Friday, October 27, 2006

Lip Treat: Ben & Jerry's Lip Balm

Let's face it: we all love BJs. And we also love Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I remember touring their factory in VT a few years ago. It seemed so quaint and Vermont-y, what with all the silos and cows. I also remember writing a report senior year of high school for Econ about the company after I followed its stock performance for a semester. Did you know B&J's doesn't use milk produced with bovine growth hormone, they give away free ice cream once a year and that they do a ridiculous amount of charity and activism work? And people still give them a hard time. My point is, B&J's not only makes delicious, gym-cancelling ice cream, but also makes lip balm in some of the same well-loved flavors. So instead of picking up a pint of Chunky Monkey, you can pick up an adorable mini pint of lip balm and suck that down in five minutes instead. Yum.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Site We've Been Digging: Emily's Strange Shop

Although this site immediately reminds me of Hot Topic, I find Emily's Strange Shop adorably gothtastic. I've seen Emily around, on stickers and on all sorts of products, but never knew her deal. Check out Wikipedia if you're looking for the history.

This site has pretty much any accessory available with a picture of Emily, a black cat, or something awesomely gothy on it.

So, it was no surpise when I came across Emily's own lip balm in 3 flavors; Punk Raspberry, Nerd Rock Watermelon, and Emo Strawberry. Each stick is only $2.00. Cute and cheap, consider me sold, Emily.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"My Lip Stuff" Lip Balms

I have to say this for the folks over at My Lip Stuff- they have got the market on lip balm flavors covered. Seriously. They make over 400 flavors of natural lip balm and gloss. That's awesome. That means you can find something you'll like no matter what your tastes are. There are whole LiveJournal communities dedicated to trying and discussing all the options. My Lip Stuff also sells body products and DIY lip balm kits and has a Lip Balm of the Month club.

The incredible variety makes up in no small way for the circa 1997, Pepto pink, virtually un-navigable website. Come on, people. If you're gonna go big product-wise (ex., if Jennifer Garner mentions you in a Glamour), then go big with a kick-ass website. You've got maybe two photos on the whole thing (taken by the first digital camera ever, apparently). Online purchasing is a lot like adoption: if I can't see what I'm buying before I pay, then I don't want it. I know that kitsch sells, but there's a thin line between tacky kitsch and ironic kitsch. Take some of that sweet lip balm profit and hire a web designer already!

But I digress...

Price: $2.00 (sticks) to $3.00 (pots) a pop. All the better to encourage you to buy dozens upon dozens of flavors.

Glide: Weeeee! That's the emotion I feel when I'm applying- like I'm on the fastest Slip 'N' Slide ever. It goes on very quickly and slickly (a poet, I am!) so a little goes a long way.

Appearance: Hands down the most awesomely tacky, homemade labels I've ever seen. The font is like Comic Sans on Ritalin. And yet it's endearing in a way, kind of like your little sister made a popsicle stick picture frame just for you. If you're a looks and label person, you might want to keep these out of view.

The balms come either in standard white twist tubes or pots. As I said, there are hundreds of flavors. Some sticks, like the seasonal All Hallows Eve or Pumpkin Nog and the quirky fUndies line of flavors, have their own special labels featuring colorful monsters or underwear (I do not want to know what Loin Cloth or Granny Panty lip balm tastes like). You can also personalize a label (great way to propose) or a flavor.

Flavor/Smell: Of the hundreds, I tried Monkey Farts (there's a whole line of "fill-in-the-blank" Farts flavors), All Hallows Eve and Snickerdoodle. In hindsight, I should definitely have gone for the Booze Balms, but maybe I shouldn't mix addictions.

Whoever mixes these flavors (why is there no "about us" section on the site?) knows what they're doing. The Snickerdoodle really smells and tastes like a snickerdoodle cookie and the Monkey Farts smells and tastes like...banana. All Hallows Eve, kind of a maple and cinnamon blend (I'm guessing because it doesn't say on the stick) is like fall in a tube. The flavors are fun and the scents are strong from the stick but not overwhelming once on your lips. There's also a nice sweetness to each flavor, which is surprising in its subtleness because the flavors are a bit candy-like. Kudos to the mixologists and the ridiculous range of fun flavors. Delicious and spot on.

Lasting Power: Pretty great. Moisturizes well, lasts a few hours.

Product Plusses: All natural ingredients- each stick has the same basic ingredients: a mix of beeswax & natural oils. The real plus here is the incredible range of flavors and the option to personalize your lip balm experience.

