Sunday, June 25, 2006

Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer

I like Neutrogena products. They seem very clean and fresh and simple, and apparently they're endorsed by Norwegian fishermen. My enjoyment of their products is in direct contradiction to my dislike of their TV spots, which feature the likes of Mandy Moore and Mischa Barton, two people with whom I couldn't relate to less if I tried, continuously splashing their flawless, bony faces with water.

In any case, my enjoyment of other Neutrogena products and my unheralded love for Norweigan fishermen prompted me to pick up a tube from Amazing Giant Wall of Random and Miniature Products at Bed Bath & Beyond the other day.

Price: I got my tube for $2.79, but it sells online for as much as $3.39. Typical for Neutrogena products, whose prices tend to be a bit higher than you really want them to be.

Appearance: Classic red, white and blue simple exterior we've come to expect from the big N. The turn mechanism is up near the cap, which is always great for avoiding accidental pocket tube advance.

Glide: Excellent, smooth glide- neither waxy nor greasy. Nice and soothing.

Flavor/Smell: This is one of the few non-flavored sticks I've come across that really doesn't have either a flavor or a smell- fruity or waxy or otherwise. It's wonderfully unnoticeable.

Lasting Power: Long. I can't come up with a number of minutes/hours, but I can say that I didn't feel the need to reapply at all. Of course, it's nice and warm and humid outside, so I have no idea how it would fare in winter conditions. This is where the Norwegian fishermen would come in handy (also in key roles in my fantasies).

Product Plusses: SPF 15, again characteristic of Neutrogena products. It's also PABA-free. I had to look up what the hell PABA was (para-aminobenzoic acid, an "organic compound sometimes called Vitamin Bx that increases the formation of a particular DNA defect in human cells, thus increasing the risk of skin cancer in people who lack the mechanisms to repair these cellular defects" via Wikipedia), which is another plus of the product- it made me learn!

A solid, pleasant, non-flashy, reliable stick. 4 out of 5 tubes.

Liprageous. Blue Raspberry.

In my collection of emergency chapsticks lies a bright blue tube of Liprageous in blue raspberry. I took this stick out with me today to see how it could handle the environs on New York City.

Intrigued? Here's how Liprageous did:

Price: About $2.50 for the stick.

Appearance: I'd consider the look of this stick to be middle-school. Maybe even elementary. At least something that's outgrown by the time you're 15, and then rediscovered when you're trying to be cutesy. The color of the chapstick itself is deep blue. Like Patrick Swayze's eyes? They've gotta be blue.

Glide: A bit rough. Now, I may have come across a defective tube, but my chapstick refuses to peek out the top of the container. It's portraying a shy turtle-like characteristic. So, when applied the top of the tube rubs the lips, along with the chapstick.

Flavor/ Smell: I really like candy, sugary sweet candy. Anything that can rot my teeth, I love. On a kayaking trip I became so sugar deprived that I licked my fingers and dipped then in the lemonade powder, to replicate fun-dip. This stick smells like pure sugar. But, I've always been dubious of "blue-raspberry", because I have never seen a blue raspberry. It's a flavor that wasn't around for my whole life, it appeared in various forms, at my local Lil' Peach, around the time I turned 13. That being said over the past decade the blue-raz flavor has found a place in my heart. And I like that it usually turns my tongue and teeth blue. So now - I can wholeheartedly say that at this point in my life, I am a big fan of the flavor and smell of the Liprageous blue raspberry chapstick.

Lasting Power: Decent. Keeps lips moist for about an hour, and every sugar freak around you will want to kiss you.

Product Plusses: The tube's juvenile appearance can make folks smile and can create an instant bond with any young lady that you may be in contact with.

Overall, it's a fun smelly stick for fun smelly days. If you're not having a smelly fun day - leave it at home.

3.75 out of 5 tubes.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Renegade, Sans Lorenzo Lamas

Last weekend Chaptastic visited the mecca of everything craft: the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn. We saw more adorably embroidered animals, asymmetrically placed industrial graphics and ironic-nostalgic hand-printed postcards than we thought existed. If you ever wanted to know what kind of people purchase button-makers...this is the place for you.

