Friday, September 29, 2006

Collection Contest: LAST CHANCE!

Sticks. Tubes. Tins. We know you've got 'em. Rolling around the bottom of your bag, crammed into every coat pocket, sewn into the lining of your jeans. So why not put them to good use? We're giving you one last chance to enter our Collection Contest. To reward you for your obsessive compulsion to collect sticks and tins, we're giving away great prizes. Check it out:

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: Extended to October 14th.

Get out that camera and mail us some pictures!

Cute Balm Pic of the Day

Photo by Mad Gi®L•™.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Jess' Bee Natural: Tangerine

I've become a big fan of orange and tangerine lip balms. The smell makes me think of sunny days, and with everyone in my office being sick, I like to pretend that I'm somehow applying extra vitamin C and immunizing myself.

Yes, I like to pretend.

So, I've got Jess' Bee Natural in Tangerine here to discuss with you:

Price: $2.50 $3.00. I am down with that.

Glide: Smooth glide, but a tad oily. Not sure if this is a coincidence, but since using this stick I got an ugly zit on my lower lip.

Appearance: Standard tube with cute orange label. I think there might be a winged, antanaeed kokopelli mermaid on there too. Or maybe I'm still pretending.

Flavor/ Smell: The best part of this one is the yummy creamsicle smell. Very sunny and fresh.

Lasting Power: At least an hour, great staying power.

Product Plusses: Despite not having SPF, this balm is made with shea butter which Jess says is "a natural protectant against the sun". Bonus, sun protection sans chemicals. Also, "the only animals [they] test on are [them]selves". Righteous.

A great balm with a wonderful smell, 4 out of 5 tubes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

You Know What It's Like

[Source: The Onion]

Friday, September 22, 2006

BalmTalk: Interview with

One of the best places to find truly unique, wonderful lip balms is KissFix (formerly LipMedic). The company carries hundreds of brands and flavors from all parts of the world and all walks of balm. It even has an exclusive Balm of the Month program for those of us who need to change it up every once in a while. KissFix's founder, Jacqueline Bethea, recently sat down with us (virtually) for a little chap chat.

1. How did your love for lip balm begin?

It started at a very young age. Its family tradition to receive among other gifts, a lip balm in our Christmas stocking every year. So, it’s a family affair.

2. How did KissFix begin? What motivated you to start it?

In 2002 I was living in Chicago and couldn’t find some of my favorite balms I had used while living in Europe. I couldn’t find them anywhere in Chicago or the internet. I did however find lip balm addiction websites and a few blogs of people just as passionate about lip balm as I was. Additionally at the same time, I was looking for a “lip balm of the month” gift for one of my siblings. Which of course I couldn’t find either. So I thought, heck, there are obviously other people like me out there with a need for balms, so I spent a few months researching, planning and launched the website in the Spring of 2003. The first week it was picked as a Yahoo Pick of the Week and it’s taken off from there.

3. Do you get to try every lip balm you sell? Which are your favorites?

Well, as we currently sell close to 800, I haven’t tried every one. However every one we carry has been tested by me or a staff member, if not every flavor of the brand, at least one of each brand. (ie I’ve tried 1 or 2 of the terratints, but not every color, or I’ve had the Original Tropical and Vanilla Mint of the Hawaiian Tropic, but not the Citrus Sport) Also we now get sent A LOT of samples from individuals and company’s who want us to carry their products. So we have more balms around here than you’d imagine.

My favorites change all the time. While I have a few standard favorites like Burt’s Bees, Labello Regular, Nuxe, Inara Organic, Kiss My Face Apple (no longer manufactured) Perfumeria Gal Peach, Chicken Poop I am always happy to switch them out with different ones like BeesWorks Eucalyptus, Shizen, Pin Up Balm Lemonade, Eyeko Strawberry and Sacred Earth Botanicals Lavender Orange. Truly each bag and purse I own has about 5-12 lip balms rolling around the bottom.

4. What are the bestsellers on Kissfix?

The best sellers change by season and publicity. When Oprah featured Rosebud Salve as her personal favorite, sales went thru the roof! When any product gets featured in a magazine or tv show, the sales spike for that particular item. The ones that are consistent best sellers are Burt’s Bees, Rosebud, Hawaiian Tropic, Labello etc. You can check out our Top 25.

