Do You Have a Lip Balm Addiction?

Thanks to Melissa Dahl over at The Body Odd, one of life’s more confounding mysteries has been solved: Yep, lip balm is indeed addictive. Everyone has known someone with a serious habit (maybe it’s you!) and, as it turns out, the schoolyard rumors about ChapStick® addiction were true.

We actually covered this subject briefly in the book, but our focus was more specifically on some of the drying (and nasty) chemicals found in lip balm. The article makes mention of those too, but this explanation from Perry Romanowski, a chemist and blogger at the Beauty Brains, reveals how the product actually inhibits the lips’ natural replenishment system:

The lower layers of your skin produce fresh, new skin cells, which die and can dry out a bit by the time they reach the top layer, Romanowski explains. “When you put the lip balm on the dry skin, what that does is interfere with the signaling mechanism that signals to the lower cells to start producing more,” he says. “Using lip balm, while it makes your lips feel good initially, when it wears off your skin feels dry again and your skin doesn’t have time to replenish that.” So you apply more lip balm. And when that wears off, you apply more. And more. And more!

There you have it, just another useless product tricking our bodies into doing the wrong thing. Obviously, we think a nourishing, clean lip balm has its place—especially during extra dry or cold months. But we encourage women to resist obsessive reapplication. I personally like to moisturize my lips the same way as the rest of my face, which means that morning and night I give them a once-over with some argan oil.

How about you, were you (or are you still) a lip balm junky?

We know that’s gloss, but who can resist this image

28 Responses to “Do You Have a Lip Balm Addiction?”
  1. reese says:

    The only dirty kind I use is Dr Pepper, in place of lipstick, very very very very rarely! it gives a nice red stain… though of course… i could (and someday soon will) always make my own with berries!! :) Otherwise I use grapeseed oil, or a local clean brand… Chicken Poop! <3 it! The Dr. Pepper (and all various kinds- i used to love the spearmint blistex) ALWAYS made it worse! Dry, fally offy, waxy, icky lips! No thanks

  2. Lindsay says:

    I ordred your book and it should arrive soon and I cannot wait! I’m in the process of converting. So far Josie Maran (argan oil!) and Yes to Carrots are on their way in. Thank you thank you for opening eyes to all this stuff. What do you think of the brand Yu-Be?

  3. Jen says:

    I confess I am, and have beenf or years, a chap-stick addict. I typically only use burts bees but I use it mulitple times daily. I always knew it was interfering with the natural process but I lack the will power to stop…at least right now.

  4. Meredith says:

    Every lip balm I’ve tried including natural ones seem to make my dry lips worse. Winter is awful, especially on days like today with -10 degree wind chill.
    I think I found a solution though. I bought a big jar of pure shea butter at the health food store for about $10 and I use that on my hands and lips several times a day. It’s made the most difference for my hands, which get so dry that they crack.
    I know shea is in a lot of lotions and lip balms, but probably in small quantities compared to the other ingredients. I suggest giving pure shea butter a try if you are all dried up. I also bought empty lip balm pots in a few sizes so I can fill those and throw them in my purse and give them to friends.

  5. Merry says:

    I love badger balm and burt’s bees pomegranate. At least they’re cleaner than chapstick??

    And I LOVE the beauty brains, though they definitely approach parabens and other nasties in a very different way than you guys do!

  6. I’ve been saying that for years to anyone I saw using chapstick. My hub used to be a chapstick addict when I met him, I switched him to more natural lip balms years ago. When I’ve had a cold or something that makes my lips all cracked, I use some burt’s bees in the tin for a few days straight, then I can stop and not use it again. For me it works best if I apply, wipe it off when it starts to dry out, and then reapply immediately.

    Next I think is to make my own with more oils and less beeswax.

  7. Fonda LaShay says:

    I agree completely, but when it comes to finding a safe one for those freezing days when playing in the snow ect. – i was having trouble with that. but i just found new one that is 1) not packaged in plastics(which leach chemicals) and was all organic – it has only cacao butter, shea butter, beeswax, vitamin e, sunflower see oil, and seed butter. I am about to order some to finish getting me through the LONG and COLD NORWEGIAN WINTER! here is the link where i found it:

  8. JK says:

    No, definitely not addicted. I don’t think I use lip balm more than twice a day (like you, as part of the general routine), and I prefer the one by Weleda (or sometimes Burt’s Bees) – I just don’t like the other ones and the way they feel or taste. And I can’t remember ever having dry or chopped lips – on the contrary, quite soft and kissable (ask my boyfriend)! Unless I have a severe cold, of course, and then it’s time for Weleda’s Cold Cream, but that’s it.

  9. felicia says:

    I am addicted to lip balms. Right now my favorite is based around tea tree oil. What you say makes perfect sense. I’m a wind instrument musician, so my lips get ripped up and dried out really easily. I know a lot of musicians who trust by carmex or blistex. One of my former directors told us that camphor oil (in lip balm) was awful for your lips and would only make you need more lip balm. I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve always stayed away from lip balms with that ingredient.

  10. Hope says:

    Wow, yup I am addicted I guess. I found an amazing organic one with my most favorite flavor and scent. lavender from I can’t help myself, plus I live in the desert and when we are outside in the sun and on the lake well it goes hand in hand with dry chapped lips. At least it is organic, but I am addicted. I suppose there are worse things in life to be addicted to.

