Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vintage Sister Lip Balms

We love well-branded companies, and Vintage Sister takes the cake in that department. Whoever does their graphics and illustrations is a genius of adorable. They started the company out of of nostalgia for their childhood balms, a nostalgia that's evident in their retro sliding tins and 50's-esque sass. Their motto is "distinctive lip balms for distinctive tastes", and with choices like Chardonnay, Orange Truffle, and Devil's Food Cake, there's bound to be something in their line of more than thirty flavors that appeals to you.

Price: $3.95 for .25 ounces.

Appearance: Fun to open small slide tins (1" x 2"), each with a different cartoon character for each flavor and fun fonts and colors. I got a report from a friend that some of the tins pop open and get linty if they're in a bag, but mine stayed shut.

Glide: Depends on your fingering method (you dirty, dirty minds), but they're generally pretty soft at room temperature without being goopy. Takes a couple of swipes to get a comfortable amount on, but the balms are nice and soft with no stickiness or greasiness.

Flavor/Smell: So many to choose from! I tried the Devil's Food Cake, Peace of Mind and the Chai Tea, and I found something to like about each. The balms themselves are just barely sweet and smell spot-on: they match their descriptions but aren't overpowering. I managed to simply enjoy, instead of eat, the Devil's Food Cake.

Lasting Power: What the balms have in cuteness and fun-factor they lack in lasting power. They'll soften decently if you aren't acutely chapped, but I would stick to using them in the summer when that doesn't happen often.

Product Pluses/Minuses: Honestly, I'm really distracted by how fun these are. I want to get all of the flavors and line up the little tins by color and just stare at them. The ingredients look un-scary (although there's not mention of what the "color" and "fragrance" additives are) and for once I don't mind having to use my finger to apply.

Entertaining product, could use a tad more lasting power. 3.75 out of 5 tubes.

P.S. They do custom gift sets for weddings and the like.

One-Armed Lip Gloss, Not Just for Surfers

Saw this story about shark attack survivor and surfer Bethany Hamilton and thought it was cool and innovative, not to mention beyond courageous. Via Fashionista:

Remember Bethany Hamilton, the heroic teen surfer whose arm was taken by a shark? She's fully recovered and... designing lip gloss.

Now 18, the Hawaii native has a line of lip products called Stoked that you can push up and down with just one arm.

They sell on Amazon for $4.50 and could probably be useful even if you're not an invincible surf baby, but instead a really busy girl carrying coffee and keys in one hand, and a handbag and a cell phone in the other.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pop Secret Lip Balm

This is the lip balm that only a lover of Jelly Belly's Buttered Popcorn Flavor (gag) could tolerate. Rest assured we will never review it- want to give it a try?

Get it and other amusing flavors at Perpetual Kid.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Indigo Wild for Mother's Day

You guys may remember the company Indigo Wild, whose Zum Kiss lip balms we wrote about last year? If not, you should head over to their eye-catching site and take a look at their balms and their huge range of fantastic products like all-natural handmade soaps, candles, body lotions and aroma mists (I've gotta get a hold of some Zum Bum). They have some darling gift packages available just in time for a belated Mother's Day.

You may notice we have an ad up for Indigo Wild in the right sidebar, so this may sound a bit like an ad, but don't worry- we put that sucker up for free. Actually, the only paid ads we have on are the Google ones, on which we make about three cents a day. That's about three balms a year. Awesome!

Chaptastic loves supporting a home-grown, crafty company. Oh, and check out their Dirty Words, a list of synthetic ingredients that they never allow into their products.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Guest Post! Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula

Here's another stick we've heard a lot about and seen over and over again in stores (especially Bed Bath & Beyond for some reason) but have yet to try. Below, our fearless guest poster Becky does the dirty work for us. Andale, Becky!

When I first stumbled upon Chaptastic (and I’m wicked stoked that I did), I couldn’t believe there was no mention of Palmer’s fine products (our bad- Ed.). It’s been a well-kept secret, but I intend to change that. Palmer’s is my favorite lip balm. I have used it for about 5 years and haven’t bought any other kind since.

Price: $3.29 on and $2.70 on Palmer’s website. Or, you can save yourself the S&H and buy it at your local Walmart for $1.83. Considering it will last a good few months, I don’t think upwards of $5 would be too much to ask.

Appearance: Mostly white, swirly blue background interspersed with orange and brown. 3 ¾ inches high, ½ ounce size.

Glide: In the beginning, this lip balm applies itself grudgingly. After the first few applications, however, this cocoa butter stick goes on like, well, butter.