5. What are the most "unique" (read:weird) or outrageous balms?

I think the most unique is Chicken Poop, I love the balm and the name. Twinkie lip balm and all the other Hostess Balms are interesting, and the Cheeto’s balm is truly for that special someone. I love the cute/funny balms by BlueQ like Gnome, Boss Lady, Minty Frickin’ Mullet and Total Bitch, they really crack me up. We also have Pussy Pucker Pots, but we’re currently out of stock of most of the funny flavors. You can check out some of these cheeky ones here.

6. Are there any balms you refuse to carry on you?

Well, we don’t carry balms that you can buy at the Gas Station, or your average Grocery Store/Pharmacy. They are kind of boring and since they’re available Everywhere, we like to focus on the fun, different, unique, and extra flavorful!


7. What do you think is the future of the lip balm industry? Do you think lip balm is a necessary commodity that will never stop being needed?

Well I think there are several aspects to the lip balm industry that make it interesting. There are the BIG lip care companies like Blistex, Chapstick etc which are part of large multinational corporations, and then there are medium producers who have body care lines + lip balm like Burt’s Bees or Hawaiian Tropic, and then there are the lip balm artisans. People focused on making a better, more unique products. Some are whipping it up in kitchens, workshops and small factories and putting it out there for people to try and enjoy. We carry products by all of these types of manufacturers, but I have a special place in my heart (and on my lips) for these smaller producers like Chicken Poop and Mama Cocos.

I think lip balm is a product that will continue to grow and expand. Its popular with men, women and children. Internationally it’s popularity is also increasing. I think as we spend more time and money on personal care you’ll see even more lip balms on the market. Plus, I think people crave sensation, many people like the physical act of applying the balm, or having their lips feel/taste/smell a certain way from the product.

8. What do you think about really pricey/expensive brands like Prada? Are they any more effective than the basic ones?

I think some of the more expensive products have some interesting research and ingredients in them which accounts for a large part of the cost, but I also think the name contributes to the cost of some. The same could be said for a pair of shoes or a car. They all will generally work as advertised but some have more bells’n whistles and some carry a certain reputation or associated class distinction. That being said, Nuxe and Eyeko, two of our most expensive are two of my favorites.

9. Do you prefer organic lip balms to petroleum-based ones?

In general I prefer non petroleum based balms, but only because I personally prefer thicker/waxier/sticky balms. I like balms that go on thickly and stay on. Perfumeria Gal Peach is one of my favorites, and it is petroleum based, but I love it for its lasting power, fragrance, beautiful tin and value for money bigness! So its not that I personally choose balms based on petroleum basis or not, I choose them by taste/touch/smell etc. and my preferences happen to run towards thicker less slick balms.

10. If you were on a desert island, which lip balm would you want with you?

Wow, hard to choose- I never carry just one. If I’m about to have a meal, or depending upon my mood I prefer different flavors/textures etc. Hmmm, a desert Island I probably wouldn’t have any food or sunblock, so I’d pick a balm that would help lock the moisture in and the elements out while providing a bit of SPF. I guess I’d choose Kiss My Face Lip Treat-Mint SPF 15 Organic Lip Balm. If this desert Island was of the holiday type instead of survival, then I’d choose the Inara Organic for my exotic holiday.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pookie: Apookalips (Mint & Vanilla)

I came across the Pookie site while searching for something non-lip balm related (what?!). Looking at the press page, I wonder how I've never heard of the company given how many magazines it's been featured in over the past few years. Pookie is the creation of two enterprising NYU grads who turned to making their own lip balm when they found themselves dissatisfied with mass market balms. The company moniker, say the girls, is the "perfect name for the only product you practically kiss". Pookie found donates a portion of the proceeds from every one of their lip balms to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. How lipbalmthropic.

Price: $8.00

Glide: Ideal. Soft but not squishy, firm but not hard, smooth but not greasy.

Appearance: Big, fat cobalt blue tube with the height and width of a glue stick. I think the other Pookie varieties come in regular-sized sticks and tins, but this one is like a freakin' night stick. I think I could fend off a mugger with it if I had to. Not the most convenient tube to cram into your hipster skinny jeans ("is that lip balm in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"), but the benefit to such a large tube is that it's extra comfortable to apply. Also has an advancer towards the top of the stick instead of at the bottom.

