Thursday, May 24, 2007

Guest Post: Chapstick® All Natural

Today's poster is Rachel, aka rayfreester, blogger and lip balmer extraordinaire. But we'll let her tell you about herself, as well as give you a review.

I'm rayfreester, of are you awake? (it's fairly new and not really about anything yet) and I have been a Burt's Bees user for maybe five or six years- I'm only in my mid-teens. Only this year have I really tried to branch out to other lip balms occasionally. This development happened to coincide with Walgreens expanding its lip balm selection and putting it into its own section. The geography of my Walgreens aside, the new shiny lip balm area had many balms that they didn't carry before like Aveeno, the entire Chapstick line, Chicken Poop and many others. But what caught my eye was Chapstick All Natural, since Chapstick® isn't famous for it's great ingredients.

Price: $1.99, just as cheap as regular flavored Chapstick. No complaints here, but you'd think it might cost a little more with the better ingredients.

Appearance: Brown translucent with some sparkle or or something in the plastic. The words "all natural" in green with a water droplet on it to signify that it moisturizes. Sort of a cross-between a lotion bottle and a self-tanner bottle. Might not be unisex enough for some men, but isn't trying for a feminine appearance. Still has the Chapstick rounded cap that makes it easy to find in the dark. I'm not a fan of translucent tubes- I don't like seeing the gears. However, the look is, in general, attractive.

Glide: Pretty good, glides smoother and sticks more than regular Chapstick, but not as good as lip balms with a higher beeswax content. There is a slight graininess as you get more into to the tube.

Flavor/Smell: No real intentional smell or flavor, just the the smells of the ingredients. It kinda smells like toasted coconut, rice milk and some type of nuts. There's no sweetener, so there is no taste, but the smell sticks around for a while and is bland without being unobtrusive. This balm could benefit from and essential oil.

Lasting Power: If your lips are pretty chapped it will soak right in and you will need to apply almost immediately, however with normal conditions it will last as long as you don't wipe it off or eat.

Product Pluses: No petroleum, no artificial ingredients, sunflower seed oil, jojoba esters, coconut oil, beeswax, mango seed butter (fancy!), natural vitamin E and shea butter. However no SPF and it won't withstand temperatures higher than 77 degrees (it says on the label, no other brands/types have this warning, as far as I know).

3.7 out 5 tubes for good glide with out being greasy, natural ingredients and low price. Points were docked for slightly pervasive coconut smell and sparkly tube. Overall though, a pretty good buy, I recommend it.

Product News: Simple Shoes CA-bana

I love Simple Shoes. They make amazingly comfortable shoes and bags out of sustainable (and in many cases vegan) materials and have a really fun image and sense of humor. They have a new line of men's flip flops, and the Lifeguard Choice version of them comes with a tube of Burt's Bees and a lip balm holder!

Now, I like this idea in theory, but I don't know if I want to keep my balm near a) my toes and b) the ground. Maybe it's handy if you're a lifeguard, but I can only picture the cap being knocked off and sand getting everywhere. Don't those lifeguard shorts have pockets? Maybe if you're a lady lifeguard you don't have pockets, but maybe you could just leave the tube at your station while you're not rescuing people?

In short, buy some Simple Shoes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Crabtree & Evelyn: Aloe Vera

I always forget that Crabtree & Evelyn exists. Its storefronts are not as ubiquitous as L'Occitane's or The Body Shop's are, and I don't think the brand is popular with people under thirty. My only memory of C&E products is a sample sized gift pack of lotion, body gel and body powder that I received when I was in my teens and never finished (was doling out the goodness).

But when I do remember them, I'm always happy because they make excellent products. Last week I found myself in a C&E (which was located right next to a L'O, funnily enough) and of course I picked up one of their balms. Afterward, I Wickipedia-ed the company name, which I've always thought is one of the best skin care brand names, and discovered that it's named for both the crabtree, an ancestor to modern apple trees, and famed 17th century British conservation writer John Evelyn. Fascinating.

Price: $3.50.

Appearance: Simple cream-colored, standard size tube with the lovely green C&E font and a little illustration of the aloe barbadensis plant.