We bought a few new sticks for review (up soon) and picked up a thick wad of business cards from pretty much every vendor we came across. The best part of our day, however, was running into the fabulous Hannah, the sultan of smooch and maker of the Lizzie Sweet line of delectable lip balm and bath treats, the former of which we reviewed a few months ago. In fact, our visit to the Bust Craftacular in December where we first met Hannah is what spurred us to start Chaptastic, so in a way we owe it all to her. Not only did she overlook our crazy fit of giggling and elbow nudging as we approached her, but she was super nice and gave us samples of some of her bath products, all of which smelled good enough to eat (holy crap, that chocolate one!). If you're looking for amazing, drool-inducing gifts or self-indulgences, head over to Lizzie Sweet.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Spazzstick = Spazztastic

When it comes to lip balm, I like the full package. I like knowing what went into making the product- not just the ingredients, but the philosophy behind it. I enjoy knowing that the chapstick I picked up at the local food coop the other day is made from organic oils secreted off the back of a pregnant wildebeest on a strict thyme-only diet, and that ten cents of the money I spent on it will be going to buy new shoelace tips for the running shoes that the Czech Republic's 1983 Olympic track team donated to members of the nomadic Bedouin tribe of Africa, who now, thanks to me, will be able to make their arduous cross-desert treks in style. It comforts me.

That total package and committment to a story, I think, is part of Spazzstick's appeal. Not only is it a caffeinated lip balm*, which automatically scores points, but it's got this whole tongue-in-cheek pseudo-hipsterironic sensibility. Except it's not really hipsterironic, because hipsters don't live in Alaska.

Spazzstickā„¢ was "developed by an Alaskan Police Officer, who need[ed] both quality lip balm for the cold and the ability to stay awake during long shifts" and is "made in a beautiful little Eskimo Village called Kaktovik, AK" by "hoards of worker trolls in a vast underground volcano lair" (see their hilarious Frequently Asked Questions About Worker Trolls). I love it.

Price: Mine were free (ah, the power of blogging), but Spazzstick hocks 'em for $2.99 a piece, which is pretty much the norm for any type of "specialty" chapstick.

Appearance: Kind of a snazzy, colorful, unisex look- dark blue tube with a stick on label. A little busy graphically, but wholly non-offensive.

Glide: Smooth glide and a thick coating. Perfect for winter conditions but maybe a bit heavy for summer. No pocket warmup required.

Flavor/Smell: Spazzstick comes in Mint, Vanilla Toffee, Orange Cream and Coming Soon! (according to the website). They all smell decent but I swear there's a wonky-smelling waxy ingredient in there that's trying to overwhelm the scent. As for flavor, the flavors are definitely there, but the lip balm itself isn't sweet. So you get a nice hint of mint or toffee or orange cream but no cloying sugariness. Vanilla Toffee is my favorite.

Lasting Power: It goes on thick, so it lasts a good a while. Not as long as I had expected though, which may have something to do with it having isopropyl alcohol as an ingredient. I'd love to test it out in winter conditions, but I'll have to take the Alaskan police officer's word for it.

Product Plusses: Caffeine. I know, you're wondering, "Does it reeeally work?" Actually it does. I always feel more awake when I slap some on. I just tried all three flavors again as I was writing this, so I'm going to be zooming for the next hour. No SPF, unfortunately (no sun in AK, apparently), but there is a handy bible reference on one of the tubes for Psalm 118:5. I guess there's not enough room on the tube to write it out. Very Bess-Eaton Donuts.

Conclusion: This isn't a stick I would grab if I didn't specifically want it for its caffeinated feature. If you remove the caffeine as a consideration, it's pretty mediocre. But when you put it back in, suddenly it has character. Just like me and that Forever 21 shirt I just bought. Go figure.

3.5 out of 5 tubes.

* I'll amend my previous comment about how Spazzstick isn't the world's only caffeinated lip balm. It's world's only patent-pending caffeinated lip balm.

Friday, June 09, 2006

ChapNews Vol. 4: Search Trends

A recent Google Trends search revealed the following information about searches for the words "chapstick" and "lip balm". Note the strong correlation between the two, which may indicate that people searched first for chapstick then for lip balm. Or that, somehow, proportional volumes of people in this country not only have a preference for certain terminology but search for those preferred words at roughly the same time.

Also note the strong upward trend in search volume around the end of 2005, right around when Chaptastic debuted. This was either due to said debut and the flurry of googling that Chaptastic's research demanded, or perhaps because it was just cold and dry in most of the US in the middle of December. We may never know.


lip balm

By volume the top ten cities that searched for chapstick or lip balm are:

1. Salt Lake City, UT USA
2. Los Angeles, CA USA
3. Denver, CO USA
4. New York, NY USA
5. Philadelphia, PA USA
6. Minneapolis, MN USA
7. Austin, TX USA
8. Irvine, CA USA
9. Phoenix, AZ USA
10. Seattle, WA USA

Salt Lake City I get, but LA? I guess it must take a lot more lip balm to keep the collagen from drying up. I'm pretty sure Chaptastic is solely responsible for NY being #4.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fred Flare

Fred Flare has posted it's "The Next Big Thing" winners for 2006.

Looks like a chapstick we've reviewed in the past has been chosen. Awesome. Congratulations Heather!