Summary judgment: Despite the unwieldy website* and slightly childish labels, this is a pretty excellent product. It takes a lot of trial and error to find a flavor you'll really love, but once you do you may want to buy in bulk.

4 out of 5 tubes.

*Update: I criticize because I love, people. I know that it's what's inside that counts. Lip balm, much like beauty, is only skin deep. Really what I'd love to see is MLS get more attention and more customers, and since looks matter in any sales industry then it's an important aspect to think about.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hawaiian Tropic Ozone Sport

The name Hawaiian Tropic used to remind me of that yummy coconut oil my mother used to coat herself in before lounging in the pool. Now it reminds me of questionable bikini contests in dim bars and Hooters-style restaurants.

Do you sense the foreshadowing?

Price: $2.25 from Kissfix - that's the cheapest I've seen it. Over $4.00 at online pharmacies.

Glide: Like that coconut oil, this stick glides smooth and clean.

Appearance: This stick screams extreme. Sometimes before I apply I close my eyes and pretend I'm in a Mountain Dew commercial basejumping, but with smooth moist lips. Check out that silver package and the font on this one, so extreme.

Flavor/ Smell: Tang. This stick is as if they compressed Tang powder and added some vaseline. Oddly enough, when applied it feels like there are crystals of Tang dissolving on your tongue.

Lasting Power: The Ozone Sports lasting power is nil; moisture is somehow taken out of your lips and used to plump up a bikini pageant girl's implants.

Product Plusses: SPF 45, waterproof (not tested), Aloe Vera.

.25 out of 5 tubes

Hawaiian Tropic may excel in hot women in bikinis, but they fail at lip balm. Ten minutes after applying my lips were completely dry and were in need of lip balm, with nothing else around I had to keep applying. It was an abusive, vicious cycle and I'm slightly traumatized. This stick went in the trash the minute another lip balm option became available.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Site We've Been Digging: Wild Again

I love businesses with benevolent missions. Wild Again is a great company that started as a need to fill a natural lip balm niche and to create a product in the most natural, low-impact, environmentally friendly way possible.

The Wild Again folks make lip balms in flavors like Ginger, Vanilla, Cranberry and Cucumber Melon. Each stick is handmade and hand-packaged from start to finish and made with absolutely no petroleum or alcohol products- each stick actually specifies the exact percentage of natural ingredients contained within. The best part is that Wild Again donates 10% of its profits to organizations dedicated to conservation. A little birdie told me that the company might be giving up the lip balm biz in order to focus more on conservation, so get it while the gettin's good.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hey Fatty!

With winter coming Chaptastic is concerned about gaining weight. Come on, you all know that this winter weight is for insulation 'cause it's sooooo cold. Not because we're running home to watch Lost* and eat gummy bears. Seriously.

In order to keep us trim we've found Promise, a lip balm appetite suppressant.

PROMISE is applied to the lips of people that are snacking and picking at food or tempted to eat large meals. When the urge to snack or have a large meal strikes... Apply liberally to your lips. It 'helps' curb your appetite. A weight management tool. You can use it as often as you like.

On the site, they describe each ingredient in the balm and how it will assist in weight loss/ appetite supression. It's interesting because you'd think the stick was strictly topical, but apparently these ingredients will be absorbed into your bloodstream in order to perform their duty.

Another option is to use a glue stick, which could totally be confused for chapstick (not that we've ever made that mistake...), on your lips to disable you from eating at all.

*Did you watch last Wednesday? All I've wanted is for them to bring back the polar bear, and they brought it back. Thank you J.J.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Contest Winners!

The time has come to finally announce the winners of our first annual Collection Contest. We got in some great submissions, but much like Highlander, there can be only one. Okay, maybe three- the runners up get gifts as well, and guess what? Everyone who sent in a submission gets a prize just for participating.

If you recall, the objective was to show us your collection in the most creative way possible. It wasn't the number of sticks/tubes/pots that would ensure victory (that would have been too easy), but rather the imaginative way you chose to show us your stuff. By far the most creative entry was sent in by Carey, who not only wins our hearts by putting kung-fu and lip balm into a Bible story but also $20 gift certificate to Kiss

First and second runner up photos were sent in by Talia (left, with her awesome lip balm feeder) and Janessa (right, with her amazing candy-flavored spelling prowess). They get $15 and $10 KissFix certificates, respectively.