  11. meredith says:

    Guilty as charged. Although, its gotten better since I switched to all-natural lip care.

    I could not live without some pure shea butter at night and a little reapplication in the am. Revolution Organics makes great all over color that works as a stain too. But I’m all for the pure shea butter, it cures even the worst chapped lips and helps to break the lip balm application cycle a bit.

  12. connie curtis says:

    I will try the shea butter.. I have noticed I ran out of Dr. Bonners lip balm which is better than the others you can buy. My lips are starting to heal. The less lotion I use my hands are healing too. I use brown suger and olive oil when my hands are so dry and that is helping.

    I love the book. I stopped using many products and use things in my kitchen. Its less expensive, gives me freedom to do many things and I dont have to worry when I run out of things. Its great. I look and feel better than I every have. I know i am not spending money on products that hurt my skin. Has anyone used flax seed oil on their face. I heard its great for combination skin.


  13. Trudi says:

    In high school, my friends and I were so very addicted. So addicted that we used each others’ lip balms when we forgot ours. Now, I use either Burt’s Bees and Yes to Carrots. I find Yes to Carrots to be more moisturizing than Burt’s Bees.

  14. comagirl says:

    Definitely an addict. I use Burt’s Bees daily. I tend to have a bad habit of biting my lips. I’ve had it since childhood. One of my commitments to myself this year has been to stay hydrated. I wish I could say this has helped my lips, but it hasn’t, at least not considerably. That bottom lip is always dry and flaking.

  15. Shaunna says:

    I’m totes addicted to lip balm. After approximately 7 years of use I recently switched from Lip Smacker’s Dr. Pepper to EOS lip balm.
    I can’t wait around for my lips to replenish. As soon as it’s chapped or just feels dry I reapply. That’s prolly the reason I have only noticed a slight change from Dr. Pep to the EOS balm. Either way lip balm is the only cosmetic I use on my face but this article makes a lot of sense. I’ll try to refrain from unneccesary use.

  16. lala says:

    comagirl, i could have written that comment. I am addicted to burt’s bees and I also bite my lips like crazy– it’s a stress thing. without the BB my lips would look so haggard… or perhaps not? i’m scared to try!

  17. lala says:

    the site wont let me comment today it keeps telling me that it’s a duplicate, but i swear it’s not! oh well.

  18. Annie W says:

    I’ve actually developed an allergy to Burt’s Bee chapstick, which was my mainstay for years. Whether it’s from using it so so much, or because they changed something in the formula, I couldn’t say. My lips start to break out in a rash whenever I use it, so I’m on the lookout for a good replacement. I’ve been trying homemade balms on Etsy. Here’s hoping I find something soon!

  19. Michelle says:

    I recently discovered Badger products, and though I may try Dr. Bronner’s lip balm, I’m pretty hooked on Badger’s. The Mocha Cocoa is delicious and feels fantastic, and the Sweet Orange is a lovely citrus scented one. They’re made with EVOO, cocoa butter, beeswax, castor oil, and then whatever essential oils etc. that make the particular flavor. I’ve noticed since I started using them that I use them far less often than I did regular old chapstick, and I continue to decrease the applications.

  20. comagirl says:

    lala – try drinking lots of water. No coffee, maybe green tea, no soft drinks. I’m down to once a day on the Burt’s Bees, but will do a touch up if I’m going out.

    Anyone else have a mother who put vaseline on her lips?

  21. patricia says:

    Hi my name is Patricia, and I’m addicted to lip balm!!!!
    Its truly an addiction! I recently began using Petroleum Jelly-Vaseline which has actually helped me with using less lip balm, since it feels moist longer than regular lip balm. If I dont wear any lip balm or vaseline my lips start to crack and peel! I need to break this addiction! I also love the Dr. Pepper lip balm!

  22. Lindz says:

    I love lip balm! On my going clean journey Ive discovered crazy rumors lip balm. It’s awesome! Worked better than straight olive oil when my lips were so dry this winter.

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  24. Rish says:

    you guys are going to hate this, but you just have to go cold turkey! no way around that. & drink tons of water. it’ll take 1-2 months, but you’ll see that your lips stop building up so much of those layers. vaseline & chapstick are the WORST, burt’s bees (products with beeswax) are definitely better than vaseline & chapstick so use those if you must. for YEARS i put vaseline on every night & peel a whole layer of skin off in the morning & my lips progressively dry out throughout the day, my friends used to tease me for constantly picking at my lips all day. i’m free of that after quitting the balms & whatever you do DON’T CONSTANTLY LICK YOUR LIPS either; i did a lot of that & it made matters exponentially worse. i haven’t personally tried the homemade stuff with oils and what not people have posted here, but i don’t doubt they’re excellent. if i get to try some of them i’ll update here.

  25. lisa says:

    I just made my own lip balm with 4-5 natural ingredients. I never really used lipbalm before but I am starting to get addicted. I apply it several times a day. My question is what is the difference between lipbalm effect of the renewal process and Lipstick, I guess lipstick would cause the same effect described in this article. Millions and Millions of women wear lipstick everyday and reapply. Also, we use moisturizers and such on our face everyday. I say, if you like it then use it. when you are 90 I don’t think you will care so much.

    Here is to another application of my fabulous homemade lipbalm. 100% natural.


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