Monday, April 20, 2009

Contest Winners

The suspense is over! We had a last minute entrant a the end of last week so we decided to take an extra day to deliberate. We chose the top ones based on creativity, humor and best use of tubes. Our choices for the winner and first and second runners up for the "All Your Balm Are Belong To Us" photo contest are:

Sabrina: "Fraubello"

Amazing effort, Sabrina! If I had my childhood to do over again, I would certainly have made my invisible friend out of lip balm.

Liisa: "Lip Balm Ballet"

Could not stop laughing at Liisa's photo for some reason. Those tutus are far too cute, but it's the "couple" at stage left enacting the Swan Lake-esque lift that really gets me.

Shannon: "House of 1000 Lip Balms"

This photo seems simple at first, but if you check out the full original entry you'll see there's a lot going on- it's like a full on party in that tiny house, complete with some tube-on-tube bedroom action. I particularly like the hat-stylings to the left.

Congratulations to the winners, and a hearty "thank you and you're awesome!" to everyone who entered. Sabrina, you'll be receiving a gift pack of lip balms from FOC (friend of Chaptastic) Zum Kiss as well as some other goodies and Liisa and Shannon you'll be getting some snazzy tubes in the mail.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Crazy Rumors: Hibiskiss & Bonus

Chaptastic's perennial favorite Crazy Rumors has a new line of all natural, vegan lip colors called Hibiskiss. Sure, technically they're not lip balms, but they certainly do moisturize like a balm and they have the same awesome shea butter and jojoba oil base that we love so much. Plus, they're very pretty, hibiscus-flavored, lightly sweet and come in six (slightly sparkly) colors. The slender, .09 oz tubes go for $6 a pop, and for now Crazy Rumors is running a deal where you can buy six for the price of five.

And if that's not enough to whet your appetite, if you order three or more HibisKiss Lip Colors they'll throw in in a special edition Red Hibiscus Lip Balm at no charge. Check them out!

(P.S. The reason I'm not reviewing these is that I have notoriously bad luck with any sort of lip color, especially anything involving the slightest shimmer. I end up looking like a bit like a drag queen even though the exact same color looks fabulous on my friends.)

Guest Post! Tarte 24-7 Natural Lip Sheer

Today's guest poster is our good friend Natalia, and awesome and creative (did I mention lovely?) gal who is currently living in Paraguay and runs the highly recommended blog called Guide to Paraguay. She's got some nice things to say about Tarte's Lip Sheer line. Vamos, Natalia!

Living in Paraguay, I don't have to deal with the extreme weather I suffered through in my former home, New England. My lip balm needs changed as soon as I stepped off the plane into tropical heat, a glaring sun, and a population of women well-versed in the Latin tradition of looking put together at all times. While recently visiting the States I greedily lunged for a box of unopened balms proffered by Chaptastic co-founder (and, full disclosure, good friend) JavaJive and walked away with some tubes of Tarte's 24-7 Natural Lip Sheer. After a couple of weeks of testing I am happy to report that this product meets all my newly discovered lip balm requirements. If you live somewhere that's hot, hot, hot read on.

Price: $14 Ouch. Time for the sliding scale and justifications. When judged as a lip balm, the pricetag is ridiculous. For a lipstick- sorry, lip sheer- it is pretty normal but that does not make it any less painful. Think about what you can buy with $14... well, probably not much these days, come to think of it.

Appearance: A glammed-up version of a standard plastic tube - it has a lilac brushed metallic coating. Only the product name and SPF are on the tube, all other information is on the box. I suppose this makes it look more upscale and similar to makeup.

Glide: Conflicting signals: the consistency looks more like lipstick than lip balm, but the feel of the tube and lack of lipstick-bullet shaped top make it look more like lip balm as a whole. In the end I landed on lipstick-like glide since it is not as slick or greasy as balm can be.

Flavor/Smell: No flavor and the smell was again reminiscent of lipstick. Comes in day/event-themed colors like Tuesday and Champagne Brunch. [The colors on the Sephora site don't really match the colors in real life, just to warn you -Ed.]