Our other enter-ers (Lisa on the left and Dylan to the right) win various goodies and some sticks from some of our past reviews (unused, we promise).

Yes, clearly the response to this contest was overwhelming. Thank you to everyone who entered and we hope you enjoy your prizes/pats on the back. Because we're not psychic, we'd love it if you would email us your addresses so that you can actually receive said gifts. We promise not to sell your address to the ValuePack coupon people.

Or do we?

Stay tuned for the next big challenge!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Body Shop: Hemp & Vitamin C

I think The Body Shop is becoming as ubiquitous as Starbucks. I'm constantly passing those stores and being assaulted by the powerfully pungent fruity scents that violently escape from their swinging doors. Seriously, walking into one of those shops is like walking into a Perfumania- I can't smell anything for an hour afterward. Nevertheless, I was enticed by the neat, color coded shelves which included displays of lip balm, and for you, intrepid reader, I braved the olfactory onslaught.

The Body Shop has about twenty different lip products in both tube and pot form. The Lip Care tubes are more purpose-oriented, like Vitamin E with SPF, whereas the little tubs range are purely balms in flavors like Golden Apple and Satsuma. I sampled the latter and found them a bit too gooey and fruity and sweet (geez, how many dozens of people had stuck their fingers into that pot of lip balm before I did?..ew), so I grabbed a Vitamin C and a Hemp stick and left before I was tempted to buy guava-infused foot oil.

Price: $5.00 a tube. I guess that's the price you pay for the Body Shop logo. Swanky!

Glide: Rather good. Smooth, non-oily, comfortable.

Appearance: Pretty standard. Each has a really long, detailed label that's been curled the tube around several times so you can unfurl it to read all the ingredients in several languages.

Flavor/Smell: The Vitamin C stick smells just like a fresh-peeled orange. Delightful. It's even the tiniest bit sweet, but not in an obtrusive way. The Hemp stick smells like...well, like something you left at the bottom of a bowl. You know the kind of bowl I'm talking about. If you don't, then maybe you never went to college. It doesn't taste much like anything (thank God), but if you're not into "earthy" smells then it's not for you.

Lasting Power: Excellent. The balm absorbs well and leaves the lips feeling moisturized and insulated from the cold. I can see using the Vitamin C one a lot in the winter to fend off winds and to boost the old immune system.

Product Plusses: Non-petroleum, Vitamin C has SPF 15, Hemp has a certain level of kitsch value. Ingredients (not including active SPF ingredients) are mostly all natural and include a coconut/olive oil + beeswax base and natural flavors and fragrances.

Not bad, The Body Shop, not bad. 4.5 out of 5 tubes.

*Update: I forgot to add that The Body Shop has a special vanilla mint Speak Out Lip Care Stick. One dollar from every sale goes to the National Domestic Violence hotline, the phone number of which is on the label of every stick. Great cause. There's also a section on the information parts of the lip balm pages about how the beeswax and olive oil ingredients help the communities and local environments of the countries from which they're derived.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Urban Legend: Carmex Myth

While I was doing some investigative reporting on chapstick on the world wide web I came across an urban legend featuring Carmex on Snopes.

Apparently there was a rumor running rampant in the lip balm community that Carmex was addictive due to having ground up glass as an ingredient. Now, when someone offers you this bit of gossip don't you have to ask "what makes ground up glass addictive?" Although this question is never answered, we do found out that despite vague claims against adding addictive qualities,

Paul Woebling, spokesman for Carma Labs, producer of Carmex, said letters from users, worried about addiction, are common. "We tell them we're in full compliance with the Food and Drug Administration," he said,

so the balm is perfectly safe.

Dip on!

Addendum: My partner is balm has alerted me to the official Carmex response to their addiction accusations. Myth number 5 has won my heart, doesn't everything cause cancer?:

MYTH: Carmex causes cancer.
If there were any truth to this rumor, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would require us to discontinue the manufacture of Carmex.

Further Tributes in Lip Balm

Inspired by the other day's Che Guevara post (aside: if the maker's of that product knew anything about how to market using puns they would have called it Che Guava Lip Balm), I started thinking about what other people or events should be honored with their own lip balms (truly the highest honor).

In light of current events, Chaptastic will immediately begin production of a very exclusive new brand: Nuclear Balm. Each tin is limited edition and features one of the members of the nuclear club. The first edition belongs to new member Kim Jong-il, who personally came up with the formula (not tested on animals...may have been tested on North Koreans). When you need that hot date to end in mutually assured destruction, this soothing blend of all natural shea butter, chamomile and crazy oil is sure to do the trick. Best applied in the middle of the night at the bottom of an abandoned mine shaft.

