Thursday, October 20, 2011

Recommendation Thursday: Winter Skincare, Lips Edition

For a more thorough explanation of how to keep your lips happy through winter, see the TT post here.

I'll talk about lip balm first; I have a lot of personal knowledge of balms, so most of the products recommended here have been tried and tested by me, as the notes accompanying most of them will attest. I also included a few that are very popular and well-liked but that I haven't tried myself, because I am nothing if not thorough!  A note before I continue: all of the lip balms discussed below are highly rated on MUA (minimum lippies of 4/5, minimum buy-again of 75%), so you'll notice several popular products that aren't included (many Burt's Bees items, for example).  I have given notes on those that I have tried, and some of them I really disliked, but since the general consensus is contrary to my experience, I figured it was still okay to include them in a recommendations list.  And, as always, your own suggestions are very much appreciated!

Lip Balms with SPF (because your lips can get burnt, too!)

Image from Sephora
Jack Black Lip Balm SPF 25 is HG for me (and Christine from Temptalia, who is the one who inspired me to give it a try).  It comes in several scent variations, and all except the Natural Mint are flavorless and free of any ingredients that induce tingliness and possible irritation.  My favorite is Grapefruit and Ginger, though I've yet to try the Black Tea and Blackberry (but I included it in my Sephora F&F order, whee!).  Lemon and Chamomile was too sweet-smelling for me, though I've used it nightly for close to 6 months (can't let it go to waste!), and the Lavender and Vanilla scent is actually quite masculine to my nose.  It's $7.50 for 0.25 oz, but, as mentioned above, it lasts a very long time, and it is intensely moisturizing and stays on a long time as well as leaving lips soft and healed once it wears off.  Also: there's a set of 4 out for the holidays, including Natural Mint, Lemon and Chamomile, and two new varieties, Mango and Mandarin and Shea Butter and Vitamin E, and if you buy it during F&F, it's $20 for 4 balms, or $5 apiece, which is 33% less than they are individually!  The two new scents are exclusive to the set, though I suspect they release individuals of them once the holidays are over, as that's what happened with Black Tea and Blackberry and Grapefruit and Ginger.  So if you're wanting to give it a try, the set's a great way to acquaint yourself with the brand!

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Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer SPF 15, unlike Jack Black, has petroleum products in it.  I haven't used it myself, but if you find that petroleum-type balms work well for you, it's worth giving a shot; it runs under $4 at drugstores.

Tinted Lip Balms (because sometimes you want your moisture to come with a side of pigment!)

Image from Sephora
Rosebud Minted Rose Lip Balm is the only one of this category that I've worn myself (I've swatched some of the others, but haven't given them a try on my lips).  It comes in a huge 0.80 oz tin, which, while not a very sanitary design and quite terrible for traveling, is nonetheless very cute packaging.  I'd heard so much good stuff about this product, but it just did not work for me.  I hated having to apply with my finger, because unlike, say, Carmex, Minted Rose is quite gushy and stuck to my fingers, so I always had to wipe off with a tissue after application.  In the pan, it looks like a nice pink-red, but almost none of that showed up on my lips.  The worst part, though, was that it failed as a lip balm.  It lasted 20 minutes, max (probably in part because it's petroleum-based, and those types of balms tend to wear off really quickly with all my lip smooshing), and left my lips thirstier than before (and that's probably due to the mint).  Also, it felt thick and sticky on, which is just nothing but bad.  At some point I lost my tin, and haven't looked back since (except that one time when I wanted to mix it with Benetint to make a real tinted lip balm, but that's a story for another time).  However!  Most people love this stuff, so don't let my bad opinion alone scare you away.  It's $7 for 0.8 oz from Sephora, Ulta, and various other online and physical retailers.

Images from Sephora

Fresh Sugar Lip Balm SPF 15 in Honey, Passion, Rosé, and Plum are the tinted versions of Fresh Sugar Lip Balm (which did not receive good reviews on MUA, hence its exclusion from the list above) and have the same formula as the normal version, but with a nice hint of tint added.  I would be inclined to give them a try, except that they're $22.50 for a freakin' lip balm.  What the heck, guys.

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Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm is a relatively new product from Burt.  I haven't tried these, either, but I've heard good things, particularly about Pink Blossom.  These are $7 at drugstores.

Image from Sephora
Korres Lip Butter has a rabid cult fan base, but accounts of how moisturizing it is vary.  Everyone agrees, though, that it gives nice color––though it's also in a germ-inducing pot.  Mango, Pomegranate, and Wild Rose are the best-reviewed shades, and I am frankly dying to try the last one.  If only it were still $10 instead of the $12 it is now...

Petroleum-Based Lip Balms (because sometimes you just want basic!  Also, many products above contain petroleum as well, as the descriptions indicate)

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Vaseline is probably the most-used lip balm in the history of ever.  It's pure white petrolatum (petroleum jelly), and heals and protects any kind of cracked or dry skin.  It's too slippery and oily for my tastes, but it's really cheap and, as long as you're okay using petroleum-based products, works really well.