Lasting Power: It soaks into your lips pretty quickly so if you are addicted to the supple-surface feel of lip balm you may want to consider applying your favorite non-pigmented balm on top. As previously mentioned, I have been using this product in intense heat, meaning I am constantly chugging water from bottles and glasses (barely leaves a lip mark) and wiping sweat off my face. The sheer color has surprising lasting power, still discernible after a couple of hours. However, only women who have trained themselves to detect who is wearing "natural makeup" and who is actually sans makeup will be able to tell (men won´t even notice). In theory this is similar to the color giving properties of gloss, but with this you can actually rotate your head without ending up with a mouthful of sticky, gooey strands of hair.

Product Pluses: The aforementioned "natural look," SPF 15, and it can also double as a blush with the same easy blending as Tarte's Cheek Stain (at half the price).

4.5 out of 5 tubes. The fact that it can do double duty as blush is a major bonus, especially if you´re traveling. Plus I like that I can use it both during the day (color: Wednesday) and for going out (color: Friday) and not feel like I have 20 lbs of greasy lipstick on. For lip balm addicts the downside might be the fact that it really is more of a lip sheer not necessarily made for constant OCD reapplications.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blue Q: Pun-tastic

Perhaps a message to the IRS? (Kidding! Please don't audit me.)

Via Perpetual Kid.

Guest Post! Burt's Bees Tin

We have a strong Canadian following here on Chaptastic, possibly owing to the fact that our northern brothers and sisters posses an inborn affinity for lip balm, given the weather. We welcome this guest post from our Canadian correspondent, Victoria. Mush, Victoria!

Living in Canada can be very hard on the skin, especially the lips. I've tried Blistex, Polysporin, Carmex and a terrifying amount of cheap store brand chap sticks. Also, being environmentally friendly (who isn't theses days), I wanted to find one without the dreaded petroleum jelly. I found it the holy grail of all lip balms - Burt's Bees.

Price: $4.99 CAD at Shopper's Drug Mart (can be purchased at for $2.99 USD)

Appearance: Comes in a little orange tin with a bee printed on. Not too feminine, so guys can carry this lip balm around with them. Its nice and flat; I keep this in my jeans and the tube version in my bag.

Glide: Wonderful. I store this in my pocket so it's warm and creamy, but when cold it can be a little hard to apply. Although it's in a tin I put my lips directly up to the tin to apply, a move that garners weird looks on the subway but is well worth it.

Flavor/Smell: The smell is peppermint, thanks to the peppermint oil in the balm. I personally love this, but other with sensitive skin and/or noses may find it irritating. The best feature of this product is the flavor - none. This minimizes the desire to lick off the balm.

Lasting Power: Hours. I can put this on and go about my day. Its waterproof, so you can feel free to drink away (I sometimes lick my lips, but with this the balm stays intact). I put it on before I step outside, and it's great for "winter proofing" your lips.

Product Pluses: Environmentally friendly packaging, printed on recycled paper. 95.29% natural. Not tested on animals. Social responsibility- the company partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build the first affordable green housing.

4 out of 5 tubes. Wonderful product but hard glide if cold, also no SPF.

LAST CONTEST DAY: Send Us Your Photos

Today (midnight) is the last day for submitting your photos! You're probably also busy standing in line at the post office to make sure your taxes aren't late, so if you miss the deadline by a couple of hours we won't hold it against you.

To reiterate, we're calling for the most interesting photos of your vast collection of tubes and pots. The best photo wins an awesome prize pack and a gift certificate to a yet-to-be-determined-but-awesome balm store, and two runners up get a little somethin' somethin' as well.

Here are all the the entries so far (most recent at top). Not going to lie, we may have a winner in mind already. If you've already sent your photo in and wish to up your game, feel free to re-submit!

Rosanna: "Chap" & "Is It Spring Yet?"

Liisa: "Lip Balm Ballet"

Kate: "I Think I Need a Bigger Purse..."