Also available in Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac and Pervez Musharraf. Join the nuclear club!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

BuddhaBalm: Peppermint Lemongrass

Part of me wishes that Buddha Balm were one in a series of deity-based lip balms. How about Zeuss Balm? Jah Balm? Jesus balm? That would be divine.

But instead BuddhaBalm is a cute little tinned balm with a cute (if slightly Flash-tastic and un-clickable) little website and a cute little Buddha as its mascot. And what of the product?

Price: $5.00 on KissFix.

Glide: This balm has a nice, light feel to it once it's on your lips, but getting it there is a bit of a challenge. When you swipe it with your finger, not much balm gets transferred, so it takes about five swipes to get a satisfactory amount onto dry lips. Much effort.

Appearance: Adorable, round-edged tin that sits comfortably in the palm or pocket. However, pulling the top off is an unpredictable endeavor: either it comes off without a problem or you end up flinging it halfway down a flight of stairs. Additionally, the tin has some seriously sharp edges, and I wouldn't recommend using it around kids- the edge may slice a finger if mishandled.

Flavor/Smell: BuddhaBalm has seven flavors including Mango, Lychee, Cherry Ginger and Chai. I tried the Peppermint Lemongrass (having recently been enamored of the Crazy Rumors flavor of the same name) and found it to be very refreshing. There's no sweetness to the flavor, but it has a great scent.

Lasting Power: Pretty decent, especially if you're not doing any eating or heavy making out (note to self: find best "make out" lip balm). The balm absorbs and moisturizes well and its effects last for at least a couple of hours.

Product Plusses: Enlightenment? BuddhaBalm is all natural (soybean oil, cocoa butter, aloe, etc.) and vegan-friendly.

Slightly dangerous but charming package. 4 out of 5.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Softcore Chapstick Porn

My partner in balm is out of commision for a few days, but she found this gem for y'all before she left. All I can say about it is...finally someone had the sense to give us what we really want to see. Take that, Screech sex tape.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lip Balm Tribute

Yes, I think I've finally found the appropriate homage to socialist leader Che Guevara. Something with the proper gravitas, something infused with profundity and reflective of the great influence the revolutionary man had and continues to have on millions of people worldwide. Shall I share it with you?

It's Che's Revolutionary Lip Balm! Because "when you're knee deep in a revolution, sloshing through the jungle with your Kalashnikov draped over your shoulder, the last thing you want to worry about is your lips" ( So don your Che t-shirt, your skinny jeans and your pair of Converse and join the guava-flavored revolt against chapped lips.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Site We've Been Diggin': BlueQ

Ever think, when you're using your reliable standy-by stick, that you kind of wish it had a bit more personality? A bit more sass? A bit more irony goodness? Well you can find such quirky balms in the "miscellaneous" sections of places like Tower Records or Spencer's (although isn't everything Spencer's sells miscellaneous?) or Urban Outfitters, but the best place to find them is online at BlueQ.

The self-proclaimed "manufacturers of life-improving, joy-bringing, mind-altering, universally-praised products" make and sell all sorts of personal care products, apparel, and other items with names like Get Real, Total Bitch, Wash Away Your Sins and Virgin/Slut, presumably so you can be/do all the aforementioned things in the privacy of your own home or subtly insult your friends. They also sell great non-petroleum lip balms like Balls , Plain and Thimble and my favorite, the peppermint schnapps-flavored Minty Freakin Mullet. Check 'em out.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I've had this tin of Inara lip balm hanging out in my L.B.B. for ages. Since I'm not a fan of this format of balm (tin rather than stick) I've been reluctant to use it. So, I brought it to work to leave on my desk so that I could test it out.


Price: $12.00. Please, you're joking? No?

Glide: Generally Applied Application Techniques (G.A.A.T.) that I use for stick balms cannot be used here. Obviously. So the glide depends on how much balm you can goop up on your dirty finger and apply. The thought of sticking my finger in there and then rubbing on my lips after riding the subway, and before washing hands, makes me queasy. Thus, I found the glide to be less than average due to my timidness.

Appearance: The tin's slide off top is nifty and the shape of the whole package is unique.