Flavor/Smell: I haven’t quite decided what it smells like yet— I alternate between vanilla and marshmallows. Whatever it is, it’s subtle, not overpowering. Flavor— hardly any.

Lasting Power: If you’re a compulsive balm applier like me, you’re reapplying every couple hours whether you need it or not. For the practical person, you could easily go 3 hours, depending on how much you’re talking, pursing your lips, and smacking. It definitely hydrates well. Some balms, like Burt’s Bees, actually dry my lips out more. Not this one.

Product Pluses: It’s not just for lips, but also advertises “on-the-spot moisture for marks and rough, dry skin.” When a particularly nasty cold has my nose red, dry, and tender, I put some of this cocoa butter on for instant, soothing relief.

Lastly, I have never lost this gigantic stick. Balms that are only .15 or .07 ounces in size are easily lost in a purse or forgotten in a pocket. It’s the best lip balm I’ve ever tried, so I’m tempted to give it a 5, but I know there might be something better out there, so I’ll stick with 4.5 out of 5 tubes.

ChapNews Volume 15: Gloss Increases Cancer Risk

One of the reasons we always mention if a tube has SPF is because it's incredibly important to protect your lips when you're out in the sun, and there's not better way than SPF. Well, until they invent lip hats, that is.

It's no secret that shirking sunscreen will leave your skin vulnerable to UV rays, which could potentially cause skin cancer. Your lips have even less protection than the rest of your skin does- they lack the pigment, hair and thickness of body skin, making them especially susceptible to damage. Turns out that using lip gloss, or anything that increases lip shine, can increase the risk of cancer. This MSNBC article states:

Some dermatologists say that slathering on shiny lip glosses can actually increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Of course, wearing any lip product without SPF doesn’t exactly shield the thin skin from sun damage. But the slick, shiny nature of the gloss could be making the sun’s UV rays hit harder, some experts say.

“These lip glosses can make more of the light rays penetrate directly through the skin instead of getting reflected off of the skin’s surface,” says Dr. Christine Brown, a dermatologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. (You're covered, however, if you wear lip gloss with SPF.)

At worst, say some dermatologists, the resulting sun damage can lead to potentially fatal forms of skin cancer. An estimated 3,500 new cases of skin cancer of the lips are diagnosed each year, and 90 percent of those cancers are squamous cell carcinoma. While that form of cancer isn't usually particularly serious, it can be more aggressive on the lips than on other parts of the skin. If left untreated, it can cause disfigurement, and in very few cases, it can spread to other organs and become deadly.

So if you use lip balm or gloss, make sure it has SPF, or that you apply a layer of something with SPF underneath. Read the whole article to find out what can happen if you don't.

LypSyl Moisturizer Original Formula

Remember the reader who emailed us trying to figure out the identity of her label-less mystery balm? One of our intrepid readers discovered that it was LypSyl, a Swedish brand of lip balm that has recently undergone a face lift. I picked up a tube at my local CVS and tried to figure out if the Swedish hold the secret not only to great red candy fish but to lip balm as well.

Price: $2.99 in store, various prices online.

Appearance: Not gonna lie, I bought it because it looks weird. Slightly taller than a gluestick, it's a fat, flattened, elliptical-widthwise tube with a bee-shaped slider on the side instead of a twist ring. Whimsical. The site says something about "one-hand application on the go", and I must admit it is kind of handy not to have to twist anything to advance the tube. It seems like there's a lot of wasted space, however, because the balm only takes up about 70% of the casing. Maybe this isn't so with the thin tube or the pot.

Glide: When I first bought my tube it was really hard, but has apparently softened over time. Definitely performs better in warmer weather- it's like a brick in the winter. Once you warm it up it goes on pretty easily and without any stick, although it's hard to get used to the elliptical tube shape.

Flavor/Smell: The Original Formula has a strong yet pleasant mint scent and no sweetness. Other flavors include LypSyl Moisturizer HoneyBerry, LypMedication with Eucalyptus, LypRadiance Honeyrose, and LypSensitivity with Aloe Vera.

Lasting Power: Pretty darn good. It softens my lips very quickly and if I weren't my job to constantly reapply lip balm I might have forgotten to do it entirely.

Product Pluses/Minuses: Great mix of tried-and-true ingredients such as coconut oil, beeswax (Pure Swedish!), shea butter, and Vitamins A/E. Still petroleum-based, alas, but at least I can pronounce all the other ingredients.

Took me a while to warm up to LypSyl, but now I'm a fan. It's a reliable if idiosyncratic tube, so maybe the Swedish do know about more than just chefs. My theory is that they stole our bees. 4.5 out of 5 tubes.