(Full set at Flickr)

Sabrina: "Fraubello"

Kristi: "Addicted"

Marianne: "Earth Friendly"

Shannon: "House of 1000 Lip Balms"

xmrsPonce: Untitled

Christine: "The Chapstick Initiative"

ChapNews Vol. 18: Glossy Robbery

I can't help think that one of our readers was behind this story from 1010wins:

Police want to know who made off with 74 tubes of "Beauty Rush'' -- worth about $1,200 -- from a suburban New York Victoria's Secret store.

Clarkstown police believe the cosmetics went missing from a bin sometime Saturday. The store, in the Nanuet Mall, reported the theft on Sunday.

Police are reviewing surveillance footage for clues. They say tens of thousands of dollars worth of lingerie has previously been lifted at that outlet, the Palisades Center in West Nyack, and in Westchester County.

Sgt. Harry Baumann says some of the items may eventually be sold on the Internet.

If you need help fencing the stolen merchandise, give us a holler!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Peeps Lip Balm

Just in time for Easter! Erin Zimmer at Serious Eats reviewed these balms and had this to say:

Peeps-flavored lip balms do in fact exist. Available on Amazon for $3.99, or apparently in the Target $1 bins, they come in four different marshmallow cream flavors: grape, strawberry, vanilla, and cotton candy. The best part? None of these are even real Peeps flavors.

I wonder if they explode in the microwave. These would make great egg-stuffers!

Beeceuticals Bee-Yond Lip Balm

Spring is here, folks, and we have just the balm for you to start enjoying it with. Beeceuticals Organics (motto: "Health from the Hive") makes a line of USDA Certified organic, holistic honey-based products like shampoos and eye creams with all sorts of other alluring and amazing-sounding ingredients.

Their delightful lip balms come in Blueberry, Raspeberry and Peach (they used to also have Strawberry, Natural and Peppermint, but I don't see them on the site), and are made with only seven ingredients, all of which are Fair Trade certified.

Price: $3.99

Appearance: Love, love, love, love, love the packaging. The scalloped edges, the simple color scheme, the little man-bee hugging a tiny Planet Earth. You know how sometimes you want to buy a book just because it has an eye-catching cover? Same for these balms.

Glide: Very nice. Light, smooth and perfect for warmer weather. I tried using these in the dead of winter when my lips were dry and rough with disappointing results, one of which is that they lock up solid when they get cold, making it impossible to apply deftly. A few weeks after opening mine I could see little shea butter clumps, so you may want to keep the tubes in a place where the temperature doesn't vary too much.

Flavor/Smell: I like the varieties they offer, and I think the Peach is my favorite. Each one smells bright and fruity but none has a specific flavor or sweetness.

Lasting Power: Not good in the winter, maybe half an hour, but much better recently (although it could be I'm drinking more water), perhaps up to a couple of hours.

Product Pluses/Minuses: I like that I can pronounce all the ingredients (Organic Olive Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Almond Oil, Natural Flavor, Organic Holistic Honey Blend™, Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Cocoa Butter) and that they're organic, because things labeled organic make me think I'm a good person. Cons are the aforementioned shea butter balls that eventually appear, giving a rough texture to the application surface, and labels that peel off faster than they should (could have just been my batch).

Reliable and cheerful warm-weather tube. 4.25 out of 5.

Monday, April 06, 2009

DIY: Chocolate Honey Balm

This Instructable by Belsey on how to make Chocolate Honey lip balm has made me unexpectedly hungry. I wish I had the follow-through to actually collect all the ingredients and equipment to make my own lip balm (I know there are kits out there), but after amassing so many various sticks over the past few years the effort seems a bit moot.

Anyway, enjoy, and let us know if you try it out!

Blamtastic! Lip Balms

Remember the adorable sisters, Lily and Melanie, we wrote about who started their own lip balm business called Blamtastic? Well, they tracked us down and sent us some samples of their tween-riffic balms, and we have pretty much only good things to say. I mean, I think we're only allowed to say good things: not only are they not even teenagers yet, but they run a business, and that's so much more than I can say for myself.

Price: $2.99 each.

Appearance: Bright and cheerful with a middle school vibe. I love the Boys vs. Girls selling point: girls obviously like purple and pink and flowers and boys are way more into black and green and aliens. I mean, these girls get it.

