burn in fiery chappedness.
Our job is to promote this fact like there is no other opinion! Though at the moment, we are limeted to vandalism and word of mouth, we soon wish to have holy wars and Chapsades.
We also must provide you with the neccesary tools to worship properly such as Reviews, How To Guides's, etc...

"Fiery chappedness"? "Chapsades"? "Vandalism"! Count me in!

Dylan, the dude who runs this site, takes his chapstick seriously. He's done missionary work in Hawaii (island of heathens!), and he reviews balms, explains the proper uses of chapstick, and so on. And he's got some great images and videos up there that you can snag.

Little known fact: The Church of the Living Chapstick's current balm collection holds 91 varieties. Holy crap!

5 out of 5 tubes: A highly irreverent site meant for the cynical.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Chappy Awards: Collection Contest Details

We finally got off our butts and decided to institute a deadline and an actual prize for this thing. Initially we'd thought that a pat on the back would suffice, but you can't rub a pat on the back in someone else's face. Here are the details of the contest:

THE TASK: Send us a picture that CREATIVELY depicts your lip balm collection. Lining 'em up in a row or tastefully arranging them in a bowl won't quite cut it. Think Lip Balm Henge or Lip Balm push up bra (patent pending). Your collection may include some lip gloss or other lip products, but not as a majority. The winning entry will be the one we judge to be the most interesting photo (not necessarily the person with the most tubes).

THE REWARD: The winner and two runners up will receive fabulou$ gift certificates to the online lip balm boutique, which has over 500 lip balms just waiting to be added to your collection.

DEADLINE: Saturday, September 30th.

Be a part of the first annual Chaptastic Chappy Awards!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dermatone Coffee Flavor

Disclaimer: This stick has unparalleled biases to traverse - I hate coffee. I know you all picture the Chaptastic girls living the hip, New York City coffeeshop life; sipping lattes, testing balms. But no, this Chaptastic girl has only ordered hot chocolate at Starbucks. And, to reiterate, I hate coffee.

So, I'm not quite sure how this stick ended up in my apartment, but I found it and I used it. One night, I reached my hand into my "lip balm bowl" (or the L.B.B., for those in the know) and blindly pulled out a stick and applied. I immediately threw myself against my bed gagging and furiously wiping at my lips.

This, my friends, is my first encounter with Dermatone Coffee Flavor.

Price: Found, but if you'd like to purchase - $2.30

Glide: It's smooth and thick, but not gloppy.

Appearance: An ugly tube with a yellow tip and coffee beans all over. If I had actually looked at the tube before applying, I like to think I'd have caught on to the coffee flavor vibe it was sending, but I probably would have written it off as chocoate.

Flavor/ Smell: This stick smells like day old coffee grounds. Like the ones that asshole neighborhood dog ripped out through some random's trash bag and spread around your stoop. Right next to the old loaf of french bread that Italian man leaves for the pigeons. Those pigeons that sit and eat, all day next, to your stoop. And crap.

Lasting Power: None, I can hardly manage to apply, let alone leave on my lips for over 5 seconds.

Product Plusses: I feel guilty bagging on this stick that I knew never had a chance. But it's got some good stuff going for it: SPF 23, Vitamins A & E, and caffeine.

2.5 out of 5 tubes

If you drink coffee this balm may make your day. If you don't, go with the flavorless Dermatone. The quality of the stick is decent, but not extraordinary enough to overcome the coffee stench, errr, aroma.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Blistex: Herbal Answer

The first thing I wondered when I saw Blistex's new "Herbal Answer" lip balm was, what exactly is the herbal question? I suppose this stick is Blistex's response to growing requests from consumers for healthier, more organic products. To that end, Blistex has done a decent job of creating an "herbal alternative" to its own petroleum-based lip balms for all those hippies out there, but it's still petroleum based and contains several preservatives. It can't quite hold up to other brands (Eco Lips, for one) that have done a better job being wholly organic and preservative-free.

Price: $1.99. The way it oughta be.

Glide: Smooth, consistent, practically perfect.

Appearance: Herbal Answer comes in either a stick or a tube. I realize we've been using these terms interchangeably on Chaptastic (and will likely continue to do so), but in this case the tube I'm referring to is of the squishy, mini toothpaste variety. The stick (the only one I tried) is standard size and has a pastel lime green color that resembles Blistex's Melon Medly Fruit Smoothie balm to a tee.