Flavor/ Smell: This balm is vanilla flavored with pure organic vanilla from Madagascar. I had no idea what the flavor of this balm was initially, it smells like the metal tin at first sniff. After examination I did find the word "vanilla" printed on the tin, so that tipped me off and I was able to draw out some of that fine Madagascar-ian vanilla smell. I think.

Lasting power: Weak. Constant application required.

Product Plusses: 100% organic and made with babassu oil harvested by a women's co-op in Brazil (seriously).

2 out of 5 tubes

I give Inara credit for their mission:

Inara is a 100% organic body care line inspired by enduring native rituals. Inara believes in crafting products that provide an enriching personal experience for everyone who uses them. To support this belief, we work with women’s cooperatives, and other indigenous groups around the world, to obtain the rare ingredients needed to create our quality offerings.

But the price and the product leave much to be desired. Definitely a great eco-pick, but have a backup stick around for follow through.

Monday, October 09, 2006

School Spirit

If you're all into school spirit as much as I am (ahem), and are tired of hanging tassles from your rearview or shining that lovely Balfour school ring weekly, I recommend taking a virtual stroll through the College Lip Balm Store.

At the CLBS you can find amazing (undoubtedly) chapstick from your own Alma Mater, that is if you went to a school that plays division 1 sports.

An order of this chapstick includes 3 spearmint and 3 tangerine sticks for $16.99. You and your friends could order together and "attach them to a keychain or hang from a backpack"!

Anyone with me? I'll totally pretend I went OU! Yeah! Go Vikings? Wildcats? Lions?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cute Gift Idea

Searching for wedding gifts, we came across this adorable idea for a party favor: personalized lip balm!

The site says that "These adorable lip butter containers are personalized for your event and are as unique as you are."


Crazy Rumors: Perk & Brew

You know when you run into something so delightful and unique that you wonder why no one ever told you about it even though it's been around for a while? That's how I felt when I stumbled across the Crazy Rumors site a few weeks ago. Where had this adorable hamlet of lip balm cuteness been hiding and how had it evaded all my previous Google trollings?!

Crazy Rumors is a Brooklyn based company started in 2002 by Brian Himmel and Edie Sherman, "a creative young couple, and best friends". They make their vegan-friendly balm in twelve coffee and tea inspired flavors like Hazelnut, Mocha, Ginger Peach and Spiced Chai. I got my hands on a few of these excellent balms and haven't let go since. In fact, if I were a US Representative and these lip balms were underage congressional pages, I'd be writing some pretty raunchy IMs to them (I'm here all week, folks).

Price: $4 a pop. But worth it, I think.

Glide: Truly, truly creamy. The glide is thick, silky and luxurious, not unlike an oversized comforter in the middle of winter.

Appearance: I'm sorry to gush, but everything about Crazy Rumors is ADORABLE. The whole package- the site, the tubes, their cards, their brochures- is immaculately executed and full of fun and energy. Their presentation makes me want to cry, it's so good. And each clear tube (you know how I love clear) is marked either "Perk" or "Brew" on the label and has its own coordinated color scheme and wonderful fonts. Simply delightful.

Flavor/Smell: The balms come in twelve varieties. I tried two of the Perk (French Vanilla and Amaretto) and two of the Brew (Peppermint Lemongrass and Orange Bergamot). All were fabulous. Light, refreshing and addictively great smelling. Whether you like coffee or prefer tea, you'll find a flavor that just floors you. For me it's the Peppermint Lemongrass, which is like a tropical vacation with a slight tingle. The balms are naturally flavored and slightly sweet thanks to stevia, a sweet herb. I often dislike sweetness in balms, but here I found the natural sweetner to be subtle and very complimentary to the flavors. In short, yum.

Lasting Power: We recently got a comment about why we "calculate" lasting power. I don't think we calculate so much as guesstimate, and we do so because it's important how long an application lasts. You don't want to be stuck with a stick you have to use every ten minutes. Most sticks do the job well enough, but some are either poor performers or real troopers. These balms are definitely the latter, lasting for hours and retaining their wonderful scents almost as long. I think the only reason I do reapply is because I love the way the smell and taste so much.

Product Plusses: 100% natural vegan-friendly ingredients (shea butter; soy wax; avocado, grape seed, olive and ojoba oils, to name a few), cruelty-free, freakin' cute.

My goal is to buy all twelve flavors and make a special belt so I can wear them around my waist at all times like a holster. Hold on to your hats, people:

5 out of 5 tubes!