Flavor/Smell: Unsweetened but with a strong, refreshing and soothing vanilla + mint. I could smell it all day.

Lasting Power: Gangbusters.

Product Plusses: Natural ingredients (avocado, coconut, sweet almond and apricot kernel oils; shea butter).

An excellent balm with a great, long-lasting scents and moisturizers, although slightly unwieldly. This is definitely a bedside stick. 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ask Chaptastic: Something For the Fellas

Hey ladies,

I'm having my first chapped lips of the fall season and I tend to buy one thing of lip balm a year, so I'm asking for a recommendation from the experts. Here are some things that you should know:

- I ride my bicycle a lot, so I get a lot of sun and wind on the lips.
- I drink a lot of beer, and am frequently dehydrated.
- I don't really like flavors in a lip balm.
- I am a male.

Last year I bought this chapstick that was exclusively for men, or was some sort of "men's formula". I honestly didn't really care for it, and it kind of tasted like lavender, but I dutifully used it the whole winter because a) I'd already bought it, and b) I took great joy from refusing to let my girlfriend use it..."It says right here: MEN'S FORMULA. DUDES ONLY!"

I'm thinking of going back to the Kiehl's non-flavorful stuff, but wanted to check with you before I got some so I won't spend my winter regretting what could have been.

Thanks in advance!

John Mark


Dear John Mark,

Chaptastic's gut reaction was to get you some Gator Gubba. It's high quality and we've found it to perform well on long bike rides, no melting and SPF. This one does come in a myriad of smells; however, there's no real taste, and the smell fades pretty quickly once it's on your lips.

So we next looked into the so-called odorless lip balm genre. We're fond of Sarah's Garden natural. Yet, this stick has a highly feminine quality to it, including its name and its dainty, pastel-colored label.

The epitome of a manly no-smell stick can be found in the absolutely classic Chapstick. This stick is my back up. We carry it in every backpack, just in case. It's never let us down. There are many varieties, but go for the blue stick, which comes with a great moisturizer and SPF 15. Aveeno's Oatmeal stick is also a great hydrator with SPF, but if you're looking to go organic then pick up any one of the many great Eco Lips sticks.

But, as a beer drinker, you may be interested in checking out the Sunshine Wheat Lip Balm produced by the New Belgium Brewery. Chaptastic has never tried this one, so we can't endorse, but it's now high on our list to review.

To conclude, you've got some good options. Choose wisely- it's going to be a long, cold winter.

Yours truly,


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lip Be Balm Informercial

Watch and learn, folks.

My head just exploded.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Martinsville Emporium: Peanut Butter & Jelly

I'm pretty much obsessed with peanut butter & jelly. It's ideal for lunch, everyday - ask my coworkers.

When three sticks of Martinsville Emporium's lip balm appeared at Chaptastic's door; PB&J, buttered popcorn, and lemon meringue pie; I grabbed the PB&J stick and eagerly applied.

Here's the scoop:

Price: $2.00 per tube, perfect price.

Glide: Whoa, hold on to your hats folks. This stick is like an oil slick. An olive oil slick. Being made with olive oil, this stick brings a whole new level of glide to the chapstick game. If you think that applying lip balm takes too much time, try this one - you'll be applying in negative time.

Appearance: Clear tube with a DIY label gives it a homey feeling. You can tell that this one came right out of someone's lip balm lab.

Flavor/ Smell: Smucker's x 1 million. As a self proclaimed PB&J connoisseur I lean towards natural peanut butter and natural jelly. Smucker's reminds me of stinky children with jelly around their lips and all over their hands. So, if a=b and b=c, then a=c. In other words, the smell and flavor of this stick is a bit much for me.

Lasting Power: Not long, 15 minutes or so. The olive oil absorbs quickly into the lips, leaving them soft, but wanting more balm.

Product Plusses: Homemade and interesting ingredients; olive oil, castor oil, mango butter, meadowfoam seed oil, and candelilla wax. There is definitely someone thinking outside of the box in Martinsville.