Glide: Remarkably like plain old Chaptastick®- the stick is firm but the glide is pretty smooth without being slick or oily. Goes on somewhere between normal and thick and feels great.

Flavor/Smell: Light scent of aloe vera, which is sort of like a leafy-green camphorous odor. No sweetness or discernable flavor.

Lasting Power: A little better than average. I'd say minimum two hours. Wonderful moisturizer.

Product Plusses: Non-petroleum (primarily soybean oil and beeswax based). Contains aloe vera (obviously), which is known to have healing properties. But no SPF.

4.25 out of 5 tubes. A reliable, functional jacket stick.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Trader Johann's Lip Balm Virtuoso

Trader Joe's tops my list of places to shop, preferably when the line doesn't wrap completely around the store. My awesome pal, Mel, introduced me to the goodness that is TJ's and to confirm this she sent me some of their lip balm that she's super into. Mel's smart about pretty much everything, and I can now definitely say that she's smart on lip balm.

Price: 3 tubes for about 3 bucks. Brilliant.

Appearance: Trader Johann's (yuk, yuk) Virtuoso Lip Balm is housed in a green and white standard sized tube with an image of music notes underneath the text: Music to your Lips. Let's just hope this music isn't a harp or something equally Victorian.

Glide: Superb glide. Always ready to go and the coverage area is perfect.

Flavor/Smell: The Virtuoso is spearmint. Smells like gum, tastes kind of like gum - and can probably cover your bad breath.

Lasting Power: Apply and forget about it, lasts forever.

Product Plusses: 50% organic (half empty?), all the organic ingredients are standard with the exception of St. John's Wort (used to treat anxiety) and Comfrey ("In past times comfrey baths were popular to repair the hymen and thus 'restore virginity'", so, uh, promiscuous girls get on that), and SPF 15.

I'm into it. Trader Johann's Lip Balm Virtuoso scores a 5 out of 5.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Carol's Daughter

There's a great article in today's New York's Daily News about Carol's Daughter. Here's our review of their Wet Shine & Lip Butter, from last August. Read up.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Catrix reminds me of the blonde chick, Juliet, from Lost. The one from the others that's totally not cool and who's all about fertility and science, to be vague.

This is because Catrix looks kind of cold like Juliet, it's all scientifical, and it's Wednesday. So, uh, my mind is elsewhere.

Price: $14.00 for one single tube.

Appearance: Gives off the same feeling that I get when I'm sitting naked under a gauzy top on a roll out of doctor's paper staring at a diagram of human lungs. That feeling would be cold, uncomfortable, and not sure what's about to happen.

Glide: Catrix's glide is phenomenal. It's smooth, the coverage is perfect, and it feels good on my lips.

Flavor/Smell: No official flavor, but there is a faint and pleasant citrus smell.

Lasting Power: Long, long, long time. This tube will get you through the day and then some.

Product Plusses/ Minuses: Well, it's got SPF 15 and some other natural stuff. But- it also is a "bovine-derived complex mucopolysaccharide cartilage complex", so probably not for the vegans or those not interested in bovine on their lips. This complex is found in various facial products to help heal those with dermatological issues. And, when using any bovine product it's imperative that the cattle it comes from are healthy.

Catrix is a great balm that kind of freaks me out. Maybe I'm being dramatic, but I'd rather go with the natural balms that cost less than $5 than pay for bovine. It's not that any problems have been reported, but I recently heard about how all the chemicals and animal extracts in the body products we use may reveal themselves to be not so good for our skin in the near future.

Despite the great performance, I'm giving it a 3 out of 5 due to price and the bovine factor.

NBC Investigates Addiction

Ah, morning news shows. I love that the newscasters are always bright and peppy, but I also hate that they're always bright and peppy. I'd have to be on some serious meds to wake up that early and be cheery every morning.

Anyway, check out this piece that aired in January on NBC's The Today Show about lip balm addiction. My favorite is the woman who explains that she has strategically placed lip balm everywhere so she's never more than four feet away from it. Very pragmatic. I bet she's a reader.

Oh, and check out Kevin C., the Lip Balm Anonymous guy, looks like. I feel like Chaptastic and LBA need to have a rumble or something.