Flavor/Smell The stick has a subtle, non-cloying sweet taste and a vaguely tea-like, almost fruity flavor. I don't mind the sweetness, but it makes me lick my lips more often. The smell is nice: chamomile, a bit of lemon...actually, it smells a bit like Sprite.

Lasting Power: Pretty good. It absorbs well and fades away slowly.

Product Plusses: SPF 15, happy ingredients (aloe, avocado, chamomile, shea butter, jojoba).

But if you're going to tout your use of natural ingredients, why still use 43% petroleum and lots of preservatives like paraben? That's like adding a carrot stick to an order of french fries. This is just your basic mass-produced lip balm with a few drops of things you can pronounce in it. Oh, Blistex. You were so close. Still, it's a good, reliable stick with a pretty scent and lasting power, and at the very least you can pretend that it's good for you.

3.5 out of 5.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Third Time's the Charm

Again, we have been lucky enough to receive yet another commercial from our favorite boy band, Kat-Tun, for our favorite asian lip balm. If you thought these dudes (Jin and Maru) were gay from the other two videos we posted, this one will change your mind.

Monday, August 21, 2006

L'Occitane Shea Butter

I feel like I'm constantly passing L'Occitane stores when I walk around New York, and yet never going into them. No, that's not true. Once last year I did go into one (enticed by the be-smocked young lady handing out sprigs of dried lavendar to harried passersby) and I bought two bars of soap. That was so unusual that when I went into one again last week I was surprised when the saleslady informed me that I was on L'Occitane's VIP list. VIPs get free samples, apparently, and all you need to do to be one is give them all of your personal information. For a free packet of face moisturizer, you can have my firstborn.

I like L'Occitane products because for a brief moment they can make me think that I'm in the French countryside and not hovering over the absurdly tiny sink in my small, mouse-frequented apartment trying not to splash water into the trash can. But I know that somewhere in the French countryside some lovely young woman is tiring of her lavendar-infused, well-moisturized life and yearning for a life of urine-scented subway tunnels and overpriced fifth floor walkups. It all evens out.

Price: $10. I got it on sale, but that was still entirely too expensive for a stick of lip balm. I guess that's one dollar for every percent of shea butter.

Appearance: It's taller and fatter than a Chapstick (for the same amount of product) and, much like Labello, employs a lipstick-like cap and twist mechanism.

Glide: Worst. Glide. Ever. In fact, I'm not even sure if what it has can be described as a glide. Imagine slightly wetting an eraser and rubbing that back and forth over your lips. That's exactly what this feels like, especially if your lips are dry to begin with. The stick hard and granular; I can't tell if that's intentional, like maybe it's supposed to exfoliate while you apply, but it feels terrible. It takes about six or seven intense swipes to feel like you've put anything on, but luckily what does end up on your lips feels rather pleasant. The huge amount of shea butter in the stick saves the glide. Just barely.

L'O also has tinted finger-dip versions of its shea butter balm. They use the word "tinted" to mean "intensely colored". Just on my finger the stuff looked neon. I didn't try any on, so I can't comment much on them, but I can guess that their glide was much better.

Flavor/Smell: No real flavor to speak of. The scent is quite perfumy- flowery with hints of lemon. Very pleasant, with fragrances like linalool and geraniol. Overall the scent is not too strong, but and it's definitely a bit girly. The more I smell it, the more I love it. I want the eu de toilette version. Nice on your neck, but not on your lips.

Lasting Power: Pretty decent. Lots of shea butter and other oils (macadamia, sunflower) guarantee well-moisturized, happy lips for a while.

Product Plusses: Lots of shea butter and...made in France? No SPF.

Horrific glide on what would otherwise be a sublime stick. 3 out of 5 tubes.
2.5 out of 5.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Savannah Bee Company Mint Julep

I'm in love with The Savannah Bee Company. I came across a tube of their Mint Julep lip balm and have been having a secret affair with it for about two weeks. So, what do you do when you fall in love? You stalk your love on the internet.

The Savannah Bee Company's website is adorable. It's honey colored, there are pictures of bumble bees, a recipe for chocolate honey cake (!) and they have tons of different products: candles, honey, and body care.

To add to the adorableness of The Savannah Bee Company, it all started when Ted Dennard (the main man of the company) met Old Roy:

"An elderly man stepped out of the truck with bees crawling all over him.

'Roy Hightower's my name and I've been looking far and wide for an ideal honey-making spot. If you let me put my hives here, I'll introduce you to the marvelous world of honeybees.' The old man leaned toward me and winked.'"