Glide: Very nice. Light, smooth, effortless and neither sticky nor waxy.

Flavor/Smell: There are so many varieties! I tried Lemon-Liscious, Sassafrassy Root Beer, Cherry Nilla, Green Apple and Sour Cherry. Lemon-liscious smells and tastes EXACTLY like Lemonheads candy (which, in my opinion, is a thousand times better than actual lemons). I found the Sassafrassy far too sweet- anomalously so, in fact, because the other flavors were just pleasantly sweet; I had to wipe it off even though I really enjoyed how it smelled. You will lick these off your lips because they are tasty. I would probably have just eaten them with a tiny spoon in middle school when I went through my voracious sweet tooth phase.

Lasting Power: Two hours at least. They instantly soften your lips and keep them that way.

Product Pluses: SPF 15, no petroleum or parabens. And they come with candy! I got Pop Rocks and jellybeans. Made my day.

I could easily see these being flashed at the Nickolodeon Kids Awards. I certainly hope they get picked up by the big retailers. The gift boxes are adorable as are their lip balm sleeves, which can clip to anything. Blamtastic also makes cute party favors- check out their well put-together site. I think these are the perfect balms for kids, and I'll be keeping my Lemon-Liscious close-by for when I need a nostalgia break.

4.5 out of 5 tubes.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Guest Post! Cherry Wet n Wild Jumbo Juicy Lip Balm

Loyal reader Holly sends us this review of Wet n Wild's Jumbo Juicy Lip Balm. Who doesn't love Wet n Wild? That used to be my go-to section of the drug store makeup aisle before every high school dance (and now before every interview, recession-style) Eyeliner for 99 cents? Sure, it feels a little like chalk, but it's 99 cents! Show us the way, Holly!

Well, I've always been a self-professed lip balm addict. It's probably been at least 20 years that I've been a "slave to the evil stick". Recently, my 8 pack of fruity-flavored LipSmackers dwindled down to two nubs and I knew I had to act fast. I found myself wandering aimlessly around Walgreens in search of the new "holy grail" in lip balm, and this was one of my choices. Wet n Wild never let me down in my blue-eyeliner days of youth, will it this time?

Price: $2.99/tube.

Appearance: This is the porn star of lip balm tubes. About 3 times the size of a regular tube of lip balm, I don't think you'll be able to discreetly carry this in your pocket without someone asking, "is that lip balm in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" Also, the packaging from the photo is deceiving, my tube had a silver-glittery background with a cherry design and female figure posed provocatively. Clearly, this isn't your mother's lip balm.

Glide: Very smooth, like a 19 year old stripper's cellulite-free rear (bitch!). Testing environment was in a warm climate, but I think it would still glide fairly well in cold weather.

Flavor/Smell: I chose the cherry flavor. The aroma is very-cherry and is reminiscent of the classic Luden's Wild Cherry throat lozenges that really don't do anything for sore throats, they just taste good. Despite that, the scent is not overpowering. There is a very slight sweet taste after application, but it probably wouldn't interfere with any eating, smoking, or other orally-oriented activities (ahem) and actually might enhance them. Also, there is a very very slight tint to the balm, however, I think even a heterosexual male could get away with using it and no one would be the wiser, but would he want to? I'm thinking that would be a "NO".

Lasting Power: Surprisingly good! I applied it somewhat generously after exfoliating my lips. Then for some reason, I went on a vacuum-cleaning rampage in my apartment. After a full hour, my lips still felt protected without reapplication being necessary. The balm itself has a slight waxiness, so I would say it is more about keeping moisture in than actually providing moisture.

Product Pluses: Long-lasting, good scent. 1 tube will last 3x the normal tube. Comes in many other fruity flavors also: Tangerine, Sour Apple, Lemon/Lime, Watermelon, Strawberry, Red Raspberry, Boyz 'n' Berries, Kiwi Strawberry.

Product Minuses: Portability - you might need a bigger pocket or purse for this monster tube. Also, if you're looking for a lip balm with shine, this isn't it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 tubes. Good stuff, but I'm still searching for that perfect tube...

Chaptastic Q&A: Labello Change?

