5 Things you should know about lip balm
Did you know that your lips help you choose a partner? At least, that’s what some scientists suggest, based on the fact that kissing is such an important part of the mating dances of humans. If we didn’t have lips, we wouldn’t be able to kiss and share tenderness, it’s as simple as that. And here’s an interesting fact about lips – there are no sweat glands in them, so lips don’t sweat. Cool, you’d say, but that’s also why they dry so easily in cold weather and if you lick them too often. No wonder, then, that lip balm is such a popular cosmetic product. Here are five things you need to know about it.
1. It can double as lipstick
Let’s get this out of the way before we move on to lip balm benefits and rumoured addiction. Lip balms come in various shades and can successfully double as lipstick, especially in the context of what’s trendy right now: the nude look. Of course, the colour that lip balms add to your lips would be much more subtle, than the shade of a lipstick but that’s the whole point of lip balms, right? And when you accidentally lick it, you won’t get the generally unpleasant taste that lipsticks usually have. What’s more, with lip balms you get different flavours, though some say the flavour is just an illusion that the brain tricks us into, based on the colour of the balm and the added fragrance. Basically, if you see and smell peach, you taste peach. This seems to be a mixed blessing, however, because there’s a rumour saying that.
2. Lip balm can be addictive
That’s what many people who can’t go a day without applying their lip balm every hour believe. They have online support groups and forums but the fact is that there are no addictive substances in a lip balm, so it’s not a drug in the sense of tobacco, alcohol or any substance with proven addictive properties. One possible explanation of the “lip balm addiction” is that it’s just a habit blown out of proportion. After all, the cold seasons do bad things to your lips and lip balm is the logical solution to chapped, cracked lips. Because of its taste, we also like to lick it, which necessitates more frequent application and so on, no mystery about it. However, another explanation, put forward by experts who know their stuff is simpler: first, we’ve already said about no sweat glands, so lips can get dry very easily, hence the need of frequent lip balm application; second, some lip balms contain ingredients, such as menthol and salicylic, which both have a drying effect on the skin, that on the lips included. Mystery solved!
3. Natural ingredients
When we hear “natural”, we usually think it’s all good, and it usually is, just not good for everything. For instance, let’s have a look at menthol, the ingredient we mentioned above. Menthol is extracted from the mint plant and is put in products such as lip balms, because of its cooling, soothing effect. But this cooling sensation also dries up the skin that the menthol is applied on. Good to know, right? We’re not talking about severe drying, just a little side effect. Salicylic acid can irritate the sensitive skin on the lips and cause you to slather the balm again and again in a bid to soothe it. Then there is the sweetener used in most lip balms, stevia, which is a naturally occurring sugar but it can make your lips feel too tasty. Otherwise, lip balms often feature beeswax, a product that is definitely good for you, along with various plant oils and extracts for added softening effect or for flavour.
4. Makeup tips and other uses
Some have tried at least once in their lives to first apply lip balm on their lips before slathering on lipstick, to make sure the lips are well moisturised. They have tried and failed, of course, discovering empirically that when you have balm on your lips, applying lipstick becomes much harder, not to mention uneven, because the balm interferes with the adhesion of the lipstick to the lips. Given the choice of hues now available, however, chances are that not many of us would try this a second time. Just use balm instead of lipstick. But have you thought that lip balm can double as other things, not associated with the lips? For one thing, it can be used on the eyebrows, to help shape them. For another, you can use it as lubricant for your finger to take off a tight ring, for example, or in any other home emergency situation requiring some lubrication, like stuck zippers and equally stuck drawers, etc.
5. You can easily make your own lip balm…
…that way you’ll know that it really is all natural, with no suspicious ingredients added. All you need is some vegetable oil of your preference and beeswax, plus some honey if you want. We recommend it, because honey has its own special benefits for the skin. The proportions are: one part beeswax per three parts oil. All you need to do is melt the beeswax and oil on low heat, then whisk it well, add the honey (just a teaspoon or half a teaspoon of that, if you’re making a small batch), pour in the container where you will be storing the balm, and let it set. To flavour it, you can add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil. Enjoy!