Aww. The marvelous world of honeybees.

Price: $3.99 for the Mint Julep. Affordable adorable.

Glide: The Mint Julep has a wonderful glide. One quick pass across the lips provides great coverage without a greasy overapplied feeling.

Appearance: A very cute black-capped stick with pretty, old-timey writing.

Flavor/ Smell: As you've gathered the Mint Julep stick smells (wait for it, wait for it...) minty! The ingredient list include both spearmint and peppermint oils, and that's exactly what it smells like. This stick is flavorless, so there's no risk of licking your lips for some minty action, but the smell may cover up your hummus breath. Just saying.

Lasting Power: Long lasting. Sometimes I apply just because I want to smell minty fresh, and show off the tube.

Product Plusses: Adorable and 100% natural.

I'm looking forward to trying all of The Savannah Bee Company's lip balms. They've got yummy flavors like blackberry, peach, and pecan! Man, this really makes me want pie.

4.50 out of 5 tubes

Friday, August 18, 2006

Home Spa Goddess Beauty Blast

Chaptastic is pleased and proud to be featured by the Home Spa Goddess in a recent Beauty Blast podcast. HSG podcasts reviews on all types of beauty products "for women who stay beautiful on a budget".

Listen up!

Keychain Lip Balm Holder

I'm normally not a fan of lip balm holders (yikes), many of which seem unecessarily gaudy, but this one, found recently by fashion forward Omiru, is freakin' adorable. I think it's the button that sells me.

Available at Etsy from seller BeaG.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Next Installment

My sources have sent me the latest commercial from our favorite asian lip balm.

If you missed the first one, you need to check this out.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Chaptastic's Other Collection

This is what I've got at home, there's a few more at my work desk. And there's a few more that rolled beneath my bookshelf, you know how it is.

Right now, I'm loving that Savannah Bee in Mint Julep (review to come).

ChapNews Vol. 5: Terrorist Edition

Yes, I think we're just the site to provide some much-needed perspective on this issue. The New York Times reports today on the airport crackdown on...well, everything. No more liquids of any kind on the plane (except breast milk and certain medications). In fact, you can't carry anything that's even suggestive of a liquid or remotely gel-like, and that of course includes lip balm:

Well, I never! What is a poor traveller to do on a long cross-Atlantic flight, up where the air is pressurized and dry, without any lip balm?

I'll tell ya though, they must be laughing their asses off over this. They don't even need to accomplish their goals anymore. All they really have to do is keep trying to blow things up with ordinary objects and then get caught. That way the effect is universal. They've already done it with shoes and cleverly disguised liquid. How about a book next? Or maybe clothing! Yeah! That way we'd all have to fly completely naked.

I say they try it with small children next. That way there'll be no kids and no crying on my next flight. My next naked flight.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Talk About Late in the Game

Apparently that big, gay blog Queerty holla'd at us back in March, and we haven't heard it until now.

Well, boys, thanks for this statement: "We used to think the blog about gay cars was the most random blog ever; this one takes the crown."

And doesn't Pink is the New Blog date a dude from Queerty? I'm not quite up to speed with the blogger gossip.

Carol's Daughter: Wet Shine & Lip Butter

When I first discovered Carol's Daughter a couple of years ago, my first thought was, "I bet that's something Oprah would like". No joke. That tells you something about both the character of the products and my insane, borderline stalker, intimate knowledge of Oprah's likes and dislikes (of which, let's be honest, any housewife with an hour a day is also aware). It seems that a lot of famous, pretty, black ladies (I'm looking at you, Mrs. Will Smith) enjoy Carol's Daughter, a company that is best known for its natural hair and bath products. CD has been featured not only on Oprah and The View but in Vibe, Glamour and every other magazine worth its salt. So what can a lowly blog have to say about Carol's Daughter? Not much in the way of negative, turns out. But CD, you do have the honor of being our first finger dip lip balm review. Holla, sistahs.

Price: $6 for a quarter ounce tub at the Carol's Daughter website or from Sephora (swanky!). Grumble.

Glide: See, that's the thing I never quite liked about using my finger to put on lip balm: what do you do with the left over goop that's coating your finger? Wipe it back onto the rim of the container? Onto your jeans? I've explored both of these options and found them to be undesireable. But I digress.

The criteria here will have to change a little bit because now the glide not only involves how it goes onto your lips but how it goes onto your finger. With these balms, the answer to both is "easily". No warmup necessary- each balm slides onto and off of the finger with ease. If your lips are chapped, though, it takes a few dips, or at least one really deep one, to get enough to stop feeling dry. The wet shine balms leave a nice, petroleum-free, makeup-friendly shine on your lips that enables you to pretend at any moment that you just walked out of the ocean slowly in a hot bikini.

Appearance: Very cute, in keeping with the au-natural, glam nubian princess vibe of the CD website. I prefer the sleek metal lip butter tin (slides almost seamlessly into any pocket) to the squat and bulky plastic wet shine cylinder (bulges tumorously in my jeans).

Flavor/Smell: Absolutely delicious. Light, tropical, pleasant. No actual flavor, but just the scent alone makes me want to eat the mango flavored one. The light and almond-vanilla lip butter may just be the best smelling lip balm I've ever sniffed.

Lasting Power: Surprisingly long for lip balms that at first glance appear to be more for looks than anything else. But with ingredients like shea butter, macadamia oil, and sweet almond oil, they have to last a while. The wet shine holds up pretty well, too. I wouldn't use these to heal chapped lips or during intense heat, but I can see slipping one into my coat for a night out, at the end of which I expected to be "invited up for coffee".

Product Plusses: Natural ingredients, no artificial colors/flavors, petroleum-free.

A delightful (if less than robust) dress up or dress down addition to any beauty regimen, which for me entails face wash and a quick saliva double-finger eye brow slick in the mirror every morning. 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Gator Gubba

The first thing I noticed about Gator Gubba is that it considers itself a "year-round lip balm". This made me think about all the other sticks I use and what seasons they are meant to be used in and if by using them year-round I was commiting some sort of chapstick crime.

The next thing I noticed is the cute picture of an alligator. A curly tailed alligator wearing suglasses with his tongue out and wiggling his fingers. I thought, "Hey, I usually don't like alligators or crocodiles because they always seem to be in pissy moods and eat cute animals, like hippos. But this one's cute and doesn't look pissy."

On with it.

Price: Around $2.00

Glide: An almost perfect glide. It's as if the happy gator himself is carefully applying the balm to my lips. The only glide issue is that, at times, it glides too well and leaves balm around my lips. This usually comes from me enjoying the smell and glide of the stick too much, and applying exuberantly. It's an amateur move, I should know better.

Flavor/ Smell: I was privvy to try out various flavors: cherry, orange-vanilla, and watermelon. I'm a huge fan of the orange-vanilla. The taste and smell reminds me of an Orange Julius, remember those? Yum. Cherry is also faboo. Very Kool-Aid. I've never been a fan of anything watermelon, so this stick was going to lose unless it didn't taste or smell anything like the fruit. But it did, and I didn't dig it.

Lasting Power: Hours and hours. Truly excellent.

Product Plusses: "Year-Round", PABA free, Aloe, Vitamin E, SPF 15 for the Cherry; and for the Herbal Orange Vanilla SPF 30, Aloe, Vitamin E, Shea Butter, Beeswax, Carrot Extract, and various natural oils

This stick is high quality and is one that I can rely on. It's been in my pocket when it's been over 100 degrees and it didn't melt.

4.90 out of 5 tubes

Monday, August 07, 2006

Chaptastic Collection Contest

As you can imagine, in this line of work you start to collect things. I think it may be getting a tad out of hand:

Got a better collection? Send us a picture and we'll post the winning lip balm collection photo and send the winner some awesome lip balm.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Lip Rescue: Shea Butter & Tea Tree

I believe in the good twin/bad twin cliche. How could you not? It's been proven time and time again on daytime television. One of them is always the bad one, and it's usually not the one you might guess. The question is which one? Will it be Mary-Kate or Ashley?

I bought two different kinds of Dessert Essence's Lip Rescue lip balm: one with Eco-Harvest Tea Tree Oil and one with Shea Butter. One of them was definitely evil.

Price: ranges from $1.50 to $2.50.

Appearance: I'm a big fan of the clear tubes, which Dessert Essence has tastefully covered in translucent, helpfully color-coded labels. S'alright.

Glide: The shea butter glides very well and goes on light but is a little greasy. The tea tree variety, on the other hand, has a very gritty feel to it, sort of like bumpy plastic scraping against your lips. Waxtastic. It also manages to be greasy at the same time, which seems like a bit strange.