2.50 out of 5 tubes

Heather, from Martinsville Emporium, is so psyched about chapstick that it's rather contagious. That is, if you're not already psyched about it.
If I can just infect a wee bit of silliness into someone else's life, even if it only cheers him or her up for just a moment, then I think I'm doing a pretty good job.
She's looking into creating more flavors; cocoa butter, coffee butter, and virgin coconut oil.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ask Chaptastic: Restaurant Etiquette

Dear Chaptastic,

Is it rude to apply balm at a restuarant? I like to moisten my lips before eating but don't want to run to the bathroom for a quick swipe. Chaptastic, what do you do in this situation?

Worried in Wala Wala


Dear Wala Wala,

Not only would Chaptastic not have a problem with lip balm application at a restaurant or a bar, but we would probably ask to check out your chapstick if you did. And then proceed to tell you what we thought about it. BUT - we found this article that mentions that the relieving of dry lips, and other human functions, in a public environment is considered poor etiquette.

Other rules include not eating until everyone is served, and refraining from wiping your nose, picking your teeth, or applying ChapStick while seated at the table.

Wala Wala, we understand that lips cannot be licked and once the thought of that sweet sweet chapstick enters your head there is no turning back, application is required and it is not rude.

Con mucho amor,

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Alien Loves Lip Balm

Bernie, author of one of my favorite sites/comics, Alien Loves Predator, has a great comic about (what else?) the lip balm travel ban. Here's an excerpt:

Oh, Alien.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sarah's Garden: Lavender & Natural

Sarah's Garden produces homemade organic lip balm in 4 tasty varieties: lavender, spearmint, pepperment, and natural. During the last week I spent lots of quality time with the lavender and the natural. And I'm going to tell you all about them.

Price: $5.50 per tube

Glide: Sweet glide, slides smoothly along the lips.

Appearance: Standard stick with a label that makes me think of meadows and ivy, which is a nice little getaway when you're surrounded by skyscrapers. Light purple for the lavender flavor (obvs) and yellow for the natural.

Flavor/ Smell:
This was the first lavender balm that I've tried. I was concerned that it might smell like Febreze or some sort of household cleaner, but it didn't. It smells exactly like the lavender growing in my tiny fire escape garden. A wonderful clean smell. The ladies of Sarah's Garden call it "light and relaxing" and they're spot on.

As for the natural; Sarah's Garden describes this stick as "rich, earthy, and fragrant". I wholeheartedly agree with the rich and earthy description, the balm coats well and the fact that it's natural makes it earthy. But I have to disagree with "fragrant". I've become a huge fan of this stick due to it's lack of fragrance - it's the most unobtrusive balm I've encountered.

Lasting Power: Hours, and with the simplicity of the natural balm there's no desire to reapply constantly due to flavor and/or smell. In fact, there have been times when I've completely forgotten about chapstick: no dry lips, no weird smells, nothing.

Product Plusses: All natural, hand poured, created in small batches, and each stick has it's own list of organic ingredients.

An ideal tube for anyone, check this one out.

4.50 out of 5 tubes

I also really like the "about us" section of their website:
We encourage our customers to ask questions and to investigate the contents of the products currently used in their homes. Do you know what the ingredients are? Are they as safe as they are effective? How about for prolonged use or after repeated exposure? Are the products in your home safe for babies and children to ingest, inhale or apply to the skin?
This may seem like common sense, but in reality, how often do you question the products you use?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Site We've Been Digging: Literati Vegan Lip Balm

This is most certainly a "must" site for the lip balm cognoscenti. The company LadyLiscious makes Literati, an author-themed vegan lip balm for the "cerebrally chapped", in flavors like Shakespearmint, PoeMegranate, Alcott Apricot and Brontë Berry. Often sold in bookstores, the beautifully styled tins come complete with the author's portrait, a matching bookmark and a balmy quote ("...through which I can shed one drop of the balm of sympathy." -Bronte). Brilliant idea, beatiful execution.

Not only does the Portland company make and sell these homophonically hip homages, but they donate a portion of the proceeds to non-profits that work to promote literacy and education. So you get to feel smart, look smart, and help someone else be smart, too.

A witty site for the verbally perspicacious lip balm lover.