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ChapStick Cherry is the other most-used lip balm in the history of ever (okay, really, the first 3 in this category all deserve that title).  It smells like cherry flavoring, which is a big fault in my book, and, while I haven't tried it in several years, I remember it being rather waxy on my lips.  It is cheap, though, and you can find it at pretty much any drugstore or grocer, not to mention all the people who use it and love it.

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Carmex is the only lip product I used for years when I was younger (we're talking elementary and middle school here, folks), because it moisturized and felt awesome.  Unfortunately, I think they changed the formula a few years ago, because it started irritating my lips, at which point I stopped using it and I haven't gone back.  If you've tried it recently, how did it work for you?  It's got a bunch of tingle-inducing ingredients, which can definitely cause some irritation, and it's petroleum based, though I found it firmer and less suffocating than other petroleum-based balms.  A jar of it costs less than $2 at drugstores.

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Aquaphor is hands-down my favorite of the petroleum-based balms.  It's extremely moisturizing, doesn't feel icky on (though it is a little slicker than I'd like), has no smell, and lasts forever.  It contains lanolin alcohol (which, according to Wikipedia, is  the non-drying fat of wool shearings combined with acetic acid and some lye...lovely, really), which I think is what makes this product work so much better for me than the others, though I do have to ignore what the ingredients really are to feel comfortable wearing it.  It comes in a 1.75 oz tube that runs about $5 and will last around a year (yeah, you only need a little); it's really not portable or easy to apply on the go, though, which is why I turned to Jack Black (though Aquaphor does make a lip treatment, it costs almost as much for 0.25 oz as the 1.75 oz does, which just pissed me off).  Once I used up my tube of JB Lemon and Chamomile that I apply at night, I'll go back to using Aquaphor as my nighttime lip balm.

Image from Drugstore
Blistex Lip Medex was my favoritest balm junior year; I put it on before I fell asleep (including pre-naps!) and loved the tingly wingliness and thought it was good for keeping my lips happy.  I haven't used it recently, though, because I don't think it was very good at actually restoring moisture to my lips, so I swapped it out for Aquaphor.  It is cheap, though, and feels nice when worn.

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Palmer's Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick was reviewed by me here; basically, it's a lightweight, slick and smooth feeling balm that can be used on any chapped skin areas.  It contains mineral oil, but no tingly irritating ingredients.  And the main ingredient, cocoa butter (unsurprising, given the name), is very moisturizing.

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Blistex DCT (Daily Conditioning Treatment) was something I tried after I ran out of Lip Medex, but it gave my lips weird bumps and dried them out terribly.  Truly a fail in my book, but it works really well for some people, so...your mileage may vary.

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Blistex Medicated (wow, I've tried way too many Blistex products) comes in a teeny tube and is a weird whitish lotion.  It didn't magically fix my chapped lips, and it felt weird and kind of tight on, but the worst part was the smell.  Oh, my God, so chemical-y.  Revolting.  Also, more expensive per ounce than the other Blistex options.

Other Lip Balms (for those people who want no tint, no SPF, and no petro-products!)
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eos Lip Balm Sphere in Sweet Mint has won so many beauty awards in magazines, it's not even funny.  The packaging is admittedly awesome, but I don't know about the product within.  I haven't tried it because it runs ~$3.50 and L told me she hated it, so I figured I could save myself the trouble.  If you've used it, what did you think?  Is the hype justified, or is it coasting on its cute design?

Image from Alba Botanica
Alba Botanica Coconut Cream Lip Balm sounds delightful (who doesn't love coconut?!), but I've just never gotten around to picking it up, probably because $3+ (up to $4.50 at Rite Aid, wth) for 0.15 oz makes me cringe.  Have you tried it?  Is it worth checking out?
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ChapStick 100% Naturals Lip Butter seems like a lip balm I could get on board with!  It's less than $3 for 0.15 oz, and is full of various natural butters and oils that should help heal lips and keep them soft.  Methinks I should try this one, too...

Lip Scrubs
In the course of reading reviews for lip scrubs, I decided I couldn't rightly, in my capacity as an advisor on beauty, recommend any of them.  Most are absurdly expensive, and all can be easily recreated at home for mere pennies.  I cannot tell you to spend money on something you can just as easily, and far more cheaply, make at home.  So instead, here is a basic guideline for how to make your own lip scrub!

Honey, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or Vaseline as a base (I like honey best, but EVOO is very moisturizing, and Vaseline is less messy and can heal damaged skin)
Sugar, either white or brown, as the exfoliant (you can use salt scrubs on your body, but stick with sugar on your lips, because it's gentler and it tastes way better)

Mix about a tablespoon of sugar with as much base product as it takes to make a paste.  Apply it to bare lips, massaging gently; then either rinse (if using honey) or wipe (if using EVOO or Vaseline) the scrub off and apply lip balm.

See?  Easy peasy, and cheap as chips.

So, what are your favorite lip care products?  Do you have an HG lip balm?  Is it something different from the ones listed above?  Are there any products that haven't worked for you?  Any thoughts on any of the products discussed above?  Your input is extremely appreciated!
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