We don't know everything about lip balm even if it does look that way sometimes. Occasionally we post reader questions about mystery balms and the like, and we hope that you, dear reader, might have the answer. Today's question comes to us from Alex.

Just a loyal Labello user for years and years. I noticed the last time I was in Mexico and bought a tube it didn't go on nearly as smoothly as it had in the past. I tried a couple different tubes and yup...same problem. It's like the formula has hardened. My favorite chapstick!!! Ruined???? Have you heard this / do you have any info??


Dear Hardened...okay, we made up that Alex signed off as "hardened" (sounds kind of dirty anyhow) and actually we have no clue. The only Labellos I have are from a couple of years ago, and they're still pretty good.

Have any of you noticed a difference? Comment away and help solve this mystery!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Show Us Your Balm Contestants!

Your tax deadline and the last day of entry for this year's Chaptastic photo contest is one and the same: April 15!

We're calling for the most interesting photos of your undoubtedly vast collection of tubes and pots. The best photo wins an awesome prize pack and a gift certificate to a yet-to-be-determined-but-awesome balm store, and two runners up get a little somethin' somethin' as well.

To give you a little inspiration, here are the awesome entries so far:

Kristi: "Addicted"

Marianne: "Earth Friendly"

Shannon: "House of 1000 Lip Balms"

xmrsPonce: Untitled

Christine: "The Chapstick Initiative"

You guys are a hoot. Keep those photos coming!

Eco-Sensual Balm: Peacekeeper

Here's an old joke: What does a beauty products company that donates all of its after-tax profits to women’s health advocacy and urgent human rights issues sell?


The company's name is Peacekeeper and they really do use the tag "cause-metics" as well as the motto "Deep healing for your lips and the world". Indeed. They make all sorts of natural products, one of which is the Eco-Sensual Lip Balm, which won one of Self Magazine's 2008 Health Beauty Awards.

Price: $3.18 on the site, $4.00 at places like Urban Outfitters.

Appearance: Standard size, clear tube, there it is on the right.

Glide: Easy, smooth, slightly greasy.

Flavor/Smell: Miiinty! That great "real" from-the-sprig mint smell that wakes you right up. No sweetness.

Lasing Power: Softens really well, but doesn't last longer than about an hour.

Product Pluses: 100% vegan, cruelty free, all natural, profits to a good cause.

3.5 out of 5 tubes. Does the job decently but lacks strong performance or any zazz. I like my lip balms with jazz hands.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Lano Lip Balms

The good folks at The Lano Company sent me some of their Lano Lip balms to review a while ago and I put it off because of my aversion to potted balms. That was unfair, I now realize, because theirs is a pretty decent product, so here is a much-awaited writeup.

Price: $6.99 per pot. A liiiittle pricey.

Appearance: Shiny! I was actually sort of amused by how much I liked the metallic screw tops on the clear plastic bottoms.

Glide: Not great. I mean, okay, I have a bias against potted balms in the first place because of the sticky finger thing, but these balms take that to an extreme. Rather that being a bit firm to the touch, as many potted balms are, they are incredibly soft; I would describe it as a Vaseline or VapoRub- like texture (Lano Lip doesn't use wax). The balm is sticky and gooey to the touch but feels okay once it's on.

Flavor/Smell: Lano Lip comes in four varieties: Dreamsicle, Wintergreen, Strawberry and Unscented. The Strawberry and Dreamsicle are pleasant smelling but the Wintergreen is a car air freshener strength of minty. None of them is at all sweet, which is an interesting surprise. You expect the Dreamsicle to taste of citrus but it doesn't. Hey- anything that shaves down the number of ingredients and doesn't enable my licking habit is fine by me.

Lasting Power Fantastic! I could still feel it working even two hours after application. I wish I'd had these when it was colder outside. They would have been great lip protection against the whipping wind.

Product Pluses: SPF 15 in the Strawberry and Unscented, cruelty-free, no beeswax, simple ingredients (lanolin, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil and vitamin E).

I can't stand the goopiness, but I'll get over it for the lasting power. Remember, some people are sensitive to lanolin, so these may not be for everyone.

4 out of 5 tubes.