Wednesday, November 29, 2006


What hole was I living under? I somehow made it twenty some odd years without ever having used Carmex? Astonishing. I think it's partly because I was never that into finger-dip balms. And party because it seemed so very utilitarian in appearance. And partly because it says "For Cold Sores" right on the top- perfect for when you'd like to advertise to the world that you've probably had too many sexual partners.

Price: Always less than $2.00.

Appearance: The original Carmex comes in the very simple black, yellow and white metal-lidded plastic pot pictured at right. However, Carmex also makes both kind of tubes- the squeeze and the standard cylinder.

Glide: For a potted lip balm, this stuff has just the right consistency. Not goopy but not hard, so you neither have excess nor have to do multiple swipes. Goes on easily and with just the right amount. Tingles the lips.

Flavor/Smell: Can you say camphor? It's active ingredients are methol, camphor and phenol, so it's a bit like a less-intense version of Vicks Vapor Rub. Not the best for a date, but if you've got a cold in the middle of winter, it's like some sort of miracle. They also make a mint version that I have yet to see it on shelves.

Lasting Power: Here's the debate about Carmex, which we've discussed before: is it addictive and does it dry out your lips? There are crazy rumors like they put ground up glass in it and addictive substances. Not true, according to Carmex.

I've gotta say, in the few weeks I've been using Carmex it's been pretty good. Lasts about an hour (depends on how much you put on), but I found myself reapplying for fun because I kind of liked the tingling sensation, which, frighteningly, fades in intensity the more you use it (and is likely the catalyst for a potential addiction). It doesn't work as well as some other balms- I have to keep it on hand and use it multiple times throughout the day whereas with other natural balms once or twice a day is enough.

Product Plusses: The stick versions come with SPF 15. Has cocoa butter, but is largely petroleum and wax based.

Reliable medicinal balm especially good for winter chap. 3.5 out of 5.


Anonymous Lj said...

My name is Laura and I'm a recovering carmexholic. Hi Laura.

Yep, Carmex....such mixed feelings indeed. It was the second lip gloss I ever owned as a kid (Chapstick brand plain was first). More than 13 years later, I still remember those years well. I believe every girl at my middle school had one or two of these tubs in her bookbag and slabbing it on was more common than chewing gum. It was sort of colleges' equivalent of a long-neck beer bottle...everywhere you looked.

The problem is exactly what you it addictive and does it ultimately dry your lips out? I know what the scientists say, but I trust my life experience more. For me, the answer was yes on both counts. I was addicted, addicted, addicted and Carmex was my drug of choice. Putting on Carmex every half hour all day long was a way of life.

When I hit high school and discovered high quality natural balms, I never looked back--although I do still buy a tub every year or two just for nostalgia's sake (yes, I guess that is odd). It is a great product and I wouldn't want to have zero tubs on hand laying around just in case (in case of what? they'll never stop making it). Apparently, I must keep them on hand in case I want to fall off the wagon.

But life is much better when you don't spend all your time reapplying Carmex to your lips and I am glad to be free from it's clutches. Besides, I have moved on to bigger and more expensive addictions--like Lost and Chaptastic recommended balms!

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recovering Carmexaholic here too...

Very addicting. and I found that when I tried to take myself off carmex, my lips wouldn't produce the natural oils it normally did.

I still keep a tube around...just in case. I use the squeeze tube. Great consistancy, and I found that the tingle is really great with it!

3:43 PM  
Blogger B.R.U.C.E said...

The good news; apparently you already have a Carmex review. The bad news I bought my first stick two days ago and already I am on a ten minute reaplication modus. So it really is addictive. Maybe I should get back to my Body Shop Lip Butter.

5:46 AM  
Anonymous careY said...

You know, I went out and bought Carmex just to see what all the fuss was about.

I have to say it really softens and upchaps the lip when in use, but when that stuff wears off it feels like the climate is wreaking havoc on my lips. When my Burt's Bees wear off, my smackers feel new and improved. For the Carmex addicts, I suggest to use the stuff as a night-time chapstick and switch to something else for the daytime. That way, you get your fix and healthy lips ;)

11:01 PM  
Blogger Kundan Sen said...

Too bad you didn't find Carmex very satisfying. Great blog, though - found this gem of yours from today's Manhattan Users Guide (as I'm sure have lots of others).

My quick hit on all your surveys points me towards Crazy Rumors, or Aveeno. I'll skip the goat for now :)

I'm a big fan of Carmex - being a guy, I opt out of all the smelly balms, and like the fact that this one, needing a finger instead of rubbing on the lips, can be shared if need be. I have these little tubs everywhere - in the car, in my hiking backpack, at work. Got introducted to Carmex in a little convenience store in Death Valley. Have tried to upgrade to one of the fancy ones (but obviously not as hard as you) - but found them failing so far.

Great job, keep it up!

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Jo said...

I bought Carmx 2 months ago for the first time, in Ireland. I like it but it have a strange smell (camphor, yes). I think it's great for winter time! And I do like the simple and old fashioned appearance ^_^

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been using carmex for over 15 years and I am only 26. I can not live without it. I apply it probably close to 50 times a day. Im not sure what it is about it, maybe it is just the tingling feeling, but as it wears off, I have to reapply ASAP!!! Im ok to be called a carmex junkie, carmex makes me happy and I have always been told that I have very soft lips, so it looks like its doing its job!!

3:23 AM  
Anonymous abigail said...

i completely agree with all of the other carmexaholics. i bought carmex because i remembered my brother always using it, and as soon as i did i was applying as soon as i could. every time it began to wear off my lips would feel dry and would even crack if i smiled too big.
luckily, today i went to Ulta and bought rimmel's chapstick 'uber full' it has a slight plumber, so it will be perfect for the party i am going to tonight. and, it has said on all day so far! it also has the great tingly feeling that most of you miss from carmex. i highly reccomend it :)

5:08 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

The thing that a lot of people have missed completely is that Carmex is really for cold sores. The chemicals in it are not made to moisturize. The chemical tingle is to help ease the pain of cold sores and the medicine is to dry them out. I too was a Carmex addict for years. I only use it now when I need to slough off dead skin. It contains salicylic acid, which is used in various acne medications and wart removal medications, because of it's 'drying' properties.

So I wouldn't suggest using it unless you're going to follow up with something that actually moisturizes once the tingle wears off.

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Leigh said...

What these people really mean is no, it's not addictive they just like to say they're addicted bacause they think it's funny. There's no withdrawl. And no, it doesn't dry your lips. Salicylic acid, like many other chemicals, can be used to do opposite things. Really, it just makes severely dry lips better.
I use this in the morning when my lips are really dry and it's the only thing that makes them better, even if i rub it off.
I also wanna reccomend the stick version of this. It's like a regular lip balm stick. No gross finger pot thing(plus, why would they make it in a stick version, especially one that says "moisturizing lip balm," if it wasn't meant to, oh, i dunno, moisturize?)
Oh yeah, and love the site.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Veronica said...

To abigail-
I'm just saying, the way plumpers work is by irritating your lips. That's the tingly feeling. Basically, it's a minor allergic reaction. Just keeping your lips moisturized makes them more full.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Taylor said...

Carmex is really addicting. I started using it about 2 years ago. The tingle, the softness, I can't get enough. I hear Burt's Bees is good stuff but I doubt if my addiction will ever get so bad that I have to buy ONE tube of smelly chapstick for $3.00

10:53 PM  

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