Flavor/Smell: Neither has a discernable flavor. The shea butter stick has a sweet, almost citrusy scent, but it doesn't actually have any citrus in it (contains rosemary and mint).

The tea tree stick. Where to begin. My thought upon first whiff was gasoline. My friend Beth described it as "woodsy" and like "concentrated lemon pinesol". According to Wikipedia tea tree oil has a "camphoraceous odor". Basically, it smells like it could take the paint off your car. I know it's a natural odor, but boy is it strong. This is a smell that does not belong in beauty products. It is a scent for clearing the sinuses during times of congestion, for repelling moths and voracious mosquitoes, and for eradicating gangrene to prevent foot amputation. It does not belong on my lips.

I can just envision being intimate with someone and having him/her recoil at the smell of your mouth, asking, "Damn, baby! What is that smell? We going camping or something? Have you been tonguing a cactus?"

Lasting Power: Meh. An unimpressive half hour or so. They certainly hydrate the lips, but the need to reapply is constant. More than likely the tea tree oil smell, which does fade a bit with time, will drive you crazy and you'll rub it off.

Product Plusses: All-natural ingredients, extra vitamin E, not much else.

My recommendation is to stay away from the tea tree oil tube (the evil twin), unless you like that kind of thing: 2 out of 5 tubes. The shea butter's a better bet: 2.75 out of 5 tubes..

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Late In the Game

Thanks Fox News, but we've already covered Spazzstick, both in print and on the radio.

Nice try though, why not go back to getting pissed off?

We'll cover the chapstick.


Chaptastic has bounded into the world of social networking with our very own MySpace page.
Come join the wonder that is Chaptastic.
Be our friend and we will be yours.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Eco Bella

Although Eco Bella makes lipstick, not chapstick, I'd like to point out that:

"for the entire month of August, Ecco Bella invites you to bring any empty lipstick containers to any store that sells their products. Not only will they take care of the recycling but you’ll even get a coupon for a free tube of your favorite lip-smacking color. Ecco Bella will be turning the recycled tubes into basketball backboards and donating them to schools in need."

I'm down with that, despite the hideous picture.

Taken from Treehugger.

Real Simple Takes on Lip Balm

I almost died when I saw that Real Simple magazine had a feature on the best lip balms. Not because I'm clearly obsessed with lip balm, but because finally I had found a justification for buying the goddamned thing ($4.50 a pop). I adore Real Simple, which is finally writing about something I can use, something I can really care about (unlike the many hidden uses of ziploc bags...which was, admittedly, kind of useful).

You know what else I love about Real Simple? Their puns. Somehow they manage not to be annoying. Their carefully composed puns land on the ear like soft snow. Take, for instance, the article title: "Balms Away". And what's the forecast? Balmy. Or their advice to readers to consider the selections as their "balm pilot". Pure genius.

Those moneybags at Real Simple obviously have a larger budget than Chaptastic, which actually doesn't have a budget at all. Their testers got to try 100 different balms and report on the durability, look, feel and scent of their favorites (sound familiar?...stop stealing our sh*t, RS).

Best Overall: Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, $2.50
Runner Up: Prada Shielding Balm SPF 15, $38 for 8 mini-tubes

Best Finish: Therapy Systems Rx for Lips, $29.50
Runner Up: Neutrogena Lip Nutrition Honey Rescue Balm, $8

Best Endurance: Vichy Nutrilogie Intensive Care for Dried Out Lips, $9
Runner Up: L'Occitane Shea Butter Lip Balm Stick, $10

Best With SPF: Eco Lips Sport SPF 30, $3
Runner Up: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15, $22.50

Best Medicated: Aveeno Intense Relief Medicated Therapy, $3.50
Runner Up: Carmex, $1.50
We can't vouch for many of these because we haven't quite yet turned enough tricks to afford them, but we have great affection for Aveeno and Neutrogena brand lip balms. We are but humble street workers. I'll talk to my pimp at the end of the month about investing in some more lip balm; it would probably help business.

Finger-Dippin' Good

If you haven't noticed by now, although we call ourselves a lip balm review blog we have yet to review a single lip balm that isn't in stick form. There are a few reasons for that, the main one being that we've had or have witnessed unsavory experiences with in-tin lip balms (especially when it comes to sharing). And come on- who doesn't like things on sticks? That said, in the future we'll be turning at least some of our attention to these finger-dip balms, for not doing so would be something of a crime against all lips everywhere.

We still love the stick, but we'll swing the other way if the action looks hot enough.