Lip Balm & Chapstick | Tips & Review

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My Friend & Enemy

If you know me well, then you’d know that I always have lip balm on me. In many ways, it is a serious addiction – I NEVER leave the house without it, and if I happen to forget, then it is on my mind all day that something is missing in my pocket. I hate having dry lips, and even more so, feeling like I can’t focus on something because I need to re-moisturize. Lip balm has not only been a necessity in my daily life, but also when applying makeup and photographing people. With the dramatic looks I create, I always have my client or model apply a layer of lip balm before the really heavy stuff goes on. This not only ensures moist lips, but comfort for the length of time that a person is posing for pictures or while wearing their makeup for their glamorous outing.

I have always been a frequent user of Burt’s Bees chapstick because of its natural ingredients and value in the purchase. However, I recently sent one through the wash with my clothes and found out what a horrible mistake it was… it damaged not only multiple undershirts, but also my husband’s work polos. (He will never forgive me and never lets me forget it!) So, now I am in the market for a new lip balm or chapstick that hopefully won’t damage my clothes as bad as Burt’s Bees did when accidentally put in the wash. While searching for a new favorite, I turned to to see if there was any good input that I should consider when making a new purchase.

Here is What I Found Out

Irritants: Camphor, phenol, and menthol

Lip balms often advertise that they are “medicated”, giving our lips that tingly, cooling sensation that makes it feel like something’s working. The ingredients camphor, phenol and menthol in those formulas are used as acids in exfoliating exercises, like chemical peels. Exfoliation sounds good but in reality, the tissue on your lips needs to be repaired, not exfoliated or removed. Menthol and camphor will actually burn when used on sore and chapped skin and cause further irritation. Stripping away the skin on your lips with acid ingredients can also make it more exposed to sun damage.

Allergens: Vitamin E, Fragrances, Beeswax, and Lanolin

Everyone reacts to allergens differently, but there are some common ones that are important for most people to avoid. It may surprise you that a significant percentage of people who come into contact with Vitamin E in their lip balm experienced contact dermatitis (an itchy allergic reaction). Unfortunately for fans of flavored lip balms, fragrances and dyes can also pave the way for allergic irritation on the skin. Beeswax is also common in lip balms because it moisturizes well, and it can be a great fit for you, but beware it can also be a source of irritation for many. Lastly, the moisturizing alcohol lanolin (derived from wool) is known to cause itchiness or an allergic reaction for some people. It’s a lot less common but it’s good to be aware of!

Another Pro Tip

If you’re constantly reapplying your lip balm every few minutes, that could be another major sign you’re allergic to your preferred brand. Your lip balm should moisturize your lips and keep them moisturized. If you’re looking for a tried and true, one-ingredient lip balm to count on – go with Vaseline. And there are still plenty of other options and now you can find one right for you!

Thank you to for their helpful research discovering these irritants and allergens. If you want to take a look at the rest of their research and recommendations, check out their guide: